Easy Website Builders

easywebsitebuilders.net reviews the top website building services around. Creating a website can be complicated for people who aren’t tech savvy or have never created one before. Using third party services can help one to create a website without much effort.

The homepage

The homepage looked simple and its message was clear to me. There was not much of fancy design going on… The headers was simple with the text “Easy Website Builders” followed by an explanation of what website builder services was about. I was thinking whether a layman would even know what a website builder is and bother reading the chunk of text underneath the header. It might be a good idea if the webmaster could highlight words like “Free website building software”, “no programming knowledge” and “allow anyone to build a website in minutes”.

The highlight of the website seemed to be their website builder review service. In fact, I was drawn towards the stars in the review section on the homepage on first look. I expected a more prominent “Read Review” link but it turned out that the “visit site” link was much bigger. How about having both links equally prominent?

Scrolling further down, I saw blocks containing short description of each website creation service, like Wix, Hub, 1 & 1…etc. To be honest, I prefered the design of these bigger blocks of content rather than the comparison table above. How about combining both layout together? It would be cool if the description of each service could be shown as tooltips when the user mouseover the links in the table.

Scrolling down even further, I saw articles on “choosing the right online website builder for you” and “who needs a website builder”. I didn’t have the mood to read anymore! The homepage was a bit too much to digest. I got a feeling that the webmaster wanted to tell too much in the homepage or it could be for seo reasons.

The Review Page


fig 1. Website builder Review Page

I clicked on the hub review and jumped onto the review page.The “click here to visit” seemed to be out of place on top. A better idea might be to move it closer to the end of the review as people would have decided if they want to click on the link or not. I doubt putting it so high up would receive any clicks. I also hoped to see more visuals or even embedded videos to help me understand their service better. The hub review page was too wordy and pitchy for me. I also compared it with wix review. The later seemed to have more comments. The right column throughout the site was very empty. The webmaster could certainly do something with it.

Other Pages

As I navigated the site, I couldn’t find any interesting content. Even if I was a potential customer, my interest died quite quickly. The homepage was an exception. I also found the “about us” and forum to be quite empty. The contest page was cool and I hoped that that could be featured more prominently in other parts of the website (how about the right column?). The polls section didn’t do much and I would suggest removing it from the site altogether.

Conclusion

easywebsitebuilders.net looked like a typical affiliate website. I hoped to see more interactivity and promotions in the homepage. Perhaps the owner might also want to think about how to make the website stand out from the rest.

Search For Storage Facilities In United States and Canada

easystoragesearch.com is a directory that allows users to search all types of self storage facilities in the United States and Canada. The website also provides articles and resources for people who are moving belongings and renting trucks.

Home Page
I was greeted with a self explanatory logo and “easy-to-understand” top menu. Immediately, doctor I knew what the website was about. The focus of the homepage seemed to be the “find storage” ajax search box located directly below the top menu. Searching for a recognizable term such as “Denver” and “Houston” revealed a nice table of listing appearing directly beneath the search box (fig 1).


fig 1. Nice storage location listing

As people may not know that the search is limited to United States or Canada, I would suggest a state, country or zip code drop down box which could prevent typos as well. The author might also consider moving the search box application to a separate webpage.

As I moved my eyes further down, I could see more traces of SEO – Links to “More Self Storage Locations” near the footer were very obvious. Clicking on “orlando self storage” for example redirected me back to the home page with the search listing expanded. I was not sure if I liked this idea. Content duplication would be my main concern. If the author is concerned about SEO and Ajax, Google already answered the ajax crawling dilemma a while back.


fig2. Expanded details of the listing


fig 3. Allowing users to register on the spot

I liked to talk about the storage search application further: There were 2 links in each listing; one descriptive link on the left to show the details of the storage service and another “reserve now” link on the right to contact the owner (or reserve the storage on the spot) – see fig 1. Clicking on the descriptive link revealed a lot more information on the deal (see fig 2) while clicking on “Reserve Now” invoked another screen for users to enter their contact details (see fig 3). Perhaps making the extra divs appearing upon mouseover might be a better idea. I had trouble navigating back to the listing page after clicking on the “Reserve Now” link.


fig 4. Out of alignment advert below the footer

The “Public Storage” advertisement near the footer looked a bit weird in my firefox. Perhaps the advert should be between the share button and the “Read more” link (see fig 4). Hang on, what is the “Read more” link doing near the footer?

Others

The right column looked pretty standard and cramped with links. I was not sure if I was interested to click on any of them. All the other pages of the website looked quite normal to me. I lost interest quickly as there was nothing to keep me interested.

Putting myself in the shoes of someone who wanted to rent a storage space, I would be on the lookout for special deals and links to some discount coupons. The PODS promo code in the header was good but not enough. I then saw a storage coupon link at the footer and clicked on it… mmm not much of promotion going on.

Conclusion

easystoragesearch.com is a decent website with good content. I would love to see more user interaction and updates on the homepage. At the moment, it would be hard for someone to find the latest comment or articles added to the site.

Fantastic Resource For Job Seekers

jobgoround.com is a website that provides career advice, helps people to write resume and search for jobs. The design of the site is standard but the content is rich. Anyone interested to find a new job might find this site interesting.

First 5 mins on Homepage

Upon landing on the homepage, I was drawn towards the logo on the top left. I thought the gradient background on header was a bit old fashion. The logo looked pale sitting on the greenish background. The top menu was boring as well but the menu item drop down was functioning – again some polishing would be great.


fig 1. Commonly found spacing issues.

The sharebar above the “Career Advice – Job Search – Resume Service Reviews” seemed out of place. Perhaps making the bar a bit bigger and putting it under the title? It was a good idea to put graphics beside the content like what the author has done. However, the graphics needed more breathing space around it. Some consistency in the size of the graphics used throughout the site is also a good idea. Also, some graphics had rounded corners while some didn’t.

Scrolling further down, I found the content a bit too much for me but might be interesting if I were to be a job seeker. I liked the step by step flow of content, i.e. resume writing tips -> cover letter writing -> resume distribution -> job search -> interview -> starting a new job. Perhaps a diagram to highlight this process would be great.

Next 10 mins

The right column seemed to be pretty standard throughout the site, i.e. job search, resumewebsite.org advert, latest tweets, job search resource, newsletters signup, “improve your brain” and a survey. I would suggest some variation across different categories to keep visitors engaged.


fig 2. Nice resume writing service listing

The highlight of the site seemed to be recommendations to use 3rd party services. Under the resume writing service for example, I could see reviews and recommendations for each service. The stars beside each service was intuitive. Clicking on each link (resumewriters.com for example) brought me to the resumewriters.com review page. The public commented and voted on the service which resulted in the number of stars (I believed) – nice. The Facebook like, twitter and share buttons needed to be more prominent to encourage more sharing.

Next 20 mins

As I digged in more and more, I found each sections a world of its own. Thumbs up to the author. He/She must have put in a lot of effort to create all these content.


fig 3. What happened to the job map page?

Every page that I visited seemed to be “seoed” but lacked tagging. It would be good if I could find all related post all in one go using tags. I was particularly interested in the people behind the scene but couldn’t find any till I saw the staff link under the sitemap. A lot of pages had empty spaces below the content area due to the right column. Again, I thought that the right column needed to be revisited.

I was surprised to find a forum on the site as I know that maintaining and promoting a forum is always difficult. It could be a setback if nobody uses it. As expected, The forum needed more spark to kick off.

Conclusion

In conclusion, jobgoround.com is a website with great resource for job seekers. It would have enough information to keep a job seeker entertained for hours. On the other hand, a lot could be done In terms of design and layout. There was room for improvement in terms of graphics consistency (spacing, quality, size, rounded corners…etc. The site is definitely moving in the right direction and has a great future ahead.

OpenLink Software

OpenLink is a MNC that creates risk management products for the energy and financial services sectors. As expected from a corporate website, the navigation is consistent and layout quite structured.

Homepage

I was greeted with a nice, colorful and friendly website upon first visiting it. If I were a potential customer, the homepage would definitely give me a sense of trust. The search box on the top right was intuitive to use but seemed to be sit a bit too high up for me (I thought it should be aligned with the logo). The language option below the search box was good. I was glad when people bother to make their site multi-lingual – kudos for that.

Then I saw the word “Decision Support Software For Transaction Lifecycle Management“.. sounded too bombastic for me (non-technical people). These words might ring a bell if they are targeting at the right people. I could see that the four columns immediately underneath the header banner, implying the four main categories of the website even though I didn’t understand the jargons. The four categories were “Financial Institutions and Capital Markets”, “Corporations and Non-Financial Institutions”, “Agricultural Products, CPG, Food and Beverage, and Manufacturing” and lastly “Energy, Commodities, Extraction and Production Industries”. The category names were a lot to digest. How about an icon for each and simplify the title?

I thought the category colours blend in very well with the headers and background. I was not sure of the changing graphics in between each column though as they appeared to be part of some rotational news. Perhaps the graphics should be part of the news box and the whole box clickable.


Fig 1. Footer has a lot of space?

The footer looked weird with the name of the three companies (dbcSmartSoftware, IRM, SolArc). The listing of the companies created some extra empty spaces in the footer. A mouseover drop down for the three companies sounded like a better deal for me.


fig 2. Another nice way to navigate using Javascript effects.

Other Pages

While navigating to the “companies” page, I noticed that the links to the four main categories have moved to the top. That was an excellent place for primary navigation. Unfortunately, it was not consistent throughout the site. The left menu on all the other pages was functional but lack of creativity. Some nice mouseover effects or icons would be cool.


fig 3. Great content with expandable “read more”

I could see that the content for each page was professionally written. Kudos again! However in the “about us” page, I noticed some links were linking to files in the local machines. For example, “Financial institutions and capital markets” was linked to file:///Macintosh HD/… Hopefully, the webmaster can correct that asap. I would also like to see more graphics in replace of text. The Software News Archive section desperately needed more graphics.

Conclusion

www.olf.com is a professionally designed and trusted corporate website. I hope that the webmaster can inject more icons/graphics in the site and perhaps try some creative layout. I also hope to see more engagement with the community. The Montreal OpenLink User Conference 2012 is a good place to create some buzz.