Freelance Graphic Designer & Web Developer Website Review


__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#1
I've recently launched my new portfolio site and would like honest reviews of the design, content and copy.
I'd really appreciate any advice anyone has to offer.

If you could let me know how long the initial page load is too, that'd be great. I'm a bit concerned it could be quite slow.

http://orderandchaoscreative.com
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#4
For me I found the yellow a bit bright.
That is a concern, I think many people will find it too much. I'm not tied to any particular colour, it's straightforward to change. I was thinking a rich vibrant blue could work and might more palatable.
I do like it though. I'd be interested to hear what others think.
 
Levi

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
#5
For me I found the yellow a bit bright.
This, I didn't want to stay there for long with that sort of vibrancy.

That is a concern, I think many people will find it too much. I'm not tied to any particular colour, it's straightforward to change. I was thinking a rich vibrant blue could work and might more palatable.
I do like it though. I'd be interested to hear what others think.
Any 'vibrant' background colour will likely have the same sort of impact as that yellow so you might want think more along colours that will encourage people to stay rather than make them want to leave if you get me.
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#6
This, I didn't want to stay there for long with that sort of vibrancy.


Any 'vibrant' background colour will likely have the same sort of impact as that yellow so you might want think more along colours that will encourage people to stay rather than make them want to leave if you get me.
Yes, you are absolutely right. A lot of it is dependent on peoples screen colour and brightness, it looks completely different and garish on iPad compared to my desktop screen.

I'll have a play about with colours.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#7
Why the splash page? Nothing happens for a long time and then I end up on a page with the image of three devices. There is nothing above the fold to indicate who you are or what you do. There is a big MENU button but this does nothing useful.

Assuming the site is all about generating leads you really need to have your contact details on every page. The contact page only displays a map above the fold. A map isn't really a lot of use for most prospective clients. There is no telephone number.

None of the portfolio pages link to the client websites.

It says you are 'trading as'. This suggests a limited company. If so there are no company details on the site.

There is no privacy policy (for GDPR compliance) or T&C.

And like the others, I didn't like the yellow. And there are multiple font sizes which looks a bit odd.

There is no content on any of the pages. This means there is nothing for google to index.
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#8
There is nothing above the fold to indicate who you are or what you do.
The lack of content was my main gripe, it's not immediately obvious what you do or who you are. I found the copy where you talk about your services pretty dull to be honest. Condense it down, simplify what you're saying and cut the waffle so it appeals to your target audience. If you want to offer Python web development as a service add it as a page and talk about it. Same with the other frameworks. Someone looking for a plain web developer and someone looking for a Python developer with experience in React are two completely different audiences. Identify who you want to target and focus on what they need to know to want to hire you.

Personally I'd swap out the categories/industries on your portfolio pages for a service you provided. So rather than 'Sport' on the ski logo, put 'logo design'. Same with the actual portfolio page, tell people what it is you actually did on a project so the know what you can do for them.

You also need to set the map on your contact page to not zoom when you scroll. It works ok on mobile from what I can tell, but on desktop I have to move the cursor to continue scrolling and it's annoying.

Also I don't mind the yellow to be honest. :)
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#9
Why the splash page? Nothing happens for a long time and then I end up on a page with the image of three devices. There is nothing above the fold to indicate who you are or what you do. There is a big MENU button but this does nothing useful.

Assuming the site is all about generating leads you really need to have your contact details on every page. The contact page only displays a map above the fold. A map isn't really a lot of use for most prospective clients. There is no telephone number.

None of the portfolio pages link to the client websites.

It says you are 'trading as'. This suggests a limited company. If so there are no company details on the site.

There is no privacy policy (for GDPR compliance) or T&C.

And like the others, I didn't like the yellow. And there are multiple font sizes which looks a bit odd.

There is no content on any of the pages. This means there is nothing for google to index.
Thanks so much for looking over the site, you've raised very good points, there are clearly some important things missing.

The menu tab is much more useful on touch devices, and after you've scrolled. Perhaps I'll fade it in after the page has been scrolled.

Agree with you about the map it's really just there for texture.

With you on the contact details on every page. It needs more call to actions or at least a call to action on every page.

Good catch on the portfolio page links, someone else picked up on this too, I'll try to think of a good way to do this.

The "trading as" means that I'm a sole trader, trading under the name, it does not mean I'm a limited company.

GDPR + Privacy Policy is in the works, good spot.

The yellow is not looking popular lol, I'll try some other colour schemes out.

You are incorrect about the page content, Google has no problem indexing the pages and in fact, it already has.
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#10
The lack of content was my main gripe, it's not immediately obvious what you do or who you are. I found the copy where you talk about your services pretty dull to be honest. Condense it down, simplify what you're saying and cut the waffle so it appeals to your target audience. If you want to offer Python web development as a service add it as a page and talk about it. Same with the other frameworks. Someone looking for a plain web developer and someone looking for a Python developer with experience in React are two completely different audiences. Identify who you want to target and focus on what they need to know to want to hire you.

Personally I'd swap out the categories/industries on your portfolio pages for a service you provided. So rather than 'Sport' on the ski logo, put 'logo design'. Same with the actual portfolio page, tell people what it is you actually did on a project so the know what you can do for them.

You also need to set the map on your contact page to not zoom when you scroll. It works ok on mobile from what I can tell, but on desktop I have to move the cursor to continue scrolling and it's annoying.

Also I don't mind the yellow to be honest. :)
Aye, I'm not great at writing copy. Thanks for bringing it up, I'll need to up my game here. Completely agree with your points about the extra pages for specific frameworks and skills.

I think you're right about the categories too. It'll make much more sense to tell people what the project involved.

The map shouldn't be scrolling unless you've clicked on it, I'll check it in a few more browsers. For me it scrolls on past unless I focus it.

+1 for the yellow!
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#11
The menu tab is much more useful on touch devices, and after you've scrolled. Perhaps I'll fade it in after the page has been scrolled.
Nope. Bin the menu tab and use a sticky header to show the menu on all the devices all the time.
Good catch on the portfolio page links, someone else picked up on this too, I'll try to think of a good way to do this.
Not sure what there is to think about. Just add a link to the blurb on the each portfolio page.
The "trading as" means that I'm a sole trader, trading under the name, it does not mean I'm a limited company.
In which case just bin this. It's not needed. Replace the content with your contact details
You are incorrect about the page content, Google has no problem indexing the pages and in fact, it already has.
Yes, it has indexed the pages (because it's followed the links) but look at the cache for each page - zero content. All your content in hidden in the JS file. Google doesn't like this. It expects to see the text on the page along with images, alt text, inline lines, headers, lists and so on. If you strip away all the CSS and all the JS the site should still function. It's why Google only scores your page 51/100: https://developers.google.com/speed...ign=PSI&url=https://orderandchaoscreative.com It's that amazonaws JS causing all the problems. If you use the Opera browser it has a great accesibility tool that shows you the site in plain HTML. That's what Google sees.

Also, click on any of the pages in the Google index and you see the splash page then the live page. Google won't hang about waiting for your content to arrive. So bin the splash page.

As to content: add more. And when you think you have done enough, add even more. Google and people want content. They want to scroll and be amazed. On the portfolio page it's just a bunch of images and random words. There is no categorisation, nothing to indicate what you did for each client. There needs to be a reason for me to click to see more.
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#12
Nope. Bin the menu tab and use a sticky header to show the menu on all the devices all the time.

Not sure what there is to think about. Just add a link to the blurb on the each portfolio page.

In which case just bin this. It's not needed. Replace the content with your contact details

Yes, it has indexed the pages (because it's followed the links) but look at the cache for each page - zero content. All your content in hidden in the JS file. Google doesn't like this. It expects to see the text on the page along with images, alt text, inline lines, headers, lists and so on. If you strip away all the CSS and all the JS the site should still function. It's why Google only scores your page 51/100: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?hl=en-US&utm_source=PSI&utm_medium=incoming-link&utm_campaign=PSI&url=https://orderandchaoscreative.com It's that amazonaws JS causing all the problems. If you use the Opera browser it has a great accesibility tool that shows you the site in plain HTML. That's what Google sees.

Also, click on any of the pages in the Google index and you see the splash page then the live page. Google won't hang about waiting for your content to arrive. So bin the splash page.

As to content: add more. And when you think you have done enough, add even more. Google and people want content. They want to scroll and be amazed. On the portfolio page it's just a bunch of images and random words. There is no categorisation, nothing to indicate what you did for each client. There needs to be a reason for me to click to see more.
Google is able to render live and see what the browser sees. If Google can see the splash it can also see the rest of the content, it's all there as soon as the splash appears.

The last company I worked for produced websites for some high-end hotels and residences sites, the splash was something they used regularly. When I started there I hated them, but they've kind of grown on me. The reason I went for it is my logo didn't really work well in the header, so I opted for plain text instead. That meant the logo only appeared in the footer, so I thought I'd try out the splash. Perhaps I'll revisit the header design to see how I can get the logo to work. It might mean designing a smaller logo. Maybe I need to get my logo reviewed lol. Though Google should be able to read the content fine, I may be penalised for the content being hidden, I'll look in to that.

I will see if I can come up with a nice way to display the external link. I have a few ideas in mind.

Making the whole header sticky takes up more real estate, I don't have an issue with the menu button, I will consider where and when it's best to hide it though.

I believe the "trading as" bit is required, I researched that a few years back. I can add the address and phone number to the footer though.

The low score is the large JS file, I've cheated a bit for the time being as I'm not using a backend, so the payload is essentially the entire site except the images. Once I build the backend I think the size will be halved, then I need to look into other production optimisations for React. If you were correct about the low pagespeed score being down to lack of content then the desktop would also suffer.

Here's a statement from Google about the indexing of AJAX pages: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2015/10/deprecating-our-ajax-crawling-scheme.html

I'm fairly confident that Google can read the pages ok. They do state that: "In general, websites shouldn't pre-render pages only for Google -- we expect that you might pre-render pages for performance benefits for users…". To prerender the pages I need to set up a Node server and serve the site from there, and then theres a bit of faffing about with React Universal or something like that. I do plan to do it, but it isn't a quick fix.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#13
Ok but you don’t need the splash page. It adds no value. All it does it block access the content.

What Google says and what Google does are often not the same thing. If you look at what Google has cached for each page you will see a blank page.
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#14
Ok but you don’t need the splash page. It adds no value. All it does it block access the content.

What Google says and what Google does are often not the same thing. If you look at what Google has cached for each page you will see a blank page.
I'll look in to it further. That the cached page is empty is expected, as the site relies on JS. I'm not going to argue that's as good as progressive enhancement, but Google has found each page and read the metadata for each page as it is displaying it in the results. That metadata only exists via JS.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#15
What gets you ranked is the content. The more content the greater number of keywords which means more prospective customers. And consider the huge number of image searches. People look for inspiration and may see images from your portfolio and click to find out more. There is no need to put all your content in a JS file, it’s not dynamic so you are much better off with plain old html.

Note also that the splash page displays if you click on anything from google. This is really annoying. People want to see your work to decide if it’s worth giving you a call. They don’t care about you, you business or your branding.

The work you do is great, you just aren’t selling it well.
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#16
What gets you ranked is the content. The more content the greater number of keywords which means more prospective customers. And consider the huge number of image searches. People look for inspiration and may see images from your portfolio and click to find out more. There is no need to put all your content in a JS file, it’s not dynamic so you are much better off with plain old HTML.

Note also that the splash page displays if you click on anything from Google. This is really annoying. People want to see your work to decide if it’s worth giving you a call. They don’t care about you, your business or your branding.

The work you do is great, you just aren’t selling it well.
Absolutely spot on about content, that's what is all about at the end of the day. I plan to make the text on the homepage more concise and have the sections link off to different pages for further information, these will ideally become landing pages that I'll point paid ads to. I also have a few more projects to write up.

I disagree about people not caring about branding, maybe they don't care but increasing brand recognition has its own benefits. People are more likely to buy from brands they recognise than from those they don't. That is what branding and marketing is all about. There has been a lot research conducted on what is called "frequency and anchoring". It basically discovered that the more often people see a brand the more likely they are to trust it. That said I remember reading articles about splash screens increasing bounce rates.

At the moment I'll try this out, and keep an eye on bounce rates. Maybe down the line I'll do some AB testing.

The site should speed up significantly once I implement the backend. I also plan to make the site more dynamic going forward.

Thanks for all the advice, by the way, it's most appreciated. And you're right, I am terrible at selling it!
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#17
Splash pages do increase bounce no doubt about that.

I agree about branding and brands but you aren’t at that point in the buying cycle. The chances of you becoming a recognised brand are slim. You may get clients referring you but that’s not the same as people googling your business. Focus on the marketing and let the branding develop over time. If you do want to become a brand then you need to change the name, it’s far too long and unwieldy. It needs to be short and memorable.

I could blather on about this stuff for hours. It’s what I do for a living.
 
__orderandchaos

__orderandchaos

New Member
#18
For my purposes, simply the recognition is enough, I'll have visual advertisements that will be similarly brash, that's part of the reason it's all in a garish yellow, as long as people can make the connection between the ads and the site, then that's fine.

Brand recognition is not something that is only of value to large companies. We can all name and visualise any number of smaller local companies of any given sector, the ones that we generally remember are who advertise consistently.

Brands are more than logos, but starting out I want people to see my logo really big ("can you make the logo bigger?" syndrome). I want people who visit my site to recognise it if they see it again, which they will as I remarket to them (once I've set up GDPR + Privacy Policies of course).

Feel free to blather, I'm all ears. However, I'm saying already aware of those points and despite them see other value in it, at least for the time being.
 
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