Need an honest critique

Newb

New Member
Hello.
I need an honest review of my website. I recently decided to start making websites as side job to make some extra money for small business who have quite ugly or non-existing ones.
i need strangers to rate me because i have an impression that everyone who i know is trying to sugarcoat me which is not what i need, at all.
- In the future i plan to add section on main page where my previous work would be displayed, unfortunately i have none to show yet.
- Website is hidden on regular basis as i plan to start next year (from 1.1.2020) so im asking you, guys, to tell me what i could do better before i even start.
- My target customers are small businesses or freelancers who have no websites at all or really ugly one for reasonable price of 130 EUR/per web. There are tons of trash websites out there and i want help them to make them more appealing.

www.avocato.cz

(Im from Czech republic so its all written in my native language, obviously).

Thank you all!

David.

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Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Honestly without knowing what it's saying all we're judging on are the 'pretty pictures' (which look like they're stock images) which isn't going to be much help to you..... I will say however that it is literally one of the slowest sites I've been on in a LONG time, it took around 5 seconds to load the home page (which doesn't have a lot on it) and I'm on an 80megabit connection too.
 

Newb

New Member
Honestly without knowing what it's saying all we're judging on are the 'pretty pictures' (which look like they're stock images) which isn't going to be much help to you..... I will say however that it is literally one of the slowest sites I've been on in a LONG time, it took around 5 seconds to load the home page (which doesn't have a lot on it) and I'm on an 80megabit connection too.
Ye homepage picture is mash-up made in PS downloaded from free images website, thats true, in Servise page 2 of those 3 images are my own.
About speed of the site i thought that its because of slow connection i have past 4 weeks due to my provider doing server maintenance, well guess i was wrong, i will try to speed it up or contact my hosting provider which is actually pretty reliable and popular in my country.
Any overall conclusion?
 

sprout

Active Member
I am not trying to be too brutal and I’m definitely not sugar-coating this. To be honest, what you have produced looks like a technical exercise. I can’t read the text, so can’t comment with any precision, but the site does not appear to be designed. It does not seem to tell a story, or help build a positive image.

I cannot comment on the efficacy of the coding. I leave that to others.

I am assuming you have no background in visual communication? My suggestion would be to find a designer, who can visually communicate, but who is not a coder, or developer, so you can partner with them and produce effective sites. Design is evidently not your forté, even if coding is.

There are so many sites out there written by developers that may, or may not, function effectively, but which do not communicate the intended message to the intended audience. You risk falling into this category. Do some research on the very best of full-service website design companies. You will see they have both fields covered.

Probably not what you want to hear, but if I saw your site, I’d pass it by, I’m afraid.
 

Newb

New Member
I am not trying to be too brutal and I’m definitely not sugar-coating this. To be honest, what you have produced looks like a technical exercise. I can’t read the text, so can’t comment with any precision, but the site does not appear to be designed. It does not seem to tell a story, or help build a positive image.

I cannot comment on the efficacy of the coding. I leave that to others.

I am assuming you have no background in visual communication? My suggestion would be to find a designer, who can visually communicate, but who is not a coder, or developer, so you can partner with them and produce effective sites. Design is evidently not your forté, even if coding is.

There are so many sites out there written by developers that may, or may not, function effectively, but which do not communicate the intended message to the intended audience. You risk falling into this category. Do some research on the very best of full-service website design companies. You will see they have both fields covered.

Probably not what you want to hear, but if I saw your site, I’d pass it by, I’m afraid.
That is great review and i truly appreciate it!
This is main reason why i decided to write a post here, because for some reason close people tend to sugarcoat which is contra-productive, i am always honest with everybody else and people sometimes call me mean. Strange huh?
Well im not in hurry, tho. I will postpone my plans and try to learn how to actually design before anything else.

Thank you for your honest review.
 

sprout

Active Member
Well im not in hurry, tho. I will postpone my plans and try to learn how to actually design before anything else.
Well, just to make the lack if sugar even less sweet, learning design is not just a few youtube vids and a couple of hours practicing. First, you have to have an aptitude, then, ideally a 3-year degree and a few years experience. It is a discipline all of its own. Too many people think, because they were good at art in school, they can do it. I’ve been working 30 years at this now and I know a fraction of what I need to know. This is why I suggest collaborating. Programming is equally the same. I can write html, css and even basic php, but in the end, I realised, firstly, it’s not how I want to spend my time and also that it is a career in itself, not a side-shizzle to being a designer. Now when I have anything beyond a basic site, I get a programmer involved.
 

Newb

New Member
Well, just to make the lack if sugar even less sweet, learning design is not just a few youtube vids and a couple of hours practicing. First, you have to have an aptitude, then, ideally a 3-year degree and a few years experience. It is a discipline all of its own. Too many people think, because they were good at art in school, they can do it. I’ve been working 30 years at this now and I know a fraction of what I need to know. This is why I suggest collaborating. Programming is equally the same. I can write html, css and even basic php, but in the end, I realised, firstly, it’s not how I want to spend my time and also that it is a career in itself, not a side-shizzle to being a designer. Now when I have anything beyond a basic site, I get a programmer involved.
Sure its all true and i realize that i cant learn much just in couple of months. But as i mentioned above i do not aspire to be top-notch designer / programmer, my target audience are really small businesses such as flower shops, barbers, small breweries, restaurants and bars etc, with MS-Paint-like websites. Practice makes perfect and with my price tag just 120 Eur I believe i can make people a little bit more happier with their website without ruining their budge, therefore i cant really co-operate with any designer out there.

Anyway i still appreciate your advise, i really do.
 

sprout

Active Member
The problem with that approach, is that, firstly, you don’t do small businesses any favours. To give them a website that is slightly less bad that the one they have is only going to put them in a slightly less bad position than they were. Branding and building a solid identity that communicates with their customers is almost more important than for wealthy multinationals. I used to work with the latter and now much prefer working with the former. The reason being, is you can make more of a difference.

I have seen a number of smaller companies who had self-build identities and websites made on their kitchen tables with string and sellotape come to me wondering why they aren‘t connecting with their audience. Over a few years, building a relationship to watch them groW and achieve what they want is very satisfying. Naturally this work does not comment the fees working for the big boys does, but it is eminently more satisfying. It is only ever going to work if you know what you are doing, or pull in those skills where you need them.

I am not having a personal dig at you, but people offering what you are planning (and they are legion) has a two-fold negative impact. Firstly, albeit unintentionally, but you would not be selling a truly honest service, or one that will actually work. What you are offering – at far below market cost – is never going to work for them and do what they hope it will.

The counter-argument to that, of course, is that if they are naive enough to think that a site for that kind of money is going to work, then they deserve what they get. The problem with that, is that there are enough people out there offering ‘$50 logos’ that little, by little, this becomes the market expectation and quality is driven down and down in a race to the bottom.

This comes to the second part of the problem. Because of the low-ball expectation, then people who know what they are doing and what is involved, become priced out of the market, so everyone loses. I am not saying this from a stand point of protectionism, but more for quality of product and service. If standards aren’t maintained with some kind of industry regulation or certification, then what people are paying cheap money for amounts to little more than snake oil.

Imagine, for example, you know nothing about the mechanics of your car, when you take it to a garage, there has to be some sort of industry standard in their level of competence, so that they don't send you back out on the road with dodgy brakes. You have to know your accountant knows what they are doing when they send your return to the tax office; that your electrician isn’t going to kill you. You can’t know how to wire up a plug correctly and set yourself up as a commercial, professional electrician. You have to know what you are doing. My builder has been doing some works on my house, but calls in an electrician and a plumber to work on those parts of the job. That way, he builds up a solid business offering a service that can be trusted. Of course it costs a bit more than if he bodged the electrics himself, but I’m far less likely to die horribly in a house fire.

Again, I am not saying to discourage or be in anyway patronising, but I am enough of an old fart to have been doing this for quite some time now and have picked up enough snippets to at least appear to know what I’m doing! What I am I am saying is, learn in the right way and learn what it is you don’t yet know before offering people your services as a web designer.

You wouldn’t (and thankfully, couldn’t) set yourself up a a surgeon because it’s your job to carve the Christmas turkey every year.
 

Newb

New Member
The problem with that approach, is that, firstly, you don’t do small businesses any favours. To give them a website that is slightly less bad that the one they have is only going to put them in a slightly less bad position than they were. Branding and building a solid identity that communicates with their customers is almost more important than for wealthy multinationals. I used to work with the latter and now much prefer working with the former. The reason being, is you can make more of a difference.

I have seen a number of smaller companies who had self-build identities and websites made on their kitchen tables with string and sellotape come to me wondering why they aren‘t connecting with their audience. Over a few years, building a relationship to watch them groW and achieve what they want is very satisfying. Naturally this work does not comment the fees working for the big boys does, but it is eminently more satisfying. It is only ever going to work if you know what you are doing, or pull in those skills where you need them.

I am not having a personal dig at you, but people offering what you are planning (and they are legion) has a two-fold negative impact. Firstly, albeit unintentionally, but you would not be selling a truly honest service, or one that will actually work. What you are offering – at far below market cost – is never going to work for them and do what they hope it will.

The counter-argument to that, of course, is that if they are naive enough to think that a site for that kind of money is going to work, then they deserve what they get. The problem with that, is that there are enough people out there offering ‘$50 logos’ that little, by little, this becomes the market expectation and quality is driven down and down in a race to the bottom.

This comes to the second part of the problem. Because of the low-ball expectation, then people who know what they are doing and what is involved, become priced out of the market, so everyone loses. I am not saying this from a stand point of protectionism, but more for quality of product and service. If standards aren’t maintained with some kind of industry regulation or certification, then what people are paying cheap money for amounts to little more than snake oil.

Imagine, for example, you know nothing about the mechanics of your car, when you take it to a garage, there has to be some sort of industry standard in their level of competence, so that they don't send you back out on the road with dodgy brakes. You have to know your accountant knows what they are doing when they send your return to the tax office; that your electrician isn’t going to kill you. You can’t know how to wire up a plug correctly and set yourself up as a commercial, professional electrician. You have to know what you are doing. My builder has been doing some works on my house, but calls in an electrician and a plumber to work on those parts of the job. That way, he builds up a solid business offering a service that can be trusted. Of course it costs a bit more than if he bodged the electrics himself, but I’m far less likely to die horribly in a house fire.

Again, I am not saying to discourage or be in anyway patronising, but I am enough of an old fart to have been doing this for quite some time now and have picked up enough snippets to at least appear to know what I’m doing! What I am I am saying is, learn in the right way and learn what it is you don’t yet know before offering people your services as a web designer.

You wouldn’t (and thankfully, couldn’t) set yourself up a a surgeon because it’s your job to carve the Christmas turkey every year.
Thank you for exhausting answer! I know what you are trying to tell me, really. I will have a second thought on this whole thing and i will do my best to educate and improve myself. As i said i am not in hurry with anything i have just fine income and this is suppose to be side-job which i would enjoy to do.
I just wanted to fill market for simple reason, average income in my country is just about 1100 eur brutto, and cost of mediocre webdesigner is about 500-1200 eur which many of business cant even consider and if i wont do that someone else will. But i dont want to be known as a guy who do shitty website but cheap, so its only choice. I want to set a standart, but still be affordable.
That last paragraph really got me, hah.
 

sprout

Active Member
Thank you for exhausting answer!
Sorry, I can get. bit carried away a bit sometimes!!

I know what you are trying to tell me, really. I will have a second thought on this whole thing and i will do my best to educate and improve myself. As i said i am not in hurry with anything i have just fine income and this is suppose to be side-job which i would enjoy to do.
I just wanted to fill market for simple reason, average income in my country is just about 1100 eur brutto, and cost of mediocre webdesigner is about 500-1200 eur which many of business cant even consider and if i wont do that someone else will. But i dont want to be known as a guy who do shitty website but cheap, so its only choice. I want to set a standart, but still be affordable.
That last paragraph really got me, hah.
I am not saying don’t do it. I am saying, do it properly. Either by learning yourself, or plugging in the skills. I am not sure what country you are from (I am guessing from the word ‘brutto’, it may be Italy), but from those figures you have given, I don’t think the relative income compared to website cost, is that disparate. If a business in that economy can’t afford to invest just that much in what is effectively their shopfront, then the whether they should even be in business should to be called into question. I can’t be a designer without investing in good hardware and software. If I tried to work with a cheap laptop and free software, I just wouldn’t be taken seriously because I couldn't offer a full, efficient service. You have to invest and if a startup can’t afford just €1200 then I think I’d be questioning the business model. If €1200 is the average price of an entry level website by a professional designer, that’s what it costs.

If I want a new fridge, of course there is a range of prices I can choose to pay, depending on quality I want, but I know I am going to have to pay at least a certain amount, or go buy a bag of ice to cool my beer and it just won’t do the job for more than 20 minutes. I would say, the same applies here, don’t compete in a race to the bottom, there is only one direction that will go and the end result is not great. This approach is not likely to build you a sustainable, solid business (either side-business or full time). You are unlikely to get repeat business, or word-of-mouth recommendations.
 
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