If you want to grab attention online, your website has to stand out. It has to be polished. You have to put your best foot forward. You can’t afford to settle for a sub-par website.
The problem is that when it comes to our own sites, it’s hard to look at it objectively. We don’t see what our customers see – we see what we WANT them to see.
That’s why we announced our new website critique service on the blog yesterday. We want to help people improve their websites so they can get better results for their business.
The great thing about a public critique is that some of this advice could also be applicable to your site. And, this also gives the Blue Kite community a chance to weigh in and offer additional feedback.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
The first thing I notice when I come to the site is the large photo – and that’s the only thing I notice. Because all of the text surrounding it is so small, my eye doesn’t know where to look next. There’s nothing that draws your eye in or grabs your attention, other than the photo. You need some balance on this page.
I also notice right away that the photo and blog post on the top of the site is dated November 22. It would appear at first glance that your site is outdated. However, when you scroll down further, you see that you’ve been blogging daily and sometimes multiple times a day (which is fantastic!).
It appears that you are using that post from November 22 as your home page landing copy. Unfortunately, because it also shows the date, it is not doing you any favors. You would be better off to eliminate that post from the very front page and just show the latest post at the top. I understand that you want to use that copy on the front page to describe what the site is about, but I think that information would be better served on the “about” page.
Overall, I think you could a use new blog design. The narrow set-up of the page means you are losing a lot of site real estate in the margins. Almost the entire screen of the home page is the image from that first blog post and tiny type surrounding it. Nothing stands out.
It’s also clear you are using a basic, free WordPress theme. Although that’s okay, I think there are better themes out there. And, I think if you were willing to pay a little bit, there are some fantastic themes that would really amp up your look without a huge impact on your wallet. Elegant Themes, Woo Themes, Theme Forest and Studiopress offer some great options. In fact, I think this one would really work well for you.
You also use a lot of photos and videos, which is fantastic! I think it would be great to have a video introduction on the homepage welcoming people to the site and explaining what the site is about. The current design wouldn’t accommodate that well, so I would encourage you to look around for other themes that give you that flexibility or look at creating a custom site.
I notice you want to emphasize the theme “The Fitness Lifestyle.” I think that’s great and I would encourage you to make that a more prominent part of your header design. Right now, it is so small and hard to read that you don’t even notice that it’s there.
I think it’s great that you are willing to share some very personal stories about your journey as a model. Instead of sending people to those separate articles, I would pull some of that information into the About page itself. You can still link to the posts, but I think it would be good to tell more of your story on the About page.
Also, I think you need to be clearer about what it is you do. Before you get into your story, tell people you are a fitness model who also offers fitness and training consulting. Spell that out right away so people know who you are and what you’re about.
The about page is often what people go to first, so make sure that it gives people a quick snapshot of who you are and what you do before diving in further.
Personal Training Page
I think this page should feature a different picture. Instead of featuring a fashion model photo here, I would include one of your fitness modeling pictures. Or, even better would be showing a photo of you helping a client.
I think your one-on-one training section is great, but I would really encourage you to put more information about your packages on the site. I would want to know what I get with one-on-one training. For example, how long are the sessions and how many times a week? If you offer meal plans, how does that work? Do you provide them on a weekly basis? The more information you can provide about your process and what you offer, the better.
The same goes for the online support – it needs more detail. I think it’s easier to visualize how one-on-one training would work, but it’s a bit harder to imagine what you a six-week program would look like virtually.
Why don’t you show what the curriculum is each week? Also, it would be good to talk about what they get as part of the program. For example, does it include phone, email or Skype support? Do they get training videos or any other materials? If so, be sure to outline exactly what people get for signing up.
I would also encourage you to show pricing on the page and give people the ability to purchase these items on the site. That makes things easier for you and the people looking to buy from you.
This page also could use some testimonials. Do you have any clients that you’ve worked with that you could include as a success story? This would be a good place for that. Talk about their results, show pictures (before and after photos would be great) and get their feedback. If you can show what you’ve done for others, people will be clamoring to sign up for your services!
The photo gallery is great! The slideshow is a nice way to showcase your modeling work. I think it would be better to call this page Portfolio instead since you also use this site to promote your fitness modeling career.
On this page, I would also like to see a list of your modeling jobs. This would help you gain credibility and serve as a resume for people who might like to hire you. It would be even better if the list contained links to various advertisements, articles or publications.
I think that it’s great you have a video page, but it doesn’t seem it’s in sync with YouTube. It appears there are newer videos there.
Meanwhile, the videos in the sidebar throughout the site seem to be up-to-date. Perhaps you consider just using that instead of having an entire video page.
Other things to note:
- I would recommend using Feedburner for your RSS feed. Your current feed doesn’t work in the Chrome browser. Also, Feedburner gives you subscriber analytics, which is really nice.
- The Facebook link in sidebar takes you to a dead page. Repair the link to the appropriate page.
- Instead of using the calendar widget, it would be better to show the archives by month. As it stands right now, I’m not sure people would know to click on the calendar to see previous posts. And, I doubt people would be looking for a particular day. They would be much more likely to want to see it by month.
- Use a consistent avatar – you’re using different ones in your comment section of your site and on your YouTube page. Pick a picture and use it across the board. It’s okay to rotate them every now and then, but if you keep it consistent, it will help people recognize you.
- If BodySpace is important to you and your readership, then I would encourage you to put a BodySpace logo in the sidebar with a link to your profile page.
- I would consider adding a contact page with a contact form on the site. I know you have your email address on the site somewhere, but you should make “contact” be a main navigational item so people don’t have to dig through the site to figure out how to reach you.
Alright, those are my thoughts on the site. Now, it’s time to turn it over to the Blue Kite community.
What did I miss? What do you think Tyler should do to improve his site?
P.S. Don’t forget to pop on over to yesterday’s blog post to see how you can win a free website critique of your own!