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.
Today, I’m excited to share our first public website critique for Tyler McPeak’s website. Tyler is a fitness model who is also a personal trainer and nutrition consultant.
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 It would appear at first glance that your site is outdated.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!
6 replies on “Website Critique for Tyler McPeak – The Fitness Lifestyle”
First off, a big thanks to Tyler for allowing his site to be critiqued. It’s never easy being criticized. Hopefully, all of this will lead to bigger and better things for you.
Laura made some excellent points already. For one, she mentioned the big image upon entering the site. Being a blog, the front page is going to change often. So, that image is not showing now for me. Or for whatever other reason, it’s not showing that image now.
Ultimately, what’s the point of the site? I am not sure. If the goal is to make money, than that a call-to-action needs to be prominent.
From a SEO perspective, search engine love blogs. However, I would not make the blog the main point of the website. The site looks more like a personal work-out diary, then an actual service that’s provided. Maybe it’s both, but that leaves the visitor confused.
To help with rankings, be sure each posts utilizes good titles, headings and file names. Search engines, and people, should be able to look at the title and file name of each page to know exactly what the page is about, without even looking at the content.
I hope that helps
John – Thanks so much for weighing in. These are EXCELLENT points.
First, yes, a public critique can be intimidating, but it is really helpful in the long run. Kudos to Tyler for being gutsy enough to do it!
To your point about the image on front – I think Tyler has already started to implement the changes I recommended. He’s fast! I think you’re right though. With the blog format, you can lack a consistent look – especially when it comes to imagery. I think that’s why a new design would be incredibly helpful for this. That way, the blog isn’t at the forefront.
You make an excellent point about the workout and food diary. It needs more “meat” (pardon the pun) and should include the WHY you are doing these things. If the goal is to help others and show what you can do for them, then the food journal and workout information should reflect that. Talk about the WHY and the HOW.
Good stuff, John! Thanks again for offering up your thoughts. I’m sure Tyler appreciates it!
So since you so charmingly asked for my opinion I figured I’d take a flash look at the site and brain dump my first impressions. I was known for ripping apart sites with my first impressions on the ProBlogger private forum so let’s hope Tyler doesn’t have soft feelings. I do it outta love. But not man love. Tech love.
Here we go…
First, it seems the site has changed from the initial picture on your post. I refrained from reading about the mentioned suggestions too much to make sure my impression is true and potent. If I’ve repeated any of these suggestions, then my minor apologies.
So, to me… when I go on it, it takes a second or two to realize it’s a fitness blog geared towards helping ME better myself. Yes, “fitness” is in the site title but that only helps if you find it from Google. I see a personal training button so that’s one clue and then there’s the tiny tag line. Overall… it’s a bit WEAK. Like doing a triceps kick back for fat loss.
Next, why would I bother clicking the photo gallery? I wouldn’t. I think an initial picture to ENTICE me would be better. Not a huge, crotch in my face kinda thing but SOMETHING. See my buddy’s blog (jcdfitness.com) or my blog. I don’t have a photo gallery but I constantly get emails from people asking me if I have more pictures. Oddly, more dudes ask me about this than chicks… not sure what’s up with that. But that’s another matter.
Then there’s the about me section. Again, it’s quite weak. The picture choice is also not optimal. When it comes to fitness… and specially when a trainer wants clients… the proof is in the pudding. In fact, it’s more so than paper credentials, I’ve found. Before I even got any type of “certified” knowledge, people asked me for advice over average-looking trainers since I rocked a solid 6pack. Point Blank Period. Results speak, so a photo should do most of the talking. Also, credentials should be listed in there if they are relevant.
Next is the conversions… merely listing an email address is HORRIBLE for conversions, not to mention a tasty snack for online spam bots (I’ve been there). Either have it hyperlinked using an image, or do what I do… put a form where no one has to go into an email client. ELIMINATE BARRIERS TO ENTRY. It should be as simple as possible. One click on an email address or on click on a form and done. No copy/paste nonsense.
Finally, I’ll end off with this – I see no differentiation. What sets this apart from say, Greg Plitt and his site? See for me, I’m kind of an ass and extremely blunt. But that works for me. Some hate me, some love me… but NO ONE forgets me. That’s my angle. I email slacking clients at times and tell them to “stop f*cking around!” – and they get it. In fact they expect it… because they know EXACTLY who they signed up with. Actually, I’ll go as far as to say they LIKE the push. It’s why they came to me. TylerMcPeak needs an angle… the fitness niche is much too saturated to NOT have one.
And I’ll end my outrageous ramblings right there. If there is anything I didn’t mention, it’s probably because I liked it or thought it was just fine.
There’s a reason why I asked you to share your thoughts, FJ! Thanks for stopping by to weigh in.
Although I covered some of what you wrote, you highlighted some important points – especially the fact that it needs to be more clear about what the site’s intention is. It’s not incredibly clear right off the bat.
The point about the photo is good. Tyler initially had a photo on the front page, but it was attached to a three-month old blog post, which made it seemed dated. A better approach would be to design a header that has his photo in it, much like you did.
The about page photo has changed since I wrote this as well, but I agree that it should still be a different selection.
You’re spot on about the contact page and differentiating yourself. Both important points.
Again, thank you! You rock!!!
First off I want to say thank you so much Laura for taking the time to critique my website. As I stated in my email to you this has really helped me out in A LOT of ways. Your opinions were great and I changed the main page post immediately when I read what you had to say. As for the others that commented thank you for taking the time as well to critique my website. Good luck to everyone with their own adventures in life! Keep up the hard work!
Thanks for the kind words, Tyler. I’m glad you found this to be helpful! I noticed you changed the front page right away – I think that’s a step in the right direction. As FJ mentioned, I think you now need to get an image of you on the homepage in the header somewhere that’s not reliant on the first blog post.
Please keep us posted as you continue to make changes to the site. I hope that making some improvements will help you grow your business!