Website Review Roundtable (and How You Can Get a Free Review, Too)
I’ve teamed up with a couple of fellow bloggers to offer some free website reviews. You can read about it here.
Thank you to everyone who submitted their sites – next week either James or Jamie will host the next three sites to review.
The three sites we’re reviewing this week are:
- Kratom Guru
- Goldmund Unleashed
- Man Without Father
On the discussion panel:
- Yours truly
- James of Red Pill Reviews
- Jamie McSloy
We each had a “focus” website to review, and then the other two added on more comments to the main analysis.
So let’s get started!
Click here to see the website in its entirety.
Overall, nice site – good content for someone like me who doesn’t know anything about kratom. Most of my issues with the site are that it’s hard to get at any one bit of information. Presumably most of your searches are coming from the long tail searches on Google directly to articles, but your home page – if people come to that first – doesn’t really have great navigation. I’ll talk about why and some other things:
First things first – my immediate impressions:
Site looks thin. The actual border, that is. I’m not sure why, but there seems to be a lot of space – most sites have a border but yours is massive, it makes the content look squashed.
Is there a reason why Guru isn’t capitalised in the header?
Finally, the menu bar needs to be more obvious. The standard thing to do would be to switch it below the header; that’s where most sites have their main navigation, so it’s where people will look for it.
A lot of these will be fixed by a change of theme which you may or may not want to do, so I’ll talk a bit about other stuff on the site that pops out.
Capitalise your headings/article titles. Unless there’s some stylistic choice that I can’t work out, it looks a bit wrong to have lower case titles and headings within articles. It’s easy to forget this sort of detail (I do it too) but making sure your headlines look good instils reader trust.
Categories – it doesn’t look like you have any. On your front page there’s phenibut articles, kratom articles and whatnot. Even if you just have a couple of easy categories: “Kratom for Beginners,” “Kratom for social skills” and “how to use kratom” or “other helpful herbals” it’ll give some your readers a quick way to digest information that’s relevant, and you’ll get the extra SEO boost from the site structure being a little better.
The Happy Hippo Herbal logo is massive. I know they’re your main money maker (Or I assume they are) but when I initially load the page, I can’t see the rest of your sidebar, so I can’t see the option to search or the fact you have other links in your sidebar at all. (This is on a PC.)
Also, the first thing you have in your sidebar is a repeat of the top menu – you don’t need this, especially if you make the top menu more prominent.
I completely agree with the points Jamie raised.
My suggestion would be to add a secondary navigation below your logo with your blog categories.
You’ve started focusing on capitalizing titles recently. This makes quite a big difference in my opinion so I’d go back and do the same for your old posts.
I also wouldn’t list all your Kratom articles in the sidebar. This made sense when your site was smaller. But now it’s simply overwhelming and I would have no idea where to start reading.
- The logo needs some work – the font is barely legible. Especially the ‘R’ in guru.
- I was very confused by the Happy Hippo logo right at the top, too. At first I thought it was a site that sold Kratom.
- Fonts are very good – easy to read, easy to see titles, etc.
- The sidebar goes on too long with the “Kratom articles” – just looks like a wall of text. Narrowing this down to the ten best, and using thumbnail images, would do better. Especially since it’s a vertical scrolling site as opposed to a grid layout.
- On a PC, it looks way too narrow. The theme isn’t responsive at all to screen size. But I checked it on my iPad too and it formatted perfectly. Like I said, the theme doesn’t seem responsive.
- I think those disclosures should be a separate page, and link to them in your footer. Having them on the sidebar is just another block of text (and in conjunction with the aforementioned items, only adds to the effect).
MAN WITHOUT FATHER
Click here to see the website in its entirety.
The background image: I’m torn on this. It’s quite unique and I like it, but at the same time it gives me a bit of a headache to look at it too long. It’s very distracting from the content itself. Therefore, I’m inclined to say I’d make it a bit more simple instead of having the 3D room or something of the sort.
The “leave me alone” bit: Also unique, but then I started thinking – *is there a single benefit to it, for a reader?* I couldn’t come up with anything. Sure, it removes the content and lets you check out the cool background, but it doesn’t really engage. People come to a blog to read, not to stare at a blank canvas.
The menu: Should be in ALL CAPS. Or least bolded.
The random article on the sidebar: Should be removed – or at least direct people to an article that makes them want MORE of you. Link your BEST shit there, not some random article that someone may or may not be interested in.
Sidebar “About”: Should be tweaked to not have that philosophical text on every page. On the about page, and even the home page, I’d say it’s fine. But you want to get people engaged and capture them. You can use different plugins that change which sidebar appears on different pages/posts. I would make a second one that I would show on the majority of the pages – something with the email subscription at the top, and the text further down.
Logo and colors: Are excellent. I’m a big fan.
I’ll continue with what the other guys have said on this.
I didn’t mind the background image as much as Kyle did. I agree with him fully on the Leave Me Alone bit though; I don’t get it. Are you an artist? Because it seems like that’s the sort of thing an art gallery would have.
I absolutely agree with Kyle on the sidebar “About” bit. You’ve put on your about page that you want to change it, so put that on a new about page and get it out of the sidebar. It’s quite distracting – am I supposed to read the article or the About? Plus, if I want to know about you, I’ll click on the “About Me” section.
Another thing about the sidebar: I got a random article that was, “How I almost died in Sweden” or something similar. This was much more interesting than the About section and your favourite blogs that came before it. I then clicked off the page and couldn’t find the “How I almost died” article again. The point is, a blog roll is good but put your interesting content above it and display it prominently; you want people to read your site, not go to someone else’s.
Your background image is cool and unique. However, I find it very distracting.
You write well so my guess is, you want your readers to be able to focus 100% on your content. That’s why I suggest going with a simpler background.
Like Jamie said, you should move the introduction/philosophical thoughts out of the sidebar.
I’d prioritize the widgets in your sidebar differently.
You’ve got a random article, links to other blogs and a newsletter signup form before “Important Posts”. Those posts are important…so why are they hidden at the bottom?
I’d put them right at the top so that new readers immediately know what to read.
You could also make your menu bigger. That would make it stand out a little more. If you decide to change your background, it would also stand out more automatically.
Click here to see the website in its entirety.
You definitely need a header logo of some type. These are easy to get for about $5 on Fiverr.
Your titles don’t really stand out because of the colors you use. The titles definitely need to be a little darker (perhaps a different color too).
Your overall theme is alright…but if you’re willing to invest in Thrive Themes, you could make your site look a lot nicer.
Your email signup form is horribly ugly – no offense 😉
There are different WordPress plugins you can use to display decent forms. The one you need depends on the Email service you use. If you’re on Aweber, I can recommend OptinCat.
Your site goes on forever because of the popular posts you display in the sidebar. You should be able to limit the number of posts that are shown with that widget. At the moment, I can scroll down forever on your homepage (without seeing any new content).
My major issue with this site is navigation. James mentioned that your site goes on forever. I’ll add to that by saying you have too many drop-downs on your main menu (Like I said with Walt at Kratom Guru – I’d move this down below your header and make the orange brighter as well.) Essentially, your website is bursting with content – which is never a bad thing. I’ve never been to your site before though, and my overall impression is “Where do I start?”
You could fix this by having a “Start here” in your menu.
Second thing: Photos. I agree with Kyle who said you need to prominently display your photography. You’re selling a book about cameras, so the more photos the better. you might need to change theme for this – shop around because there are plenty that’ll let you keep a focus on words whilst highlighting your photo skills
Something that’s struck me as really irritating just now is that when you go to a page, the category of that page goes orange (invisible) when you’re on it. I went to look at one of your book pages and the option to look at your other books appeared to disappear. Weird and unhelpful.
Final thing; on your sales page (for the camera book) you’ve got a lot of reasons why you should buy the book. You’ve got a contents page.
You need to get rid of the picture of the contents page and merge the two together.
For instance, you could say;
“Camera game is the main reason I’ve had success with girls.” Cool. Chapter 8 is about approaching girls. Marry the two together so I’m getting the benefits of reading your book. Even if it’s simply, “I could never approach a girl before becoming a photographer. Photography made it really easy for me to approach girls without any fear, and in Chapter 8 I’ll tell you exactly how I do it.”
I’d echo the idea that you should get a dedicated page for your books – it’ll save on the dropdown menus and the cluttered sidebar which you’ve outgrown.
You have enough books now that I think you really need a full “store” – the “All Books” page you have makes you scroll down to find anything. I know everybody loves eJunkie these days but DPD is superior in every way, I’ve found. James Maverick made me aware of it, then I implemented it, and I know Christian McQueen is using it now too. I don’t think any of us have looked back.
Example of my store here: https://this-is-trouble.dpdcart.com/
Remove the copyright link to the theme in your footer.
Popular Posts widget should be limited to 10 posts maximum.
Condom widget should be a transparent PNG, the white background behind the condom looks tacky.
I think your site is more of an artistic expression for you (having met you in person), so I don’t mind the simplicity of not having a logo, and using a vertical-scrolling blog format versus a grid-based layout. However, I think if you ultimately wanted to go a little bit “commercial” (for lack of better word), a different theme and layout might be suitable. I know James mentioned Thrive already and I am a huge fan of them as well.
Your photography is top-notch and I’d really like to see it displayed more prominently…everywhere. But I think it would require a MAJOR revamp to really make that happen.
Thanks for everyone who submitted your sites – we’ve got more coming next week.
If you have a website you’d like to be considered in this discussion, and haven’t posted it already – just leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list.
We’ll see everybody next week for another roundtable.