Today we’re premiering a new video series, “Prescriptions for Online Success.” Each Friday, we’ll be releasing a new video where The URL Dr. critique’s a small business or nonprofit website. The URL Dr. will be offering advice and suggestions to improve web usability, design, and conversion.
Our first website critique is being done on DanceInTheUSA.com. This website got some great suggestions for ways to improve their overall design and appeal.
If you’d like to have your website critiqued in a future episode, email us at Contact@TheURLdr.com.
All right. So our first website since Sue asked so nicely and said, “Please review my site.” We’re going to do danceintheusa.com first. Okay the first thing I see are blurry pictures. So I kind of get the idea that these are probably people in movement and rhythm but these are blurry pictures and that looks bad. I would leave this site without even going any further. My suggestion is get rid of the blurry pictures and get some pictures of your actual students in the actual classes are great, fabulous but get them so we can see them and not that they’re blurry.
Nobody is going to read all the text on this homepage. What I would suggest is pare this down, keep in mind 10 to 20 words that’s it. That’s all they’re going to read on the homepage. Pare this down to what’s really, really important. Everything on this site is one click away. And the header menu, we’ve all been online for many years now so that direction doesn’t need to be there. We all know about the header and we all need to use it. That’s prime real estate that you could have links to your different locations or your classes or something else.
The one thing that I see is . . . so for example I’m up here and I’m looking, so who’s behind this? Who’s giving the classes? Where’s the “About Us” link? There’s no “About Us” link. If I go through here I see “Who we are” under “Welcome” and then I can see, okay, here is our “About us” page. What I would do is I would get this page, this “Who we are” page, I’d rename it “About Us” and I would get in the top navigation here not underneath “Welcome.” Get rid of “Welcome.”
“Workshops and Events.” Okay, I’m going to go to this page to see what’s going on. And I see we’ve got one class and it’s already taken place. So the information is old. A lot of people are going to get frustrated at this point, they’re going to leave. They’re not even going to look any further. They’re going to think there’s no class that’s coming up. So you want to make sure that all, particularly with any sites that’s got workshops, events, classes that this information is kept to up-to-date at all times.
But are there other classes and things going on? Well I looked at this beforehand so I know that under “Dance Here” we’ve got different things going on in Washington and in Baltimore and in Bethesda. But “Dance Here,” again, unless I took the time to scroll over, I wouldn’t know that that was there. “Dance Here” isn’t a good description. Maybe instead I would rename that “Locations” or “Classes.”
Again the idea is don’t make people think because they won’t. They’ll get frustrated and they’ll leave. So I would redo that. Having your Bethesda classes, your Washington DC, Baltimore underneath that is fine but I would rename this. I would re-layout these pages. Again we’ve got an awful lot of information that somebody has to kind of hunt and peck. Where is the location? Well, yes it’s there on 14th Street but I shouldn’t have to hunt for it. I shouldn’t have to read through this to find it. It should be in bold, it should be very obvious from the first minute I get to this page. I would re-lay this out.
I would also put some images on here. What does Moving the Spirit introductory class look like? We’ve got that underlined, but it’s not a link. Maybe the introductory class would be something that would be good on a landing page all on its own.
Then you could not only have this categorized by the location, but you could also have it categorized by the different classes. Is the introductory class given in Washington, Baltimore and Bethesda? You could have all that information on one page.
And where can I sign up? It would be great if there was a form or that I could even buy the class right here on the site. There’s a lot of programs out there a lot of plug-ins that make that very easy to do.
I would also probably rename “Join My Mailing List/ Contact,” I would rename that “Contact Us.” Get your mailing list sign-up on every page of the site, not just on this one. “Driving Directions” is good.
Having the map here for the Bethesda location is great. But again, you’ve got locations in other places so if I didn’t hit this page, I wouldn’t know that Washington DC and Baltimore were options for me.
A phone number, where’s your phone number? Where can I call? Trustworthiness, the phone number needs to be on every single page and I would probably have it either here or in the header. I would put it in the header to make sure it was very easy to contact you.