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  1. #1

    Graphic design (for websites) can be a struggle for me

    I am self-employed, running a business which runs a number of interactive websites, and I often struggle with the visual look-and-feel of websites. This summer I have a talented intern working with me though...and we have been working together pretty well. She seems to have visual / graphic skills that I lack (she actually also has a webcomic BTW, which is rather amusing). I've also been consulting others, and I think I have started to finally get a grip on some of these things.

    We just redesigned the header on our tea site, RateTea. We also printed business cards with a matching logo.

    So what do you think? It looked pretty bad before (I had done it all myself)...people were consistently giving me feedback that the site was an awesome concept, and had great information, but looked home-made and sloppy visually. Am I out of that zone yet? Does it look legit yet?

    I want people to look at it and get the first impression: "This is legit."

    =)
    Last edited by cazort; 12-19-2011 at 12:38 PM.
    Alex Zorach
    ---
    Rate and Review Teas - My main work these days | Why This Way - A new religion my friends and I have started

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Beyond the Pale
    Posts
    347
    Looks pretty decent, except perhaps there needs to be some more font work in the center category and article titles to match it to the top-perhaps a bold text on the article titles. I am not sure if black is the best color for the center topics; a very dark green may be better, or may be too matchy matchy and not stand out enough. Maybe something at the bottom, like a fade into green wash, but that may not work. I prefer a simpler layout though; others may want more bells and whistles.

    or perhaps pale misty green boxes separating the rates, reviews, and updates, instead of lines and keep the black text.

    It is like it is very close to being tied together, but not quite there yet.
    Last edited by Ezra Pippen; 09-03-2011 at 08:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Thanks! I agree that there's a disconnect in look and feel between the header and the stuff below it...I am hoping to get to work on this soon.

    =)

    I also want to add a little more diversity in colors. I love green and I think green works well for the site, but I think it's TOO green at this point, with not enough other contrasting colors. I noticed that one page, the page for individual reviews, that I added some other colors to (mainly some blues) seems to have a much lower bounce rate now.

    I'm planning to totally scrap the homepage and redesign, both look/feel and layout, as I think it doesn't adequately highlight what is on the site and what the purpose of the site is.
    Alex Zorach
    ---
    Rate and Review Teas - My main work these days | Why This Way - A new religion my friends and I have started

  4. #4
    My advice is not to worry about web design. This isn't your major worry. Your major worry is content, finding a way to get links, and rank high on Google for links, and getting some cash flow. I bet noone (your true visitors) will care about little things. But I know it's hard, because the perfectionist in you does care... but trust me, it's almost trivial.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Queens County, NY
    Posts
    1,529
    Believe me, I know how difficult it is to design your own site. I've managed other creatives on some very high-profile/expensive accounts, and yet, designing my own site is my most loathed task of all! Mine needs a serious refresh, but I'm stalling on it because I can't get past the mental block, and I have a few colleagues in the same boat. "The cobbler's children go shoeless" is the saying, I think?

    So first off, I like the concept, and your writing is excellent. I seldom see optimized content on the Web that's worth reading nowadays, what with everyone wanting to get in on the SEO content business, but no one wanting to pay fair market value to have it written. Your writing is aces. Now, focus on design elements that encourage people to read it.

    In terms of design and layout, the foundation is good, and your source code is solid. The new header graphic gives this a clean look and feel and helps solidify your brand. The color scheme is nice also. I wouldn't expand on it with graphic transparencies or make major palette changes, but a few more navy infographics would look great. How about some photography as well? That could really spice things up – big, beautiful photos.


    I'm planning to totally scrap the homepage and redesign, both look/feel and layout, as I think it doesn't adequately highlight what is on the site and what the purpose of the site is.
    Totally agreed. Re-designing and re-organizing that home page will help tons in terms of bounce and retention rates, and generating interest in the content. (Shoot me a PM if you want to discuss user experience or visual design for this in greater detail.)

    There are also some quick but hugely effective changes you can make to tide you over before your homepage re-design. First, I'd seriously pay for hosting if you're not getting kickbacks for those sidebar ads. They make this look like a hobby site. Secondly, I'd consider getting a .com domain (do a url re-direct if need be so as not to lose page rank) – it's more professional and "serious" than a .net domain. Finally, add an optimized site map to each page to help with indexing and organization.

    You're well on your way. Good luck!

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