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Topic: My new website - all about SEO
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 12, 2011 01:40PM)
I have a new website, but don't visit yet, read on:
The very first time you visit any website, the loading time will be longer than subsequent visits. I've just built a new site using HTML, not "flash". This, in theory, should load very fast in almost any browser. But, before you rush to see it, can I ask you, if you're indifferent, please, wait, your input might be very valuable as I progress this, and discover later on how fast your browser loads this website for the VERY FIRST TIME.
I have tried to make this website "user friendly", and it's going to load super-fast into your browser, so hopefully after clicking on the link it should appear within 2-3 seconds. (My "flash" websites can take 20 seconds to a minute or more to load, apparently). I'd like Magic George, Starrpower, and other very frequent contributors to go ahead and click, but please, if you're not a "regular" here, refrain for just a couple of days so that you can be the next wave of informers. I'll tell you all shortly, it's about SEO (search engine optimisation).
My first question is: "how long did it take fot the website to appear?". Then, of course, I'd like to know if the content is good, so when we have established the loading time, feel free to go ahead and check out my new site.
I want to know every minor criticism you may have, please don't hold back.
Thank you all in advance, Doug
:)
Please visit my new website: http://www.childrensentertianersussex.co.uk
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Mar 12, 2011 01:44PM)
Web-site not found

Writing in HTML is no guarantee it will load faster. We used Dreamweaver for the grunt work, fine-tuning it to optimize SEO with a string of words (birthday party, kids, Kuwait, UK, magic). This worked well even in countries with low speed internet like Kuwait. (Yes, we're both ICT-geeks)
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 12, 2011 01:50PM)
What's going on?
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 12, 2011 01:52PM)
Aha! I spelt it wrong! Not enterTIAner, enterTAIner!
http://www.childrensentertainersussex.co.uk
That should do it!
:)
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Mar 12, 2011 02:44PM)
As quick as any web site. A couple of seconds. Are all your animations in HTML if not they wont work on an iphone or ipad.
I'll check all your videos later.
Nice looking site.
Colin
http://www.aceofdiamonds.co.uk
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Mar 12, 2011 02:46PM)
Ok, that worked and it loaded instantly on a slow BT Broadband connection (104 mbps)in rural Essex.

Lots of words - but all info needed for booking is there and easy to find.

Points to think about
(1) Do you need the same picture Of Stinky the Rat three times on different pages? Or could you use one of you AND Stinky?
(2) who are the referees?
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 12, 2011 03:00PM)
Under a second on both pc and phone. Most sites do though on our broadband etc even flash ones.

A well made flash site won't have loading problems. If the images are created with vectors then the file size can be less than jpgs and gifs etc. There are still search engine issues with flash though, I believe. (Of course, you can use small amounts of flash in conjunction with html). Flash not yet on iphones is probably the biggest worry nowadays. However I was interested to note that your parrot doesn't poop on my phone either! Which is weird because animated gifs used to work on my crappy old phone. Maybe they're phasing out animated gifs. Noone seems to use them anymore.

Good luck on your SEO. I looked into it quite a bit when making my site. There seems to be so many different rules and ways to give it a boost in the engines that it's hard to know what to concentrate on. I always try to think of things from the customers perspective and imagine what they would type into a search engine if looking for an entertainer.

I'm amazed how may folks still don't really mention where they are based on their websites! Surely even if a customer neglects to type in an area as soon as they are confronted with results from all over the world they'll start adding locations/area to their search.

I like your site Doug. It looks clean (apart from the bird poop) and easy to use.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 12, 2011 05:53PM)
Doug
Your old site loaded in about 15 seconds, and was far too busy. This new one loaded in a couple seconds and it easier on the eyes.
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 13, 2011 04:09AM)
Thanks for helping out guys. It seems like the PRIMARY concern (loading time) is fixed. As Al says, 15 seconds to load for my old site! That's WAY too long - many, if not most, clients, would simply navigate away before the site appears.
I've also found it MUCH easier to make this site look "kid-friendly". The flash website builder I was using was all very fancy, but I never got around to putting in suitable backgrounds and a good header.
There's still a lot of fine-tuning to be done - I built the website in one day. But thanks for pointing out the repetition of photos. This, and the text, needs to be fixed. It's a shame that Google likes text-rich sites, as I'd prefer to have as little text as possible. But with Google's new algorithms going out across the US this week, and shortly to be implemented in the UK, I don't want long lists of keywords.
I agree that location is very important for websites like ours. That's why I now use the domain "childrensentertainersussex". I call these domain names "generic but localised and trade-specific" (GEBLATS). Google far prefers domain names like these to "pottythepirate" or similar.
Doug
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Mar 13, 2011 07:43AM)
Loaded quickly and I like it a lot. Nice and clean and visual, and the navigation button along the side are easy to see and understand.

I think it gets a little "wordy" after the video window. I'd have kept the details for the links, but that's just me. You were after a fast load and you achieved it.

That promo pic on the home page is awesome, btw.
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Mar 13, 2011 09:29AM)
I like how quick the printable page fcility is; much quicker than the BBC site for example.
Message: Posted by: knick23 (Mar 13, 2011 10:35AM)
Urghh - Comic Sans! The default typface for youth workers and children's entertainers, I implore you to reconsider. It's hard to read and incredibly overused, which is a pity as the rest of the site is great (and loads extremely quick, even the video).
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Mar 13, 2011 11:42AM)
Comic sans is easier for kids to read though as it more closely resembles their unjoined handwriting, so parents are used to it.
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Mar 13, 2011 11:54AM)
Over all I like it however and it may just be me but way too much text.

people don't like to read these days( their lazy)

but again it seems to flow nicely and loaded fast which seems to be your biggest concern.

hope it does well for you!

sam
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Mar 13, 2011 12:14PM)
I agree with Sam. It is too wordy. A person might not have the time to read all of it because that individuals will be searching other sites looking for kids entertainers. Make it a lot shorter with the information willing to grab and keep their attention.

It loaded in a split second.

Do you have alt text for each picture? It does help with SEO.
Message: Posted by: Johannes Lindrupsen (Mar 13, 2011 01:24PM)
I hope that even though I haven't been on here for too long, you will read my post :)

I agree that there is too much text. As dynamike pointed out, people are lazy, and they want to find what they need ASAP.
Also, I had a little problem reading the text with the background that was there. It might be my eyes, but I had to concentrate hard to read it.
Another detail I was wondering about. Is it on purpose that the titles on the links to the left does not all start in a capital letter?
Also, the picture of the crocodile from Peter Pan, do you have the rights to use it? I don't know hoe big of a problem that will be, but I will guess that it's pretty boring being sued by Disney.

All the best
-Johannes
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 13, 2011 02:40PM)
I think the solution to the "too much text" issue will be to make several videos, which will explain the details as an alternative to reading them.
I do think some folks like to be able to read a lot of info....but perhaps also bullet points would make things a lot simpler for the "lazy" surfers.
It's also so important to have a lot of text for the sake of Google. I've always wanted to try to create a site where folks don't feel the need to read the text. Theoretically, they can just watch the promo vids and make their minds up from them.
I quite like "Comic Sans"....anyhow, this website builder offers a very small choice of fonts, and this was the only one I felt had the right look.
All the pictures on the site (not the photos, the art drawings) are free downloadable gifs, with no copyright issues - so I presume it's OK to have the croc.
Anyhow, I haven't even Google verified the site, and it's already bringing in enquiries, so I think it's a good step in the right direction.
Thanks again for all the advice,
Doug
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 14, 2011 03:35AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-13 11:35, knick23 wrote:
Urghh - Comic Sans! [/quote]

Font snob!

I think most people don't like comic sans is it is used inappropriately and looks wrong on business documents etc because it looks like the sort of font a clown might use. Therefore for us, maybe not so bad...
Message: Posted by: knick23 (Mar 14, 2011 05:34AM)
I hear you George, but I'd be inclined to have my site stand out from the competition, even if my act didn't. Judging by P the P's act he's got quite a developed style, I think it's a pity aspects of his site don't reflect that.
Anyway, Potty likes it, so somehow I'll just have to find the strength to get over it:(
Message: Posted by: francisngkl (Mar 14, 2011 07:24AM)
From a parent and a preschool consumer standpoint, I like it, very attractive!

Francis
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 14, 2011 08:34AM)
I actually have a thing abut jokerman font (the one used in the title). I liked it when I first saw it then it started to annoy me when I began seeing it everywhere. Maybe it's because it looks quite random and when random things are duplicated they look fake??!! Anyhow, it's probably just me.

If you wish to change the font you don't have to stick to what your website builder offers. You can open the pages with notepad and change the font. CC scripts are very useful for this kind of thing. They mean if you want to change the font on the website you can do it by just changing one thing rather than going through the whole site.

I think relevant text is more important than lots of text to search engines.

I sometimes go though the site and ask myself if the text does one of these things:

Contains keywords that can help SEO
Tells the customer important information
Explains the benefits of booking me to the customer

If it doesn't do any of those things it's usually superfluous to requirements.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hoffman (Mar 14, 2011 08:47AM)
The croc in the top right looks like Disney's croc from Peter Pan. I would caution using anything of theirs. They are notorious for solving copy issues in court.
Message: Posted by: Johannes Lindrupsen (Mar 14, 2011 09:40AM)
I hope that you will have a lot of luck with your new website :)
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Mar 14, 2011 09:49AM)
I'd make the font just a bit bigger - older eyes (like grandparents wanting to hire you) might have a difficult time reading the info (and if anyone will read, it will be the older generation).

I'd go over the text again and see what you can break up into bullet points without losing too much info. Then put a link in the section to "more info here", and have it direct to a FAQ page. One bit of advice that doesn't always fit but it sgood to consider: most readers are looking for the one or two items that interest them when they read. If you use bullets, you put these right out there and giove them a reason to engage with you. If you bury everything in paragraphs of text, thoguh, many will simply give up. The general rule is you have about 5 seconds to help them find what they're looking for at each step, or they'll leave.

Ed
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 14, 2011 11:04AM)
Thanks, Ed, yes I've considered bullet points. I like the idea of a FAQ page, perhaps I'll move ahead with that idea.
Louie, I'd be happy to know what elements of my site don't reflect my "style". All suggestions are useful. Yes, I prefer this to my previous sites, but the whole point is, I want it to be "user-friendly".
Doug
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Mar 14, 2011 12:55PM)
"On this page: about Potty the Pirate, bio, PLI and CRB check" is not necessary. That line is too wordy. I can not even see how that would be helpful with SEO.

It does look better than the previous site But it is taking longer to load.

Capital all the words in the page tabs.

"Childrens entertainer in Brighton Sussex." Capitalize "entertainer."

"Potty the Pirate is recognised as one of the leading children's entertainers in Brighton and Sussex." "Recognised" is supposed to be spelled "recognized." You did put an apostrophe s in "children's." But you do not have the apostrophe in the other times you mentioned "childrens."
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Mar 14, 2011 01:13PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-14 13:55, Dynamike wrote:
"Recognised" is supposed to be spelled "recognized."
[/quote]

That one is British English vs American English.

Everything else, though, is "spot on". Potty, you'd do well to hire yourself a proof-reader. At the very least, try this trick: Print each page and read it backwards: from the bottom up and word-to-word right-to-left. This forces your brain to disconnect from filling in the gaps as you read, and creates a fresh new look at it.

Ed
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 14, 2011 04:01PM)
Dynamike, all the things you've mentioned are not good for SEO. "Recognised" is the English spelling of this word. Capitalising words is not beneficial, and Google doesn't like to see too many capitals. Apostrophes are not always useful - particularly for google search engines, which mostly prefers to see words without any apostrophes.
I'm rather anal about my English, and almost automatically use apostrophes when required. I deliberately omitted them precisely because I don't want them to be read as: "children&aposs" or similar.
I agree about the headline detailing the content of the pages. following Ed's input, I've started a FAQ page, so I'll be replacing these head tags, and the content of the pages, with bullet points. As much text as possible will then be put on the FAQ page.
As for the page taking longer to load - I think this might be because you've already visited my previous site, so it is remembered by your computer. I hope this is the case, everyone else has told me the new site loads in about 1-2 seconds.
Thanks for your input though, it's all good!
Doug
Message: Posted by: knick23 (Mar 14, 2011 05:11PM)
Hi Potty,
re the exchange with George - Basically it's my opinion that Comic Sans is overused (esp. by children's entertainers)and if you use it on your own website then this tends to lump you in with the rest of those generic looking websites. Judging by your site's video, your act doesn't look particularly 'average', so why use a type face that may suggest to the casual observer otherwise. Especially in a market where it's relatively saturated with C' Entertainers (s England), I'd try my best to stand out from the rest, as I assume you'd want your show to do.
It's just a wee niggle I have and it's only my opinion. For better or for worse I have used OfficeLive to build my site and can appreciate working with limitations, so in that respect I think you've done an otherwise decent job.
Louie
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Mar 14, 2011 06:58PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-14 17:01, Potty the Pirate wrote:
Dynamike, all the things you've mentioned are not good for SEO. Capitalising words is not beneficial, and Google doesn't like to see too many capitals. Apostrophes are not always useful - particularly for google search engines, which mostly prefers to see words without any apostrophes.
[/quote]
There is a misunderstanding. I was not mentioning the above for SEO. It was for better grammar. When someone reads your site they might think whoever put it together was not good with grammar because the beginning of each word does not match in the tab section. Some words are capitalized and some are not. It will look better to a prospect if either every word started with a capital letter or every word started with a lower case letter instead of having them mixed.

It was the same for the apostrophes. You have "children's" most times without an apostrophe. It will look better to a principal/librarian/teacher/etc if all the "children's" were listed as one way instead of splitting them.

I am sure you know some prospects are very picky. The website says it all. When they see things as I mentioned above, they might say to themselves, "I see this person is not concerned too much about how their website reads. He might not be so concerned about his presentation either. I will look for someone else."

For example you have in your tab section:

"magic shows"

"Balloon models"

To me it will look better if it read:

"Magic Shows"

"Balloon Models"

or

"magic shows"

"balloon models"

You have "Balloons" capitalized. Why can't EVERY word start with/without a capital?
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 15, 2011 02:38AM)
Ah, thanks for that, Dyna - yes I do agree there about the capitals. Unfortunately, I want to include both spellings of childrens - with apostrophe and without - the latter being the much more common search term (actually not a word, but I delight in using it myself when I'm working!)
To be honest, so few people in the UK know how to spell properly - even teachers and "intellectuals", that I'm not sure if spelling is really such an issue over here.
The internet and cellphones are changing the way we spell. One of the search terms I needed to include was "magic 4 kids", as this is a very common search here. At one time I'd have baulked at this, but these days I find these kind of spellings quite fun.
Anyway, must sk8, as I have some shows this morning.....
;)
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Mar 15, 2011 08:53AM)
Is "childrens" without an apostrophe even a real word? I don't think so.
But is that what SEO is coming to? We have to put in not only our keywords, but every mangling thereof as well??
Will Google reject me if I insist on proer spelling and grammar?!?

Ed
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 15, 2011 09:52AM)
Google wont reject you, it's just directly linked to what people search for and because there are a sufficient amount of people who think childrens is a word (presumably used in sentences like "We took all the childrens down to the farm to see some sheeps and mices") it's worth including their spelling too.

Google will correct the spelling:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&hl=en-GB&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADBF_en-GBGB281GB281&q=childrens+entertainment
and when you click on the correct spelling the listings change slightly. (Although not that much)
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 15, 2011 01:07PM)
I haven't got the energy right now to check, but I'm fairly sure a lot more people search for "childrens entertainer" than "children's entertainer".
Ed, google won't reject you for insisting on propah speling. But it may rank your website lower if you do.
Message: Posted by: keeblem (Mar 15, 2011 04:55PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-15 14:07, Potty the Pirate wrote:
I haven't got the energy right now to check, but I'm fairly sure a lot more people search for "childrens entertainer" than "children's entertainer".
[/quote]

That's my understanding too. I get a monthly update from Google maps and "Childrens entertainer" (ie without the apostrophe) is always the most common search.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Christopher Lyle (Mar 15, 2011 07:01PM)
Doug,

Truth be told, I don't know what else I can add that hasn't already been said. Reading both comments here and over at Buskers, everyone makes valid points. I think there is WAY TOO MUCH text. Less is definitely more.

I think that having a clear photo of yourself that is big and bold that shows who you are is a MUST on your home page.

I also think that your layout is a bit "all over the place" and doesn't have a good flow.

I would contact Bizzaro and have him build your website for you. He's very reasonable and is super easy to work with. He also knows what works and what is distracting and will let you know so you'll end up with the best possible product to sell yourself.

My 2 cents...

Christopher
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Mar 15, 2011 10:33PM)
Idea #1 The only way I can see a guarantee for you Doug, is to get a second new one. Keep the present one basically as it is now. Maybe the wordy text will help you with SEO. Put the additional one together with far less words. If the second one is on the first page of the search engines, drop the first one with too much text. Look at my two magic websites in my signature. The flash one was made first. Now I am thinking about dropping or changing the flash one around because the html is on the first page of the search engines too.

Idea #2 Make the home page short and strong. That is the page people read most. If it can make the sell, there is no need for the prospect to read on if that person does not read much. Have several pages on other topics. They can be long to help support with SEO. Include a blog to your website for more keywords. Remember, the only page that is short and direct is the home page.

Idea #3 Do not be afraid to try the website with less text at first. If you are not on the first page in 3 months, then try the wordy text.
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Mar 15, 2011 11:29PM)
Took all of 4 seconds to load up, so no worries there.

Now let's have a look..........

It IS a bit long-winded text-wise, but that could be a good thing. Unlike most websites which wave something colorful under your nose for a second or two, this one seems intent on giving the prospective customer the whole 9 yards of info. I think it will bring Potty great buisiness for the same reason that infomercials work.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Lyle (Mar 16, 2011 09:03AM)
Sorry to go off topic for the moment but a quick shout to my old pal JoJo at Buskers. The ether is wonderful...jump in the pool. Nice to know I'm an "old friend."

Anyhow...

Doug,

The page did load very quickly for me so there is that....
Message: Posted by: randyburtis (Mar 16, 2011 09:32AM)
Can't you use the less grammatically correct spellings etc in meta tags on the page?
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 16, 2011 10:35AM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-16 10:32, randyburtis wrote:
Can't you use the less grammatically correct spellings etc in meta tags on the page?
[/quote]
yes, but I need to find out if this will really work. A bunch of meta tags without equvalent content in the text tend to be ignored, as I understand it..
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Mar 16, 2011 11:04AM)
I'm glad yours is an honest site Potty. I looked at one site where the magician claimed to be the only professional magician in the entire state despite a simple Google search showing others who earn a fulltime living from performing in that state over a long time, while he is hoping his new venture will allow him to make a few dollars outside his real job.
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 16, 2011 03:16PM)
Destiny, this has become an issue around here. I realise that in other parts of the globe, being high on Google isn't so important - but around here, it really does mean a big difference in the number of calls. Our local folk are largely emigrants from London. And in my opinion, people (wrongly) have the impression that if Google put you at the number one spot on a search, they think you must be the best. Of course, we all know it just means you're good at SEO. But it would be fair to say that a high-end entertainer would be EXPECTED to ensure he ranks high on Google. Around here, that's simply not true - the really good entertainers are mostly still relying on word-of-mouth. One local chap (and fair play to him) has managed to secure the #1 rating on Google for a large number of relevant searches. But, he's only just started out, and claims to be "the best" in the area. I hope that now (several of) my websites are competing with his, folks may realise that his act is very amateurish.
I know of whom you speak.....and he will read this post.....so perhaps he will realise that being a "pretender" isn't the right way to go - either from a professional or business point of view, or an ethical one.
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Mar 16, 2011 03:25PM)
Anyhoo, I've now added bullet points to my website (thanks Ed, know you're reading this)....and have tried to put all the poor spellings into the headline texts, not into the main copy.
Is my website better now? I feel it is, the important points are listed at the top of each page, and those who'd like to read a lot more can do so. I've removed the FAQ for now. I'd rather have a page to download invites, games, etc.
Do you know, I'm surprised how many folks here at the Café have such a command of English? I've gotten so used to lousy and lazy spelling on the internet, it's almost made me feel that the use of "correct English" is a thing of the past. Also, in the entertainment world, is it so important? Sure, if I visited a lawyer's website, and the grammar and spelling was poor, I'd be worried. But for a kid's entertainer? I think most folks couldn't care less - they may even EXPECT to see poor copy?
Hmm...
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Mar 16, 2011 06:24PM)
Potty, I would think correct spelling and grammar are especially important for a children's entertainer.

People are desperate to give their kids as good a start as possible in this crazy difficult world and determined to educate them at every turn.

Some of the most successful children's television entertainment is educational.

I would think good spelling and grammar would be a huge plus on a website - with exception made for eccentricities of speech relevant to character eg: Ahoy there, me hearties....
Message: Posted by: AndrewJ (Mar 16, 2011 07:40PM)
Okay, first of all, I hate SEO. I have said as much in the "Tangled web" area. On the other hand, SEO is free advertising brought about in one of two ways:

[list=1][*]Market yourself properly in all other respects.
[*]Subjugate yourself to Google.[/list]

Method #2 is quickly failing. Google is doing everything they can to destroy SEO as a primary means of marketing. Google is winning this fight. Not only that, but they are trying to give better attention to the people who succeed at method #1.

Having said that, I was greatly relieved to see links to your social networking accounts (Twitter, Facebook) displayed well. Just make sure your audience is there and that you are using it to market well.

Alright. On to the page.

Some of your links are pointing to [b]http://info2.cfm[/b] -- which is breaking navigation. Make them point to [b]info2.cfm[/b] without the http://

Obviously, having some text is good for the search engines. Whether I like it or not, search engines do bring some quantifiable amount of traffic. So, yeah, leave the words. Be careful not to over-optimize. The search engines don't care for that either.

My final thought is that I still wouldn't mind seeing something a little bit cleaner. Mostly, that has to do with the layout of text and images. If the images perhaps stacked in a column next to the text, and even wrapped around in an L, inverted L, or some sort of sideways U shape, then that would make the text much easier to read.

I'll leave the choice of fonts up to you and your future customers. If it works then run with it. If not, then consider perhaps a boring sans-serif (Arial, Helvetica) or a good old-time looking serif font. Georgia, perhaps. Something that you might expect to see a pirate's death warrant written with.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Mar 18, 2011 12:15PM)
The site looks fun. I have the idea that the entertainer has a good sense of mischief about him (the pooping parrot is funny)...and I would go directly to the video and ignore the words.

On the con side: I, too, dislike the font. It looks handmade to me. Just in initial impression: I see a big dark block of copy. I'd suggest that you introduce more white space...would make it much more inviting to read.

But the bottom line question is this: if I were planning a party for my kid...would I call you?

Yes.

So...good work!

David