Hey guys and girls, this is a guest post or follow up to a video review I did for Andy Crichton of Traditional Painter last year. Andy has a pretty unique business in the U.K. where he, well…check out his site then come back and read the guest post update. Now, I want to say, while I appreciate Andy doing this, he actually reached out to me to tell me how well things are going for him and his associates, so I asked him to guest post and show some of his findings.
Now, I don’t say this to brag (although, the review is pretty good), I asked Andy to write the follow up because I want you to see that tiny, incremental changes are what make the difference between eating steak and eating SPAM. Don’t believe me, then ignore all of this post EXCEPT for the website review benefits section.
Now, a little about Andy…
Andy started painting and decorating 30 years ago and has specialised in hand-painting kitchens & complete redecoration of properties pre-1919 to ultra modern. Based in the UK, he also runs the Traditional Painter specialist website, fast becoming an online centre of painting & decorating excellence.
Onto the review….
When I read about Darren’s website review service in March 2011, I initially thought, no, what’s that going to tell me? I already had a busy site by most painter blog standards, about 9000 page views a month; plenty of people had told me I have great content; it looks elegant and inviting… what else is there to do except keep on keeping on with the blog and let time work in my website’s favour.
Luckily I had been following Darren for a while and enjoyed his insights on advertising and marketing. I especially like how he challenges contractors to do better. It dawned on me that during the review of a website, Darren was going to challenge me. He would look at the site cold, like the x000 people per month see it, but more importantly, he’d cast a sharp and critical sales and marketing eye over how the site all hung together as a sales and lead generating tool. That was what I wanted, it was an exciting prospect, actually.
Not wishing to sound too little islander British, but to us, America is the land of high power sales and marketing, where business is so competitive, you have to take everything to high new levels just to keep afloat. Having some of that energy rubbing off on a low gear British site had to be worth a punt.
Well, I can report that every penny (or is it cent) was very well spent.
Web review video insights
Darren’s hour long video is fantastic in terms of information shared, and insights into what he and therefore others will see. Darren is very positive, very perceptive and quick to pick up on the biggest fault with the whole site (not obvious to me at all till he mentioned it). The process or sales funnel as he calls it, was pretty effective up to the point where I would be leaving primed and ready-to-sign-customers hanging, unsure what to do next! So I had done all the hard work, only to make the easiest step the hardest.
Web review To-do list
Apart from “Wot no easy way to contact you” Darren pinpointed a few other issues, such as confusing and ineffective sidebar links and why is the photo gallery in the footer not loading and even if it did, it is taking readers off the site.
After the video, as part of the information pack, he included an extensive To-do list, so no need to make hasty notes yourself. Darren didn’t miss much, spotted errors and most importantly suggests how to rectify them. From meaty changes like a functioning call to action section, to simple stuff, like move the testimonial and customer service link up a few inches. But it is the simple stuff that makes just as big a difference to the sales effectiveness of the site as the major changes. And sales is what the site is about, at the end of the day, a way to convey enough information about services and products to result in an action, be it a call, a sale, a bookmark, something other than departure never to return.
I would say that Darren’s only faux pas as far as I could tell was a slight misinterpretation of my feelings about paint suppliers Farrow and Ball. Far from shovelling money my way, they will probably be telling me one day to take my content down, because I am quite vocal on how poor they are on so many counts! But otherwise, accurate insights from Darren.
Website review benefits
The review was a genuine investment that is paying off handsomely. In terms of traffic, April 2011, 9000. I clocked 26000 page views in January 2012 and nearly 10,000 unique visitors spend over 3 minutes each looking around. The pure money sales from the site, that’s harder to quantify, but as an idea, the year prior to the review, the site generated £32000 in paid work, and I know that since New Year it has generated about £10000 in work for myself and others associated with the site.
It is a bit like having your soul bared to the world, but once you get over it, the video especially is a superb learning and reference tool. And the great thing is, I learnt so much from Darren’s website review that has stuck, and I know that there are still many tweaks to make that he recommended.
Really, if you have a web presence and want to make a good site better, or drag a crapola site out the wilderness, find $199 and listen to the man.