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    Freelance Web Designer Website


    Hello all!

    I'm a college freshman and self taught web designer of 6 months. I've really fallen in love with it, and I think it's what I want to do when I graduate. I've decided to start business as a freelance designer primarily for the purpose of establishing a portfolio so that when I graduate, I'll hopefully have a very brief transition period after graduation and can find a job with a decent design firm fairly quickly. I don't want to be the guy saying "what next?" for two years with that diploma in his hand :P But I'd like to make some money to pay for tuition too.

    My target audience are local small businesses. This is because I believe they're more likely to hire someone of a lower caliber like myself in order to save some money. The local rate is about average: $75-$90 an hour. Therefore I charge $20 an hour.

    You can disregard the blog if you wish. That's just my blog on web coding.

    So here's my site:

    http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com

    And here's the feedback that I'm looking for

    1) Is the call to action adequate?

    2) Does the pricing make sense?

    3) Am I targeting small business owners well?

    4) Is that picture of me on the contact page kind of weird?

    5) Do the design and the stock photos make it appear like I take myself too seriously?

    6) On the home page, is the text wrapped around the images of the people presentable?

    7) Is the "featured client" section under-designed or too plain?

    8) Is the header on the services page too plain?

    9) Anything else you can think of?

    Thank you so much for your time!
  2. #2
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    There are many things I like about this site.
    1. I love that you have your phone number and physical address in the header on the main page.
    2. I like the tableless design and over all look.
    3. I like that the code validates on strict.

    What I did not like.

    1. The Yahoo email address does not look professional. It should be McCulloughdesigns@mcculloughdesigns.com.
    2. You have an canonicalization issue that needs addressing.
    3. On your contact us I would crop the image to be just below the shoulders and slide it up.
    4. I'm not sure about the black background as it seems to make the whole page dark.
    5. I would make the 3 cells "Affordable, Small Business and Professional" link to a landing page that is geared to each.
    6. I want to see more sites you have done. But only one other was shown.
    7. You need to turn off directory indexing site wide.

    Blog
    1. I found the blog to be too dark and hard to read.
    2. Seeing this "Search engine optimization by SEO Design Solutions" in the footer of your blog makes me think:
    a. You offer SEO, why did you not do the SEO yourself?
    b. Why does it open in the same window taking me away from your site?
    c. Why once I get to the other site does my back button not work?
    d. To be honest this like kills a lot of the trust I had in your page.
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    Thank you so much for your response!

    I have some questions just for clarification:

    For #2, what is canonicalization?

    #6: What do you suppose I put as a portfolio when I only have one client?

    #7: What is directory indexing and why should I turn it off?

    Blog:
    I was using a wordpress plug in that allows me to have custom titles for my blog posts. I guess the SEO Design Solutions link is a consequence of that. They don't do any real seo on my page, but they provided the plug in. If there any alternatives that do the same, it'd be great to have as a reference.

    Could you describe where the back button doesn't work? I've never had that problem.

    Once again, thank you so much.
    Last edited by Josephbm91; February 15th, 2010 at 11:15 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Josephbm91
    For #2, what is canonicalization?
    Canonicalization is where your site shows the same page / content on different URL's. The most commend type of canonicalization is
    http://mcculloughdesigns.com/ vs http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com/
    or
    http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com/ vs
    http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com/index.php

    Your home button point to /index.php where it should point to .com/. Adding a 301 to your .htaccess will fix this.

    #6: What do you suppose I put as a portfolio when I only have one client?
    To get around this some people create sub-domains and create various types of sites to show one aspect of their work like e-commerce or flash. Others register domains and create sites there and create a portfolio of the newly registered domains

    #7: What is directory indexing and why should I turn it off?
    http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com/images/home/
    http://www.mcculloughdesigns.com/images/
    Are two examples. You should turn it off for security reasons. This can be turn off in cpanel under advanced, index manager.

    Blog:
    I was using a wordpress plug in that allows me to have custom titles for my blog posts. I guess the SEO Design Solutions link is a consequence of that. They don't do any real seo on my page, but they provided the plug in. If there any alternatives that do the same, it'd be great to have as a reference.
    All in one SEO. but there are others.

    Could you describe where the back button doesn't work? I've never had that problem.
    Once I clicked the link in the footer of your blog I could not hit the back button to get back to your site. "I was using Firefox"
    Click the link in your blog footer then click on contact and close the box. Now try and hit the back button.

    Once again, thank you so much.
    I hope this helps.
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    Your header graphics don't look so clear, but I think your pricing is a bit high for what you offer. Good job for 6 months of learning but the site looks a little generic or the style is very old school mainly the header area.
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    Thanks for your reply! My pricing is extremely low in comparison to other local designers. I agree my graphics aren't good, that's my downfall. If I had the chance to just convert layouts into code, I'd do that, but at this point in time, I'm going to have to tolerate doing development AND design.

    Also, I've read some articles concerning pricing, and apparently pricing too low is a bad thing. People will think you don't value your products enough, so why should they?

    I agree I could do MUCH better with the header. I'll just need to spend some time on it and try to come up with something.

    I did play it very safe overall with my website. I should try to tap into what little creativity I have and make something with meaning.
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    I suggest checking out some of the many many tutorials to help you out with the graphics. At the least I'd resave the graphics at a higher resolution so you don't get teh artifacts around them. Honestly some people will pay more if the results and outcome are better.
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    Well the problem isn't with making the graphics. You're right, I can find tutorials on almost anything. The problem is simply lack of artistic vision: WHEN to do certain things. But when I get too focused on conventions, I create a overly-safe design that has no personality to it.
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    Look at my site and tell me what you think!

    exchangegroup.co.cc
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    Please don't Hijack my thread. Make your own to get a critique

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