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My new Business website.

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baby_mike

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I was wondering what you guys think of my site.

Geek Gang

I think I did pretty good. Sure its not the best, but I think its good.
 

Trevor

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I didn't scour the site, but it looks like your formatting is a little off as your "Today's Special" image is cut off and the boxes and text to the far right of that run off the right margin. Also, your tagline is misspelled and should read "Where all we know is computers" unless you're trying to be ironic and say that you're so focused on computers you don't know how to spell, which I don't think is a selling point. Good luck with your venture, but have someone who's a good proofreader go over your text/format of your site so you won't get shot down on first blush.
 

kapi

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Table layout! *eyes splash*

uh and styling could be imprved. some strange mixture of fonts there. Or the border around the link image... yuk.
 

timmahtherebel

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Some misspelling. I'd be glad to help you correct that, just let me know if you'd like me to edit it for you. I'd love to :)
 

Squigma

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Well, I'm by no means a web designer (though a long time ago I did try out some stuff, and learned a tiny bit by trial and error), but there's a few things that I think are just plain wrong about it.

Firstly, there's the layout and colours of the top bit... the first thing that came into my head was one of those spam sites that comes up when you mistype a common URL. Not entirely sure why, but I think something about it needs changing. As already mentioned, there's a spelling error in the tagline, and too many exclamation points. Appending sentences with "!!!!" doesn't do much to emphasize your point, and just looks stupid. Never use more than one, and use that sparingly. So I'd say the entire top bit needs a complete change.

Into the actual body of the site... my first thought is "messy". The formatting is really inconsistent, with font family, size, colour and alignment changing constantly. Keeping it consistent is probably the most important step in making it look nice.

Get rid of the scrolling text. Never, EVER use scrolling text. Especially with such a strong blue background when the rest of the page, and the text in it, is white. It makes my eyes want to die.

The forum seems a little pointless.

The products page could be a lot more helpful. The blinking text is just ridiculous and what's the the random "usa shooting team" link?

The about us page is just a solid wall of text - no one will read it. Keep it short and snappy if you want to convince customers. Cut it down, and make it easier to read. And don't ask for customer testimonials so blatantly, it makes you seem a bit desperate.

The contact us page should provide a phone number, email and perhaps real life address, as well as the form.

The images on the services page are scaled weirdly, and look wrong. And they're hotlinked it seems. And what's with the links to "supreme computer solutions"? Why would you send your customers to a competitor?

And the site map is utterly pointless if all your links are in the top bit.

Finally, get some real hosting and a proper domain name. I'm fairly sure it's not even that expensive (though I've never been in the market for it, so I can't help you much), and if the website does any good then the costs should easily be recovered from the business gained. And the site would be so much more professional for it.

This might all sound harsh, but that's not how I intend it at all. Just constructive criticism, trying to help you improve. Really, you should either get a few books about web design, or get it done professionally. Either way, good luck with it!
 
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I've not looked at the actual site, but I am an HCI-type-guy.

A really good book to read is Don't Make Me Think! its subtitle is something like, "effective web design."

It's the definitive work in this area. Pick it up, read it through a couple times, then look at your site with renewed vision.

Okay, now I've looked at the site.

The picture at the top is confusing (and fish-eyed) and the layout is cumbersome.

The "About Us" page needs MAJOR work. Writing in the first-person is frowned upon, and as soon as you bring up
Just because I am so young doesn't mean that I can't do for you what a major company could do at a much more fair price.
a customer connects that to the earlier "basement" comment, connects the dots, and will bail.

Also, the "About Me" section will work against you. Unfortunately, these kinds of things (bio-sketches) really only work in psychology/psychiatry, journalism, and academia (where it's permitted by the journal).

I think your fee schedule ($100 flat-fee) will get you in trouble. For instance, were I evil and competing against you, I'd take my machine to you. What I'd not tell you is that I've cut one pin off the HDD connector, made an intermittent short between the motherboard and case, and done a few other nasty things. You'd spin your wheels for maybe a day and get backed up. I, on the other hand, would be free to turn 10 normal systems around (as I'd be there for your overflow). All it would cost me is $100. You should also put a bottom cap on the amount you'd be paid. If you don't, and you re-seat RAM for me and then want to charge $60 on-site, then I'm going to pro-rate it, give you your $1, and tell you to sue me for the rest if you think you have earned your $60.

Finally, I do have a bit of advice for you as far as an appropriate toolkit, as I'm sure you don't have all the bits and pieces:
  • XX-piece computer repair kit (you likely have).
  • Torx screwdriver bits, specifically T8, T5, T10, T15.
  • Anti-static (grounding) wrist-strap.
  • Test code reader / POST-test card. These are expensive, but nothing's cooler and faster!
  • Compressed air.
  • Screws, fasteners, motherboard standoffs, paper washers, etc.
  • Band-aids, Nu-Skin, and other medical gear. Some cheap cases are SHARP. People don't like blood on their carpet. ;)

More specs and pictures.

I'm confused about your special of the day. Specifically, as Windows XP with valid license is about $Almost as much as the special, I don't see how it's possible to make money on the deal. If you are *ahem* eliminating the cost of a Windows license (which I don't think is the case), I'd advise against it (MS and the SBA really go after small businesses much more so than individuals.

Also, if you're doing business, you'll need a business license (about $20 or so) and maybe a zoning certificate/petition to conduct business in your parents' home (about $5-$20). I've done both, and it's a matter of filling in forms and taking them down to the city.

I think we've covered this ground before, but it came up above. I myself have my own domain name through GoDaddy, and my hosting is done through HostGator. I've not had issue, and I'm a pretty technical guy. :p
 
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ShippoFox

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Get a real domain name...
I wouldn't have said it in such a blunt way as that, but getting a .com domain isn't very expensive. It's like $10 a year (not counting webspace).

I think your fee schedule ($100 flat-fee) will get you in trouble. For instance, were I evil and competing against you, I'd take my machine to you. What I'd not tell you is that I've cut one pin off the HDD connector, made an intermittent short between the motherboard and case, and done a few other nasty things. You'd spin your wheels for maybe a day and get backed up. I, on the other hand, would be free to turn 10 normal systems around (as I'd be there for your overflow). All it would cost me is $100. You should also put a bottom cap on the amount you'd be paid. If you don't, and you re-seat RAM for me and then want to charge $60 on-site, then I'm going to pro-rate it, give you your $1, and tell you to sue me for the rest if you think you have earned your $60.
Isn't that stuff fraud or something similar? If not, then it's still definitely dirty tactics. Either way, good point... it is a good idea to try to avoid running into problems like that. Terribly mean or not, some people don't care if they're doing unkind things if they have something to gain from it. :(

Also, if you're doing business, you'll need a business license (about $20 or so) and maybe a zoning certificate/petition to conduct business in your parents' home (about $5-$20). I've done both, and it's a matter of filling in forms and taking them down to the city.
What about people who do commissions, like furry art? Are they technically supposed to do all that crap too? Though I am surprised.... that isn't very expensive. I think a lot of people just do stuff under the table though. Unless you start making big profits, no one usually cares (at least as far as I know) It is nice to be able to say you're completely official though, I think.
 
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Isn't that stuff fraud or something similar? If not, then it's still definitely dirty tactics. Either way, good point... it is a good idea to try to avoid running into problems like that. Terribly mean or not, some people don't care if they're doing unkind things if they have something to gain from it. :(
People are douches, and business agreements are made on paper in accord with what's printed on the paper. If someone's young, some jerk may just boot them out of their house and say, "here's your $1. Good luck in court, if you want to go." I myself was stiffed by a client many many moons ago by an agreement that wasn't on paper and went wrong. He stuck me for $200 in hardware (that I paid for up-front) and $400 in labor. Needless to say, I will never EVER consider doing work for "Dan V." again; he was a big shot realtor in Arizona, and pretty much pulled the whole, "Hey, thanks. Good luck getting payment from me" thing.

Long story short, draw up a standard agreement and MAKE SURE it specifies minimum fees and an "escape clause" for you or the client ("at my discretion, I may declare a problem unsolvable. If this happens, you - the client - owe me the minimum fee plus half my hourly rate"). This gives everyone a common understanding over what will happen if a computer is busted beyond repair. You can always ignore this clause and waive off payment if you feel it the right thing to do, but this will protect you from people chewing up your time.

What about people who do commissions, like furry art? Are they technically supposed to do all that crap too? Though I am surprised.... that isn't very expensive. I think a lot of people just do stuff under the table though. Unless you start making big profits, no one usually cares (at least as far as I know) It is nice to be able to say you're completely official though, I think.
They should at least draw up a contract between the two parties. However, with art, it's tricky. Where do you draw the line between "difficult" and "impossible" commissions? Furthermore, as art is subjective, if the client isn't pleased, and the artist has put 20 hours into creating the image (and thinks it rocks), then where is everyone left?

The whole business license thing serves a few purposes:
  1. Legitimacy - it's helpful to walk into a court as an LLP or LLC. More helpful still to walk in with a contract and an attitude of, "everything is above the board; look at the [fair and reasonable] contract ... that the customer signed"
  2. Legality - if you are advertising, this will ensure you're "above the boards." Also, if you have a zoning exception/exemption, you can hang a shingle (12"x12" in my area, others will vary) marking your place of business.
  3. Tax purposes - if you drive to your client's sites as a private person, you eat that cost. If you drive as a business, you write-off those miles. Also, if you buy supplies/equipment for the business, that's a business expense.
 

ShippoFox

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Oh here's another idea too. You could require some/all of the payment in advance. And after reading h3g3l's post, it seems like a very good idea to have everything on paper!

h3g3l said:
They should at least draw up a contract between the two parties. However, with art, it's tricky. Where do you draw the line between "difficult" and "impossible" commissions? Furthermore, as art is subjective, if the client isn't pleased, and the artist has put 20 hours into creating the image (and thinks it rocks), then where is everyone left?
Hmm yeah, I guess it explains why artists like to have all the details of what the person wants before they start. Then sometimes, they'll be nice and allow some changes when possible.
 

element

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  1. Legitimacy - it's helpful to walk into a court as an LLP or LLC. More helpful still to walk in with a contract and an attitude of, "everything is above the board; look at the [fair and reasonable] contract ... that the customer signed"
  2. Legality - if you are advertising, this will ensure you're "above the boards." Also, if you have a zoning exception/exemption, you can hang a shingle (12"x12" in my area, others will vary) marking your place of business.
  3. Tax purposes - if you drive to your client's sites as a private person, you eat that cost. If you drive as a business, you write-off those miles. Also, if you buy supplies/equipment for the business, that's a business expense.
To be fair, you can still deduct mileage (if it's not commuting) and other business expenses as an independent sole proprietor, too. A business license legitimizes your operations under your municipality, but it doesn't automatically form a separate business entity (although a DBA - doing business as - is fairly easy to obtain in most cities). Incorporating into an LLP or LLC is nowhere near as simple as you make it out to be (especially when you consider the additional organizational costs you'll incur for taxes, corporate registration, etc.) and for a simple computer repair business started by an 18 year old, unless he's planning on making it his career, is overkill.

That doesn't change the fact that proper documentation should always be in order, just to cover your own ass. Keep your receipts, sign agreements, and make sure you're making sure you don't get screwed. Even if you're not a "business", if you've got an agreement that your client violated, you can still take him to small claims court often times with substantial success.
 

Bryce

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So many things wrong with this. I'll just list them out.

1.) Table Layout. Use CSS for positioning, etc
2.) 67 Errors, 4 warning(s) - Validate it
3.) It's made with Microsoft Small Business something, I don't even know but code the site yourself, program generated code is god aweful. When you learn something, learn to do it right the first time and you'll save yourself a lot of hassle.
4.) Horrible placement of the Search Box. What do you even need it for? Doesn't seem like you do.
5.) The images are to flashy (Today's Special, etc).
6.) Style your form! No one likes an ugly input form.
7.) The "Call Us #" image, remove it. What if the person has images disabled for some reason? They can't see the number then.

There's a TON more things wrong that you could improve on. If you want more detailed input, go post it at Designers Talk in the General Discussion and wait ~3 hours and you'll see all the replies if people care about it enough to talk about it. I hate to burst your bubble, but seriously go read some Web Design books and read up on HTML and CSS Tutorials. Oh, also PHP, ASPX sucks majorly. And STOP USING A PROGRAM TO DRAG AND DROP THINGS. You learn more by coding it yourself. Notepad2 is an excellent replacement for Notepad.

If I was looking for a business to do what you're doing, I'd take .1 seconds to look at your site and go "WTF do they do?" and move on to another site that looked more professional and had information easily seen.
 
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