PageRank & site traffic features
St Francis Persian Rescue has what is described as a “Three-month global Alexa traffic rank”… It is in the ‘Rescues and Shelters’ category and was given a global rank of 8,760,328 when I first looked. Alexa are now (February 2012) saying that it is 8,789,150 and www.checksitetraffic.com is saying it is 8,732,440. There are 6 pages on the site with a PageRank of 2/10 and 4 pages that have 1/10. Another area that is not very impressive is the amount of times that the official ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ is included in search engine results. On ‘Google index’, it rates as twenty! It is even worse with ‘Bing’, as it only rates as three! And as Bing now owns ‘Yahoo!’, this means that they produce exactly the same results.
Links & Social Media
The official site’s layout has been designed badly and is outdated. This could cause a big problem because users may lose interest, as it does not look very professional.
My redesign will improve the traffic for the company, as it is created in a modern style.
On Alexa, ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ has a score of 23 for its ‘Reputation’. This measures ‘stfrancisrescue.co.uk’s reputation by seeing the number of links to the site in the Alexa traffic panel. Some of these sites are squidoo.com, dmoz.org, webtothumb.com and catchat.org. I think that St Francis have missed some very important sites which they should have included – for example, they have not created ‘groups’ on Facebook or decided to ‘Sign Up’ on Twitter. This would help in gathering followers or fans on Facebook or Twitter, which could lead to increased traffic. YouTube also would have been helpful. One problem is that I have found when testing the 23 ‘Reputation’ web-addresses given by Alexa is that 4 of them did not work! These websites were: – webtothumb.com, allaboutdogsandcats.com, animalrehoming.co.uk and rescuereview.co.uk.
Webtothumb.com named two links to the Persian Rescue site, but neither of them worked; Allaboutdogsandcats.com said ‘404 – Not Found’; there was no such website as Animalrehoming.co.uk anymore and on Rescuereview.co.uk I could not find ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ with the link on Alexa or from using their search engine. I will keep looking. So that really makes the ‘Reputation’ only 19!
For competitors, a main use of the social media programs is viewing what your rivals are achieving. Quite often followers write messages back to the companies and from this you are able to see what is said and most importantly what is popular. Another area that can be helpful is to see how many members are in their group. If you also have a group for your company it can be compared! In the event that you are behind, you should try to use techniques that have worked for your successful competitor in order to promote the group. LinkedIn is another very good site to use to research rivals. Information can be quite easy to discover about the organisations as well as referring to associates.
SEO & Findability
I think that the SEO and findability of the site on Google and other search engines could be better. For example it does not appear in the top 20 pages, when I searched ‘St Francis’, which surprises me.
These are the phrases that St Francis Rescue have purchased, as shown by Alexa.
‘Persian Rescue UK’
‘Himalayan Rescue UK’
‘Can you take cats on holiday’
‘Persian Cats UK’
‘Persian Cats for Re-homing’
‘Persian Cat Rescue Adoption’
‘Persian cat rescue’
‘Persian cats rescue’
‘Persian cats for adoption’
‘Cat rescue uk’
‘Persian cat adoption’
‘Persian kittens for adoption’
‘Cat adoption uk’
This is quite a few, but I would definitely want the site to appear when ‘St Francis’ is entered on search engines. Some of the phrases are very similar e.g. ‘Persian cat rescue’, ‘Persian cats rescue’, ‘Cats rescue’ – it would be good to have some different phrases.
Visual Design & Ease of Use Changes
The original site’s navigation-bar is one of the areas that needed development. It has a very poor design and has been placed in a strange position that does not always stand out. It also has the problem that sometimes it is not obvious to operate. I very much dislike the colour choice for the navigation-bar, especially the yellow used to make the link noticeable when the mouse overlays it. This makes it worse, as then the words are not readable. I think that yellow does not mix with the other colours because it is far too light.
Too large a proportion of most pages are filled up with advertising and the adverts dominate the site. This only leaves a very small amount of space for the text box. The navigation-bar takes up the whole of the right side when it would have saved space and looked better if it was fitted neatly into the top of the page.
I do feel that having the page box too thin causes a big problem and makes the site look very weak. They have also included far too much text in small areas of the site, which makes it look cluttered. I would always prefer to have a lot more space in a site by keeping it simple and using creative, exciting and inventive ideas.
On the original ‘St Francis Persian Rescue’ site, the images that have been used look cheap and old-fashioned. The display of photos shows that the site creator had not used Photoshop many times before!
The font used is plain and quite faint (Arial). I sometimes prefer to use more unusual texts from ‘Google Webfonts’, so that they have not already been seen too many times before and gives a more personalised look.
One of the first tasks when I started redesigning the website was to choose the analogue colour scheme. I selected a Persian Blue colour (to go with the theme), Dark Magenta and Dodger Blue.
On one of the sites that I was using called www.colorhexa.com (to find out information about are the closest colours to the ones that I have used) it said that what I call ‘Persian Blue’ (roughly #412fe3) is 26.3% Red, 19.6% Green and 88.6% Blue in RGB. For CMYK it has 70.4% Cyan, 77.9% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 11.4% Black. ‘Dark Magenta’ (#ca1fc6) in RGB is 80% Red, 20% Yellow and 80% Blue. In the site it also says that ‘Dark Magenta’ for CMYK is 0% Cyan, 75% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 20% Black. ‘Dodger Blue’ (roughly #0093ed) was given for RGB 0% Red, 57.6% Green and 92.9% Blue. Whereas for CYMK it is composed of 100% Cyan, 38% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 7.1% Black!
I improved the official site’s layout, by making changes to how the adverts and navigation-bar are positioned.
I have moved the adverts to the right side, as the left would be where your attention would go first. I prefer to use this area to better for users and trust the ads will be sufficiently impactful so that the advertisers are not too concerned by this. Because of this I have positioned the second part of the navigation-bar there, so that they are both very clear to the users. I have also researched the Online Advertising and the companies that I liked best are AdSence and Kontera. I have tried to find a cheaper version of AdSence that is just as professional though.
The headers I have chosen to put in a large text size, I did this by setting them as size h1. It looks good on all web browsers, but especially Firefox! When sharpening up the look, as well as reducing the clutter of too many words in ‘Fund Raising Donations’ I used the toggle tool. The technique I used was practical, as you can see the start of the sentence, but you need to click on a button to see the rest. I also eventually managed to make the text box get longer when the toggles are used. I have updated and modernised the adverts, now some of them take the user to the destination. The font that I am used to make it look more professional is called “Lora”. I also decided that I had to keep using a photo of a cat inside the logo. This is because it shows users an example of how cute they look instead of a cartoon drawing. I am hoping that it will attract people to adopt them more often. I also changed the photo for a clearer one that appears more attractive. Then I used Photoshop to fade the edges to avoid the “cut from a magazine look”.
I have also made an easier to understand and read code, especially compared to the original site’s html 4.1 transitional versions. The main change I made was to adapt to XHTML 1.0 Strict. This is a more modern language, which is far easier to work with, use and sustain. Strict is used as the professional attribute of today. A main reason for this is the way that elements and design are separated. This makes it a lot easier to change the site’s layout.
DOCTYPE documents now say to avoid using HTML 4.01 Transitional if possible.
Also W3C have said, “Authors should use the Strict DTD when possible, but may use the Transitional DTD when support for presentation attribute and elements is required.”
Final Design Comments
I added onto each of my pages a Google toolbar, at the top. I feel that it is a great feature. Sometimes it can stop users from leaving, when they cannot find an area.
The jQuery Image slider can also add a lot of appeal to the website. For example it makes the page look more up-to-date; it shows some areas the site covers – without searching it!
The toggle helps not to use as much room and keeps it looking more acceptable i.e. not too full of text. They can also be quite interesting for the users. An attractive, colourful navigation-menu is also a very important part to be included. I used a gradient of purple and pink, which stands out, looks good and is easier to use. Overall, the website is easier to use and looks more professional in my opinion.