Fix My Site

Does your site suck? Do you need professional advice? Do you not want to pay for this advice? Send me an email, and I'll take a look at your site and provide you with some real suggestions. By real, I mean real.

Monday, October 16, 2006

How To Land A Girl, Part I: Claim Her

I haven't really cracked into reviewing the blogging world, since, as you may or may not be able to tell by this garbage blog, I'm not an expert blogger, but I got this email and I couldn't resist. She sounds too pretty. I'm a sucker for pretty.

Brittany, vixen of, requests,

About That

Mr. Edelman,

I know nothing about all this crap, but I love the way you’s the hot. You are my only link on my page, so I figured why not. You know the drill; in case you forgot, follow my simple instructions below.

Review my site. Bitch.

Well well well...aren't we fiesty? Just how I like 'em. Hopefully you're not a 52-year-old woman pretending to be 22, because that would be, as you would say, the sad. And the creepy. I'll just pretend that you're a hot 22 year-old girl with a thing for guys who have nothing better to do than try to help hapless webmasters on his lame Blogger blog. I'm glad you like the way I write. Some people just come and see that it's a Blogger site and completely discredit it for no other reason than that. It's refreshing to hear that someone's actually reading this. I'm your only link, eh? I guess that means we're dating.

So, Girlfriend, let's talk about your site. Holy crap. Yeah, I said it. Have you seen your design? I mean, for the love of Texas Pete and various other hot sauces, it looks like you just took a default template from a free service and didn't do a thing to it. There's no way anyone will ever read anything on your site because the design is so cliché and bland and unoriginal and...oh, wait. I have one of those, too. Hmmm...isn't it great to be able to focus completely on content (of which yours is a-mazing, but more on that in a moment) without having to worry about design?

I'm sure guys hit on you constantly, so this analogy should hit home: So Guy1 takes you out to dinner and he's just the handsomest thing ever. However, the conversation consists of him staring at your chest and commenting on the deliciousness of the beer in his hand. Kinda sucks, huh? Now you can't ever wear that dress again because the popped seams from where he ripped it open with his eyes will remind you of that horrific date. This is kind of how your site is. People are just looking for flashy design to validate whether or not your content is worthwhile, but sometimes can't look past it, or don't even care. What they don't realize is any moron with enough cash to burn can drop $100 in the saliva pool collecting at the feet of blog designers, upload the design, and continue writing crap content. Who wants to read a blog that's 99% looks and 1% content? Is that even considered "reading" or just eye-raping?

So I applaud you on biting your thumb at the blogging community and not spending time or money on a design when a) you aren't going to be making any money off of this site, and b) you clearly don't care if people even like what you write. Your (hilarious) writing alone is enough to keep people coming back. You've already got more comments (and secret admirers) than me and your blog is a month old. I pretty much have to beg for comments, and I still don't get them (anyone? anyone?). While your posts are spread out, it almost adds to the quality of the blog. Sure, frequent posting is a good thing, and is the one thing I would suggest you do with this blog, but when you post more sporadically (and are consistant with your sporadicity) without too much time betwixt posts, people will keep coming back. Hell, I depend on my reader(s) checking back every once in a while, because I sure can't post every day. Sometimes it'll take a week or more for me to write a review. This one? Three months in the making, baby.

Oh, yeah, I did just call you baby. But I guess I can do that now that we're dating.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Mean, I Guess It's Fine

Karen Shanley, possible author of (I'm guessing here), declares,

Karen Shanley
I'm an author, not a site designer, as you'll see. What's there is what I could figure out how to do on my own....I'm open to any other suggestions you'd like to offer. Feel free to post to your site.

I would say it is safe to, well, say that you are indeed an author and not a site designer. That being said, I think your site serves your purpose well. You are a writer like me (eh, well, in the respect that we both write. You have, like, a book, media appearances, and money and stuff. I have, like, a blog and a degree that says I should know how to write), and while artistic with words, the whole drawin paintin buildin thing isn't our bag (we'll pretend I don't design sites, either). If your site was super flashy with all sorts of crazy rollovers and amazing web 2.0 graphic themes, I think it would take away from the book, which from the excerpt I read, is more earthy and real-lifey (and of course, well-written), kind of like what keeps people like me who spend their whole lives looking at glowing boxes out. Clearly, I'm not your audience, and neither are most people who would be looking for something flashier, so in that respect, this site is well done.

The design is appropriately simple and very clean. No crazy CSS tricks to be found in this site, kids. However, this doesn't mean you can't code it correctly in case you wish to do a reskin later. If you take a look at your code, you will find oodles of inline styling (inline styling meaning instead of using CSS, you're using attributes in your HTML tags and font tags, like <font size="3" face="Times New Roman, Times, serif">) and zero line breaks, making code editing harder than nailing jello to a tree (but easier than, say, eating jello that's been nailed to a tree, because let's face it, that ain't jello). My guess is that you have no idea what I'm talking about and wish I would stop, since I'm pretty sure you didn't hand-code your site. But regardless, as it is my duty, I must inform you that your code sucks more than the Wolverines (Go Bucks!). The reason I'd give you for making your code more editable is in case you decide to do another book, you could have a site ready for you without much coding. But again, moronically, I proceed knowing full well that you did not have a hand in coding your site. Ugh. Moving on...

Your writing and content, of course, is mediocre. If you really want to learn how to write, I suggest you read my site a few more times, since I'm clearly the only one on the interwebs who knows how to string a cogent sentence together. For reals, though, I like your writing. I, too, would like to maybe write something someday (as a few people have occasionally suggested I should (a few people being, like, one anonymous commenter)), but once more I get sidetracked, as this review is not about my hopes and dreams, but rather squashing yours, of which I have not been doing a good job.

If you haven't left the review by this point, it's probably just because you're curious to see how long I can BS my way through the review of a site that doesn't have a whole lot to it. Let's talk about your blog!

Earlier you came to me asking me for help with some coding issue you were having with your blog and I helped you. You wrote about me, and I blushed. My mother doesn't even say stuff that nice about me. Since then I've been a celeblogity (blogebrity? celebritogger?) and I have hordes of eager girls knocking on my door with markers trying to get me to sign various body parts and baby's foreheads. Honestly, the paperazzi, not that bad. A lot of facial hair, but let's be real, these guys live in bushes for most of their adult lives, waiting to pop out to catch that split second when their target is in some uncompromising position picking up their morning paper. So rather than fight it, I'll feel sorry for them and pose for a picture with my fingers, which is from where the power of my blogging ability stems. You should be able to catch my interview in such fantastic publications such as The New York Times, Highlights for Children, and Sports Illustrated. I picked those because that's how I roll.

Karen, I don't know what you'll get out of this post much more than, "I mean, I guess it's fine," and, "Really, Jason, don't you have anything better to do with your time?" Your site serves your purpose, and all the help I would give to an aspiring webmaster would be lost on you, anyways. So to add a smidge of value to this post, I present to you, a fish:


If you don't ever come back to read my reviews, I totally understand.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What the Digity? And Welcome, The EoJ

First and foremost, I’d like to introduce The EoJ, who, as soon as he gets his all his chickens in a row, will be guest contributing to this site strictly from a design perspective. He knows a little bit above crap about code, but he’s an excellent designer, so you will listen to what he has to say with the same merriment, wonderment, and excitement as you do me. Wow, that sentence can be read the complete wrong way. Maybe if you’re nice, he’ll even tell you what “EoJ” stands for, but don’t count on it. But believe me, you want to know. I don’t know what it means or how he came up with it, but good golly miss Molly. That’s all I have to say about that.


Nikolas, administrator for, pleads: Webdigity

Hi Jason,

I am Nikolas from webdigity. I wonder if you would like to review any of my sites to your blog.

Hi, Nikolas. I am Jason from Fix My Site. I wonder if you would like to tell me how do I really pronounce the name of this site? Is it like “web-dij-i-tee” or “web-diggidy”? I’ve been calling it the latter because I feel like it rolls off the tongue better (and occasionally I will randomly emit a paroxysm of “well webdiggidy dawg!” to the chagrin of those around me), but I can’t really tell which one it is for sure. Please sate the curious (me). And what’s a digity? Are there many species of digities, aside from the webular kind?

As for the site review, I suppose I should let my avid throngs of rabid fans (all four of you, including the cat in Sweden that will occasionally cross over the keyboard and mistakenly enter my URL and the creepy guy in Texas who types through a puppet he keeps on his hand. Don’t ask me how I know these things) know that this is a forum I frequent on occasion and that it took a lot of chutzpah on Nikolas’s part to submit this site, knowing the nature of my beast.

Fear not, though, Reader! He is not above my scrutiny, as no man, woman, child, beast, or beastie is above my objectively subjective wit, sarcasm, and majesty. Except for baby elephants. How do you critique a baby elephant, really? “Ooh, look at that, Stumbles, you can’t even walk you big dumb baby…who has been alive for less than an hour. Look at your tiny little trunk. I bet you can’t even eat…hay with it! What now, Rookie of Life?” I mean, that’s just not right.

As for the site, well, it’s kind of hard to review. Number one, it’s strictly a forum site. There isn’t much in the way of unique design, since this is an out-of-box forum template with a few minor graphical mods. I don’t really get the coffee cups as icons, but maybe that’s a Netherlands thing, since pretty much all they have over there are canals and coffee (and substances deemed “illicit” in the States). I was there for a week once. I would know.

During a portion of his rigorous training, The EoJ brought to my attention that the name of the site is Webdigity. No, EoJ does not stand for “Captain Obvious” or even “Eggie Orange Jaundice”, but rather he makes a good point. Most sites with “web” in the name tend to be looked down upon, since it seems a bit redundantly redundant. Of course you’re on the web; we really have no other way of looking at your site. It’s like a policeman saying, “I’m a policeman cop,” or a repairman saying, “I’m a repairmanmanman,” (Five points to whoever picks up on that reference). Although, I do realize that this is pointless to you, since to fix it you’d have to buy a new domain name and completely rebrand yourself. Talkdigity? HTMLdigity? Diggitydigity? Lesson to readers: carefully choose your site name before you do anything. Or, email me and I will tell you if your name sucks so you can start over before you start your web career clawing at the crusty sides of the web toiletbowl. Really, who wants that under their fingernails?

Pressing forward, I can’t knock the content and helpfulness of the users of this site. There are a lot of active members and a lot of good features and information. I still don’t understand the whole purchasing thing, since I tried to purchase something and nothing happened aside from my hard-earned “credits” mysteriously disappearing, but aside from that, there’s a lot of good going on here. I won’t go into the coding, since I’m sure you didn’t even touch the code, and thus my critiques would fall on deaf ears. I am definitely a fan of the seemingly random “position” title. I think more sites should make fun of their members routinely *coughcough*.

If you look at the screen shot above, you’ll notice that it is quite long. True, you can collapse each module, but even still, that’s a lot of information Tony Danzaing you in the face right when you open it up, and since the modules collapse on postback (ie, from server-side code, not client-side code), they can be annoying to close, so most people won’t. I would suggest either having them all contracted on entry by default or placing all the titles of the modules in one box and having them link to the section they represent.

Also, take a long, hard look at your homepage. Or at least try. Not much to it, huh? No images, no information, just a bunch of links going places. The trend today is to turn sites into portals, and for good reason. What’s nicer than having all your favorite sites, blogs, forums, and “photo galleries” *wink* (don’t think we don’t know, Nicky) in one location? While your site right now is strictly a forum site, you may want to include something like “news” or “Hot Digity of the Week (day? hour?)” with pictures of girls in tiny digities, or an RSS feed to Fix My Site. Just anything that someone who hasn’t been to the site before (or someone who visits often) has something to look at on your homepage. The more value you add to your homepage, the more people you’ll see stick around and register. Expand!

To summarize, what the smurf is a digity? Exactly. Still a good site, though, and I’ll be around making fun of people in your forums. Silly Netherlandithals.