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.

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.

Commencing:

Nikolas, administrator for www.webdigity.com, 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.

4 Comments:

At October 04, 2006 2:14 PM, Blogger The EoJ said...

Greetings my dear Nikolas, it is I, the Entrails of Jebediah! Why Jebediah? Why, Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield is the founder of the town of Springfield. As grandpa Abe Simpsons would often say "Well my story begins in 19-digity-2. We had to say 'Digity', 'cause the Kaisers have stolen our word '20'. I would have chased the man that took it, but gave up after Digity-6 Miles."

"Hot digity!"

In other words, hotdigity.com would probably have been a better choice but alas it has already been taken... bet you're kicking yourself now that you're stuck with webanything.com. Typically when you create a name or URL for a product, you tend to try to be somewhat descriptive with the name, as opposed to using redundant ambiguous terms such as webdigity. A good example of a forum dominated site that has done a fine job in terms of naming and other things would be fatwallet.com. Yes, yes we all know a few such nondescript company names as google, yahoo, and etc. but notice that they have spent millions of dollars to become synonymous with their products. Even such names as Amazon says more about the company than... Webdigity.

As for the design of your site, I don't have any major gripes because you have a lot of users, thus bandwidth would be a concern if you were to load it with custom images and graphics. But seriously, must we see overdone power blue for yet another out of the box forum? As for the lifesaver, pencil, funny looking dog, box with something coming out of it (possibly the funny looking dog with down syndrome) and several coffee cups... You are not giving your users a unique experience. This looks exactly the same as 95% of forums out there. A little custom tweaking would really change how first time viewers experience your site, and thus increase the chances of them joining and returning later. You have a great idea in terms of the product yet you didn't bother to present it properly. Which site would you spend more time at? A "professional, valid site" built by Edelman here or... a site built with a geocities template? That's right, a geocities template would attract far more viewers and provide for a much better experience than some crap churned out by Mr. Fix-my-site-and-by-fix-I-mean-make-fun-of-it-so-you'd-be-motivated-to-fix-it-yourself.

Another mistake that a lot of forum based sites make is that their main page is the forum itself. Thus newcomers are immediately bombarded with probably 20 topics/sections with none of them explaining what the hell webdigity is. A simple cover page explaining what webdigity does would have done wonders, you can then ease the viewer into the forum instead of sucker punching them in the testicles like you did with me. I hate you. Really, check out fatwallet.com to see what I'm talking about.


In conclusion, this is already an out-of-the-box solution with a few tweaks set in, thus in my not so humble opinion, technically not a real website. And I can't exactly bitch about the poor choice of colors or the complete utter lack of negative space on a prepackaged template... I just can't... It's like molesting a baby elephant. See if you can coerce one of them many live in their parent's basement web developers on your forum to put something together for you in exchange for them Monopoly money you're giving out.

 
At October 04, 2006 2:19 PM, Blogger Edelman said...

For the record, FixMySite does not sucker punch. It punches suckas.

-Mgmt.

 
At October 04, 2006 4:17 PM, Anonymous Nikolas said...

Ok fellas, that was a very ammusing review, and the first review that really had something to point out (I mean all the other were just saying how great/custom/unique is webdigity...)

Webdigity doesn't mean something, and my intention on using this name, is to make a brand. hopefully most people like it (except those elephants...)

You are right about the front page of the site, and for the fact that the site consists more by a forum. That's why I've created the web design gallery, the tutorials section and the webmaster directory in the site, as my purpose is to make a webmaster community, not just a forum. I would also like to mention that those modules are custom made, and I have spend tons of hours modifying the SMF sources to make that site, so I wont get that "out of the box" thing.

Anyway thanks for the review guys, it really helped

 
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