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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

New website needs your review and feedback

I am a freelance programmer and I just created a new website for my business.  I know most of you guys write software to sell and one day I hope to be there but for now it is just whatever software creation jobs I can get.

I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the website.  please note that I haven't yet added any SEO to it.

Thanks in advance,

Website - www. adsi-sc.com
TD Send private email
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

If you're a single programmer, don't hide it.

The site is so blatantly a cliché of stock images that it's actually funny - and not in a good way.

White text on a black background is proven the hardest to read. Just don't.

You have a dramatic case study - but won't give us details?

Rather than continue to point out negatives, let me just say this; there are no positives. There is absolutely nothing about this site that engages, informs or encourages the visitor. In fact it's worse than that, as it obscures and discourages.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that you have so, so much room for improvement!

No, I'm not saying you should go for a long-winded site like mine, as we are different types of freelancers. However you do need to remember what you're selling, and bottom line, that's you. You're selling you.

I don't see you on the website? Worse, you're hiding behind a fake team of "we"?

One positive I like is that you're clearly aiming yourself at business clients. That's a good thing.

As a general guide to get you started, try putting yourself in the shoes of someone who might hire you. What would you look for? What would you want? What would put you off? Go from there.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The site is pretty horrific to be fair, with typos and inconsistent formatting.

The "blog" entry is terrible and stating that Delphi is being actively developed is unconvincing. It died with Borland.

Finally, using a website generator to build a portfolio site for someone who claims to be able to do websites is less than optimum.

Sorry for being so negative, just trying to keep it real.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Hi TD,

While I concur with Alan and Scorpio, here's a few other things you may want to consider.

-- General Image
From the client list and portfolio it appears you've been catering to smaller enterprises but the overall feel of the site (with stale stock photos) looks like you're trying too hard to appeal to corporate market. For many this is a turn-off. Add a little personality (i.e. yours) to the site and let visitors know they'll be dealing with a real person.

Had you considered a name change? adsi-sc.com doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

-- Address
In direct marketing I've read that using a P. O. Box (rather than a real live, physical address) will give your sales letter the kiss of death. I suspect using a UPS store would do the same.

-- Web Links
I don't really understand the relevance or intent of the chosen "Website Links" down the left-hand side (from the prospective of your prospects).  They may be meaningful to you, but are they meaningful to your business orientated prospects?

Perhaps links to articles/case studies on how bespoke software solutions have reaped rewards, garnered huge ROIs etc may be an alternative (i.e. educating the customer).

-- Portfolio
The portfolio images lack context and would induce, I suspect, a "so what reaction". Could you add some business relevant detail/description to each? What pain (business problem) did each solve and what was that worth to the client. Would "Slashed cost of 'X' by 82.5%" get more attention than reducing a task from 2.5 days to 3.5 hours. If this was a weekly task and labour cost was £20 per hour, this just saved $17,160 a year.

Also, like it or not, people like pretty-pixels. Eye-candy sells. Is there anyway you can spruce up the GUI images?

As nerds/geeks we tend to live-and-breathe technology. Our customers don't. Most customers don't understand (and don't want to understand) 'cloud', 'Delphi' and other geek-speak. Use their language. Talk to your existing customers and listen to the words they use; then use those.

-- Tools
"When a small business hires a software developer to create a software package for them they almost never ask what development tools the developer will be using, but they should."

Sorry, but I disagree.

Once I witnessed customers' eyes glaze over a few times, I learned long ago to avoid geek-speak and talk to customers in terms of problems, solutions, benefits, costs and ROI.

I've never asked my dentist what brand of drill he uses. It's not because I don't care (I don't) but I wouldn't know the differences between them anyway. If he one day tries to explain the features of his drill to me, he too will bear witness to a customer's eyes glazing over.

Most customers won't care (or know/understand/appreciate the difference between) a solution you develop in MS Access / FoxPro / Whatever.

All the best,
Marcus from London Send private email
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
As others have said, it's not great. You're missing a trick with your portfolio page.  No one is going to be impressed with fugly screenshots of very dull looking Delphi applications. What people are interested in the the benefits that software brings. Tell a story about how the software has generated massive benefits for your customers. Discuss usage and adoption strategies and user acceptance testing. Write something engaging that people might want to read.

Adding some meaty content that will drive traffic and potentially new customers to site. Make them believe that you are someone they can work with and that you can deliver the results they need on budget and on time.

As everyone has said, the stock images you're using make it look like your trying to appeal to some sort of vague corporate dystopia from the early 2000's. HTH
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Thanks everyone for your feedback.  I will take some time and digest your remarks. 

TD Send private email
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
After some thought, can you guys give me the URL's of some websites you think are great websites that belong to freelance programmers? 

TD Send private email
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Before you go down that path why don't you first define a few things rather than just copying someone Else's site?

- who's your target market? Who are you really trying to appeal to and attract as customer (everyone with a pulse and a wallet is not the right answer)

- who DON'T you want as a customer? Large corporates who may waste your time for months without an order.

- How you want them to perceive you (e.g. brown suit and serious like your accountant; young and funky like that Apple guy)

- The tone of voice and image you want to project

This is much about deciding what you DON'T want as much as you Do. Do bright/loud pastel colours represent you well? I didn't think so either, so that's one tone you can cross of your list.

Once you've got some clarity, you'll be able to look at other websites with some more clarity.
Marcus from London Send private email
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Thanks Marcus.  I am not interested in coping another's website, just trying to see what you guys think is more modern than the style I chose for my website.

I already know my target group which is the small business with 50 employees or less.  As for how I would like to present myself it is more business casual. 

I have another question regarding someone's advice to maybe explain what each of the pieces of software in my portfolio actually was used for.  I myself don't like the static screen captures so how about a short video of the app in actual use with text to explain what is happening on screen or maybe a voice explaining it?

TD Send private email
Sunday, November 30, 2014
The basics you need for a site at the moment is that it needs to be responsive. A responsive site renders correctly on any device. Google now actively penalise non responsive sites in the SERPS.

It's not a freelance programmer site, but have a look at http://macaw.co and see what happens when you scale the browser window. You need to get this sorted before worrying about content.

As a freelance programmer, you need to ensure that anyone can access you site on any device and that it will look good. After this, think about your target market, provide case studies with compelling content. Showcase your previous work in a more interesting and dynamic way.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Monday, December 01, 2014

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