Rewriting web pages

I’m rewriting a couple of web pages.

This is what the current page looks like. (click on the image to see a larger version.)
screenshot pioneerloan

The people that own the website have been using this same basic script for years. It was first written by a guy who claimed to be an expert at online sales.

Does anyone else see the problem?

Here’s what I see.

    You’re selling something, right? So why would you put the product below the contact information?
    By putting the cute “click to call” buttons first on the page you’re assuming that a potential customer already knows about you and your product; in this case title loans.

But this company offers two different types of loans, under two different licenses.

    The first is an installment loan which combines interest and principle in each payment. At the end of seven months everything is paid at the end of contract. –Higher payments, but, paid off at the end of the contract.

    The other is a thirty day loan. Which, in the State of Nevada, means that the client can make interest only payments, with the principle and any other fees due in full at the end of the contract. –Lower monthly payments, with a balloon payment at the end of the contract.

These are very different types of loans with very different monthly payments. To my way of thinking, this important information, not something I would want pushed down the page.

As a potential client, I want to know what my options are. If they don’t tell me in the first few lines, I’ll hop in my car and drive to the nearest competitor. After all, they’re all the same aren’t they?

In a world where people expect instant gratification, if you don’t tell the potential customer/client what you’re selling, they lose patience and immediately start searching for someone who does.

As an even worse example, this same company had a car lot.
The website they had built was beautiful. It had bold colors and large hero images with a great sales pitch.
The problem was that there was nowhere to click for information and not a single alt or title tag on any of the images for Google to read.
If search engines have nothing but pretty pictures to look at they can’t index the site, leaving no way to find it without knowing the name of the company.
It sure was pretty, and would have made a wonderful full page ad in a glossy magazine. However, as a website it sucked.

I’ll get off my soapbox with this final reminder.
When writing for a website, tell the public what you’re selling and tell the search engines what they need to know to index the site.

Featured images and sizes

Featured images grab people’s attention, and may even get them to look at your latest and greatest shining bit of wisdom.

You can use your latest book cover (in which case I’m jealous) or a free image from Unsplash, because in an increasingly visual world, pictures help.

The problem starts when we just throw any old image on to our site without regard for size.

For instance the featured image for this post is png-24 at 1024 x 683 pixels.

While it resizes nicely, it weighs in at 1.3meg, which is a lot of data to move. Especially on a smartphone data plan or a slow connection.

And, can you imagine how slow your website will be if you have several of these trying to load at the same time?

So, here are a two examples that show the difference in size when you dumb them down just a little bit.
300-200 table
This image is png-8 dithered and 300 x 200px and is 133k.

200-147 table
And this last image is also png-8 200 x 147px and only 25k.

I don’t use a lot of images so, the WordPress “featured image” function is fine for an article attention getter.

The only thing I do is sometimes crop the image, resize it for use on the web, then upload it with a different name than the original. In this case I used the image size in the name.

While I use Adobe Photoshop for all most all my images, I’m about to go on social security, which means no money for a monthly rental fee. Fortunately, I have a work-around for that problem.

If you need to work with images and you don’t have a lot of money, Gimp does almost everything you might need. It’s available for Linux, OSX, and Windows, and best of all, it’s free. –Even starving writers can afford it.

–Climbing down off my soapbox and fading into the background.–