Constructive Criticism of my site

Discussion in 'Website & Graphic Reviews' started by ArchTrend, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. ArchTrend

    ArchTrend
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    I am new to BAF and in my introduction it was suggested to me that I make a post here and get some feedback from you guys.

    I have started an investment newsletter web site: ArchTrend.com. The advice given in the newsletter is beating the market so I would think that I would have more subscribers than I could shake a stick at, but I am having trouble getting quality traffic and getting subscribers.

    Do you have any advice on how I can improve my web site so that once people get there they are more likely to subscribe via email or RSS? Does my site look stupid or untrustworthy? Are things hard to find?

    Do you guys have any advice as to how I can improve my traffic?

    Here is what I have tried so far:
    *Ads on Craig's list
    *LinkReferral.com
    *posting to investment forums with links to my site in the signature.

    My short term goal is to get email and RSS subscribers by giving the investment newsletter for free.

    My longer term goal is to charge for premium content and still give a way some content.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback, good or bad, or even harsh.

    Thank you very, very much for your help.
     
  2. Kay

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    It's a nice professional looking site, ArchTrend but what strikes me is there's not much that holds my attention once I got past the main page in all honesty. Please remember this is only one person's opinion and take it in the spirit it's given. I'm trying to help and look through an investor's eyes. :)

    For example, I looked at your latest newsletter after the main page. You have all the details on how your organization judges the market conditions and whether you stand with the bulls or the bears. This precedes any mention of the stocks you're interested in. Most stock newsletter readers want to see those stocks first and foremost in my opinion and then your logic last. I think it's page 5 before you list them.

    If I were you, I'd reverse the order of that. Even if you just began with " Our current portfolio:" and listed the stock symbols, they'd know it was coming later. (Your Fundamentals section has a typo btw-I'm guessing "this has been putting downward pleasure on the stock market" should be "pressure".)


    We're at the bottom of page 4 of 6 before you start talking really about the stocks themselves under Actions.

    Now as a reader I'd be repeating your "that's it" with a question mark, I'm afraid. You don't say anything anywhere in the newsletter on why you bought it, what caught your eye, what makes you think it's interesting.

    I know how very careful you have to be with stock newsletters to make clear it's not investment advice. You've made that crystal clear in your disclaimer but so many investors look at newsletters with a "what's in it for me" attitude. They subscribe to dozens and skim them before the market opens or at the weekend for any insights.They all want to make money or get out of something that looks like it's ready to tank.

    Look at it from an investor's viewpoint. If I had twenty thousand dollars to invest, why would I be interested in what your group buys if you don't give me an insight into your thinking or a reason to buy it or avoid it myself?

    You can't build trust with readers when they don't understand your reasoning thoroughly. I always think of stock newsletters as a good place to start looking for something new before you do your own DD but someone just mentioning a symbol alone wouldn't entice me to look at it.

    If you did explain your selection, I'm sorry but I missed it and probably so did others if it's there. If it was discussed in a previous newsletter, even a line referring to that would help in the current one.

    After I've finished reading it, I felt a bit disappointed. I didn't get any stock tips. It's not clear what you want me to do if anything. Do you want me to invest in what you're investing in? Doesn't seem so. Do you want me to use your trading system? If so, how do I do it? There doesn't seem to be any kind of call to action.

    I don't mean to sound overly critical and hope it's not coming across like that but I am honest. Here's what I'd do:

    I would add more solid information to the newsletter in terms of your holdings and what spurred you to buy/sell, ArchTrend. You can state throughout it's just opinion and your thoughts, of course. Give some historical background on the companies you choose - not just the Yahoo version of it, your own. Imagine you were telling someone over a beer why you find a stock attractive or think it's one to drop/avoid.

    I think you need a more personal approach integrated there to balance all the technicals because for a beginner especially, they're not going to follow that side but can understand what you mean if you say a company tripled their profits in five years.

    If you plan to charge for content, you need to make your newsletter so good as a free one, that they'll be saying " wow! if that's what I get free, what will I get if I pay?".

    I'd suggest you subscribe to some of the most popular free investor newsletters and look at theirs from a content point of view. See how they lay it out, what they talk about, if they have special offers, guest writers, free ebooks they give away on their site, etc etc. Figuring out what would entice you personally to sign up can be a big help in seeing what attracts others.

    The Past Performance tab was interesting but again is all about your system as far as I can tell. It doesn't tell me what I want to know as an investor - how can I save or make money? I didn't take the tour admittedly given I have the attention span of a gnat for those kind of things so I may be wrong there in my speedy judgment.

    I think it looks good overall, ArchTrend, I really do. It's easy on the eyes and has a nice layout. But if your newsletter is going to be the primary point of focus to draw paying customers to the site, it needs some more meat on the bone. You also need to try make it user friendly not only to the more seasoned investors but the newcomers as well. Not easy I know but not everyone knows what a P/E ratio is. (A site glossary of investment terms would be a nice addition actually.)

    An RSS feed wouldn't go wrong in your sidebar with stockmarket headlines to give it a more interactive feel and keep the main page interesting. Yahoo does one that can be customized if you wanted to just include the symbols in your portfolio and pick up their news, or you can select premade ones from various sectors or commentators.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/rssindex

    Hope that helps! I'm sure the others will pitch in too. Don't hate me! LOL. ;) Take what's useful and discard the rest.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    #2 Kay, Dec 14, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  3. Kay

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    Yikes! That was one long long ramble there I wrote I just realized. I'm sorry ArchTrend, I didn't mean it to go on for so long. My thoughts meander far too easily. I wish you all the best with your site and am sure it'll be excellent. :)
     
  4. Fergal

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    You got some great advice from Kay, Arch. Just a couple of quick suggestions from me.

    Have you considered using a blog format for your site? After looking at the first page I expected to see a link at the bottom for older content. I realise that you do have a link to older PDF versions of the newsletter, but this probably not as user-friendly as the content would be in blog format.

    The site doesn't resolve very well in 800 x 600 screen resolution in Google Chrome, you might want to have a look at that.

    I signed up for your newsletter, I'm confident that you don't spam anyone or pass on those email addresses. After signing up, the confirmation page, didn't appear to contain a clear link to bring me back to your site.

    You might want to look at some of your link titles from a SEO perspective. For example, "Investment Newsletter Archive" will do more for your SEO than just "Newsletter Archive".

    Good luck with it and please keep us updated on your progress.
     
  5. Nazreen

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    Aside from the comments and suggestions from Fergal and Kay, you might want to remove the disclaimer on your homepage and put it in a separate link instead. I don't think it would be good that the first thing you see in a website would be the disclaimer.

    It was also mentioned in the disclaimer what ArchTrend publishers are not but it doesn't mention what they are. Are they experienced investors, economists, or financial commentators? You should be answering the question why investors would want to trust your publishers.

    As mentioned by Kay, I've also found some typo errors and mistakes in grammar in your site. You might also want to look into this.
     
  6. ArchTrend

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    Thank you all very much for your comments. They are very helpful and very much needed.

    To sum up what you guys have found so far:

    *Need to improve the newsletter's layout, specifically I need more description as to why I am buying and selling, among other things.

    *Fix typos in the newsletter and in the site. Sorry about that. Those should never have gotten through.

    *Look into using a blog format.

    *Improve page titles for SEO reasons.

    *Improve how pages look in Google Chrome.

    *Look into making changes to the Disclaimer.

    *Look into adding a stock info feed to the site.

    Please let me know if I have missed anything.

    Again thank you very much for your feedback. It can only help make my site better and more helpful to people.

    I will be sure to keep you all up to date as to how things are progressing.
     
  7. Kay

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    Sounds right to me, ArchTrend. :) I agree with Fergal, a blog format could well be easier to update. I use WordPress all the time and there's some really nice finance related themes out there that are free. You can add a Feedburner plugin to your site for email subscriptions so that when you update a new blog entry it automatically sends that in full, pics included, to your subscribers.

    The only thing that might be a bit problematic with that for you is (as far as I can tell) there's no way to schedule when Feedburner sends them out. It drops in their inbox first thing the following morning after it's posted usually in my experience, but as you know with stocks, timing is everything.

    There may be a way to set it though that I'm not aware of because I'm pretty new to that feature. If you make more than one blog entry, it'll bundle them all in one email so the person doesn't get loads and if you don't update, nothing gets sent (obviously).
     
  8. Nazreen

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    You might also want to add in the recent news or at least links to these news in your website ArchTrend. News about stocks, data and geopolitical events are very important to traders and investors alike. An economic calendar would also be nice.

    A great draw for visitors are freebies. Free ebooks on investing and trading, fundamental and technical analysis, and the like will surely increase traffic to your site.
     
  9. Fergal

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    Doing all those things would lead to a great improvement in your site Arch. Before promoting your site, you want to ensure that you have a site worth promoting. It is important that your first time visitors see a site that they like and want to re-visit. You can't afford to create a bad first impression of your site, which could result in visitors who don't return.

    You might also consider running a small competition encourage visitors to subscribe to your feed. Perhaps you could even give something free, such as an e-book to every subscriber.
     
  10. scifi

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    Hi Archtrend!!
    Well your newspaper is region specific or it can be applied to stock markets in general all over the world..???
    Such type of newsletter will help you get traffic at very large volume only if you would able to create a confidence in public about the quality of information & news in your letter which should be your priority!!
     
  11. ArchTrend

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    Hello All,

    I just wanted to keep you posted as to what I have been doing.

    *Look into using a blog format. --It was suggested that I download WordPress for this. WordPress only works in a PHP environment. My host is a windows/ .net environment. I am going to look into Movable Type or using a hosted blog like Blogger.

    *Look into making changes to the Disclaimer. -- I talked that over with my lawyer and he suggested that I leave the disclaimer on all pages the way it is. I am going to one of these days create an About Us page that describes who we are and why we might be qualified to give investment advice.

    Thank is it so far. Maybe I can make more progress this weekend.

    Thanks.
     
  12. ArchTrend

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    Hello All,

    Apparently Movable Type requires database management systems that my host does not require.

    I might have to use something along the lines of blogger.
     
  13. Kay

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    Sounds like it's all moving along nicely, Archtrend. :)

    I've never used blogger because their setup doesn't appeal to me. As far as I'm aware blogger mainly offers it as a subdomain of their own site, like archtrend.blogspot.com, which means they can pull the plug on your blog anytime they want. Really I wouldn't want to put a lot of work into something and have it disappear one day.

    I can also tell you from an advertising point of view, advertisers on blogs are happy to have a link in your sidebar but more and more I see them saying you must have your own blog on your own domain. They'll add something like " no .blogspot.com, xanga or MySpace type accounts" to their criteria.

    That said, it appears that you can have it point to your domain name with them still hosting it and not have the subdomain URL. Just something to think about if you're considering adding a blog as opposed to running the whole site with one. Maybe someone using blogspot just now can share more insight on that because I could be wrong in my assumptions somewhere of how they work. :)
     
  14. Fergal

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    Arch thanks for the update and glad to hear things are moving forward for you.

    Have you spoken to your host to ask them what blogging platform you could use?

    Blogging is such a fundamental part of the Internet that your host should be able to facilitate you in some way. If they can't then frankly you are with the wrong host. I agree with Kay on the advantages of using a hosted blogging solution such as Blogger.

    Have you considered making the disclaimer text ever so slightly smaller than the rest of the text on every page? It might be worth asking your lawyer if a link on the bottom of every page, to your disclaimer would be adequate. In that way everyone who reads any content on your site will see a link to your disclaimer and have the opportunity to read it.
     
  15. Nazreen

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    If you had the disclaimer text in every page in your website, I'm afraid that it will look like trash. If you look at most investment sites, they only provide a link to the disclaimer at the bottom of each page. A good example would be Yahoo! Finance website.

    Glad that you already have some progress. :)
     
  16. Fergal

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    Lawyers will always err on the side of caution. However, it is always important to get their advice.
     
  17. Kay

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    With all due respect, I disagree. It's his livelihood and it's better to err on the side of caution than have a lawsuit on your hands. Regular readers of stock market opinion sites are well used to seeing that kind of thing and expect it to be there.

    You're misinformed about Yahoo Finance there, Nazreen. They do not only provide a link to a disclaimer page. It's in the footer of every single page you look at that the information provided is not investment advice, whether it's a news item page, taxes or whatever. This is what it says with slight variations depending on the section you're in. If you scroll to the very bottom you'll see it. That is an abbreviated disclaimer but a disclaimer nonetheless.

    You may want to consider a slightly more condensed version ArchTrend, and then link to your full disclaimer but I certainly wouldn't take it off every page completely. On 2oversold we're far less subtle because we put it in bold at the bottom of our blog entries too that this isn't investment advice plus have a disclaimer. I honestly think yours is fine as it is. You can't go wrong with protecting your business.
     
  18. ArchTrend

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    I have been looking at wordpress.com to host my blog. They have a feature where you can export all of your blog entries to an XML file. So that way I can still keep my blog entries in case I need to leave. I think I can create a sub domain at my host and point it to that blog. So that doesn't sound too bad to me.

    My host does offer a point and click installation of wordpress but:
    *wordpress.com is much, much faster than my host.
    *again word press only works in a php/linux type of platform and I am on Windows.

    Maybe I can get my blog up and running this weekend and have something to show you guys.
     
  19. ArchTrend

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    Thanks Kay. I have to admit I would be pretty nervous about taking the whole disclaimer off of every page. I will think it over and maybe bring up the abbreviated disclaimer/link to a full disclaimer idea with the lawyer.
     
  20. Fergal

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    Thanks for the update Arch, please post a link to your blog here, once you get it started.
     

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