Reviewer Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott visits the "Black Hills Explorer vacation guide." ... site owners originally posted this request to WDR:
Built as a vacation travel guide to the Mount Rushmore, Black hills region of South Dakota and Wyoming to promote tours, Black Hills tourism and area tourism based commerce. Designed to be visually pleasing, user friendly, informative and eventualy sell tours. Do we meet these goals and does this site ultimately make you want to tour/travel this region.
Black Hills Explorer Vacation Guide
Critique by Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott
"Beautifully laid out clean and simple. Overall I would give it an 8.5."
I view the Internet on a 17" wide screen monitor, so when I view your site, the text is neatly centered in a 5"-6" area. The navigation is far to the right, and the logo is far to the left.
Observations & Recommendations
- Consider revamping the tables to the center or flush left about 728 pixels wide -- this will still make a nice page for all viewing sizes -- without changing the look for the 800 x 600 norm.
- You probably shouldn't let the text flow out to the full width of the screen. In my case, as would be the case of thousands of readers, the screen would have about 10 lines of text about 12" wide.
- Be careful: the reader may not understand the photos related to the links in the body area of the site. Perhaps readers would prefer to see photos related to the topics -- for example, a Mount Rushmore picture with the link for Mount Rushmore. This would be more logical. The attractions page does a great job of using photos that capture the link's topic.
- Consider making the photos clickable rather than just the link. You can keep the border set on the photo to 0 (zero) and it won't look any different. You will also want to make sure to use ALT tags, in case viewers have their graphics function turned off. [Remember, under the new CSS specifications, ALT tags are required or the page won't validate!]
Keywords META tag
Even though most search engines don't look at this META tag, it is still advisable to put thought into it -- you never know when it will be resurrected. Your tag for the main page is good, with a few minor points.
[ meta name="KeyWords" content="Mount Rushmore, Black Hills, Mt Rushmore vacation, Black Hills Vacation, Mount Rushmore Vacation, vacation, travel, Mt. Rushmore, tour, guide, South Dakota, wyoming, Black Hills National Forest, Black Hills information, attractions, travel, maps, pictures, weather, devils tower, badlands" ]
Not a bad list, with the exception of: tour, guide, attractions, travel, maps, pictures, and weather. The terms are too generic.
Consider thinking of the area you are in and using the following: tour guide Dakota, South Dakota tours, Dakota Attractions, South Dakota map, US Attractions, etc. While US Attractions is still very generic, it narrows down the term to the area you are in, rather than attractions -- which could be anything, including the mating rituals of the gooney bird in spring.
Consider breaking down each page, starting with generic on the Attractions page, and becoming more specific on “inside" pages.
Your list of keywords on the attractions page
[ meta name="KeyWords" content="Mount Rushmore, Mt. Rushmore, Black Hills, vacation, travel, tours, guide, map, directions, attractions, Crazy Horse, Sturgis Rally, Deadwood, churches, church, Native American, pow wow, wild west, hotel, dining, trails, activities, events, gallery" ]repeats a lot of the terms you already have on your main page. Consider keeping to the topic of the page itself, such as: Mount Rushmore Attraction, South Dakota sights, South Dakota Attractions, etc
Again, remember to use relevant terms, and not too generic.
This is nicely laid out, and the mouseovers are great. You should include ALT tags, in case your viewer has the graphics function turned off.
Links off of your site
You don't want to lose your customers.
On the page sights.htm, each attraction link takes the reader to a different site. If your visitor leaves your site, they are less likely to “back up" to return. Consider having these links open in a new window -- this way, when they are done visiting the other site, your window will still be open.
Work on finding related, quality links. This is not as prevalent as it has been in the recent past --
but still makes for good relations.
Be particular to which site you link to, and do not be “forced" into it. If you don't want to link to a site, then don't.
Submit your site to DMOZ [Open Directory Project] and Google Directory. These are two areas that will boost your rankings.
On the whole, a wonderfully designed and clean site -- optimized and
ready for the search engines.
Even without any of the suggestions I offered, your site will do well.
Thanks for the excellent critique, Suzanne!
Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott is the principle creative force behind OneWay Advertising and Design
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