Episode 41: A real website review and critique

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In episode 34 about customer feedback, I offered a free website review to three listeners of this podcast. One of them, Jose from hellospanish.co, has generously allowed me to share the critique publicly so that everyone can learn from it. Listen to the episode and check out the screenshots to get an idea of the visuals:


  • Finding out what your brand’s specific strengths are, and crafting an intriguing homepage headline (2:07)
  • Specific suggestions for getting more e-mail opt-ins (6:30)
  • Comments on site layout, design, and speed (8:50)
  • Clearly organizing your offers and products so that potential customers aren’t confused (12:14)



The tagline is catchy, but it’s not a realistic/natural value proposition. The e-mail opt-in bar could also be made more enticing through better wording and adding an opt-in gift.


It’s hard to understand the difference between the various programs and offers. Also, I initially actually thought this was six items (not two categories each containing two items) due to the formatting.


The site tests my patience; I often see this progress diamond while the page is loading. The website’s theme or the web host might be the culprit. Test your own site at http://tools.pingdom.com


The blog images are huge, meaning I have to scroll a long way to get an overview of the various posts.


There is a LOT of stuff at the bottom of each blog post. In fact, it took me 3 screenshots to capture it all!


There aren’t many comments on the site, so I would suggest removing this functionality.


Too many options mean there’s no clear next action for the reader to take.

  • Hi, Shayna! Thanks for taking the time to review my site and business. You gave me great insights and a lot of actionable advice!

    There are some things that I actually could accomplish since you gave me your comments.

    – The biggest win: I requested testimonials from my current students, and they were all positive! It was great not only because of the testimonials themselves (and the ego boost) but because I could use my student’s own description of my services for the copy of my site. They repeated that my lessons were “fun, engaging and efficient”, so that’s what people see first now when they come to my site.

    – I also created a free downloadable ebook on “Spanish-English cognates” to opt-in my email list. I shared it on my usual social networks, and it had some traction. After signing in, people start a mini-autoresponder informing about my services. However, I haven’t received any new lessons requests yet from it.

    – I also worked on the loading speed of the site. I installed some plugins that help reducing the loading time by compressing some files. I contacted my theme support and it looks like one of the biggest issues regarding loading time is that I’m using a shared hosting. So, eventually, I’ll move to a dedicated hosting service.

    – I completely changed the design of my homepage and now the call-to-actions are just: Lessons, Lead magnet, and more info (FAQs and Testimonials). I hope it works better.

    – I removed the comments, share buttons and tags from the blog posts. I also changed the blog page to show smaller images.

    And that’s it for now. After this, my main goal is to keep on working on the content, and drive more traffic to the site. But now it’s much clearer and more helpful for a new visitor when they come to hellospanish.co.

    It was great to receive comments from somebody as experienced as you. Thanks for your time and advice!

    • Thanks for the update; this is great! Way to take action 🙂 I’m especially glad you got nice testimonials and some specific words to use on your homepage.

      The thing to monitor with the downloadable e-book is conversion rate (# of email signups compared to overall # of unique website visitors) – compare that rate before you implemented the e-book, and after. According to this free course http://email1k.com/course/ (which is excellent by the way) a good benchmark to shoot for is 2%. I’m at about 1.7% right now. Eventually I’m sure that building your list and actively marketing to them will lead to more lesson requests.

      Definitely the next big win will be moving to dedicated hosting to speed up your site. I know it’s a bit annoying to spend more on hosting, especially when you’re still bootstrapping – that was a tough thing for me. (Heck, it still hurts… I just upgraded to an even higher/more expensive hosting level myself, ouch!) But look at it this way… if things haven’t grown after a year on the better hosting, you could always go BACK to shared… but I don’t think you’ll want to by that point.

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