SITE REVIEW: RealAdventures.com

  • tsnyderawt
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  • tsnyderawt
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've been working on a travel portal (http://www.RealAdventures.com) for quite some time now. I think it looks great, but for some reason traffic and pages/visitor are still really, really low.

I can't figure it out. I've tweaked it this way and that, but to no avail. I know I am too close to the project to see glaring issues, so I'd like to ask the webmaster forum for their advice and review of the site.

When you have a chance, please provide your thoughts. I have pretty thick skin, so don't be afraid of letting it rip. I'd rather improve the site than stroke my ego.

If you want, I'd be happy to check out your site too.

http://www.RealAdventures.com
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • gba_m
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Here are my observations:

the site takes long to load.
the layout is fine but overall, it's not attractive. I think that you should should spice up your buttons a bit. Give them a 3d appearace or if you don't like 3d, give them flash transitions with mouse over effects
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Design-wise I don't see any issues with it. There is a lot of content, and you've made it easy enough to navigate. I don't know that I'd really suggest changing anything appearance-wise other than perhaps the addition of a search option. I missed that. On a site like your's I'd prefer to search for what I'm looking for rather than scanning through a bunch of pages with little to no success in finding what I had in mine. I think most people are inheritantly lazy that way and may explain why your pages per visitor is low. I know after checking through the first several categories and realizing each category I went to had multiple pages associated with it (organized in no apparent order) -- If I was truly looking for something I wouldn't look very long.

I'd also consider the economy and the fact that at least in the US, this isn't a good travel time of year anyway. But I'm sure you know that already. I looked at about a dozen or so destinations, and for me, they'd just be some nice daydream ideas. I couldn't afford most that I looked at.

I think if you added a search option and enabled a viewer to search by price/location/quality/type, etc....you'd see better results.
  • pdrodriguez
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Greetings Real Adventure!

You mentioned Low Traffic? (I guess everything is relative) What is considered good traffic for you? Anyways, here are a few comments I had:

Site Design: Looks very clear, concise. I agree with the previous review that you should add a search function. When I first went to the site, I was initially overwhelmed by all of the content there is. The top navigation bar could use some tweaking. On my browser, it didn't appear to be centered. I would maybe change the type or somehow make it pop out a little more. Also, just a thought, but maybe at the top where you have your welcome statement, it might be eye-catching to have a small photo, or several photos flashing in and out various travel shots, i.e. skiing, fishing, camping, hotels, beaches, airplanes, etc. so people can immediately know they are in the right place if they are looking for vacation packages or travel arrangements.

Load Time: The load time for your home page is pretty long for someone with a dial up. Your home page is larger than 40kb. People don't like waiting. I would either reduce the page size, image size (make map a little smaller or put on a separate page) or reduce the number of images to make it load faster (maybe forget about the flashing photos I just mentioned.) Alexa has you listed as Slow speed, 27th percentile. This could be a significant factor in amount of traffic you are getting.

Content: I'm always big on customer testimonials-since I have bought many things on the net based on customer testimonials, i.e. the testimonial mentioned something that I was striving for. Maybe add some short testimonials on the home page. i.e., "We didn't know where to start planning our Hawaii vacation. Real Adventures led the way....

Traffic Issue: I didn't really see any sort of focus on keywords/phrases. I would create several different pages that focus solely on very popular key phrases , i.e. hawaii vacation, wilderness adventure, mountain vacation, etc. and try to bring people into the site when they search for those phrases.

Overall: Great content, clear design and great idea for a site!!! How long have you been working on this?

Regards
pdrodriguez
  • mustardplaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The content is great and the simple look of the site may be OK... However the logo and heading in the top right look like they were made in word and slapped on the page.

as other people have said it loads slowely although looking at the basic design it should load a bit faster. I am on a 56k connection makes it hard, but I'm used to it now.

All in all it works ok just looks like too much of a portal in my opinion. I think that it could be spiced up a little.

As for the testimonials they seem to be all from advertisers or people that you are affiliated with? That means that they are not really customers. I might be wrong but they are all from an organization or holiday destinations eg: "Webmaster, Rio Caliente Hot Springs Eco Spa Resort " hence a reciprocal webmaster. Don't get me wrong I'm a sceptic on these things not the norm. There is one other thing the awards that you have there seem like they are just here to say look at this though they are not really recent or telling of the competition you won over. I don't think they are all in business now even. That sort of things turns me off. I asked my friend to have alook and see if he would buy from the site and within 2 mins he said "the awards seem pumped" . So it was not only me.

Just little things but picked them fast. other than that heaps of good content and heaps of places ad choices. Makes it def one of the more interesting travel sites.

Oh I know that if you click on the logo at the top and the top menu on the left i t will take you home. But there is no obvious home button at the top.

I like the site map. That makes it very easy to sum up the site in a few seconds.. Reminds me that I might need something like that on mine...

Well done obviously lots of hard work went into it.
  • slick69
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Post 3+ Months Ago

gba_m is right about the buttons, other than that looks good :D
  • tsnyderawt
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for all the helpful thoughts, suggestions and advice. I was really impressed with how much time people took to check out the site and how deep they went.

I didn't realize how slow the site is. For the past three years I've been on a DSL and have just gotten used to 'instant' pages. I'm not even sure I know how to connect by modem anymore.

So taking the constructive criticism of the site's speed to heart, I spent over 20 hours building code to track page load times and visitor connection speed. I was really surprised to see some pages taking over 8 seconds to load - on a DSL. That clearly is not acceptable even for me.

As far as visitor connection speed, I was amazed to find that people really do still use 28.8 modems. I thought that was part of the 15th century BC or something. I noticed over 25% of visitors to the site were on 28.8 connections and more than 50% on some form of dial up modem.

I was horrified to realize how long visitors would have to wait to download pages that on a DSL took 8 seconds. Clearly that was not going to work.

It seems that the speed was most affected by the number of hits per page as defined by the number of javascript, css, and image files per page. Each of these 'hits' required the user's browser to download the file by first sending a request through the various internet hubs & routers to the server and then waiting for the file to snake it's way back to the browser.

I reduced the number of hits by a minimum of 8 per page. This alone dropped download time for the worst pages from 8 seconds to about 3 seconds.

Then I spent quite a bit of time looking for ways to compress the remaining javascript, css and image files. I can now download all pages at less than 2 seconds and a lot faster for most pages.

There is probably more I can do to fix the 'speed' issue and I'll continue to hammer away at it.

Thanks again for your thoughts, let me know if you would like my feedback on your sites.
  • hatshepsut
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi tsnyderawt,

I think your website look bright and nice but at the first look there is a lot of things so it's some hard for me to stay long and search what I've been looking for .
Why did you put your sitemap which has a lot of space on the main page ?
And why did you choose to put the google ads nearly half of the page?
I think what really matters and what is going to take you tothe succes is being "simple" then money would come....

nice work...
  • 613flavah
  • battlestar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Why are you reviewing a site that is over 3 yrs old? PLEASE DON'T DIG UP OLD SITES TO REVIEW. There are plenty of active sites to review on here.

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