The Felt Source Peer Review – Too Heavy on Graphics

    July 18, 2003

I’m going to make this fairly quick as there are so many fundamental things wrong with this site technically, it’s difficult to know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with file size. The home page is over 240 KB. Although, it currently ranks as sixth in a Google search for “felt”, this puts a stake through the heart of many of their potential visitors. The vast majority of visitors are still using dial-up modems and many of those aren’t even 56 K. That means this site takes over a minute for the average visitor to load the Home page. Most of this is due to the over 200 KB used for images, but even the HTML coding is over 30 KB by itself.

Once the Home page finally loads, it immediately becomes apparent that the page is too wide and too long. Other than that, it’s colorful and has a lot of things related to felt. I think they are just cramming too much on the home page. Some of the subsequent pages have the same problems as the Home page. The word magic word, “Free”, is displayed prominently in red ( a good thing).

Looking under the hood, we find Style Sheets used to change the text link colors in their various states. Unfortunately, this effect does not work for visitors using the older and still popular Netscape 4.7x. The title tag is in the wrong place. It should be the first tag in the <head> section. There’s a useless informational tag in the <head> section telling us that the site hasn’t been modified since October of 2002. Let’s hope they just forgot to update that tag. The meta description tag reads like War and Peace and the keywords are not far behind.

So, how does this site rank so high in Google under “felt”? Mainly because the page is so big that they’ve used the word “felt” a gazillion times. Also, Alta Vista shows just under 200 sites linking to them. I’m not sure how they accomplished this as I could not find that many reciprocating links on their site. This could make for some bad cyber karma.

This site could be a winner. It has great content for its focus on felt and educational items. They simply need to make the pages narrower and shorter. Aim for a total file size on the Home page to less than 50 KB. I know, that’s difficult, and I can’t always get my clients to keep the sizes down, but it’s a guideline. However, once a client allows me to cut out some of the glitz and decrease the load time, they are amazed at the increase in sales. Once this site’s page is smaller, they need to focus (and shorten) its keywords and site description. The title tag needs to be moved to the first position after the tag. This will balance out the loss of using the word “felt” a gazillion times. Lastly, if you are exchanging links with other sites, be sure that you don’t forget to post them on your site.

Dan Prinzing
DrTandem Web Page Design

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