This week we’re reviewing the website for Scripts by Warren.
Scripts by Warren is “Christian Drama Site” that provides drama and play scripts for churches, schools, and community theaters.
Warren Sager requested the review and wrote, “I think a review from someone who knows web sites, studies them and builds them would be very helpful as I do most of the upkeep and changes to the site myself.”
A little more about the website:
- Site created using Studio 11 Productions (web builder/host)
- Target audience: Churches, Christian Schools, Drama groups, Christian
- Theater groups, Home School groups, Youth groups.
- Purpose of the website: Making a living and meeting our basic needs.
- 2010 budget: $500-$600 a year
- 2010 goals for the site: increase traffic and revenue.
Appearance and Layout
My first impression of the site was that it’s kind of dull and looks like cookie-cutter, template site. There are no images on the homepage and everything is black and brown except for some blue and purple text.
It looks like the designer went with a manuscript concept for the site, but I would suggest going in a different direction. The target audience for this site is artists, who tend to be very visual and creative. For that reason it’s even more important for this site than most to capture the curiosity and imagination of the visitor right away.
I would recommend a total redesign of the site with a more colorful, artistic template, and a header that includes high quality images of drama performances. Some subtle animation or an image slideshow in the header would help to get a visitors attention as well.
Navigation and Usability
For the most part I was able to find what I was looking for, but the biggest challenge for the site is organizing the large number of scripts in a way that will enable the visitor to find what he’s looking for. The use of slide-out sub-menus is good, but I think the menus are still somewhat cluttered.
I would seriously consider simplifying the main menu by eliminating all but one “scripts” menu item. Then have a separate second menu just for navigating scripts on the main scripts page and all the pages in that section.
I would then suggest taking the links to the “About the Author,” FAQs, and blog out of the “About this site” menu and putting them in the main menu. The “About the scripts” page could be the main scripts page mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Additionally, one of the most important goals of a website should be to keep people coming back to the site. An e-newsletter is a great way to do that, so it’s good to see this site has one. But it’s hidden way down at the bottom of the homepage and not clearly labeled. Ideally, the newsletter signup should be in a sidebar, like just below the navigation menu or if the site were to be redesigned in a sidebar on the right side of the page. And the reason to sign up should be within the sign-up box.
Purpose and Goals
A visitor needs to be able to identify the purpose of the site immediately. The “Pay by credit card…” and “Nothing is mailed…” sentences should not be the first thing a visitor sees.
The paragraphs below that do a good job of explaining what the site is all about. However, I think a sentence about why the scriptwriter has written these scripts would be good. A sentence that shows the scriptwriter understands the visitor’s underlying motivation could be helpful too. What I mean is the visitor is not just looking for a script, they are envisioning a drama that is going to touch the heart of the people in the audience. If you show you understand the heart of your visitors, that will go a long way to building relationships with them.
Then content could really use some improvement.
For starters, the homepage is way too long. If the newsletter signup can be moved to a sidebar along with the site search, I suggest cutting everything else below the “Free scripts available” paragraph. Webings are very 1999, and as much as I appreciate God’s word, putting a scripture verse on the homepage just clutters it.
Throughout the site, I strongly recommending including at least one image within the content of every page.
I also strongly recommending picking one font and one font color and using it throughout the entire site.
Finding the Website
I Googled “drama scripts” and the site came up on the 3rd page of the results (#21). It was #5 for “Christian drama scripts,” #4 for “church drama scripts,” and #1 for “Christmas drama scripts.” That’s pretty good.
Of course, I’m just guessing as to which keywords are the best fit for the site. If keyword research has never been performed for the site, I would highly recommend it. Keyword research will tell you which keywords relevant to your site get the most searches each month, how competitive those keywords are, and which keywords you could target to gain the most visitors.
Analyzing the site’s traffic to see which search keywords are already bringing the most visitors to the site would be helpful as well.
Getting as many links on drama, script and scriptwriting sites would also help bring in more visitors directly from those sites as well has improve search rankings.
Interactivity and Social Media
A blog is a great way to interact with visitors and build one’s reputation. This site has a blog, but it’s buried in a sub-menu and there’s only been one post since May. I recommend committing to posting at least one time a week to the blog. If not, I would remove the link from the menu.
There’s a link on the “About the Author” page to his Facebook profile. Facebook is a great place to interact with site visitors. If you’re serious about connecting with potential customers on Facebook, though, I recommend putting a Facebook graphic and link in the sidebar of the site.
Additionally, you might want to create a Facebook page specifically for interacting with customers, who would probably be interested in different content than your family and friends.
I noticed on the Facebook profile mention of being on MySpace and Twitter, but there were no links to specific profiles there or on this site. If those social networking sites are being used, it would be good to link to them. There are also widgets you can add to your site that will show your latest tweets and FB updates that will encourage website visitors to connect with you via social media.
Overall, the site is functional, but my honest opinion is it could use a lot of work to look more professional and engage visitors.
My top suggestions are:
- Redesign the site with a more colorful, artistic template, and a header that includes high quality images of drama performances. Unfortunately, unless you’re an experienced graphic artist and web designer this is going to cost more than $500-$600.
- Rework the homepage. Cut out some text, eliminate the web ring and scripture verse, and add some images.
- Improve the content of the entire site by adding images to pages sticking with one font and font color throughout.
- Decide what you’re going to do with social media. You don’t have to do everything, but what you are going to do you need to do consistently and link to it prominently.
If you really want to take your site to the next level:
- Get videos of the dramas being performed and put them on your site and in YouTube. Pay customers for them if you have to.
- Do some keyword research or pay a company that does search engines optimization to do it for you.
- Switch to a shopping cart. There are open-source (free) shopping cart systems like osCommerce and ZenCart that are very professional and integrate with Authorize.net
What do you think of the Scripts by Warren site? Remember this is a community effort. Post your opinions and suggestions in a comment.
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