Rank: 1 Elite
Unfortunately I don't think this is really working as is. There is a lot of work ahead of you if you are going to make this work. Here is what I see that needs to be fixed:
Rank: 1 Elite
I understand where you want to go but unfortunately not only visual site is not very appealing but what is more important from my point of view SAFB.ie has usability issues:
Logo is not suggesting savings but spending, because you used a cart.
You have a lot of elements which are screaming for attention with red colour, big fonts, etc.
Believe me name and face of the contributor are less important for users than article title :)
There should be a 'reason' behind everything you want user to do. For example why should I sign up for BOB weekly???
Keep with the good work :)
Rank: 2 Titan
This design currently fits YOUR needs as a money maker.
This design should be changed to fit your VISITORS' needs when they come to your site. Why are they here? To save money.
First of all, add some depth to your site. Everything blends in to each other. Some ideas for that:
Tighten up post listings (this should feel put together, not randomly put up). Tighten up the sidebar. Float your images so that text lines up next to it. Text-align your Tags/Posted In to the right.
Emphasise valid, quality content and reduce attention to your ads. Serve your ads as complimentary premium help - don't push them as the main focal point.
You can get a feeling that the website is just build for commercial ads. The goal is not so clear for the visitor. Maybe add some clearing sentence: "Prices comparison site" or something.
In the content you could not see clear and logic division of information. Work on it.
This is the perfect place to use the divine proportion.
Look it up in google tagged with Web Design, that'll give the ad/content relationship more of a natural look.
I really don't think there's a place for that airplane banner at the top. What you should do is put those links at the TOP and under it, extend that beautiful search bar all the way across to give it power in the page!
These images and posts don't work together. There's too much white space. When you use an image, either make the image smaller to match up with the amount of content lines, or put the image at the top and make it more like the airplane banner. Thinking SMASHING MAGAZINE.
The design is not bad but needs more presence and individuality.
The advertisements on the pages stand out more tha the content.
Perhaps better use of colour to delimit and categorise the content.
Make the search bar more prominent.
The menu bar looks fine but on the live site it is not formatted correctly (viewed in firefox 3.6)
You may want a brief desription of the goal of the site too.
Hope this is helpful.
Hi Niall I bet everyone wants to "save a few bob"... But here is what I think: they don't really want to read a lot to figure it out. Get them started right away. Save them some money in a few clicks and you have them hooked. Only then will they delve further into your site.
Right now there are too many choices that I have to figure out...a nothing stands out. How about You boldly ask me to enter my postal code... i.e. where I am and you show me how to save some money right now...
Look at http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/06/design-to-sell-12-tips-to-help-your-website-convert/
Currently the design lacks anything that wants me to engage with it. Although I may have searched and ended up here, I still don't what the site does.
CONTENT It's not clear what the site does. A more detailed synopsis in the header or underneath the navigation could easily clear this up, with a couple of calls-to-action for more information or how to get started.
DESIGN For starters, the design feels rather uneven. Too much odd white space throws content off balance, and lacks flow. The site also lacks colour and and visual interest. Perhaps colour-code the different sections of the site to differentiate them.
How about decreasing the width of the right hand column and adding a left column in with a short description of the site, latest articles/offers, most popular articles, newsletter subscription etc to aid deeper linking into the site? This also aid consistency throughout the site.
Personally I'm a fan of inline images in content floated right - it aids the readability of the text. I'd also increase the padding around your mian content area to distance it from the surrounding elements (make sure it's equal). Those line-lengths are starting to get a bit out of hand on the 2nd screenshot as well, no good for ledgibility.
Another point would be to emphasise the search functionality. Get the bad boy nice and big - that's probably the primary tool visitors will be using on the site.
I could go on but hopefully that advice is useful. Good luck, I'm sure you'll get there with it!