Could someone please critique my website?

I’m starting a business teaching people to cook in their own homes. A friend and I have put together this website and I’m too close to it to be able to see if it looks any good. I want it to look friendly but professional.

The istockphotos will of course be bought once decided on.

Any help is very much appreciated. Thanks :slight_smile:

I think it looks fine. Seems clear and easy to read and follow.

I’d add more margin padding around the text, to make sure it’s not too close to the borders of the page, but apart from that I can’t see anything that’s not perfectly acceptable.

Good job.


How it works: #4

We will agree ON a menu…

Also, in the What I need from you section, what’s a ‘hob’? And, I’m just wondering, do most people where you live own kitchen scales? They don’t here, and to find a decent one would set you back about $50. That seems cost prohibitive to me. Could they possibly borrow or rent yours as part of the lesson?

Otherwise, I’d say that it’s a nice looking site. Very clean and professional looking.

The hob is on top of the oven, where you fry things and boil sauces and so on. Gas rings. I don’t know what you call them in America. It’s a common word here though, everyone will know what I’m talking about.

And yes, most people have kitchen scales since we measure in grams and ounces rather than cups.

Agree ON a menu is better though, thanks.

How about the background colour? Do you think it’s okay? I’ve spent all morning fiddling about with various hues. :rolleyes: at myself.

It looks fine to me. A little spartan perhaps, but that’s a good thing IMO. You could a little something to the payment page along the lines of “We accept the following: cash, cheques, rough diamonds etc. ,sorry CCs not accepted at this time”

You’ll also need probably a page with where you are based “London (sorry love, not South of the river this time of day), Manchester, East Kilbride”

Yes, I do need to do a “Where we cover” page. It’s West London, certainly NOT south of the river :wink:

Wow, exciting stuff Fran!

Just MHO, but the “About Me” section could maybe stand from sounding a bit warmer and friendlier. I realise you’re going for a professional vibe, which is great, but as you’re asking people to allow you into their homes and trust you as a teacher (and teachers don’t get anywhere unless their students trust them), I think you could stand to seem more approachable.

Looks good though, and it’s a great concept.

Added to this.

Get a friend with a decent digital camera to take a few session of you doing visually appealing cookery. Consider shots like flambe’, wok cookery, bright colorful veggie chopping, warm baked goods and the like. Add them throughout the site to give visual impact, spruce up the page’s interest, and add a second layer of skill demostration to the readers. A picture is worth 1000 words!

Something was mentioned about people trusting you… Do you have insurance or something? How do these people know that you won’t blow up their kitchens or steal from them when they aren’t looking?

Note: I’m not saying that you would. But what kind of assurance do they have?

Definitely bring in a photographer and get some promotional pictures going. Adding another tab for testimonials later might be a good idea?

Looks great!

Biggest criticism is that your tomato says “iStockphoto” on it. That could get you in trouble.

I’d add a few more keywords and keyword repetitions in the first paragraph. And no need for “welcome to…”: that’s so 1997.

I’d just start with a simple statement of what Cook to Cook is, and pepper it with words and phrases that come out of the question “what do I want people to be looking for when they find my site”. Stuff like, “cookery courses london” or “cooking london”, maybe “cookery school london” as well, since that is something you’re competing against. Then work that into human-readable text.

If you want I can forward you an “SEO 101” mail that I sent to another friend the other day?

More friendly? Huh. I was worried about being too friendly! I’ll have another look at that then.

I don’t now any professional photographers and can’t afford to pay some yet. Plus, I’m not very photogenic. I mean, really not very photogenic. I do see what you’re saying though.

I am getting public liability insurance and as soon as I do, this’ll be mentioned on the site (not sure where I’m going to put that info yet though).

Yes, I do plan to put a testimonials page up… just as soon as I’ve got some.

Like I said in the OP, the istockphotos will be bought once I’ve made up my mind about which ones I definitely want. Good point about “welcome to”. I’ll change that.

In fact, jjimm, since you did such a great job with my 101things site (which is getting over 600 hits a day nowadays!), if you feel like writing me an opening passage please feel free to go ahead and give it a go for this one :smiley:

Pay a college photo student. They work for beer and will produce professional looking photos for next to nothing. You might get off for free if you let them use the pictures in portfolio. Don’t sweat the photogenic thing. They need to be taking candid, work pictures, not posed smilie shots.

I’d avoid having a frame that points to another domain for your text - tbh I’d avoid frames altogether.

I’d change your description metatag to not have “West London” as the first two words, make it just cooking related.

I have a dim recollection that you do a cooking blog? (I’m sure it’s you, you were on the telly right?) Try and integrate that to your site - relevant, authoritative and non-static content that will be linked to is just what you need.

A purely stylistic thing, but the “How it works” section seems a bit formal “I will”, “You contact” etc. Soften it a bit, it seems a bit unfriendly. Also, consider changing the “What I need from you” section to be a bit less…demanding? After all you are going to be providing a service.

Anyway, best of luck, it’s a great idea for a business.

Looks very good indeed. One thing I’d suggest is to replace ‘We will agree a menu,’ with something like ‘We will agree on what you’re going to learn to cook,’.

A technical issue is the hotlink on the ‘How to Book’ page needs to be [noparse]mailto:francesca not http://…francesca[/noparse].

[del]You might also want a legal page. Just to show that you do carry insurance in case you burn their house down. :)[/del]

And good luck!

No idea on what the OP wants, but just wanted to point out that a good kitchen scale can be had for $20 or less. You can spend a lot more on one, but you don’t need to. And once you start cooking with a scale, you’ll never want to stop. It’s loads easier than measuring cups, and more accurate as well.


Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve bought a non-commercial purposes scale (About 10 years). But the last one that I bought which was worth its’ salt and is still working today cost $50.

Incidentally, my last ‘professional grade’ scale, purchased about 2 years ago (I’m a caterer) is already giving me fits. Cost: about $175.

Do an search on “Kitchen Scale”. There are quite a few right around $20. There are some as low as $5 - not digital - but still a kitchen scale. I can’t vouch for them working forever, but they do exist.

I think it looks good. Nice clean, uncluttered design.

Content you could consider including:
-A gallery of some nice-looking food you’ve cooked (along with M&S-style verbiage describing how luscious it is)
-(maybe) An embedded video or two of you teaching a recipe (TV Chef style)

I would rework this paragraph:

To something a bit more simple and friendly, maybe:

“Once we’ve agreed on the menu, I’ll provide your shopping list for the ingredients needed. Alternatively, for a small fee (plus the cost of the shopping), I can buy them and bring them with me.”