Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Exabytes Web Hosting New Website Preview

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A few weeks ago I got to know that Exabytes will be launching a new look website and I am one of the lucky 100 bloggers who get to preview and review it first. It is just one of the perks enjoyed by bloggers nowadays beside free event invitations and movie tickets. Don't you want to start blogging too?

Anyway, back to the topic in hand. At first look, the new Exabytes website does not differ too much from the current one. It is not a complete redesign, and I believe it is a modification and improvement to the current design which has been serving them so well all this while. Look at the screen shot below before proceeding further (click to enlarge).

Don't they look similar? I think the new website is still based heavily on the old design and from the way things look, I guess the same designers are involved in the new website project.

To Exabytes' credit, the new website is as attractive as the current one. Exabytes website design team are extremely creative and they have used various objects in their advertisements such as an obese man indicating the gigantic size of webspace offered in one of Exabytes' web hosting plan, or a huge truck or a road sign. The designers like to keep the site simple and fast-loading, the images used are attractive but no flash is embedded. To achieve the effect of moving texts, they use either animated GIF files or Javascript. The navigation options are well integrated and are user-friendly. Links to important information and core products of the company are prominently displayed. There are plenty of payment options provided for the convenience of customers. The search function utilizes Google search engine to search Exabytes' website for content.

Comparison with old website (the current one)
First of all, it seems that the old website is using fixed width layout while the new one is a fluid width layout (I am not sure, have to check the code before confirming). This results in a better positioned layout of the new website, it is properly aligned in the middle point of your browser. As for the old website, there is too much empty space on the right hand side of the main layout (refer to the arrow in the screen shot above!). Some navigation links are also removed from the topmost area and integrated into the main navigation bar or footer links. Another most noticeable and excellent addition to the new website is the "Express" pull-down menu for quick selection of web hosting plan suitable for different individuals. This is especially helpful for people who have no idea what plans to sign up to with the budgets that they have. Lastly, the form for interested websurfers to subscribe to Exabytes' newsletter is also displayed prominently, on top of the page and just to the right of Exabytes logo, this feature certainly help individuals to keep themselves updated about Exabytes happenings and offers.

Comments and Suggestions
Have to do this in a numbered list, to get my points across more accurately.
  1. Reduce file size of animated GIF file, your logo-cards.gif alone is about 300kb!
  2. If necessary, your team could try using Flash instead of animated GIF (not sure if it helps to reduce the file size and server load though).
  3. Improve the layout of your blog, the old one feels more like a daily journal of a supervisor rather than a blog. You could probably publish more useful information in that blog, anything related to web hosting, not just Exabytes, that will help to market your brand. Insert more social networking and bookmarking widgets and buttons, install a community feel to it and make people return for more information even if they don't currently need a webhost.
  4. Put in an accessible direct line telephone number in your contact page. A personalized and instant support will immediately convert a prospect into a paying customer.
  5. I can see from both old and new website that your designers like to keep the site colourful, attractive, simple and not too much of text. I appreciate that, but if they could add some AJAX like during search results loading time, it will make your site so much more professional.
I think that is so much input that I could contribute so far. The website is far from complete, many pages are not ready yet, perhaps I could do a more complete review when the new website is ready to launch. In the meantime, look out for these gems of the pages when the new website layout replaced the current one:


These pages may or not be there when the new website is launched. If you managed to access these pages when they are available and like them, please do comment on this post what you think about those pages.

I wish to take this opportunity to wish Exabytes all the best in its quest to be one of the best web hosts. It is already our national champion and I am proud of its achievement as well as the resourcefulness shown by its CEO, Mr. Chan Kee Siak, kudos to you!
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