Woodfinder is an established website for individuals and companies to locate suppliers of wood products



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Woodfinder is an established website for individuals and companies to locate suppliers of wood products. sources of lumber, veneer, plywood or laminates,
local sawmills and sawmill services

In other words Woodfinder.com is a complete listing of all one would need to get a project complete.
The company has been in business since the mid-1990's. It's well established with advertisers, vendors and users. Though business has be slower in recent years most likely due to the dated design of the site, competition from general search engines like Google most likely puts the search engine in the friendenemy position. With traffic coming to Woodfinder.com from Google, yet at the same time people turning to Google to look for wood product vendors bypassing Woodfinder. This most likely means that we should comply with Google's guidelines and move forward with trying to use Google more than Google's users use Google for wood vendor selection.
This report is designed to be reviewed by the management of woodfinder.com and then distributed to their developers to be used as a guide in what should be done with any future redesign or partial redesign.
Meaning that initial part of this report is more historical and business decision oriented, the second part will be more technical. It will be delivered in a Wordprocessor format so that you can cut and past any part you want to send to the developer without sending him the entire document.

In a nutshell, it's my professional advice that the website be updated to a more modern look and feel along with a responsive design that is view-able on mobile and other internet connected devices with various screen sizes. This will take time, effort and money however the payout most likely will yield a positive outcome as the website becomes easier to use, to a wider audience on more screens.


Focus Area One:

Currently the website is a search engine to help locate vendors of wood products. The website is fairly easy to use but dated. There is a reason other than delivering better results that Google outstripped Yahoo and other search engines. It's because of the simple interface that people wanted when searching. Yahoo constantly had way too many ads , same with Bing.


The point being is that the simpler interface is the better choice. If there is an option to make the design simper then take it. The reason this made sense in the 1990's and early 2000's was due to the limited bandwidth that individuals had on early dial up accounts. However the reason this applies now is due to the limited screen sizes that mobile devices have, and spotty bandwidth on mobile devices. In other words the reasons still exist.
This is a screenshot of the first page of the website:
As you can tell there are plenty of options, arguably far more than most people would be accustomed to. Searching on a mobile device with these many options is confusing to say the least.
I would streamline this to either a Q / A type format or be able to encompass the search query within a single field, like how individuals search on Google currently. An individual would then go via his iPhone to woodfinder.com , and make a search like this Veneer Supplier in Allentown, Pa”

That search query should yield what would have been yielded if they used all the options on the current page to get a listing.


This would limit the page size and ease of use, making a responsive design easier to implement since there would not be as many hard coded options and those options are still available for the individuals via a simple search the same type of search that they are accustomed to when using a general search engine.
The idea is to simplify the search so the end users have a enjoyable and productive experience.
I also believe that the advertisers would like that as it most likely will increase the visitor base.
The end statement being that the reasons the advertisers are there is because they wanted visitors to their site that eventually will become valid leads.
I would make the ads more text based and better viewed on a mobile device. I would focus more on achieving clicks from your site to their due to individuals wanting more information on the products they offer. Mistake clicks just drive down the ROI for the advertisers and show less than a favorable ROI on their part.
That's the design part. In short make it simple.

Regarding SEO for the new design.
I would emphasize the information you have on each of these vendors. Your database contains their name, their address, phone number and a valid description of each of the companies listed.
This is more than enough information to rank for their names, especially the ones that do not have a strong SEO presence.
Here for example is the information you have on a Canadian company called “Black Forest Wood Company”


Search Results

Here is the information on the supplier you selected.
Please tell them
Woodfinder sent you!





Black Forest Wood Company Ltd. - Canadian Sales Only




Contact:

 Terry Golbeck & Brad Thomas




Address:

 Bay 7, 603-77th Ave. S.E.



 Calgary, AB T2H 2B9

Phone:

 (403) 255-6044




Phone:

 1-877-686-6061




Fax:

 (403) 255-6502




E-Mail:

 info@blackforestwood.com




Web Address:

 www.blackforestwood.com










Business Information




>   Special Terms or Minimum Order:
      We ship worldwide plus S3S lumber cut & planed at no charge.




>   Retail or retail/wholesale supplier




>   Exporter




>   Mail orders accepted




>   Sells veneer




>   Sells turning blanks




>   Sells carving stock




>   Sells sustainable wood




>   Sells musical instrument wood




>   Specialty tonewood dealer




>   Sells boat-building wood




>   Sells project wood




>   Sells millwork




>   Sells turnings




>   Sells plywood




>   Accepts VISA




>   Accepts MasterCard










Wood and Wood Products




Black Forest Wood Company carries over 130 species of fine exotic and domestic wood including burls, instrument wood and carving wood.

S2S LUMBER 4/4 unless noted: African Blackwood 6/4; Alder 6/4, 8/4; Anigre; Arariba; Ash to 16/4; Aspen 8/4, 16/4; Avodire; Balsa to 16/4; Basswood (linden) to 16/4; American Beech; European Steamed Beech 6/4, 8/4; Eastern Yellow Birch 5/4, 6/4, 8/4; Eastern White Birch; Bloodwood 8/4; Bocote; Bubinga 8/4; Butternut up to 16/4; Aromatic Cedar (Juniper); Red Cedar to 36/4; Spanish Cedar to 16/4; Alaskan Yellow Cedar to 16/4; Chechum 6/4; Cherry Shorts 8/4; American Black Cherry to 12/4; Cocobolo; Cottonwood; Gaboon Ebony to 8/4; Macassar Ebony to 16/4; Macassar Ebony Strips; Mexican Ebony to 16/4; Red Elm; Quartersawn Fir; Greenheart; Hackberry 8/4; Hickory; Figured Imbuya to 16/4; Ipe; Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) to 8/4; Jelutong to 16/4; Kingwood 8/4; Koa 8/4; Lacewood to 36/4; Lignum Vitae to 16/4+; Limba 8/4; African Mahogany to 8/4; Honduras Mahogany to 16/4; Philippine Mahogany to 8/4; Santos Mahogany 5/4; Makore 8/4; Bird's Eye Maple 8/4; Curly Maple 8/4; Eastern Hard Maple to 8/4; Hard Sap Maple to 12/4; Eastern Silver Maple to 10/4; Quartersawn Hard Maple; Quilted Maple 8/4; Western Soft Maple; Mulberry to 16/4; Nogal(Peruvian Walnut); Red Oak to 12/4; White Oak to 8/4; Quartersawn Red Oak to 8/4; Quartersawn White Oak to 8/4; Obeche to 16/4; Olivewood; African Padauk to 12/4; Pau Amarillo (YELLOWHEART) 8/4; Swiss Pear; Pernumbucco 8/4; Clear Pine to 8/4; Knotty Pine to 12/4; Ponderosa Pine 8/4; Plum; Eastern Yellow Poplar to 12/4; Purpleheart to 16/4; Figured Redwood to 16/4; Flame Redwood 8/4; Indian Rosewood 8/4; Santos Rosewood; Sapele to 16/4; Sassafras; Snakewood; Sitka Spruce to 16/4; American Sycamore 8/4; English Sycamore; Burmese Teak to 8/4; Tigerwood 12/4; Tulipwood to 8/4; Tupelo; American Black Walnut to 16/4; Wenge 8/4; Yew to 10/4; Zebrano (Zebrawood) 8/4; Ziricote










Other Products and Services




BURLS: Claro Walnut burl, Quilted Maple burl, Redwood Lace burl, Western Maple Slab, Madrone Burl, Claro Walnut Swirl, Redwood Lace burl, Thuya burl, Madrone burl, Myrtle burl, Poplar burl, Redwood burl, Sitka Spruce burl slab, White Oak burl, Western Soft Maple burl

THIN WOOD: All the above plus Wenge, Queen Charlotte Red Cedar, Jarrah. We resaw 1" thick lumber and plane it on two sides to make "thins". This material is typically 1/4" to 3/16" in thickness, is randomly cut from 3" to 10" in width and varies from 30" to 60" in length. Thins are sold by the square foot.

We specialize in solid wood exterior doors and entrance systems, interior doors, fireplace mantels and architectural columns, all carefully crafted to your custom design specifications. We also custom fabricate furniture or we can match the style of your existing furniture should you wish a new piece.

We carry Powermatic, King Industrial and General wood working machinery and feature wood lathes by Oneway, Vicmarc, Powermatic, General and King. You will also find a range of turning and carving tools, chucks, grinders, sharpening jigs, pyrographic machines, JDS air cleaners and VAC-U-CLAMP vacuum veneering, forming and clamping systems.

For the wood worker we carry VIKING bandsaw and Sawbird scroll saw blades, adhesives, SIA abrasives and finishes including U-Beaut products from Australia and General Finishes (water based & solvent based) dyes, stains and top coats.

We also offer courses in woodworking, woodturning and carving in a fully equipped classroom.





Clearly you have extensive profiles on many firms in your database. You can emphasize the content you already possess to increase your rankings not only for their names, but also for their overall appearance. Just looking at that single profile one can identify several hundred search terms and thousands of variations you can obtain decent rankings for. Multiple that by the number of companies in your database and you will be looking at a decent level of traffic from the large number of low volume searches.


In the above example, you can tell that even with your existing website you are ranking for the name of the firm. However you do not rank for terms that would work for you as well, such as “Canadian wood companies” Though you do have the proper information within your existing database to make that happen.

I would suggest two aspects toward your main page. The first is a simple search feature, almost like a Google for web companies.


The second part would be a better outlined directory that lists each company within a logical menu structure.
Mock up of main page:
Main Page to top 10 SubCatagories

10 subs to another 10 Subs

Last page has company listings along with description of each company.
Using the outline above allows anyone to just click without searching from the main page of your site to a text filled profile page of the company within 3 clicks.
This would allow for easy navigation from point A to point B from an end user perspective and to better be indexed by Google.
Google guidelines state that every single page on the website should be reachable by at least one “static” text link. In our case with a top down navigation it would allow every page to be reached from the index page within only a few clicks.
This will help preserve pagerank throughout the website as no page is “too far removed” from the main index page.
Organizing the site is imperative to decent rankings.

On top of the above navigation, I would suggest making profile pages for each category. These categories would be robust descriptions of each label that you currently have a search field.


For example:
Submerged wood
What exactly is submerged wood?
In my research I visited multple websites to get an idea of exactly what it is. I found an article on the LA Times that explained how in demand the value of submerged wood is.
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-sinker-wood-20140713-story.html
However considering you are an expert in wood products, I believe that a decent profile with up to date information regarding what this is would make sense to have your website.
Then from that page you can link into all the companies that offer this type of wood product. If you duplicate this across all the types of wood offerings that you list, you'll find your traffic increase just with curiosity of what these types of wood products are. Hopefully some of them will turn into leads.
The idea behind that is not just to be a “Google directory” but rather a information resource that will help not just you, but your visitors and clients as well.
The well written UNIQUE content that will be posted in these areas will assist in making you an even stronger leader in the industry.
When I say unique, I literally mean unique, a cut and paste from Wikipedia or other sources will not help. It has to be content that you or someone you hire is knowledge created.
A simple cut and paste will flag the content as duplicate and cause many problems. So please make sure the content is fully unique. Google's filter would penalize the website if any of the content was just re-written or cut and pasted from another site.
These content pages will most likely rank for many terms contained within the articles regarding each product line.
Submerged Wood has a chance for ranking for terms such as :

Buying Submerged Lumber
Underwater logging
Musical instrument wood
High End Lumber
Rare Lumber
Hard to find Wood


The list goes on. This is in addition to the current type of traffic you receive, so this literally is a “bonus”. Currently it's difficult if not impossible to find this content in any authoritative site. Leaving the door open for you to become that authority.

This directory should contain more relevant content than what one would find just looking at Wikipedia, but not so technical that it baffles the non-expert.


When creating the content, please remember your target audience. Which I believe to be high end contractors, firms that make musical instruments and boat makers or other types of companies that need or require specialized lumber to satisfy their clients. It's my gut feeling that the majority of these individuals are experts in their field and know that they need these types of lumber products, but may or may not know exactly why they need these products.
They might have heard “submerged lumber” is better for a violin, but may not know why that type of lumber is better other than what they read or heard. You now have the chance to answer their questions directly.
Most (though not all) consumers would not be looking for these types of products and typically default to whatever they find at homedepot or the local lumber company. So the majority of people going online looking for the standard 2x4 to frame a new garage on the side of their house isn't exactly what you are looking for. Though a company like Martin Guitar would be the proper market for some of the products that you can find though your resource site.
I believe that these description pages would help increase the value of the website, both to you, your visitors and your advertisers.

To recap so far:
1 – Streamline the website to make it more “Google like” via a simple interface, removing options and putting them directly into the search.
2 – Modifying the menu structure to allow the profile pages to be visible within only a few clicks from the index page.
3 – Creating content pages with strong descriptions of what each of these types of products are. Example, a multi-page article on Submerged Lumber, what it is, what it's used for, why it's used for it, it's history and where to get it.
4 – Make sure the developers read and understand the technical specs listed at the end of this report.

Technical Details:
The website should remain in a php / mysql format. Preferably using Wordpress as the CMS system ( http://www.wordpress.org )
The reason behind my belief in the adoption of Wordpress is not only because of the extremely large install of wordpress websites out there, the extensive support network and large numbers of plugins, but another less known reason is that many of the employees of Google use that exact platform for their personal sites. So if their own sites are not ranking for themselves, they tend to fix it for the whole planet.
Another reason is since Wordpress is opensource, Woodfinders is not tied to a proprietary system and could theoretically get a new development team in the future should the need arise such as the company that hosts their site goes out of business.
Wordpress is not as requirement, but rather just a suggestion. Of course there are other standard or customized platforms that would do the job. It's just that my belief that this would work best after spending time on woodfinders.com
Search URL's should not just terminate at search.php (as it currently does) it would be nice to have something like /search/spruce/suppliers so individuals can share URLS though social media.
The website should be fully shareable via social media, images placed on the product pages should have the ability to be shared easily via any number of plugins on social media platforms.
Please make sure the website is standardized on either a WWW version or non-www version. Which ever you choose, please make sure the other is 301 redirected to that domain name.
Any other type of redirect will cause more damage than good, no 302 or other types of redirects just use a 301. These are considered proper redirects and Google as well as other search engines use these as a sign that it's okay to rank the target URL.

When doing redirects, please make sure to try to redirect like content to like content. Don't redirect something unrelated, or for sure please do not just redirect everything to the root or some splash page. That causes several negative problems.

If taking the wordpress route, please make sure that you have a valid Google Sitemaps plugin installed. If building one, please make sure it complies with the sitemaps.org standards.


Make sure the website is verified in Google Webmaster tools. This in many cases is your only real direct feed to get proper information from Google itself, rather than relying on guesswork. Guesswork is counter productive and hurts overall response time.
When redesigning the website, please understand that Google has recently (in the past 2 years) made some pretty big changes in the overall guidelines regarding how the site should behave.
Some of the bigger changes are as follows:
1 - Responsive design is a must. The website must render correctly in mobile, tablet and desktop screens. All internet connected devices must be able to view this site in a native format.
The growth of mobile devices at the expense of desktop machines is impressive, in many years recently it's double digit growth of mobile devices. This means that more and more users are visiting your site via a mobile device and less via a desktop. Google has taken notice and because of this has given mobile enabled (IE: Responsive) websites a bonus in the rankings.
2- Security is big, really big. To the point where Google is now giving a bonus to any site that runs in full time secure mode ( https compared to http ). Though I want to stress that currently that bonus is not huge. It is expected to grow over time.
Other security issues recently have pushed this to a higher priority than before. So it's expected that this might take a higher priority than what was initially forecast last year when Google announced this security bonus.
It also means that any implementation that you create must be hardened and secured.

The URL structure for the profile pages should be rewritten.


Currently:
I would suggest more descriptive URLS. Currently profile pages are listed like this:
http://woodfinder.com/listings/010641.php
Would do better like this:
http://woodfinder.com/listings/black-forest-wood-company.php
The names of the companies are already in the database, making them url's should not be too difficult.

In recap regarding technical specs:


1 – Responsive Design on all devices

2 – URLS that can be shareable and descriptive

3 – Hardened Security (including HTTPS as default)

4 – any redirects must be 301 not any other type of redirect.

5 – Design should be simple, meaning more like Google and less like Yahoo.

6 – Menu should be simplified, terminating at profile pages of each vendor.

7 – Please ensure webmaster tools is verified and used regularly to monitor.

8 – rewrite URLs to be more descriptive


9 - Woodfinder.com needs to be standardized.
Currently all these pages “live”
http://www.woodfinder.com

http://woodfinder.com

http://www.woodfinder.com/index.php

http://woodfinder.com/index.php
There should be a mod rewrite to have all the other versions 301 redirect to the main page.
Example code in the .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} woodfinder\.com [NC]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/$

Rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.woodfinder.com/ [L,R=301]
this would move everything via a 301 redirect from non-www to www version.
Currently if someone links to the non-www version, and another links to the www version, it's akin to two people linking to two differing pages rather than 2 people linking to the same page. Hurting rankings.
In the php file, or the .htaccess file you can further increase that by stripping the php extension.
Make sure you point everything to the / rather than the .php Though that wouldn't really hurt SEO because it would be standardized on the .php .. it's in bad taste.
10 – Menu goes to differing php or root level pages. Please standardize this as well. Root level tends to to better.
11 - Included 2 hours of developer support. Please email president@yooter.com or call 610.762.2156 if you have any questions regarding this report.




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