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Thread: Major Automotive Brand's Site Needs Your Eyes! Please Help :(

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Portland, OR

    Unhappy Major Automotive Brand's Site Needs Your Eyes! Please Help :(

    After a week of debugging and analysis, I am reaching out to the development community. http://www.horsepowerfreaks.com, our company's online store, is experiencing a major drop in sales since our recent update. Plenty of testing has been done to try to recreate the errors we see in our logs, but we have been relatively unsuccessful in determining the root of the problem.

    This site was started back in 2002 I believe by our CEO/Owner. I assumed part of the responsibilities 4 months ago, and immediately began revising the front-end to catch up with the times. It was more of a patch though. The process was quite rushed because, well, once the boss realized I had some abilities, he wanted a new site "Yesterday". Regardless, my 10 years experience in development has led me to this position, and I am learning new languages as I go along. So debugging the ASP Classic that our system utilizes is difficult at times. I've always been a designer, not a developer. As of today, my ASP is pretty sharp, jQuery is decent, etc. I am new to the Windows Server environment (which we use). Always been an Apache guy, so finding the root of the evil here has been even harder.

    Enough about me, just wanted to explain some of the difficulties of the system so everyone has an idea what is going on behind the output HTML. I know the code is still "Development" quality, but it's what I'm working with.

    The Issues:
    Symptoms range from 404's (which can be due to many things like hidden parts, old external links, etc.), but also randomly "chopped" URLs (which we can't find why/where this is occuring). We have recently revised our URL parsing file. We think we might have fixed this particular issue, but I doubt it. Site has been tested (limited) on legacy browsers. Most of our users are IE7-9. Mainly IE9 and iOs. On our part detail's (point-of-sale) page (/partdetails/) we do use custom dropdowns that I created. They use DIVs and JavaScript/jQuery to operate. I know if people have javascript disabled, then poof, no sales. But I doubt that's the case. (Gonna check Analytics actually to see the numbers here)

    Help Needed:
    What I'm asking for is, for anyone who has a few minutes, to browse our site, give any feedback on functionality/errors/issues that you encounter. Add some items to the cart, enter a vehicle when your on different pages, and see if you can find any broken processes. I cannot begin to tell you how many different ways we have tested this system. It's like there is a "Phantom" issue that only occurs outside our local connection. Our site is hosted in house, so it is possible the issues only occur on the outside . Not sure if certain Internet Security Suites could cause issues with our cookies/scripts?

    I really need some help here guys, I am at a total loss. Even though this is a major brand's site, I'm still only one guy. My boss can help when he's free, but for the most part, it's on me. We're spending thousands on SEO soon and really need to find out why sales are down before then. Thank you so much in advance for any feedback on the site! I hope a more experienced developer out there has some insight to share with us...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    1. I would suggest that you need to set up a development area (if one is not already set up). However, I note that all the URL's in the code are absolute instead of relative. This could make testing the code difficult, if not impossible.

    The rest of these comments assume that you are working on a development copy of the site, not the live version:

    2. Unless you are using a development tool that automatically amends the links, you need to replace the absolute addresses of the "internal" links with relative ones, without breaking the code. That will make the development copy of the site self-referencing.

    3. I would suggest that you then look at the front-end for the issues that may be causing the sales process to fail. I've only looked at the home page, but I note that there is over 250K of JS code in it. That is an awful lot of code. I would start by stripping it all out, and see if that rectifies the problems. If so, I would methodically re-enable the JS code bit by bit in the hope that this would isolate the offending code.

    4. However, there are deeper issues you need to attend to:

    a) The code is littered with HTML5 syntax in a 4.01 document. This, in itself is trivial, but it results in so many validation errors that the code cannot be fully validated. You need to decide which version of HTML you are using and correct the syntax accordingly. The simplest way of getting the code validatable may be to declare it as an HTML5 document, or stick with HTML4 and do a global find and replace of "/>" with ">".

    b) Other errors spotted are:
    - multiple definitions of IDs.
    - FORM defined where not allowed.
    - Missing element in Select...

    c) There are also myriad CSS errors and broken links reported.

    I'd suggest that you have a mountain to climb, and just hoping that a bit of free testing by people here will solve it is unrealistic. There are serious development issues that need addressing to get the site up to a professional standard.
    Last edited by jedaisoul; 09-19-2012 at 03:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    I didn't have any major issues.

    Added a produt to cart and tried to order with my credit card - no problems.

    Zip code is not marked as mandatory, so form tries to submit but fails. It prompts for bank phone #, but this is below the "Pay now" button. Nothing major.

    Removed item from cart, added another, no problems.
    Tried to pay with PayPal, no problems. Clicked "Cancel and return to HorsePowerFreaks", it brought me back to a blank page (had header/footer), said my cart was empty in top right. I went to my cart and it wasnt empty but again, nothing major.

    I'm using Windows XP FireFox 15.0.1

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