Home – New Forums Tell me straight… Website review please

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #978936
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi,

    I’ve looked at my website for so long now, and redone a number of things over the last few months, that I can’t see if it’s good, mediocre or an entire waste of web space any more. If any of you wonderful people could take a look and provide some feedback I’d be most appreciative.

    1. What needs reviewing? Website: http://www.minzbeadz.com.au

    2. What does your business do? Online beads, charms, charm bracelets, jewellery – all of the aforementioned in the “affordable” dollar range, and am very slowly building a niche in sourcing jewellery for people, also in the affordable range

    3. Who is your target market? Women primarily (although I do have male customers as well as teenage customers), preferably with children, time poor people with money to spend:)

    4. What specific concerns do you have? Primarily the overall look & feel – is it inviting? is it offputting? Is it easy to navigate/purchase etc. Is it clear what I’m about? Also SEO – not expecting to know how to get to Google #1 for the word beads, but would like to know if anything’s really wrong with how it is.

    Thank you very much:)

    #1110792
    mylitesite
    Member
    • Total posts: 1
    Up
    0
    ::
    MinzBeadz, post: 123299 wrote:
    Hi,

    I’ve looked at my website for so long now, and redone a number of things over the last few months, that I can’t see if it’s good, mediocre or an entire waste of web space any more. If any of you wonderful people could take a look and provide some feedback I’d be most appreciative.

    1. What needs reviewing? Website: http://www.minzbeadz.com.au

    2. What does your business do? Online beads, charms, charm bracelets, jewellery – all of the aforementioned in the “affordable” dollar range, and am very slowly building a niche in sourcing jewellery for people, also in the affordable range

    3. Who is your target market? Women primarily (although I do have male customers as well as teenage customers), preferably with children, time poor people with money to spend:)

    4. What specific concerns do you have? Primarily the overall look & feel – is it inviting? is it offputting? Is it easy to navigate/purchase etc. Is it clear what I’m about? Also SEO – not expecting to know how to get to Google #1 for the word beads, but would like to know if anything’s really wrong with how it is.

    Thank you very much:)

    HI there, I would love to give you some feedback, can I just ask firstly if you did the site yourself or if you have paid for someone to do it?

    #1110793
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::

    I paid someone initially to set it up, incorporate the shopping cart etc., but since the first flurry the guy has pretty much ignored anything I ask and has removed any phone number or email address from his website. So the only way to contact him has been via his site’s ticketing system – which he just never responds to. So I’m pretty much floundering around on my own now (and have been since late last year), and can’t afford to pay someone else for anything. And if I could find someone to host for $99 annually with the shopping cart I’d take my business elsewhere! All the product uploads etc are done by me, but the colours, banner etc is at the other end. Any help/advice etc you have would be welcome, thanks.

    #1110794
    PaulThomas
    Member
    • Total posts: 76
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Minz,

    I don’t want you to feel deflated but I have to be honest. I went to your website and couldn’t wait to leave. This in no reflection on the great products you sell or the service you provide. The fact that you are feeling uncertain about your website and it’s appeal is a step in the right direction!

    I recommend you spend some time looking around at other websites and online stores. I felt as though I hit a time warp and was sent back to 1989 when I landed on your home page.

    As an example of a nice website to browse, have a look at Elsa (Elsita) Mora’s blog site under the category “Jewelry” – http://elsita.typepad.com/elsita/my_jewelry_box/ She uses real photos to show off her work and her blog site is clean and easy on the eye. Elsa also sells her jewelry over on Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/elsita?ref=si_shop

    Images are everything to customers when you are selling products. Your home page is devoid of anything interesting to look at. This means the liklihood of gaining impulse buys has been lost in the six paragraphs of text. comScore and PayPal report that online shopping cart abandonment rates average about 45%. With this in mind you will probably need to think about what has to be done to keep prospects on your site, browsing your catalogue and eventually, going to the checkout!

    The difference between making an average income and floating the boat is sometimes hard to see from the inside looking out. What are other store owners doing? What do their websites look like and how have they branded themselves? Hop over to Web Creme – http://webcreme.com/ and check out the most up to date site designs and how businesses are using good branding techniques. Also take a look at Surface View in the UK – http://www.surfaceview.co.uk/ – images sell!

    Given the position you feel you are in I would recommend setting a budget aside to seek some outside marketing advice. The initial investment would pay for itself over and over again with increased leads, referrals and sales. In addition, having a clear strategy to follow will leave little to chance and reduce the “trial and error” factor with your marketing.

    Feel free DM me if you would like me answer any questions you have about my reply. Best of luck with your mission!

    Cheers,
    Paul

    #1110795
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::

    Well, I am a tad deflated, but I’m sure I’ll get over it :) I do appreciate your honesty, and that’s what I’m here for after all.

    I’m not clear on your reference to Elsita Mora’s “real photos” in comparison to mine. Can you elaborate a bit please.

    Noted re the blog, however we are using blogs in different manners. But I will definitely do something with it.

    Not sure how to incorporate the images nicely onto the home page – I can put specials there, but it just seems incredibly cluttered to me when I do (even removing almost all the text). However you’ve confirmed something that has been floating around in the back of my mind, thanks.

    The shopping cart abandonment rate is me behind the scenes testing things – I haven’t had an actual customer not complete the sale, except one international customer early on, whilst I fixed the international postage rates on the site (she kindly kept testing it for me prior to her purchase).

    I was so hoping I’d hear “don’t stress, it can be fixed” instead of “save up and do it over” :), but point taken, and thank you.

    #1110796
    otilas
    Member
    • Total posts: 11
    Up
    0
    ::

    As some who operates a business in the web industry i am concerned about the number of stories like this one which i hear far too often. Unfortunately as in any industry there are always a few businesses who give a bad perception for the rest of the industry.

    Having had a quick look at your website it appears to be a standard off the shelf e-commerce template. A lot of e-commerce sites don’t have the best user experience or the best SEO so you are not alone here.

    The two areas of feedback that i would give is the UI needs to be fixed so potential customers can navigate the site easier. Having an option to add to the cart without having to go into the product page might be something you want to look at. Those customers who know what they want or who are re-occurring customers will want a quick way to add items to the cart.

    There are some issues with your SEO which will be impacting on how your site ranks in Google, these shouldn’t be too difficult to correct but would require someone who understands SEO.

    The good news is that this can always be improved but it requires some $$$ to be spent which with small businesses is always an issue. However sometimes a little investment upfront will pay dividends in the long term, it just depends on what you want to achieve out of this website.

    On the issue of hosting $99 a year is cheap and there is a lot of cheap hosting out there, but again you need to know what are you getting for $99. Other businesses may offer more expensive hosting options but you will find these businesses offer more services than just hosting your website.

    If you would like further feedback to my responses please feel free to PM me.

    Ben

    #1110797
    NeilM
    Member
    • Total posts: 3
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi

    It looks like you’ve put a lot of work into your site.

    Is your site inviting?

    I’m not your target market so my view probably needs to be viewed in context. To me, your site looks like it sells products as opposed to jewellry. I guess if I know what I want, that is fine. However if I’m not sure, and am looking for inspiration, the large number of products per page on white creates the impression of an assembly line as opposed to an emotional purchase.

    Is it offputting?

    For a jewellry site – I believe so. For a jewellry site that sells jewellry at reasonable prices, I’m not sure.

    Is it easy to navigate/purchase etc.

    It seems to be, I didn’t go through the full purchase.

    Is it clear what I’m about?

    I don’t think so. Your business is called MinzBeadz

    Your tagline says: “let your creative side run wild”.

    At present, if I land on your page, my first thought is that I can create jewellry with beads by staying on the site.

    It appears however, that you are primarily selling jewellry and the principal benefit is the affordibilty. So taking that angle, something like…

    On-line suppliers of beads, charms and jewellry – at very affordable prices

    might work better.

    Also SEO – not expecting to know how to get to Google #1 for the word beads, but would like to know if anything’s really wrong with how it is.

    I guess this is the area where I think you can make significant inroads quite quickly. I noted the link to your blog. And enjoyed your engaging style of writing. What I think you should do is to create a new blog where you tap into that ability to engage an audience by writing about the thing you are trying to sell – beads, charms and jewellry. Then make that the blog you link to on your site.

    I note that the site that appeared on the first page of Google for the term “on-line beads Australia”

    http://www.beadsonline.com.au/

    has a substantial “how to section” that presumably shows people how to use their products. That is the sort of thing you want to be doing too. Other ideas of what to write about include:

    1. Looking through Google keywords tool for your core keywords and writing content about them as well as related terms and phrases
    2. Answering customer questions
    3. Posting pictures of happy customers
    4. Addressing customer fears (eg. how to tell the diffeence between real and fake gemstones)
    5. Coming up with lists
    6. Tapping into calender events: 10 great jewellry ideas for Christmas

    to name a few. If you type into Google (“ideas for blogging”), you’ll find several people have created lists of what to blog about that should keep you going for some time.

    Hope this helps

    Neil M

    #1110798
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thanks Ben. I am aware there are a few issues with the SEO, one of the main ones is that using ZenCart you can’t alt tag any images. It goes on the name of the product (one of the major reshuffles I had to do when I discovered this!).

    With regard to adding to the shopping cart, I’ll certainly have a look at this. It’s not something I’d ever considered so I’ve never investigated in that direction.

    Much appreciated, Min

    #1110799
    PaulThomas
    Member
    • Total posts: 76
    Up
    0
    ::
    MinzBeadz, post: 123320 wrote:
    I’m not clear on your reference to Elsita Mora’s “real photos” in comparison to mine. Can you elaborate a bit please.
    Hi Minz,

    What Elsa does with her products is set them up in her little studio and takes her own photos. You could think about doing the same …unless you are drop shipping and don’t have stock on hand. To me I feel that a jewelry item or piece of art truly exists if there is a natural photo compared to a product shot on a white background. Compare your product shots with Elsa’s photos and you will notice her DNA (figuratively speaking) in her jewelry.

    Connecting with potential customers can be done in a variety of ways and “real” photos in “real life” situations seems more personal and credible. Something to consider anyway.

    MinzBeadz, post: 123320 wrote:
    I was so hoping I’d hear “don’t stress, it can be fixed” instead of “save up and do it over” :), but point taken, and thank you.

    You are right, fixing may seem to be a better solution. However, sometimes fixing costs a lot more than starting over. This is especially true when working with third party software. What part of the Zen Cart software needs fixing? Is it just the software, or just the website design that needs help? Or is the brand in need of a make-over too?

    It might be a good time to evaluate your marketing strategy and include all the good points and bad points about your website, your SEO and your branding. Make a note of what you want to achieve and how much you need to invest to gain a positive return. If your hosting budget is $99.00 per year something is wrong in your sales department. I spend $750.00 per year just for my online credit card processing! If I spend an hour working on my site that’s a $120.00 expense right there.

    There is so much to consider with sales and marketing, it’s not easy. Creating a plan helps and is more cost effective by removing most of the guess work.

    I am sure you will find the right solution soon enough with all the great ideas and advice here on FS!

    Cheers,
    Paul

    #1110800
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi NeilM,

    To me, your site looks like it sells products as opposed to jewellry. I guess if I know what I want, that is fine. However if I’m not sure, and am looking for inspiration, the large number of products per page on white creates the impression of an assembly line as opposed to an emotional purchase.

    Thank you, that’s helpful info.

    Your tagline says: “let your creative side run wild”.

    One of the many things that I’ve been trying to get attended to by the web designer. At this stage I’m stuck with it.

    On-line suppliers of beads, charms and jewellry – at very affordable prices

    Love it!

    What I think you should do is to create a new blog where you tap into that ability to engage an audience by writing about the thing you are trying to sell – beads, charms and jewellry.

    I know the point you’re making, and I understand why you’re making it, but here’s the thing – I don’t make jewellery, I buy it and sell it. I don’t have anything informative or engaging to say about “how to” etc. because I don’t actually know how to :), although I like the idea about Christmas. In all honesty, I have a blog because pretty much everyone told me I should and I enjoy writing. I’m still struggling to figure out how to utilise it in a business sense other than in the manner you’ve suggested.

    I do have a FAQ page which answers the most common questions I’ve been asked at markets, and also a Testimonials page, however those I’ve asked for ‘happy snaps’ get shy at the mention and I’m yet to get a photo. I agree with you though, that those types of things help and I’ll just have to keep plugging away until someone gives in and gives me one!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to look, review & reply, Min

    #1110801
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::

    What Elsa does with her products is set them up in her little studio and takes her own photos. You could think about doing the same …unless you are drop shipping and don’t have stock on hand. To me I feel that a jewelry item or piece of art truly exists if there is a natural photo compared to a product shot on a white background. Compare your product shots with Elsa’s photos and you will notice her DNA (figuratively speaking) in her jewelry.

    I do take my own photos. Elsa has photos on a black cloth background, and taken against a white background that isn’t really white. I have the same, except the white background shots I make pure white as opposed to Elsa’s where she hasn’t used any type of imaging software afterwards. Are you suggesting I should stop making a “white” background pure white and leave it whatever colour the photo was?

    Connecting with potential customers can be done in a variety of ways and “real” photos in “real life” situations seems more personal and credible. Something to consider anyway.

    Gotcha – makes sense. I have been playing with this type of photo so will give it more attention.

    You are right, fixing may seem to be a better solution. However, sometimes fixing costs a lot more than starting over. This is especially true when working with third party software. What part of the Zen Cart software needs fixing? Is it just the software, or just the website design that needs help? Or is the brand in need of a make-over too?

    I don’t know that ZenCart itself needs fixing – it is what it is. However it has limitations on where/when/how you can do things. One of the limitations is that you can’t pick and choose exactly where images go. There are set “boxes” that you must put them in, and you only get to choose whether or not you want those boxes on the right, left or centre (as far as I can work out anyway).

    It might be a good time to evaluate your marketing strategy and include all the good points and bad points about your website, your SEO and your branding. Make a note of what you want to achieve and how much you need to invest to gain a positive return. If your hosting budget is $99.00 per year something is wrong in your sales department. I spend $750.00 per year just for my online credit card processing! If I spend an hour working on my site that’s a $120.00 expense right there.

    As I have only had a business for just over 6 months, I don’t have that kind of budget at this stage.

    There is so much to consider with sales and marketing, it’s not easy. Creating a plan helps and is more cost effective by removing most of the guess work.

    I do have a plan for both – maybe not the full on 50 page version, but at least an idea of what I need to achieve, how much I need to turn over, and a time frame to do things in. Unfortunately, with limited funds there is a queue for the spending. Hence the review – something else to go in the queue :)

    I am sure you will find the right solution soon enough with all the great ideas and advice here on FS!

    Everyone is very helpful, and don’t know of any other place quite like it!

    #1110802
    geegee
    Member
    • Total posts: 89
    Up
    0
    ::

    My website is also a Zen Cart site and I am also on a limited budget like you. I chose a template I liked them tailored it to suit me. There are other templates in Zen Cart that are free or very reasonably priced. http://www.picaflor-azul.com/ is one site you might like as they have the footer menu like yours.

    #1110803
    Divert To Mobile
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,751
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Min,

    I like the look of your site. Its colours tell me that your alternative and not trying to be a jewellery site, your prices confirmed it.
    Main thing for me as far as an ecommerce site goes;
    It looks honest – I would be comfortable to purchase from you online.

    Steve

    #1110804
    JacquiPryor
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,344
    Up
    0
    ::

    Was just coming to add my 2c, but it seems you are in the process of implementing changes that others have suggested previously in this thread… so, will reserve comments until the changes are complete… Keep us updated :)

    I think Steve’s comment that your site conveys honesty – equalling comfort to purchase is a really good one. With so many businesses online, having that ‘edge’ can’t be a bad thing!

    #1110805
    MinzBeadz
    Member
    • Total posts: 103
    Up
    0
    ::
    geegee, post: 123497 wrote:
    My website is also a Zen Cart site and I am also on a limited budget like you. I chose a template I liked them tailored it to suit me. There are other templates in Zen Cart that are free or very reasonably priced. http://www.picaflor-azul.com/ is one site you might like as they have the footer menu like yours.

    Thanks, I’ll go and check that out. :)
    A huge part of my issue is what to do with it though, should I get it. The guy who has originally done my website just doesn’t answer any ticket submissions I put in for support, and as previously mentioned, has removed a direct email and phone number off his website, any internet advertising etc. So…I don’t have the ZenCart software at my end, nor do I have any access (as far as I’m aware) to the template software.
    Appreciate your comments – Min

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.