Home – New Forums Tell me straight… Website review please

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  • #1110806
    MinzBeadz
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    • Total posts: 103
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    Divert To Mobile, post: 123528 wrote:
    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

    Thanks Steve. I am actually honest, so you’d be in safe hands :D

    Min

    #1110807
    MinzBeadz
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    • Total posts: 103
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    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.

    I’ve just had a look at your site – I really like it, and could definitely see how a similar type of layout could be used for MinzBeadz, and the customised banner etc looks terrific. You also have your featured products & testimonials on the home page, which is something I’m struggling to do without everything ending up there as well!

    Thanks again Robyn.

    #1110808
    geegee
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    • Total posts: 89
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    MinzBeadz, post: 123600 wrote:
    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
    Hi MinzBeadz
    Do you have the Zen Cart admin program to add products? If so then you can load new templates (under tools) and lots of other things from there.
    #1110809
    MinzBeadz
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    • Total posts: 103
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    Yes I do Robyn – so that’s where they hide it! Thank you. I think I’ll make you my ZenCart tutor lol.

    #1110810
    geegee
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    • Total posts: 89
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    MinzBeadz, post: 123603 wrote:
    I’ve just had a look at your site – I really like it, and could definitely see how a similar type of layout could be used for MinzBeadz, and the customised banner etc looks terrific. You also have your featured products & testimonials on the home page, which is something I’m struggling to do without everything ending up there as well!

    Thanks again Robyn.

    I think we both replied at the same time!
    Thankyou for your comments about my site. I did most of it myself and learnt quite a bit along the way.
    The banner was actually designed by a fellow Flying Soloist called Blue Penguin Design.
    The featured products part etc can be done if you have the admin software I mentioned above.

    #1110811
    geegee
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    • Total posts: 89
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    MinzBeadz, post: 123606 wrote:
    Yes I do Robyn – so that’s where they hide it! Thank you. I think I’ll make your my ZenCart tutor lol.
    I don’t mind being you tutor. I am a 51 year old computer geek that loves horses and making jewellery. Somehow I got to use it all in one business!!
    #1110812
    geegee
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    • Total posts: 89
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    To get the featured products on the main page got to:
    Configuration
    Index Listing
    Then the second one down is – Show Featured Products on Main Page

    #1110813
    ExecAccess
    Member
    • Total posts: 229
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    Hi

    Just noticed on your home page “All orders over $50 are FREE – so start shopping!”.

    Wow – you are giving stuff away!!!! I think you should add the word “delivery”.

    To help with SEO consider putting more text in your product description – without going overboard. The description should at the very least say what the item is, ie “Attractive crystal brooch featuring funky frog design”. I know it is in the title, but I think it would help to have it in the description too. The beauty of your product page layout is that the title is far enough away from the product description that it won’t look like doubling up.

    I have a bit of a thing about “contact us” pages. It is good that you have an address on there because it shows you are “real” and also based in Australia. However I would consider investing in PO Box if you are working from home – from a privacy and security point of view. Have you thought of having your phone number on there too? It reinforces the “comfort factor”. When we launched we put our home phone number on the site, but now have a 1300 number. We don’t get over-run with phone calls so its not too expensive, but many people do like to speak to a real person and even order over the phone.

    Your shipping and returns page, T&C and FAQ do not appear to mention the price of shipping in Australia. And when you add a product to cart (I didn’t go all the way) it doesn’t seem to mention shipping costs until after you have added all you details. I would want to know up front.

    Wishing you success.

    #1110814
    Zava Design
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    A pre-cursor to my comments below… I do appreciate being a home business your start up budget will be low, however…

    The site isn’t very attractive at all, and screams “home business”, but not in a good way, but in a rather lack of taste way, which can’t be good for a jewellery store. And I really can’t get past the look and feel, if it’s not inviting then it’s really not going to make a difference what your products/prices are like.

    If you really don’t have a first year marketing budget (which most business advisors would recommend) then I would look at something like Etsy, or even an Ebay store. Either of these would be a better option imho.

    Sorry for the bluntness, hope you can appreciate where I’m coming from.

    Cheers.

    #1110815
    mexham
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    • Total posts: 302
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    Hi Min,

    I think you’ve got some valuable feedback here.

    I can see you’ve put a lot of work into your business and website, so good job there. I know what it is like trying to start out selling things online also – not quite as easy as you anticipate.

    I do agree with the majority in finding the site bit old fashioned, but it’s not far off, and it’s not the end of the world. When I think back to the first hammock website I made about 5 years ago, I cringe – it was a bit of a shocker. But it made sales and got me going, I’m now on my 3rd upgrade. We can’t all afford a premium website to start with.

    At the moment there is a very large gap between your text and the start of the images. My screen is large enough to see them, but on a smaller screen I think they might be well below the fold.

    At some stage you’ve got to stop tinkering and trying to make it better, and just move onto a new structure or design all together. So I’d suggest if you can, get a new free template, something more modern and functional to your needs. Find sites you like and copy them to a degree, make it fun for customers to shop there.

    Also I notice on your Facebook page it’s quite active which is awesome. The images are a bit low quality though, same on the website with some they look like they’ve been compressed and have lost a bit of detail. As such they don’t really do your products justice. Highly quality images make a huge difference, specially with detailed jewellery pieces I imagine.

    It’s good to see people interested in your pieces through Facebook. I started to suggest a Facebook store, but see you have one. Perhaps you’d have better a better conversion rate through that? Allows people to stay on Facebook. Hard to know though.

    I see a few people asking for prices on things, so maybe include that in the images description along with information how to purchase, via this link, or Facebook shop, or email. “Like this piece? Email us to order/Click here to buy” or something similar.

    All the best, cheers,
    Mike

    #1110816
    MinzBeadz
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    • Total posts: 103
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    Just noticed on your home page “All orders over $50 are FREE – so start shopping!”.

    Wow – you are giving stuff away!!!! I think you should add the word “delivery”.

    Nice catch, thanks! Luckily that has only been there for a couple of days, but really glad you spotted it.

    To help with SEO consider putting more text in your product description – without going overboard. The description should at the very least say what the item is, ie “Attractive crystal brooch featuring funky frog design”. I know it is in the title, but I think it would help to have it in the description too. The beauty of your product page layout is that the title is far enough away from the product description that it won’t look like doubling up.

    I started out with lovely descriptions however, after having done them for all products then realised that precisely none of them are useful with regard to SEO – Zen Cart appears to only allow the product title and metatags to show, so I redid the entire lot in a much more straightforward manner. Still contemplating added a great description under the details.

    I have a bit of a thing about “contact us” pages. It is good that you have an address on there because it shows you are “real” and also based in Australia. However I would consider investing in PO Box if you are working from home – from a privacy and security point of view. Have you thought of having your phone number on there too? It reinforces the “comfort factor”. When we launched we put our home phone number on the site, but now have a 1300 number. We don’t get over-run with phone calls so its not too expensive, but many people do like to speak to a real person and even order over the phone.

    I took my phone number off the site about a month ago – I went from about one marketing call a year to 20 a day and couldn’t stand it, and only one single person had rung concerning jewellery (who then abused me because I didn’t have what she wanted, nor did I have a shop for her to go!)

    Your shipping and returns page, T&C and FAQ do not appear to mention the price of shipping in Australia. And when you add a product to cart (I didn’t go all the way) it doesn’t seem to mention shipping costs until after you have added all you details. I would want to know up front.

    Thanks, was there and lost it in the page shuffle the other day (same day as I started giving away goods :)). Once you have put an item in the shopping cart there is actually a button to click to estimate the postage too.

    Appreciated all your comments, thank you, Min

    #1110817
    MinzBeadz
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    • Total posts: 103
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    The site isn’t very attractive at all, and screams “home business”, but not in a good way, but in a rather lack of taste way, which can’t be good for a jewellery store. And I really can’t get past the look and feel, if it’s not inviting then it’s really not going to make a difference what your products/prices are like.

    Thanks for your comments – nothing really I can say to that, if you don’t like it, you don’t like it.

    If you really don’t have a first year marketing budget (which most business advisors would recommend) then I would look at something like Etsy, or even an Ebay store. Either of these would be a better option imho.

    Given what I sell, Etsy is not an option, and Ebay isn’t what I wanted to do, which was have an actual business rather than an Ebay store. It’s worth bearing in mind that some people start home based businesses when they lose their jobs and aren’t interested in sitting around at home on the dole. In these types of situations you don’t always end up with a marketing budget as huge as you’d like.

    Sorry for the bluntness, hope you can appreciate where I’m coming from.

    No problem, certainly do appreciate where you’re coming from :)

    #1110818
    MinzBeadz
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    • Total posts: 103
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    At the moment there is a very large gap between your text and the start of the images. My screen is large enough to see them, but on a smaller screen I think they might be well below the fold.

    Yes, after Robyn’s review the other day I actually managed to get some images on the front page :) but still have no clue how to move them up! I don’t have a huge screen and they are off the bottom (which makes them fairly useless really, not to mention annoying)!

    At some stage you’ve got to stop tinkering and trying to make it better, and just move onto a new structure or design all together. So I’d suggest if you can, get a new free template, something more modern and functional to your needs. Find sites you like and copy them to a degree, make it fun for customers to shop there.

    I think you’re right, and starting to have a look at what’s available.

    Also I notice on your Facebook page it’s quite active which is awesome. The images are a bit low quality though, same on the website with some they look like they’ve been compressed and have lost a bit of detail. As such they don’t really do your products justice. Highly quality images make a huge difference, specially with detailed jewellery pieces I imagine.

    I do compress them on Facebook or they take forever to load up. And the website “large” images are limited to 480 x 480 pixels – nothing I can do about that at this stage.

    It’s good to see people interested in your pieces through Facebook. I started to suggest a Facebook store, but see you have one. Perhaps you’d have better a better conversion rate through that? Allows people to stay on Facebook. Hard to know though.

    I thought that, however – dare I say it – people can be quite lazy on Facebook, and they often struggle to click any type of link and just ask anyway!

    I see a few people asking for prices on things, so maybe include that in the images description along with information how to purchase, via this link, or Facebook shop, or email. “Like this piece? Email us to order/Click here to buy” or something similar.

    For the most part I’m trying to steer them to the website and quite often put a link to the product page. Sometimes I just want to see if anyone’s interested though (or awake :D), or what they might think of a piece.

    Thanks Mike.

    #1110819
    Zava Design
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    MinzBeadz, post: 124002 wrote:
    The site isn’t very attractive at all, and screams “home business”, but not in a good way, but in a rather lack of taste way, which can’t be good for a jewellery store. And I really can’t get past the look and feel, if it’s not inviting then it’s really not going to make a difference what your products/prices are like.

    Thanks for your comments – nothing really I can say to that, if you don’t like it, you don’t like it.
    Well it’s a little bit more than just not “liking” it.

    I’ve worked for 15 years in the web industry, and have managed and read more usability and user preference studies and reports than I care to remember. And the look, feel & style of a site can do more negative than simply offend someone’s aesthetic tastes. More so with ecommerce sites, since you’re asking a user to trust you with their credit card details. That’s a big ask, and to give yourself the best chance of success your site needs to look professional and trustworthy. At the moment yours does not.

    If you have no budget, and can’t or don’t want to use something like Etsy or Ebay, then I’d strongly suggest looking at WordPress theme options, they’re not perfect but again would be a big improvement. Or there are also hosted solutions such as Big Commerce.

    #1110820
    jezz1988
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    • Total posts: 35
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    Hey

    In regards to the design of the website, I think the layout of it is fine, the thing that lets it down visually is the hot pink gradients in the background and in the web banner, they dominate the website and draw the eye away from the content you want to show.

    If you use a solid color that isn’t too distracting I think your website would benefit from it heaps and look more corporate and professional.

    Regards

    Jeremy Callab

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