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Forum topic by joey posted 2324 days ago 1866 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View joey's profile

joey

396 posts in 2502 days


2324 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question resource

I was hoping to get a little input from some of you guys who have been selling through a web site. first I was wondering how well of a sales tool your web site has been? are you offering a set product or custom work?, do you think the web site is worth it as a sales tool or is it more for just getting your work out there. and last is there anything you would do different with your web site. like hire a professional web designer, better server, Professional pictures, not do it at all, offer a shopping cart. any thoughts at all would be helpful to me. Thanks in advance

Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/


21 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2473 days


#1 posted 2324 days ago

My website is basically a portfolio of my work and offers custom services. Several clients have found me through my website, but it’s not my primary source of new work. It’s great to be able to say, “here’s my card, and why don’t you take a look at my website.” It saves on the cost of brochures and gives some extra evidence that it’s an established business and not a fly-by-night.

Photos are very important. Most people don’t want to read lots of text, they want to see what you have. Unfortunately, if you are doing work that is mostly installed (cabinets, trimwork, etc), it’s hard to have a professional come to each job site. Todd Clippinger does his own photography, and it looks great. He has a bunch of suggestions for getting great phots of your work – take a look through his posts.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 2504 days


#2 posted 2324 days ago

My website is vital to my business (s) I live in the middle of Amish country, surrounded by Amish mills,sharpeners and woodworkers. That is my only advantage over them, I can reach out and gain a bigger market. I agree with everything Peter said too, it saves me a 30 minute sales pitch, customers can look at my site as a “body of past work”. I don’t have inventory listed, but everything I do is spelled out on my site.
Mine is partly a soapbox too where I can educate people on the merits and downright importance of urban logging and treecycling. It gets me raw materials and people contact me for eco friendly wood products.
The same with tool sharpening I have youtube videos linked of me working and the results.
It’s funny. I do not advertise anywhere, for anything. When I first started I would throw $ at the local paper that was never returned in sales/work. My website only gets 1000 hits a month, but it generates pretty good business. I am not a professional woodworker, just part time. But I think what I am saying would apply to just about any business ?
My hosting is $26 a year with these people http://www.doteasy.com/ . I made more than that off my site last night in my sleep (sold 2 sets of kiln plans)
Many people think if they are the web it is only to sell ship products, not true. I generate much local work/sales from my site. My wife works at a a Fortune 100 company with interoffice intranet that 30,000 people (most local) access. I put stuff on there and link my site. The same with these forums. Someone checks my profile and sees I am close to them (even though they never knew about me) and gives me a call. A guy from 50 miles away saw a post of mine on another forum and he has been buying all the walnut I can supply him for example.
To avoid making this any longer, I am just in for a cup of coffee. The short answer build your site that tailors and will keep your target market clicking pages, and for sure I think everyone needs a site.

-- http://nelsonwoodworks.biz/

View Catspaw's profile

Catspaw

236 posts in 2414 days


#3 posted 2323 days ago

I think the website is a must these days.

Agreeing about fly-by-nights. More professional. Adds credibility to a sales pitch. Presents your portfoliowithout having to carry a big book around, etc.

I think most of our clients expect us to have one and we don’t…yet. (rather my boss doesn’t have one yet.)

For the cost, why wouldn’t you get one. (that reminds me….I need to start working on the boss again.)

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2343 days


#4 posted 2323 days ago

I agree with the other guys on the importance and use of the my web site. I notice a attitude of approval when you hand people a business card and tell them you have a web site. It does make them feel more secure to know that you’ve been around long enough to have a web site set up. The professional pictures is something that I haven’t done yet, mainly because I don’t have access to a photographer that will come to my shop at a reasonable price. I’m getting by for now shooting my own pictures and am thinking about investing in a regular back drop, once I get my shop set up. My site started out as a portfolio, but has paid for itself over the last few years. Don’t expect to much when you first start up. My site has been on line for about 8 years. You will have to invest in the search engine services. I’m my own web designer and you may want to invest in a pro if you don’t know how to write HTML.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2913 days


#5 posted 2323 days ago

I have had a lot of people tell me all I needed was a web site to sell my furniture…I haven’t seen that is has done any good. Not one sales lead from the web in a year and a half. Sure it is nice to have as a portfolio and people do expect it, but for me it is about as effective as hanging a flyer at the local laundromat.

View Splinters's profile

Splinters

188 posts in 2781 days


#6 posted 2323 days ago

My website has generated inquiries and orders from all over the US. It was a lot of work in the begining….but well worth every minute I spent on it….I agree it is a great tool to be able to send someone to to check out some of my projects. I use Hostmysite . They have absolutely great with uptime and customer service if I needed to call them.
As far as something different….I went through several phases in the design until I got something I really liked and worked. Out side of some help from a friend I did it myself and would only recommend a professioinal designer if you were not comfortable around computers or didnt have the time to work on it.
Hope my 2 cents helps…

-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - http://www.splinterswoodworks.com/ - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5220040

View RusticElements's profile

RusticElements

167 posts in 2324 days


#7 posted 2323 days ago

I have been a professional web programmer for over 10 years now. I don’t do it professionally any more – my marketing abilities suck. I have several web sites of my own (RusticElementArt.com, Call4Mike.com, AnConn.com, SpaceAware.org) and have several others over the years. I have also built sites for many clients.

For me, my sites end up being a brochure. Sales don’t pay for the hosting. I never did get the hang of site promotion (I’m an artist/programmer, not a salesman). Many of my clients, on the other hand, (SherrysKeepsakes.com, Artstones-by-Deb.com, Mens-Jewelry-by-deb.com, CoakleyCollection.com as a few examples) have done very well with their sites. They’re almost a living for them.

So, in my opinion, it comes down to if you’re willing and able to put in the time and effort it takes to promote your site it can do very well for you. If you’re more like me, and probably most of us, a web site is still a great portfolio.

Bottom line – whether you make money off your web site or not, it’s still important to have.

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - RusticElementArt.com - SpaceAware.org - AnConn.com

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2913 days


#8 posted 2323 days ago

I might add that mine is built more as a portfolio than a “store”. Might have something to do with it. Not much of a promoter here either.

View joey's profile

joey

396 posts in 2502 days


#9 posted 2323 days ago

Thanks for all the input. I went back the school in 2001 for computer networking and have done a few websites, but after I graduated I couldn’t find a job and now every thing I learned is so outdated. anyway it never did interested me the way woodworking does. I plan on a web site that is part portfolio, part woodworking information and hopefully I can link to a lot other woodworkers and woodworking resources. I do plan on going for as highest quality photos I can get. I also plan trying to work with some the area home schooled and youth groups on woodworking on Saturdays good for some local PR and it is something I really enjoy doing. this I also plan on putting on my web site and linking to any web sites they might have and hopefully they will link to mine.

Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/

View Joe Dusel's profile

Joe Dusel

22 posts in 2328 days


#10 posted 2322 days ago

I’ve got a few web sites also setup for my business. Both my wife and I work on them. We have one site (www.woodistry.com) which is setup for our custom work, another (www.aikomei.com) which is setup as an ecommerce site to sell Asian Inspired Furniture and Accessories and a third site (www.cft411.com) that is a collaborative blog site between me and another woodworking buddy. Between the 3 sites we generate about 6000 visits per month. Most of the business for our custom woodworking comes from the web. We also do sell some stuff through the ecommerce site, plus since it’s setup as an online gallery we make a few pennies here and there with the sale of some other local artists works.

The blog site, www.cft411.com, is something new for us. We just started it up last month. I would actually like to get some feedback on this. The aim with the blog is to generate more traffic for all of our sites and thus (theoretically) generate more business. We are also hoping to get a few dollars back from the ads on the site mostly to pay for the hosting and such. My idea with the blog site is to talk about new products and ideas that I learn about from trade magazines and other woodworking business related sources. I’m also figuring that we will get some of the members of our professional woodworking guild to share with us some of their innovative new designs and such in return for links to their site. We just ran an article on a local San Diego guy named Craig Thibodeau with about a half dozen links to his site.

If you don’t mind, take a look at the site and let me know (honestly) what you think.

Thanks!

Joe

-- Joe, http://www.cft411.com

View closetguy's profile

closetguy

744 posts in 2490 days


#11 posted 2322 days ago

If you are going to sell anything, even if it’s just local, a web site is a must. I have people call me who found my name through other means and when they start asking questions, I refer them to my web site. It’s like one big brochure and portfolio. I generate a handful of leads each year through the site without any advertising, however my closure rate on Internet-related leads is very low compared to referrals. About a year ago I paid a company $3600 for three months to put my site at the top of the search engine list. It generated about 50 local leads each month. It it obvious that people are using the internet more often than the phone book. However, at the end of the three months I had only closed about 2 sales out of 150 leads. Internet advertising tends to bring out more “window shoppers”, especially when they can click a button and send an email request for a quote. I have found that a web site is just another tool to be used in conjuction with other more traditional forms of advertising. I generally pays for itself.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2473 days


#12 posted 2322 days ago

A web site has to be easy to navigate and the information has to be kept up to date and current. If either element is lacking visitors just click away.

View Tony's profile

Tony

978 posts in 2628 days


#13 posted 2320 days ago

Hello Joey

MY site, really is just for information to potential customers – Sales of custom furniture direct via website I do not think is possible, I think it promotes the idea of mass produced items just waiting to be sold.

I think that the web is a perfect tool for advertising to customers locally, nationally or internationally – but you have got to get it right. I know my site is lacking a lot of quality, especially the marketing side and publicity photographs – but it will get there one day.

At the end of the day word of mouth is the best tool for selling products – I have my items in Finland, UK, Holland, Belgium and Germany. All this was work was initiated buy “word of mouth” initially, and confirmed by customer viewing my web pages for further confidence. I guess every business is different, as long as we adapt to the market, then we should be OK.

One more important thing – ensure your site is working correctly – some of the websites listed in this thread are not working/the link is not valid – that does put customers off

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View christopheralan's profile

christopheralan

1105 posts in 2318 days


#14 posted 2318 days ago

I only use my site to show examples of my work. I don’t normally do mass production of anything, just custom commission work. It lets people see the kiinda work I do. It doesn’t sound all that great if I say, “Well, I take a picture and burn your face onto a block of wood.” You kinda have to see it.

-- christopheralan http://www.projectwoodworks.com

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

230 posts in 2462 days


#15 posted 2317 days ago

I have a blog http://www.kevinswoodshop.blogspot.com and much like Dennis I have it in place so people can see me work and also if they have commissioned me to build them something I can give them pictures and updates of the process on the site. I do not advertise on the site that I make furniture but I have got leads from the site as my email address is on there.

-- Kevin -- (http://www.furniturebykevin.com)

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