LumberJocks

Website posted - Need opinions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking forum

Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 1148 days ago 1341 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1662 days


1148 days ago

Just updated my website and I need opinions on it. I used Iweb on my Mac Book to create the website. Still don’t know how to integrate e-mail so that users can use a message box for e-mails. I also don’t know how to add a counter so that I can track how many visitors there are.

www.lostcreekwoodworking.com

Thanks
YT75


26 replies so far

View Puzzleman's profile

Puzzleman

327 posts in 1539 days


#1 posted 1148 days ago

Here goes my impressions:

First page I always look at is the about us page. You need to expand more. give more info about how you got started, why you do this and who are you. I couldn’t find your name until the last page. On the about page, you want to create the same feeling as if you are introducing a potential customer to your shop . I hope that you tell them more than what your page says. It doesn’t need to be formal, just make it friendly and reflect you. Remember that your website host doesn’t charge by the word.

Product pages: Expand your descriptions more. Give the customer a feel for what you are doing. You do a great job of listing what it is made from but the majority of buying decisions are made by women. So you need to connect with them. They like a story, what motivated you to create this one and more descriptions other than just the basics. This may sound dumb but it worked for me. Talk to some women about your product, see what questions they ask. Then ask them to write a description of your product. It may look dumb to you but you are not trying to connect with yourself but with other people.

List the different sizes on each product page as well with prices. I really liked the height recommendations. Put them on the product pages as well.

If possible, put your contact info on every page. This way someone cannot use the excuse of not finding your info to give you an order.

Just my opinion.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler, http://www.hollowwoodworks.com

View Puzzleman's profile

Puzzleman

327 posts in 1539 days


#2 posted 1148 days ago

Forgot to mention. About the counter, who cares how many people visit your sight. You can get that number from your metrics. As far as your customers, if the number is low, the response could be “Is that all the people that see his sight?” Could be a negative or a positive. Never give them a reason to have a negative impression.

The most important number is how many people contacted you and made a purchase.
That is the number that matters the most.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler, http://www.hollowwoodworks.com

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#3 posted 1147 days ago

IMHO, you should get you a professionally made template for your website since it is a business. They are not that expensive. You should also consider taking some short courses on how to set up and maintain websites because, even if you don’t design it yourself, it is good to know at least a working knowledge of how web sites work and what you can do with them if you are going to use them in your business. Take a look at Lynda.com because they have some excellent courses that you can take over several weeks that are in video format. You do have to join but it’s only month to month and you can learn a lot in a month just in 7 hours a week. If you really get into web sites you can spend years at Lynda.com and not take all of her courses. I only belong to her site and get nothing for this, but I have taken a good many of her courses and they are excellent. Good luck with your web site.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View mtkate's profile

mtkate

2049 posts in 1921 days


#4 posted 1147 days ago

Agree with the first comments. The first page – we need to know who you are and where you are and how to contact you. Make it more about finding you first. There are lots of Lost Creeks out there!

Example – take some of the content in your “about us” and put it right on the front page.

The page loads fast, so keep it simple and everyone will appreciate that.

You are just starting out on this so you will build it as you go… look at other websites for ideas but the most important thing is keep it simple and easy to navigate so folks can find prices and examples quickly.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1288 days


#5 posted 1147 days ago

I’ll weigh in! I really enjoyed looking at your chairs and I’d echo the suggestions above. But before I get to that, your chairs seem very underpriced compared to those for sale in my area. There about 50% of the ones I consider for purchase here in WV and surrounding areas. Perhaps I just found a new place to buy chairs!

I would beef up the “about me” section. Put a picture of yourself in your shop, hard at work. Avoid allowing your sheetsized Timeshaver to make it into the photo; you with a shop dog and chisel will scream one-man-shop and demand a premium (in my eyes, at least).

Maybe dedicate an area that focuses up close on your complicated joinery. Explain why you chose these joints and what makes them special to you. You could have a section about the local woods that you choose and why. You could even include a section upon why you so value a hand-crafted chair. It may be touchy-feeley, but it’s why a lot of people (like me) invest in hand crafted furniture.

You might want to de-clutter the photos on your main page a bit. I’m no expert here, but I’m sure you’ll get some great advice below.

I left the site feeling like I met a wonderful craftsman. I left wanting to know MORE about him and his particular craft. Good luck! Al

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View rhett's profile

rhett

696 posts in 2263 days


#6 posted 1147 days ago

First off, if you are going to promote a website, make it an active link. You need to add “http://” in front of the www. This goes for signature lines also, other LJ members.

Second, your prices are ridiculously low. Love making chairs or not, that type of drastic underpricing for your skill and workmanship would make Sam role over. Even if all your wood, electricity and overhead were free, you would still be selling yourself short. People who know this style and actively look for it, expect to pay for it. Your pricing could actually drive away potential customers. JMHO

Nice looking chairs.

-- http://planeandsimpleblog.wordpress.com/

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1731 days


#7 posted 1147 days ago

Very cool chairs.

Your URL gets re-directed to a rather funky one:
http://www.lostcreekwoodworking.com/www.lostcreekwoodworking/Lost_Creek_Woodworking.html
A bit repetative!

I have dabbled in web sites off and on for more than 10 years. Getting the techology to work is much easier for me than getting a professional quality design. Very different skill sets. I would consider hiring a professional designer to help make it look good.

If you are going to DIY it, maybe browse this site of free designs. At a minimum lots of ideas for making it more visually interesting. You have high-end chairs that would look great in the right setting.

-- Greg D.

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1476 days


#8 posted 1147 days ago

I don’t think anyone has said this yet but I would suggest better pictures of the chairs. Your photos are not bad and probably the best you can get with your camera but I think some professional photos would really make a big difference. It might be worth it to have a professional camera place come out and shoot the photos for you. They will know the best backgrounds, lighting and best shots to take. Photos are the first thing that people will look at so IMO thats the most important.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1288 days


#9 posted 1147 days ago

^Greg’s (and Dan got in there while I was typing) got a fantastic point. A few hundred bucks to a photographer might give you photos that will last the rest of your career. Not that your pictures are bad by any stretch, but their true glory could be revealed by someone who specializes in this. One of my good friends owns this company:

http://www.spearedpeanut.com/

He’s likely far beyond what even the most wealthy woodworker would be likely to spend, but he’s a very nice artist who’d certainly respond to an e-mail regarding budget web design or photography. Do you have a local community college? I had a class plaster a room in my home once for the cost of pizza and beer. They usually have photography departments. I’m just brainstorming.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1731 days


#10 posted 1147 days ago

I also think the photography isn’t doing as much for your chairs as it could. I am a newbie at that. It is better if nothing in the background distracts from your subject, so make the background bland and/or out of focus. It is also better if the lighting is just right – the lightest and darkest spots on the subject that you want to see end up being the lightest and darkest spots on the picture that you can see. One trick for shooting during a day with strong sunshine is to put the subject just inside a shadow looking out toward the sunshine, and shoot with the sun to your back. That way the subject is illuminated with a lot of indirect light.

-- Greg D.

View GregD's profile

GregD

606 posts in 1731 days


#11 posted 1147 days ago

I see I’m slow on the typing. Some people on this site take great photos. When you see a picture that looks especially good and appropriate for your work, ask the poster how it was shot.

-- Greg D.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#12 posted 1147 days ago

I apologize for my bad manners on not commenting on your chairs because they are the very thing that I noticed. I could tell right off that you have a legitimate product and you should be able to sell them on the internet because they seem to be very good quality chairs. However, the quality of your merchandise is exactly why you should have a professional looking web site which is why I made my comment. You can get a template that is designed by a professional web site designer for as little as $10 although I would go on and spend as much as $50. You can get hosting with all the features that you will ever want for $100 a year and also have room for many more sites than just the one you are wanting to put up. Once you get your site up that’s just the starters. You will then have to promote it and submit it to all of the search engines so people can find it. You can have a beautiful site about woodworking but if no one knows about it it will be pretty useless. You can pay people to do this for you or you can do it yourself.

I use a webmaster who is an older gentleman who works out of his home and has little overhead and charges around $200 to build a small business site with a good many pages. He includes the template but will make modifications to the template at this price. He will add a shopping cart for around $50 to $100. He doesn’t own a hosting company but leases a lot of space from a good hosting company and subleases space to the client. I’ve been using him for 7 years. He charges 100 per year for your space (you will never run out of room) and will do search engine work for a nominal charge. What I like about him most is that I have developed a good relationship with him and know him to be honest and caring.

The point is you can have a professional web site for your business for 2 0r 3 hundred dollars and 1 hundred a year for hosting. Considering what a web site can do for a small business I think that it is an absolute bargain.

If you want to save money and do it yourself then I can assure you that it is not that difficult to do – especially if you buy a template. Even modifying a template is not that difficult. You can learn more than you need to know by joining Lynda.com for a month and taking several strategic courses and they are comprehensive courses but are not that difficult to master. So you have a number of ways to go.

I have used Webnet77.com and hostica.com for hosting and they have some good packages. They also have a lot of training videos to help you do whatever you want to with your web site so take a look at them if you like.

Webnet77 will host business’ and organizations’ and is not just for Christians. They just don’t host questionable things. However, they are top notch IMHO.

I haven’t touched a website in over a year. It’s just a hobby to me and I love to play around with them. They are fascinating to me and I have spent probably 1500 – 2000 hours playing with them over the years. I’m certainly not a professional. You could never learn everything there is to know about web sites because the technology keeps changing at a rapid pace. But you can learn what you need to know to do your own web site in a nice way. I hope this helps. Good luck with your web site.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1288 days


#13 posted 1147 days ago

I’ve got a bare-bones frontpage site that I made in a weekend (with no prior knowledge) and I haven’t updated it in two years (lazy). I use Verio for hosting at $11/month with gigs of space and features that I don’t even pretend to understand. My site e-mail is redirected to my PDA. I don’t sell anything on my site (or in real life, for that matter) but your’s is a very different situation. A few sales and you’ve paid for your investment for a few years. Get a pro to take a look and charge more for your chairs! I should buy a few before they catch on ;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#14 posted 1147 days ago

I think that photography is very important as well but with a good camera, a tripod, a background, some portable lighting, and some care and patience most people can take a clear picture. There is no doubt that a professional photographer will do it better.

Incidentally, lynda.com has quite a number of courses on digital photography, video photography, film editing, digital art, and many, many software training programs. I’m very fond of her website and it’s a whole lot cheaper than going to a college and a whole lot more practical.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View mrg's profile

mrg

519 posts in 1595 days


#15 posted 1147 days ago

Yellowtruck,

You are going in the right direction with your sight. Everyone has made some good points. The web address looks like your directory has been set up a bit funky. That is an easy fix though. You should give a bit more in the descriptions, tell more about yourself and the chairs. Give the potential customer a bit more to go on. You have to be a bit more enthusiastic, engage the potential client. You don’t need a web page counter on the front end low counts shy people away. You can set up a mailto link it should be pretty simple using Macs web software. The hosting service you are using has tools to track how many hits you are getting. Also you have to do SEO (search engine optimization) every couple of weeks to move up on the page ranks when someone does a web search.

You can do your sight yourself it is just time consuming to do and keep up with it. Your photo’s are not bad and with a little bit of work you can get them looking great. Easy low cost way to get great pictures, white sheet, poster board that has a bit of a gloss on it, a few of the clip on work lights with 100 watt cfl daylight bulbs and a tripod for your camera. Or shoot as you did out doors but with a neutral background.

If you have any questions on hosting or web design drop me a note and I will answer your questions for you. I maintained a large website for a company I worked for and we did it on a shoestring budget and got great results.

-- mrg

showing 1 through 15 of 26 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase