Constructive Criticism needed please

Discussion in 'Website Reviews & Testing' started by Mike Hayes, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. Mike Hayes

    Mike Hayes UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,035 261
    You certainly are being too impatient, it's going to take much longer than a couple of months (not even that!) to start a business and successfully tap into your target audience.

    Your target audience seems very niche, have you tried reaching directly into relevant communities for your audience? e.g. taking part in forums, Facebook groups, relevant Twitter conversations.

    I searched "carderandmason" and your website didn't appear until the second page. This is quite normal for a domain only registered a few weeks ago but shows you have work to do on your search engine optimisation, incoming links etc.

    The website is a little slow to load, consider removing any junk plugins, switching to a better hosting provider (SiteGround are not what they're hyped up to be) and ensuring you have some basic caching enabled.

    The homepage is quite a bit to take in when first landing on your website. I would work on simplifying this so your visitors understand what you're about when landing on the website, rather than being hit with everything at once. There's no need for your Twitter feed to be shown on the website for example.

    The giant "hero" image adds nothing to your website - it just shows your logo for a second time but consumes a lot of the vertical viewing space. I would scrap this on all pages.

    The prices don't seem particularly expensive to me. There is not much point in offering items with a £1 margin, especially in very low volumes. As you have a niche audience, you can get away with charging more if your branding is on point and people feel they're buying into something more than images placed on various objects by a dropshipping service. People enjoy supporting someone with a story or mission.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
    Posted: Feb 23, 2019 By: Mike Hayes Member since: Jan 7, 2016
    #1
  2. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    Hello everyone. I could explain in length my current situation, but that would go on for too long so I'll try and keep it short and bullet pointed.

    • I started my business at the beginning of January 2019.
    • I am an Artist who is trying to sell products with my watercolour design on them (currently using print on demand services for this as a low risk way to test the water).
    • I have a paid Wordpress site and I am using Woocommerce. I also sell on Etsy but I'm thinking of closing my account soon.
    • I have set up my own Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter pages (most of my likes and follows coming from Instagram).
    • I have very recently sent a couple of products to 'influencers' with 4k followers who are in the middle of making a post so they are yet to show their worth.
    • I have ran a couple of targeted ads on Facebook linking to particular 'ranges'.
    • I am running a 10% off offer at the moment.

    I have only sold 4 products on Etsy and NO sales at all on my site.

    Using Google Analytics I see that most people go to my 'home' page, go to the 'shop' page and then leave.

    One thing I do want to mention before going any further is, I am aware that my items may seem a little pricey, unfortunately this is the absolute lowest I can go as the item as standard from the dropshippers is already quite high. I have set the retail price so that after fees etc I make about £1 per item! I would love to buy in bulk but without the funds and without proof that they are selling, I am unwilling to do that at the moment.

    I would like some constructive criticism of my website because as nice as it is to hear family and friends say "Oh aren't you clever?" "Oh your website looks amazing" I understand that this is a biased view and isn't helping me to move forward.

    IF there isn't much wrong with my site, then any insight into what I may be doing wrong is much appreciated.

    Also if I am simply being too impatient (highly likely) just tell me :D

    https://www.carderandmason.com/

    Thank you in advance.

    Zoe
     
    Posted: Feb 23, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #2
  3. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,022 1,088
    Your products are great, I really like them. When I looked at your site I was expecting some tat, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Your marketing, however, isn't quite so good. At the end of the day, you need a proper marketing plan and a bit of money with which to action it. Without both of those things you are just playing at it.
     
    Posted: Feb 23, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #3
  4. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    I find it quite interesting that you say that and you're not the first. This is why I am asking on here. I've always felt my marketing is okay but obviously there is something I am missing.

    Forgive me for sounding dumb, but what exactly do you mean by my 'marketing'? Do you mean the way I am trying to reach my target audience? Or the way I present my products? Or the advertisements? etc

    Thank you very much.
     
    Posted: Feb 23, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #4
  5. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,022 1,088
    You don't sound dumb; marketing is pretty much universally misunderstood, often by those professing to work in marketing.

    By marketing, I mean everything from deciding which products to make, deciding on the prices, developing a personality for the business (a brand), the way the visitor interacts with the site, and about a thousand other things.

    Have a quick look at my post that's pinned to the top of the sales and marketing forum
     
    Posted: Feb 23, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #5
  6. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,770 9,025
    Look at this page: https://www.carderandmason.com/product/4-x-hardboard-coasters-red-fox/

    It took 3 clicks to get here from the homepage. The description is almost nonexistent, there are no associated products (placemats, napkins etc), nothing about the packaging and nothing about the original artwork (you are an artist so tell me about the fox).

    If I wanted fox coasters then there is a huge range to choose from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=f...5tPgAhUiSxUIHf69ANQQ_AUIDygC&biw=1336&bih=731

    If I can't even find your products I'm never going to buy.

    If you are promoting country homeware, decor and gifts then you need the same extensive range as your competitors.

    If you are promoting your products then you need to be look at exclusivity. Limited print runs and commissions for example.

    Either way it's going to cost a reasonable amount and take a long time to get established.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #6
  7. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    Hi, I understand where you're coming from. All of my other products do have a longer, more personalised description but this particular product was imported yesterday and I've not got round to doing this one yet. I'll try and keep more on top of this in future.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #7
  8. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,931 974
    Well, I rather liked the website - and looked at the prices and they didn't put me off. I saw the fox, and figured my wife would like some wildlife themed odds and ends. Then it went a bit adrift. I didn't fancy a fox much, so thought something else would be good - in fact, seeing the fox wall print, I figured an A3 picture would probably be well received - but there is no choice? A fox or a stag? Price wasn't the issue, but I'd prefer a choice - so with PayPal button pressing at these prices no problem, there was just nothing that I wanted, which is sad because the site looks nice, works fine and is well thought through. The killer is just such a limited range. If I found a nice A3 print at less than 25 quid that I liked, I'd buy it without worrying - but I didn't?

    The only thing I absolutely hated is the about page. Lose that bit about working for the NHS - it makes a professional site into a hobby, not a business in ten seconds. I don't want to deal with somebody knocking out art in their spare time, I want to deal with the image of a professional art company - which your site does suggest. The typography is really nice and the business name suggests something old and established, the about page kills this, making it just an 'image'.
    A bit about Zoe, her history, her drawings and what inspires her (as opposed to you) would look good. Don't say you're in the beginning stages, and cut the mush about being driven. Why would we want to buy from Carder and Mason? What's coming in the pipeline? Maybe even saying you are always open to suggestions about future products? The about page is the only area I really don't like.

    I don't think that asking people to enquire about your address is good. It sounds awkward and evasive - it's also, as far as I'm aware a requirement to include an address for a UK business. the outlook email is also quite unusual for a business. Being picky - in the form section, why imagine they have issues? Never mention problems - it sounds like you have a special section to deal with problems, rather than not needing one because you don't ever have them.

    I note you use the word "me" a lot, rather than "us" which fits better with the business name. If it's you, and just you, then the two surname business name is a bit misleading? I'd probably disassociate the web site with the artist. You clearly feature lots of amazing artist Zoe's work, but you need to either be yourself, or a business a step away.

    Having a complete section for clothing, with one baby grow is very odd. I didn't really expect a baby grow to be your only item of clothing?

    I'm glad fisicx managed to give us the link. It's a nice embryonic web site to look at - just needs more stock really. Not remotely embarrassing though - apart from the about page.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #8
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  9. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    Just as an example, sticking with the red fox - the coaster is mentioned as a perfect accompaniment to our red fox mug. Accompaniment? Perfect with our red fox mug feels better. However, there is no mug listed in the related products
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #9
  10. MBE2017

    MBE2017 UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,019 268
    I am not a website expert so I will limit my suggestions to other areas since many other posters have covered your website already.

    Firstly, unless you intend on selling thousands per item making a £1 markup is commercial suicide IMO, you need to learn about how to price your items, price points etc. Many items sold in life bear no relation to their true cost, but what your customer will pay. So as an example, a mug can sell for £4.99 or £9.99, how do you arrive at your price of say £7? Simply because it costs £6 to make? Will it sell just as many at £12.99?

    As mentioned by others you have a very limited range, I like the limited run suggestion made earlier.

    Your logo being placed so close to the image will put many consumers off buying IMO, why have a logo so central on the prints?I would suggest moving it to the lower right edge, where if it was in a frame it could be hidden if required. You could also consider it on the rear instead. Having a number, ie 4 of 50 will increase the perceived value of the print, as would a certificate of authenticity.

    I personally would also remove the no profit comment on the shipping costs, people either do not care or do not believe such statements. Just state the costs, end of.

    Most importantly, as another poster mentioned, you need to sell yourself as an artist, your motivation and passion, your future plans, people will need to buy into yourself.

    Best of luck.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
    #10
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  11. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    Brilliant. Only being open since January and working full time means I have rushed through things like the about me page, so I am not surprised at all that you hate it (I'm not keen either). I will work on a new one immediately.

    I have recently learnt about the address thing, again I will fix this. What do you suggest about the email? I'm not familiar with many email services so do you have any you suggest?

    The clothing section - I know, I'll maybe hold back on that item until I have more to offer.

    Thank you so much for your input.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #11
  12. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    At the end of that product "...why not view our red fox mug?" should have been a link if you press on it. I'll look into this and fix. Thank you for your input.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #12
  13. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    I have thought about this. On the prints, absolutely I agree with you. On things like mugs etc I am not sure it would really put me off but I'll have to research this a bit.
    My thought process with the logo was so people can remember where they got it from to either make future purchases or recommend to others. I am now really unsure what to do about it.

    Thank you for your input.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #13
  14. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,541 2,132
    Printing yourself will greatly improve your costs without a great startup expense, companies like xpres.co.uk have both sublimation kits as well as heat transfer papers and vinyls

    https://www.themagictouch.co.uk/ is another company which has a good range of printing methods and items for printers like clothing, jigsaws and mats etc

    https://shop.ralawise.com/ is a wholesaler of all types of clothing from workwear/promotion to baby clothing who deal with small companies and small orders which may widen your range a bit

    Good luck and please follow advice given in the posts above it's good advice
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #14
  15. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,186 1,804
    Not keen on logos visible on items.
    On mugs and coasters makes sense to put logo on base so cannot be seen.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #15
  16. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    I've now changed the about page, the contact page and took off the profit part of the delivery image.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #16
  17. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,022 1,088
    Good, now put your prices up.
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #17
  18. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,931 974
    Your hosting company can probably set you up (and often free) an email account in the business name [email protected] with perhaps a catchall - so you can use [email protected] or [email protected] or anything and you get the mail to your account. This is the norm for business. Keep going - it just needs more stock!
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #18
  19. Zodge302

    Zodge302 UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    21 2
    I'll keep going, stock will come with time. I've done all of this including the artwork in 2 months :D
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Zodge302 Member since: Sep 3, 2013
    #19
  20. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,457 3,235
    I would rather see the artist's name against the artwork, than the company name. Put the company name somewhere (on the back or the base, ot wherever, but push the artist's name - that is what matters
     
    Posted: Feb 24, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #20