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New Site - Feedback, Please

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  • New Site - Feedback, Please


    I launched my first e-store site about a month ago and would love some input.

    I've been lurking a bit here and checking out many of your sites and threads. I wanted to give a quick thanks and shout out to a few of you (and sorry if I missed others) that have be very helpful (if not directly, then by example).
    • glowsource1
    • cekman
    • Frik-n-Frak
    • bristweb
    • GoldenEagleOutdoors
    • ScribeTime
    • 3dCartRobb
    • MissHTML

    Thanks, much!!

  • #2
    Hi - Congratulations - and Welcome!

    I think your site looks very nice, especially being only one month old!
    Must say that I love your logo. It's usually one of the first things that I look at whenever viewing a webstore from an unrecognizable name/company. To me, a professional-looking logo is a must and let's a potential customer know whether they should stay to find out more or leave.

    Only recommendation that I could quickly come up with is - you may want to change the style for the category names in your left column. Perhaps do something a little different like a text size that is slightly larger than the subcategory names, bold text or a different color than black (i.e. purple, blue, etc...). I think however you distinguish it from the subcategories, it could help the customer (as they scan your left column) to be able to quickly find what they're looking for.

    Very nice job!
    Last edited by ScribeTime; 01-22-2009, 12:36 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks for quick and thoughtful input, ScribeTime

      On the logo, thanks. My sister put that together for me. She does design work -

      I agree with you wholeheartly on the "branding". I'm a marketing guy by trade (this is my wife's business), so I can attest to the importance of branding. Here are some examples of how we've integrated the logo.

      On the navigation menu, I hear you. I struggled with that on the start. I played with some of the templates that that hide the sub categories, but I chose the "Exposed" view so the viewer could see all the options at once. I like your idea of varying the size/color. Thanks. Gulp, now where do I find that in the design editor? Frames?

      In a related topic, I'm also exploring modifying the navigation to be more "SEO Optimized". Since the navigation is on the left, the search engines see it first. I need to either add more key words to my navigation copy (could get cumbersome) or do some "CSS Magic". Supposedly you can get the engines to read the body copy first and then the navigation with some code tweaks. Any thoughts?

      Thank again for you feedback and kind words
      Last edited by Java; 01-22-2009, 09:20 PM.


      • #4
        Congrats! Launching a new site is such a project and you are clearly off to a very good start.

        My first impressions - I really like your message at the top, it clearly tells me what I can expect from your site, "Handcrafted Unique Affordable Jewelry
        Paisley Originals offers a wide array of truly unique and affordable jewelry handcrafted by Jewelry Artisan Kelley Kinkaid."

        I've heard a lot about keeping your site, especially the home page "above the fold" - working to maybe include some java scripted menus for your sub-categories might help to shrink up your home page. I do like being able to see what all you have, but the list may be a bit too extensive at first glance.

        I love the category pages ... they tell me all again, why buy from this site.

        Final comment, product image photos are really difficult to manage. I deal with shine and glare on our product images too, so I completely understand the challenges involved. Some of the images look like they are sitting neatly on the page, others have a color that is lacking the sense that it was intended color. I used to talk to a guy that has a site, pearlsonly dot com. He has taking pics of jewelry down. Maybe check out that site as an example of what I'm talking about.

        Overall, great job!


        • #5
          Thanks, Buttons.

          I agree with you on the photography. That has been a big struggle for me. I absolutely love the Pearl website you recommended. Thanks so much. A great role model on product photography.

          Any chance you could share the website's contact info? I'd love to talk to him on how he did the shots.

          Thanks, again


          • #6
            Unfortunately I don't have the contact information anymore. We conversed in another set of forums like these. I do remember the use of a photo box (pop-up style), special attention to lighting, both from the bottom and sides, and writing down settings that worked to help minimize the time spent photo shop making corrections. There is a ton of resources out there on product photos - I imagine that excellent product photos have a very good ROI.

            Best wishes!


            • #7
              Congrats on getting your site up and going - looks great!

              Regarding photos...

              I make jewelry too and my husband takes all of my photos. He is an amateur photographer and does a great job - IMHO. But what really helped us was the purchase of a light tent, with the lights to go with it.

              Now he has everything set up, and has presets on his camera and in Photoshop where he processes the photos. He's got it down to a science and can whip the photos out very quickly.

              However, he admits the light tent has been a tremendous asset.

              I scan my cross stitch books - but the jewelry he does if you want to take a look. I'm sure he'd be willing to answer some questions if you have any.

              Some of the pictures are older - before he got involved. But all of the pictures in this category are taken by him:

              Good luck with your new store!
              C Ekman
              Owner/Designer: Cobweb Corner


              • #8
                Thanks, Cekamn

                Kudos to your husband. He's very talented.

                I actually started with a DIY light tent and upgraded to light kit (soft box, 2400 watts). My biggest struggle has been consistant exposure/white background. I think/hope I'm getting better. Our newsletter has my more recent photos. Please let me know what you think.


                Also, I believe I read in another thread that you are using Constant Contact for your emails. I used Mail Chimp for my first email campaign and have be very happy. As info, my sister uses Constant Contact and she was very impressed with Mail Chimp's feature (RSS feed integration, Archiving, etc).

                By the way, I love your site and use it often as a reference. Thank you!


                • #9
                  I think your pictures look GREAT. You site did take a while to load for me - and I have DSL - you may want some friends to try it and see if it loads slow for them - it could just be me!!! Are your pictures very large?

                  Really- the pics look very nice! Good job on your site.
                  C Ekman
                  Owner/Designer: Cobweb Corner


                  • #10
                    I too, think the site looks great.
                    On a few pages, I noticed you have an image gallery of the jewelry with a few thumbnails on the side. The large picture was like 20K however, one or two of the thumbnails were like 160K in size!
                    Might want to check file sizes in the file manager section. Just trying to be helpful! :)



                    • #11
                      Thanks, Mark.

                      Good catch. I wrongfully assumed that the pictures would be resized since there is a maximum width. Not only are some of the "full" pictures way bigger, as you pointed out, so are some of the thumbnails.

                      Since I set a maximum width and not height, I can understand why some of the photo's vary a little since I cropped some differently. But I can't figure out the huge swings. Especially on thumbnails since by definition they are all resized.


                      • #12
                        Don't quote me on this, but, I think the images resize to the LARGE and THUMBNAIL size parameters set in STORE SETTINGS when you upload with the admin panel. If you upload via ftp, they don't get modified.


                        • #13
                          Left Nav Update

                          As update, I found the hide subcategory setting. It's in Store Settings -> Store Features -> Hide Subcategories. I chose "Show from selected Cat only".

                          See if that cleaned up the navigation.

                          I may be mixing other vendors templates in my head, but I could have sworn that there was a 3dcart template with a mouse over reveal of the subcategory. Am I dreaming?

                          I am still exploring leaving the subcategories exposed, but differing the fonts. I still like having all the subcategories exposed so the customers can see at a glance what's available, but as our product line continues to grow it's getting unwieldy.

                          Thoughts? Thanks!!
                          Last edited by Java; 01-27-2009, 08:45 AM.


                          • #14
                            Hi Java, just browsing around your web, looks really clean ans simple, I like it. I found another jewellery site from 3dcart client: in case you want to look another inspiration ;)


                            • #15
                              Site Update

                              Thanks all for your input!!!

                              In addition to collapsing the left navigation into only major categories, I also did a complete overhaul on the product photography. As you all pointed out, the shots had inconsistent backgrounds, so I went back and corrected hundreds of shots.

                              Please let me know what you think:
                              Thanks, again!