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Go Back   Lampwork Etc. > Business as usual > Website help and critique

Website help and critique -- Get assistance with your website.

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  #1  
Old 2013-05-23, 11:11pm
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flamemoth flamemoth is offline
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Default need some honest straight shooters

I've become so discouraged lately as I know many of you are as well. It seems I spend more time promoting than I do doing what I love..and it seems to be pointless. After a 20% off sale and no sales I have become very disheartened..I need some real critiquing, honest advice, straight talk from peers. I am not looking for the 'your work is beautiful' stuff..lovely to hear but really, thats all I hear. If its so beautiful [and it is btw ], why no sales?

I offer CC as well as paypal..I offer lay away and make payment plans, although now that I think of it, I've only said that on FB site.

If you were going on my site as a potential customer to purchase what would throw you off.. how to improve??

http://deborahjlambson.com
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  #2  
Old 2013-05-24, 12:18am
fionac fionac is offline
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My opinion? the market is saturated, not just with cheap imports but with quality goods made by artisans who value their time very, very cheaply. The customer base hasn't increased exponentially with the new sellers.
Etsy link in your sig line doesn't work ...
Love your jewellery, couple of things I didn't like on your website, I think your site banner is too big, I had to scroll way down to see the first item for sale on the Shop page. If I try to go Home from Shop it opens a new window and the font on your homepage isn't easy to read.
Are you wholesaling to B&M stores at all? You'll make 50% less per item but spend much less time on the boring sh*t (photos, posting etc) and get local exposure.
Good luck, hope it picks up for you
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  #3  
Old 2013-05-24, 1:04am
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Thanks Fionic..I appreciate the feedback. I am up for wholesaling, I am open to all methods of sales and exposure! Its a wee bit challenging in that area since we are overseas for a time, so any contact with canadian or american [husband is American, I am Canadian] shops or galleries is telephone or online. I haven't even attempted that route here in Israel..it would have to be consignment only and I am very cautious re consignment.

Thank you for taking the time and showing me the weak spots from a strangers eyes..very very helpful.
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  #4  
Old 2013-05-24, 2:31am
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Automatic music on a site always makes me move on, if that helps. Very nice photos. Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 2013-05-24, 6:15am
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I don't like the music either. Especially when I am at work, LOL!

Your jewelry is beautiful. I agree that it is hard to get yourself differentiated in a sea of craft sellers.

I know nothing about promoting jewelry or a website, but if I were going to start up, I think I would look closely at what successful sellers are doing and see if I could learn what might get the audience. I think it has to be very hard to try to do this with just a web presence though.
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  #6  
Old 2013-05-24, 7:08am
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I too agree - I don't care for music on web sites. Other than that I don't see any problems with the site. I think times are tough and it's really hard right now. Saturation is a big thing as well. The biggest show I do I was down 30% this year. Things are strange all around. I don't think it is anything you are doing or not doing. Keep your chin up and don't get discouraged...
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  #7  
Old 2013-05-24, 7:21am
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Dont' like the music either.......its nice but. I don't like that its opening a new page each time I click on something. and then that music comes back on.

I love your jewelry, its my style for sure!! I just think things are horribly slow at this time. Even my regular customers that do shows are buying less.
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  #8  
Old 2013-05-24, 7:24am
Angie09 Angie09 is offline
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I'm a web designer and lampworker and I agree, the heading is toooooo big plus the photo is over saturated on most pages so you can't really tell what the heck it is. Certainly doesn't show off your pretty work. Hate music....lose that right away.

When I click on a jewelry item make the photo (since that is all that is on that page) BIGGER. Don't make me click again to really see the details. And I don't know why each time you go to another page, a new window opens. That's confusing to the customer.

And your site is not mobile friendly (viewed on an iPad or iPhone). Any more that's a MUST!

Plus .... sales are slow ....but that's the good news for you cuz now you have time to update your site!!
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  #9  
Old 2013-05-24, 7:24am
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Definitely kill the music. It's an automatic page closer for me and pretty much everyone I know.
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  #10  
Old 2013-05-24, 7:42am
KSH298 KSH298 is offline
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Hi,

I went to your site, thought it very professional. I have tried two shows selling jewelry. The latest, the really up front guy that roasted cashews with sugar and cinnamon had sold only 30 bags on Friday when he said his normal sales would of been 300 bags and this is an Impulse item. I just think trying to sell luxury items is really hard and the economy still stinks. Many other vendors of hand made quality goods did terrible also. Out of 100 vendors, only 3 did well. I asked all the the vendors for constructive feed back. Among other things, I was told, jewelry is the most saturated area of the arts and crafts market. And try to have items under the $50 price point. YES I KNOW, this is maddening and almost impossible to do. Thus we compete against inferior Chinese goods not hand made, all big problems. I have been told by one very talented 20 year artist the arts and craft movement might become unviable. What a shame.

The only other thing I can see, is that it is a little hard to determine from the pictures, but your scale seems on the bigger side. I personally love this. But was told I have the same issue, I was building the scale pieces I liked, not a variety for different women's size and preference.

You might want to mention you kiln anneal all pieces also. I am sure you do and consider it to obvious to mention, but I see that in most lampwork ads.
Good Luck,

Kim
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  #11  
Old 2013-05-24, 7:43am
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Lorraine Chandler Lorraine Chandler is offline
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Yes, the music was putting me off also. At first glance the website was showcasing you, your thoughts, ideas etc. I usually leave those websites if I have to get past that to see beads or jewelry.

I would have liked to see large clear photos of beads first, then jewelry. If I like what I see ( captivated or drawn in) then I actually start shopping. After shopping then I look for the about me page to find out more about the artist. It doesn't work for me the other way around. I am only interested in beads to start with when I arrive at a site. If I don't get those immediately I quickly move on mainly because there are so many sites to browse.

The other thing was the neutrality of the background colors, even the beads and jewelry were very organic. I love colors, they draw me in and I am much more likely to stay and browse a bright colorful cheerful website.

Interesting backgrounds can really help organics, even colored borders for the photos in lime, hot pink, lilac etc. would have done a lot to draw me in I think. As it was I wasn't captivated enough to click on anything to have a better look.

But I am only one person, and may be the only one that thinks this way.
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  #12  
Old 2013-05-24, 8:32am
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Lose the music ..check. got it. That seems to be the big one.. Thanks for the thoughts everyone, you've made some great points. [Can't believe I don't have kiln annealed anywhere.]
I know much of this is the economy right now, and I kn ow we're all dealing with these same insecurities on some level..it's an artist thing I think. Thank you for taking the time to give me some honest feedback. It's a godaddy site by the way..some of those issues I have no control over..making you click twice to get a bigger pic is one of these that Ive hassled over and can't seem to resolve.
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  #13  
Old 2013-05-24, 8:38am
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I think there is some stellar artistry out there in the lampwork artisan universe. I'm a collector as well as a beadmaker, and there is that something, hard to define, that makes me gasp and gravitate toward one artist and not another one, or ten artists.

Yes the market is saturated, but I get the sense that as many are leaving lampwork as are beginning it.

I myself still am searching for that sweet spot where people gasp and gravitate toward my beads. I do get discouraged when sales grind to a halt, and I question my talent, but I'm just not ready to give up.

No specific helpful critique, other than to make what you love, don't measure yourself by your sales, have fun with it, hone your skills, try new techniques and let the rest be what it is.

And when you have done it, come back and teach me how to do just that.
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  #14  
Old 2013-05-24, 8:40am
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Yep, get rid of the music. Usually I don't even stick around once I hear music, I just leave. Also, too much clicking required to see a decent sized photo. The first click should take me to a page with a large photo...think Etsy. The less clicking required, the more sales go up. More clicking required equals people leaving your site.
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  #15  
Old 2013-05-24, 8:53am
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Disclaimer: this is all just my opinion, though it looks like there're others who feel the same.

I think there are a couple of things going on. First, I personally never go to people's individual sites when I'm shopping for something - I do eBay or Etsy, I would never stumble on to your personal site. But assuming I did go there:

1) I HATE MUSIC on websites. Hate it hate it hate it.

2) Video is even WORSE in terms of slowing the load. I'm NOT patient, if it's taking 20 seconds to load your site I'm outta there before it ever loads. Your video is beautiful, but put it as a click, not an automatic run.

3) I also hate having to click past an entry page to get to what I'm looking for - I want to see the shopping stuff FIRST, and have any blogs, "who am I" type stuff be the "click to see".

4) On my monitor, some of your photos are sort of washed out/dark - it doesn't draw me in - and I LIKE organics. And on a $100+ piece I'm going to want to see a lot more pictures - I know it's a pain, I hate the whole photo process myself.

5) This one is sort of hard to explain... I think your site is incredibly beautiful, but the potential customer isn't there to buy a site. The jewelry isn't really showcased, it feels as if you got lost in the graphic design and the quotes and fonts and the beauty of the presentation, and the work itself gets lost in the process.

Finally, The economy is so bad for high-end work, I think anything much over $20 is going to be a challenge to sell. Your work is gorgeous, but it's also pricey, and I think people are still looking for real bargains.

I understand the frustration, but I'm not sure there's much we can do until the global economy improves.
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  #16  
Old 2013-05-24, 10:47am
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flamemoth flamemoth is offline
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Thank you all ..I appreciate the time you're taking to give me your in depth critiques!
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  #17  
Old 2013-05-25, 10:56am
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I would say that for you to sell your work, you need to really know who you Ideal Client is. And once you know that, you will know where to find him/her. I think that all of the excuses about the economy are just that - excuses. If the economy is SO BAD, why are people still spending money on luxury items (because they still are!). I had a couple of bust shows these past 2 weekends and I am not moaning and groaning. It's a bummer for sure, but now I am questioning if those shows were right for me and doing lots of research about other shows. And I am also seriously investigating and searching out wholesale clients and working to get my jewellery in to the right stores. I have set up my website with e-commerce, but have yet to make a sale there... I can't expect them to come to me just cause I have my site... I am working to build my "social proof" through blogging and social media so that in time, people WILL come to my website. And I disagree with Pat (eregel) re: Etsy and Ebay. Once you have your Clients, you want them to come to YOU where you control your brand and their experience (not the Etsy or Ebay brand and experience... How many times have I admired something from someone and where they got it "Etsy" is the answer... NOT the artisan - they often don't even REMEMBER which artisan...). I understand that a shopper might stumble upon my Etsy store (if I am on the ball to re-list frequently enough), but to me, that is not enough of a reason to invest in an Etsy shop.

DEFINITELY continue to build your site - it is the ONLY thing that you have to control and make your's...

It sounds like to me you might be ready and interested in the Flourish & Thrive Academy - go and check them out!

http://www.flourishthriveacademy.com/the-academy/

Best of luck, from another Canuck (haha - didn't realize that I made that rhyme til after I typed it out!),
Annie
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  #18  
Old 2013-05-25, 11:39am
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Absolutely agree with you Annie regarding etsy and ebay which is EXACTLY why I have my own site..Personally, I love individual exclusive sort of shops/sites and assume others do as well. Thanks for the link..I will check it out!
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Old 2013-05-25, 7:37pm
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Lorraine Chandler Lorraine Chandler is offline
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The big problem with selling on Etsy or ebay is if someone asks where did you get that they say ETSY or Ebay. Rarely do they say the name of the shop.

Having a website is great but is does take a lot more to drive people to it. A lot of people prefer to get their work into big city galleries if they can.
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Old 2013-05-25, 11:52pm
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Yes! me included Lorraine. I don't quite know how to do that being in Israel.
I keep a little in Etsy and have a twitter account, a pinterest, a blog and of course facebook..all working to drive customers into my site. I feel that I am doing all the right things all the wrong way somehow.

I think our jewelry is special in that it has been created with little hand worked pieces of art, and if you're going to sell it as art then you need to have a site that speaks in that language..thus the volumes on the artist and the video. I will agree however that it always did bother me that the video begins automatically on loadup but had problems wading through godaddy stuff to fix it, so became exasperated and left it..I will persevere now that I see its a very real annoyance. I will keep video but have it start only if player is clicked on somehow. If you look you can see there is a volume control on the video that can be shut off.
At any rate..again I thank all of you who have taken the time to respond and given me some of your time. LE is a great network and resource for feedback..
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Old 2013-05-26, 2:07am
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Since you don't want any gushing about your exquisitely put-together website, or your beautiful creations, I'll stick to trying to find some criticism about it.

First: It is a general rule of thumb that you shouldn't have any automatic-start videos or music on a website. You never know who's shopping at work, and this might cause potential customers to click away quickly and forget to come back.

Second, in your shop area, the thumbnails of each item are, imo, way too small. It was a little difficult for me to differentiate between them and I couldn't see all of the eye-catching details that grabbed me until I actually clicked one.

Third: I would like to see more than one image for each item, to get a feel for the pieces, especially if I were going to spend money on a quality piece.

...Okay, just clicked on your blog. A few posts down, I saw a bunch of beads listed on Etsy. But the name of the shop confused me. Were these YOUR beads? I hadn't seen them on your website. Took me a minute to realize it was indeed you. I noticed your shop name and your business name (as well as your blog title) are very different from one another. Perhaps you should consider taking advantage of Etsy's name-change option? Make them gel a bit more? Maybe even decide to just use your own name as the shop name, so that the average customer can easily relate them in their minds. I think it would be a good idea to add an area to your shop that includes your beads for sale, as well. That's all I can think of. Your work is obviously gorgeous, so that's not the problem! (A little gushing )
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Old 2013-05-26, 8:37am
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Annie..thank you for the nice words.
Yes the beads are mine..the Greenbird is for my grand-daughter [and is just the beads on etsy]the Sweetwater Designs for my father [when I first began selling beads..I've tried to do a name change over] and the Deborah JLambson is for me[just the jewelry]. I know someone has got to go and I think its Sweetwater but cannot change the facebook..not allowed, and I have put far too much into that to make a new page for Deborah JLambson. I've tried to eliminate it [sweetwaterdesigns] everywhere else..but internet is a vast space with a very long memory. I know its confusing
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Old 2013-07-25, 11:39pm
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I'm going to pop this in here just for the sake of record. I switched my site to one I have more control over as someone here suggested..[thanks Annie in Ontario ] Godaddy is probably very good if you have more time than I do to figure things out, but I'm finding big cartel with Aarcade suits my abilities and my artistic inclinations a bit more.
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Old 2013-07-26, 4:48am
Mickip15 Mickip15 is offline
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I personally would have a bit more in my shop to sell and some with lower price point, I would try to have a scrolling gallery, with better pics if possible to brighten up the jewelry, like a light show of your pieces in different poses and lighting. I would also suggest a front page of a gallery style that is clickable to go to jewelry that is enticing. Selling on line is hard but if you consider when you go window shopping what makes you go inside? The front window and how they light up the products that might interest you? an open door? On the home page talk about yourself and what makes your jewelry stand out and be personal. A picture of your shop, of you and a gallery of your work. I have more ideas but don't want to be too much of a critique.

Micki
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  #25  
Old 2013-07-26, 6:07am
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Oh. too late Micki! [jk]..keep in mind I am Just getting started with this site and am a work in progress! I'm getting there. Of course, the 'about me' is on its way..because lets face it. It's all about Me!

I have noticed a fair amount of action from this thread showing on my stats so wanted those who were accessing the website to know that what they were seeing was not the original site referred to at the beginning of this thread. Godaddy..poo. BigCartel..
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Old 2013-08-02, 2:38am
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Popped over to your website (and then your facebook page to like it with my biz page (Studio Luma). I LOVE the ease of Big Cartel and have found that the Aarcade support has been FANTASTIC! Hopefully you have been feeling the same as well...

I think that Micki is right - lower priced items are what the majority of people of are going to buy... My biggest sellers are little "charms" that I make that people can add to existing chains, etc. They are spontaneous purchases, don't require much planning/budgeting to buy, and make great little gifts for people. Your beads are beautiful pieces of art, in and of themselves, so what about picking some to turn in to pendant and then just have them on a simple chain. This could be a good way to get people hooked on your jewellery and then when they see a bracelet (or bigger ticket item) that "matches" their pendant, they will be drawn to buying it...

I started off the summer thinking that I was going to sell tons of necklaces that I created and was ready to flush my little charms aside... I have yet to sell 1 of those necklaces (the SweetLoops Carmen necklace, fyi and if you want to go and have a peek: www.studioluma.ca) but TONS of the Bitty Beads, Luma Drops, and SweetLoops Drops. At the end of the day, the profit margin of the smaller pieces is great and since people grab them up, it adds up really fast!!

Hope that things are going well... I am off to Collingwood, Ontario for a show, this weekend. Fingers are crossed that it is going to be a good weekend - it is a smaller show (which = lower booth fee!) and I am 1 of 2 jewellery vendors (they are many painters and sculptors)!

Annie (in Ontario)
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  #27  
Old 2014-12-08, 1:28am
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flamemoth flamemoth is offline
all for the love of glass
 
Join Date: Jul 24, 2005
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Hey Annie in Ontario..I just clicked back to this thread via stat counter..Im a wee bit late answering I see.
Good luck on your shows this year..I think Ontario is thick with them and probably right now you're in the middle of the Christmas shows. Im sure you'll so well. I keep forgetting Studio Luma is you! Your work is wonderful..<3
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Old 2014-12-08, 4:36pm
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Khaleesi Dane Khaleesi Dane is offline
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I couldn't find anything for sale? Just address to locations? Is this an old post?

I think in this economy, things like jewelry no matter how stunning, are luxuries, and can be admired, but must be rationed out in a persons mind....

Hope that helps?
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Old 2014-12-08, 11:18pm
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flamemoth flamemoth is offline
all for the love of glass
 
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Thanks so much for your input Khaleesi and yes this is an old post..I was just now responding to Annie because it bothered me to see it hanging there

Since the writing of this post, sales and my little business of glass and jewelry have vastly improved..I don't really know what to attribute it to except maybe stubborn perseverance. I have lots of that. I found a few galleries that like my work and also here in Qatar, it is very unique ..so that's a plus. Also have managed a small following on Facebook that admire the glass art. So a year has made a huge difference in my world.

[oh and I have, at this time switched back to godaddy. ]
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