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  • Website Critique Needed!

    We would like any and all HONEST comments about our 3DCart website. Tell us what is bad, horrible, good, broken, cumbersome, strange, perfect or just down-right-stupid! We actually want to hear any negative aspects.

    How To build plans, patterns and blueprints for woodworking and metalworking projects and designs.

    Here's the story: Since moving to 3DCart a few months ago, our sales have droped drastically! Is it our website? Is it our "new" layout? Is it our checkout ( multi-page)? Or could it be the 3DCart platform (I hope not cause we actually like 3DCart)?

    Any and all comments, suggestions, recomendations, fixes are very welcome. If you don't want to reply to this thread directly, just shoot me an email, call or PM me. We welcome all feedback - good or bad!
    Last edited by Barry; 10-28-2011, 10:04 AM.

  • #2
    One thing I would change is your image size. People are visual buyers. Thumbnails should be 150px (optimized to no more than 6kb per image) and the image on product page, display at 400px but zoom to a much larger image, i.e. 600px.
    Generally if I was your buyer this is I would like to see.

    Also, consider offering deals, bargains, sales... etc. People would love to know that they are saving money when they buy from you.

    Other than that the layout is very user friendly.

    I am sure others will have suggestions for you, I recommend asking @celebra1 as she is REALLY good at layout and display tweaks among other things.

    Hope this helps!
    Elegant Weddings +
    www.elegantweddingsplus.ca
    www.elegantweddingsplus.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Barry, one suggestion I'd make regarding the organization of your products....

      I was browsing through the "garage plans" section of your store and found myself wishing that I could browse through all the plans based on the skill level required to construct the plans. So maybe have a list of Advanced skill plans, Moderate Skill plans, and Basic skill plans.

      That way, people can find the plans that suit their particular skills without having to wade through all the plans trying to find one that suits their needs. :)

      Comment


      • #4
        One more thing I forgot to mention in my previous post:

        I kept wanting to click on the subheadings in your product page
        For example:
        Features: Very simple woodworking project. Just trace, saw, paint and assemble! Make mostly from 1x12 pine, 3/4in. plywood and dowel rods.
        Size: Santa measures 21in. high by 11in. wide by 20in. deep. Mrs. Claus measures 18in. high by 11in. wide by 17in. deep.
        Plans Include: Detailed step-by-step instructions, full-size traceable patterns, cutting list, complete materials lists and painting guide.
        Skill Level: Basic woodworking skills required.

        Because the are underlined gives the impression they are click-able to get further.... Maybe I am old schooled with web, usually and underline means link.
        Elegant Weddings +
        www.elegantweddingsplus.ca
        www.elegantweddingsplus.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ElegantWeddings View Post
          One more thing I forgot to mention in my previous post:

          I kept wanting to click on the subheadings in your product page
          For example:
          Features: Very simple woodworking project. Just trace, saw, paint and assemble! Make mostly from 1x12 pine, 3/4in. plywood and dowel rods.
          Size: Santa measures 21in. high by 11in. wide by 20in. deep. Mrs. Claus measures 18in. high by 11in. wide by 17in. deep.
          Plans Include: Detailed step-by-step instructions, full-size traceable patterns, cutting list, complete materials lists and painting guide.
          Skill Level: Basic woodworking skills required.

          Because the are underlined gives the impression they are click-able to get further.... Maybe I am old schooled with web, usually and underline means link.
          {nods} I did the same thing! :) Maybe instead of underlining those words, make them a different color (but keep them bold)?

          Comment


          • #6
            ElegantWeddings,
            Thank you for your input, much appreciated!

            1. Images: I will definately re-consider the thumbnail image thing. I knew we needed bigger images when the main image was clicked on to enlarge it - currently it enlarges to the same size!
            2. Deals, sales, etc: We do run specials in our newsletter and are planning on offering free shipping in the next few months. Maybe we need to run more "onsite" specials for everyone and not just newsletter subscribers also. Will look into.
            3. Underlined Text appears as Links: Wow, I never thought about that one! I will deffinately have to re-do those. We've been doing that since since 1999 and never thought any different!

            PS: I agree and would love to hear what celebra1 has to say about our site!
            Last edited by Barry; 10-28-2011, 10:56 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Piaf,
              Also, thank you for taking the time for you input!

              1. Skill Level: Funny you should say that, but it is one of the things (near the top) of my to-do list for the site. With our old site it wasn't possible, but now we have a few options in 3DCart to implement this.
              2. Underlined Text: See my reply to ElegantWeddings. It's funny that not one of us at the office (since 1999) have ever noticed this and here the two of you point this out immediately !!! This will get fixed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Critique

                You have a very nice start. I like the subtle wood grain divider bars and color scheme. A few ideas:
                • Reduce white space in your banner - possibly align your logo "bottom".
                • Reduce the gap between the topnav and content.
                • Change the home page Featured section "boxes" to a white background with brown/tan border.
                • Consider writing 3 pt instead of 3pt; 18 in instead of 18in, etc. It will be easier for the bots to understand your text.
                • 400px images might sell your products better (as ElegantWeddings suggested). There appears to be enough room.
                • You can reduce the space on your product detail page between the lower image and social media to bring your description up.
                • Why is your text different sizes in the footer?

                Convert your descriptions to a list format. Bots like lists:

                <div>
                <ul><h3>Details</h3>
                <li><strong>Features:</strong> Sturdy construction. Fits either junior or twin mattress (width adjustments are included in plans). Mostly plywood traceable pieces.</li>
                <li><strong>Size:</strong> 86 in. long by 48 in. wide by 20 in. tall.</li>
                <li><strong>Plans Include:</strong> Detailed step-by-step instructions, full-size traceable patterns (where needed), in-progress photos, exploded diagrams and complete materials lists and cutting schedules.</li>
                <li><strong>Skill Level:</strong> Moderate woodworking skills required.</li>
                </ul>
                </div>
                Last edited by celebra1; 10-28-2011, 11:08 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Homework

                  I see you've been working on your homework. The reduced spacing is getting better. Keep going! :-)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by celebra1 View Post
                    You have a very nice start. I like the subtle wood grain divider bars and color scheme. A few ideas:
                    • [1]Reduce white space in your banner - possibly align your logo "bottom".
                      [2]Reduce the gap between the topnav and content.
                      [3]Change the home page Featured section "boxes" to a white background with brown/tan border.
                      [4]Consider writing 3 pt instead of 3pt; 18 in instead of 18in, etc. It will be easier for the bots to understand your text.
                      [5]400px images might sell your products better (as ElegantWeddings suggested). There appears to be enough room.
                      [6]You can reduce the space on your product detail page between the lower image and social media to bring your description up.
                      [7]Why is your text different sizes in the footer?
                      [8]Convert your descriptions to a list format. Bots like lists.
                    Thanks for taking the time AND I am very sorry for this late reply.
                    1 - I have tried everything that I know with no luck! It seems to be some type of table issue. I even tried adjusting the "height" of the cell with no luck. My logo itself has very little white space in the borders. I will keep trying!
                    2 - Done!
                    3 - Done! (thanks for the suggestion, it looks better)
                    4 - Will do the next time we upload our product spreadsheet.
                    5 - Agreed! We are working on this one.
                    6 - Done!
                    7 - This one has me baffled also! This is a table that I designed and insterted into the template. It was like that from the beginning and I have not gotten around to troubleshooting or re-doing it yet.
                    8 - I agree. This one will take some time!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      More Clues

                      REMOVE your Google site verification code from the <body> section to your meta tags area in the header! You'll probably find it in your global header section. Right now it's after Woopra. NOT the correct place!
                      While you're in the global header area, remove the 2 <br> tags. Header moves up!

                      Here is a table revision for your footer with less code, better use of styles, better layout. Copy it EXACTLY:

                      <!--START BOTTOM TABLE LINKS-->
                      <table border="0" align="center" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="10" class="footer alternative" style="width:100%;">
                      <tbody>
                      <tr style="vertical-align:top;">
                      <td class="h4">
                      <ul><strong>Ordering Information</strong>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/How-To-Order.html" target="_self">How to Order</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/About-Us.html" target="_self">About Us</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com" target="_self">Home Page</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Accepted-Payment-Methods.html" target="_self">Payment Methods</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Shipping-Information.html" target="_self">Shipping Info</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Printable-Mail-Order-Form.html" target="_self">Mail Order Form</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/view_cart.asp">View Cart</a></li>
                      </ul>
                      </td>
                      <td class="h4">
                      <ul><strong>Company Information</strong>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Security-Policy.html" target="_self">Security Policy</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Return-Policy.html" target="_self">Our Guarantee</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Customer-Comments.html" target="_self">Customer Comments</a></li>
                      </ul>
                      </td>
                      <td class="h4">
                      <ul><strong>Website Policies</strong>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Frequently-Asked-Questions.html" target="_self">FAQ</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Privacy-Policy.html" target="_self">Privacy Policy</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Return-Policy.html" target="_self">Return Policy</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Misc-Terms-and-Policies.html" target="_self">Misc. Terms and Policies</a></li>
                      </ul>
                      </td>
                      <td class="h4">
                      <ul><strong>Extra Resources</strong>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Links.html" target="_self">Links</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Contact-Us.html" target="_self">Contact Us</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Sample-Plans.html" target="_self">Sample Plans</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/Newsletter.html" target="_self">Newsletter</a></li>
                      <li><a href="http://how-to-plans.com/product_index.asp" target="_self">Site Map</a></li>
                      </ul></td>
                      </tr>
                      </tbody>
                      </table>
                      <!--END BOTTOM TABLE LINKS-->

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        celebra1,
                        Wow! You have gone above and beyond just helping!!! I really didn't expect you to re-write the bottom links table on our site. I don't know what to say but thank you VERY much and I owe you one if ever I can help.

                        1. Move Google site verification code: Done! and thanks (again) for pointing this out.
                        2. Remove the 2 <br> tags. Header moves up!: Done! Not sure where those came from. Like I said, I have been trying to get rid of that white space for awhile and never noticed them!
                        3. Table revision for footer: Done! Again, thank you so much!
                        (PS: Hope I don't insult you, but I did make some very minor changes to the code. I made the headings one size larger. I also did a small tweak to get the links in the table to act like the rest of the site.)

                        About the code I changed for the links:
                        After inserting the code that you so gratefully supplied and viewing in FireFox, I found (sort of trial and error) that by removing CLASS reference, my links matched the site. Here is what I did:
                        Code:
                        class="footer alternative"
                        changed to:
                        Code:
                        class=""
                        It got the results I was looking for, but I'm about 80% sure I completely understand HOW!!! I'm sort of old school HTML coding and have just started learning this CSS coding stuff! LOL It looks great (thanks to you) but I'm sure there was a better way to get the same results!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Your Updated Look

                          It gets better every day! Coding isn't hard. It does take practice. Here's something to practice - changing the footer code you added. "Big" is not a good choice, plus you have too many of them. Use a style! If there isn't one already, create it. Open your template stylesheet. In the fonts area write:

                          .style1 {font-size:14px} Then go back into the footer table, remove all <big></big> and add class="style1" to the <strong> tag. -->
                          <strong class="style1"> Styles reduce in-line coding. Learn to use them! It keeps you from writing things repeatedly.

                          Next, at the bottom of your opening text, consider changing it to:

                          Questions? Call (###) ###-#### <-- Link "Questions" to Service

                          Add biz hours to the contact page, remove white space, add contact form, remove the bold type from the address and add a heading above it - Mailing Address. Also, it is better to cloak your email address.
                          <a href="mailto:[email protected]">Click Here to Email How-to-Plans</a> Research email cloaking to learn why this is a good practice!

                          Last, you're welcome! (smile)
                          Last edited by celebra1; 11-06-2011, 08:09 AM.

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