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C

croftingsupply

New Member
Wondering if anyone can help. I created the website Crofting Supplies for my business and am trying to get some impartial feedback good or bad on it's layout, design, format etc. Not being a web designer I'm pretty sure it can be improved.

Many thanks
Stephen
 
Canary Dwarf

Canary Dwarf

New Member
Hi Stephen

I will indeed offer you some friendly advice.

If you have done all this yourself, then you have done well. However, there are some key strategic points that would particularly improve your home page

Whatever the artisitic intent of using black and white is, it does not sell crofting supplies. I think a more colourful picture of crofters actively engaged in a crofting activity is more preferable, possibly a series of such pics which fade in and out. While I'm sure your crofter customers are unlikely to put the design of your site at the top of their list of priorites, it is the psychological value of such changes that would benefit you. The navigation menu and site name could do with a little tidying up, perhaps with the site name being incorporated into the panoramic picture.

Your copy could be improved to maintain interest and better inform your users. 'Welcome to our website' doesn't do anything for your users. What you need to say there is something like: 'All your crofting supplies delivered to your door' or 'everything you need from machinery to feed' or 'Eco-friendly crofting supplies'. The introductory paragraph needs to concentrate on this entirely as I'm sure this is where your value is, ie, in being able to supply crofters who would otherwise have to travel, quite long distances to get their supplies. Say something like:

"Now you don't need to travel hundreds of miles to get your crofting supplies. We supply everything you need from machinery to feed. We are crofters ourselves, so we understand your business inside out. And we're green too, so you can rest assured that anything we supply will help you reduce your carbon footprint."

I wonder if you are asking due to disappointing sales or 'hits'. You may need to do a little marketing, online and offline' to get your site noticed and linked to. We would also look at your traffic to see if visitors are using your site the way you want, and making adjustments as necessary.

It's just a few suggestions Stephen. We would normally give advice like this after discussing your business in more detail, so that we understand your operation better.

But I hope that helps you a bit and if you need to contact me directly, feel free to do so.
 
Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

New Member
Stephen,

Please keep in mind that I'm not an expert, either in web design or marketing. But a couple of points did strike me when viewing your site.

First, I wonder if a blog style is the most appropriate for this kind of site. A blog is essentially a chronological series of articles. People visit blogs to see what's new: the latest news, gossip, whatever - and to post their own comments. I honestly don't think that's appropriate for a site that seeks to sell a product or service

At the very least, you shouldn't be showing the date the page was created. Your home page is already several weeks old, which is a bit of a turn-off. I'd also question the need for the twitter updates - they have no relevance to your customers. And I'd get rid of the comment form (what if a competitor started posting adverse comments on your products?) and the list of useful sites (or, least relegate that list to a lower-level page).

Instead, I'd focus the home page on the actual products you are selling, with pictures of the two or three most popular items, and various ways for visitors to browse and search your catalogue. The existing search box needs to be much more prominent.

Finally, I think you need to make it easier for people to actually order the products. Not all your product pages have a price or "add to basket" link. And, on a quick browse, I couldn't see any information about delivery times or delivery costs. (Added later: I just found the delivery costs, but I am baffled by the "ship classes" and zones; perhaps it makes sense to a crofter, but it doesn't to me.)

I realise my comments sound very negative. I don't mean them to be. You can be pleased with yourself for getting this far. Please treat my remarks as constructive criticism.

Good luck with your business.

Mike
 
C

croftingsupply

New Member
Thanks for all the advice. Some really great pointers there. Am in the process of making some changes.
 
RedEvo

RedEvo

New Member
You submitted this site to my business directory, Scotweb.com, it took an age to load, I'm talking 30 seconds plus to load a page. Could have been a glitch but if not I'd get it sorted.

FYI the listing was refused because I couldn't find a Scottish business address on the site.

d
 
C

croftingsupply

New Member
Thanks for the feedback

Site is now all sorted having been moved to a new server. The address is shown on the contacts page.
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
I am not a website guru so take with pinch of salt

I would forget about the website for a week or so and do the following

1. Do research to find out if their is a online market in crofting supplies? I do not mean you own experience but real research

2. If you discover that their is indeed a market then you need to do extensive and detailed research into what words and key phrases that market is using for searching on the web.

Do not do anything else until you have nailed the above. It will save you a huge amount of time and effort and money going forward.

Come back in few weeks and let me know the results and I will tell you next stage.

Again I am not a guru I just know what works, the reason most online businesses fail is they do not do the essential and hard work up front and they trust to gut instinct and feeling. Do not fail into that trap.
 
C

croftingsupply

New Member
Thanks for the comments.

Have carried out an extensive market survey and established a potential gap in the market for what crofting supplies offers.

Have written my keywords etc for all products to try and reflect what people would type in when searching.
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
Thanks for the comments.

Have carried out an extensive market survey and established a potential gap in the market for what crofting supplies offers.

Have written my keywords etc for all products to try and reflect what people would type in when searching.
Online research? ie you are trying to sell the products online so are people looking to buy online?

I know for a fact their is huge market for farming supplies. I used to be involved in it during my 30's for the world's largest food company.

However farming and crofting supplies are two different things as far as the internet is concerned!

Give me half an hour and I will do some digging into Crofting supplies

Peter
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
Online research? ie you are trying to sell the products online so are people looking to buy online?

I know for a fact their is huge market for farming supplies. I used to be involved in it during my 30's for the world's largest food company.

However farming and crofting supplies are two different things as far as the internet is concerned!

Give me half an hour and I will do some digging into Crofting supplies

Peter
Okay did not take that long for some simple research

Good points you have virtually no competition online

Bad points Their is a reason for the above virtually no one is searching for crofting supplies or anything to do with it online. Farming supplies yes but then you enter big competition.

What does this mean?

You are a first mover which is great if their is a market online. To date their is not so you have best have extensive research to tell you their is a market that will search and buy online going forward.

You will be creating a market which is expensive and hard.

Obviously we know that crofters buy products but the crunch here is are they buying them online? At the minute the answer is no as no one is targeting them.

Having sold to crofters and farmers in the past I know relationships developed over many years has a huge amount to do with it. The only way to break those relationships down is by offering exceptional value on price and service. This will be exceedingly difficult because you will not have the buying power.

You will be working on margins ie buying for x and selling for y at a mark up. You have to take the cost of stock. I know the margins in that trade from 15 years ago and they were slim then I suspect they are worse now , which means to make money you will rely on volume.

Nothing I am seeing online tells me their is volume in the market.

I am not been negative here I just hate people getting sucked into businesses that they put their heart and soul into on the web, change their website a hundred times, employ every guru under the sun and still make no money. People in web design, seo, online marketing will not tell you you have little chance of making money as it is not in their interest or in many cases their skill remit.

Like I said though I am not a website or seo guru, I am sure they will be along in a minute or so to tell you to change the site.

Peter
 

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