Denette

Just made a website - feedback & criticism?

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I'm thrilled to have just set up DenetteWoodworks.com and want to see what you fine gentlemen think of it.  Any tips?  Any glaring omissions?  Criticism?  Compliments?  I'd love to hear what you guys think.

 

 

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That's a very nice looking website. Photography is good and you have a variety of pieces to show. Based on the website, if I was in the market for some fine woodwork, I'd certainly give you a call.

The only criticism I have is the closeup of the dovetails. They are a little gappy to be showing off. Sorry, trying not to be a jerk here.

Good luck with this.

Edit: I should rephrase the comment about the dovetails. They look a little gappy; it could be the straight on nature of the photo that accentuates the gaps. It's kinda funny, after reading that you are an English teacher, I find myself worrying about all the grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors I may have made in this post.

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Well hey, congratulations on the web site.  I opened it on my phone and it has a nice look and feel.  

Looking at the home page photos I have these suggestions:

Relocate the workbench photo.  It doesn't go with custom furniture.  And in fact it got interposed between the table and the close up of the table's dutchman.

I would recrop the dutchman close up so that your feet are out of the picture--not to say those aren't nice toes :).

Lastly loose the food pictures.  You don't have testimonials yet, but you could put in the workbench photo and your own personal quote or motto.

Good luck with this venture.  I hope the web page doubles your business.

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13 minutes ago, drzaius said:

That's a very nice looking website. Photography is good and you have a variety of pieces to show. Based on the website, if I was in the market for some fine woodwork, I'd certainly give you a call.

The only criticism I have is the closeup of the dovetails. They are a little gappy to be showing off. Sorry, trying not to be a jerk here.

Good luck with this.

Edit: I should rephrase the comment about the dovetails. They look a little gappy; it could be the straight on nature of the photo that accentuates the gaps. It's kinda funny, after reading that you are an English teacher, I find myself worrying about all the grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors I may have made in this post.

Thanks!  I'm only the grammar police when I'm getting paid to be, no worries.  :)

They were a little gappy when that photo was taken - good eye.  I'll get a better picture from after they were tuned up a bit.  Thanks!  I just used that photo because the lighting was good.

6 minutes ago, Mark J said:

Well hey, congratulations on the web site.  I opened it on my phone and it has a nice look and feel.  

Looking at the home page photos I have these suggestions:

Relocate the workbench photo.  It doesn't go with custom furniture.  And in fact it got interposed between the table and the close up of the table's dutchman.

I would recrop the dutchman close up so that your feet are out of the picture--not to say those aren't nice toes :).

Lastly loose the food pictures.  You don't have testimonials yet, but you could put in the workbench photo and your own personal quote or motto.

Good luck with this venture.  I hope the web page doubles your business.

The food pictures are already gone and replaced with a couple of testimonials!  Taken care of.  I actually didn't expect anyone to reply as quickly as you did, haha!

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 Good luck to you with your business.  I didn't no you are a English teacher.  :) 

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I don't know the mechanics of websites but i'd down sample your images for faster loading. Keep the resolution up but when you save the jpg there usually is a quality slider don't have it over 50%. It adds a lot of bulk to the jpgs and doesn't help the quality much.

I know your starting out and you have the pictures you have to work with BUT when you take more think about every tiny detail in the picture. The messy table with the laptop and coffee mug, the persons face off to the side as previously mentioned your toes. Get a clean whiteish sheet and hang it on the wall and partially on the ground/floor use that for pictures so your background is white. Make sure that this doesn't make the picture dark so you'll have to play with exposure some. Get good even lighting from multiple directions so the shadows are the ones you want. A good picture sells a bad picture hurts more than it helps. Don't ever get me started on house sale pictures.

(I'm hypocritical in the picture department. I know what to do  but because I'm not doing this for money i don't go through the extra effort.)

Also if you have a contact form for the love of god respond. Nothing bothers me more than those contact forms i fill out and never get a reply even if you can't or don't want to take the work. Ditch the chat feature unless you will respond quickly.

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Just a few piddly things, and some of them get very piddly.

  • In the "About Me" section, consider changing "I have been woodworking for ten years, and have been doing commissioned pieces for the last five" to " I have been woodworking since 2008, and have been doing commissioned pieces since 2013." or similar, unless you want to update it every year.
  • You may also want to reconsider the section about using only clear coat. Someone may see that and assume you have no interest in staining/painting a piece, or that you will give excess pushback if they request it, and they may not even contact you to ask. If you truly don't want those jobs, that's totally fine. But if you are looking for all the jobs you can get to start out, you may want to add something along the lines of "but I understand that everyone has their own preferences and needs, and I am proficient in a variety of finishing techniques."
  • Overall, the photos are crisp and nice. I'd suggest putting a bit more effort to remove clutter from the background when you take the photos. Like Mark mentioned about the dutchmen photo, your body/feet,  rag, can/tube on the ground, DC hose, and shavings are a bit distracting. In the dovetail photo, the sideways planer. The bench photo, the dead plants and knocked over watering can, the array of tools to the side. In the mortise photo, it looks like the mortise was laid out toward the right face, then cut toward the left face, some may notice that and wonder what happened. I don't want to seem overly critical, but it will make the difference between good and great portfolio shots.
  • I like the idea of the video for the Completed Projects link, but it's fairly shaky. You may want to see if you can borrow some sort of steady cam, make one, or make a track to help smooth it out.

Edit- looks like Chestnut beat me to some of the comments.

For some very nice portfolio pictures, take a look at https://tecori.com/works-furniture.html and the Online Shop and Crafts links at the same site. He does a great job with his photos, without going the route of a solid color backdrop.

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Lots of help on the website itself from everybody but overall I think it is good looking and easy to navigate.

But business wise, under your communications heading - "...to allow clients to make mid-project design tweaks as desired".  You need to have a plan in place for this or you could end up with a client tweaking your profits right in to oblivion.  Changes and tweaks can take materials and do take time and time and materials are money. ;)

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Not a website guy but I spend enough time in them to notice:

The images look great once they loaded. Navigating seemed to take a long time as each time I selected a new path, it would take about 5 seconds to get there. 

I also couldn't view any of the portfolio pics. Kept reloading, nothing showed.

Fwiw, accessing through browser on mobile.

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16 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

Not a website guy but I spend enough time in them to notice:

The images look great once they loaded. Navigating seemed to take a long time as each time I selected a new path, it would take about 5 seconds to get there. 

I also couldn't view any of the portfolio pics. Kept reloading, nothing showed.

Fwiw, accessing through browser on mobile.

Yeah, I noticed that the portfolio wouldn’t load myself a few minutes ago.  I’ll get on it later today.

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I like the site. Reminds me of one I have here at work.

I missed the Etsy link, you might want to add that to the top nav.

Watch your tense in the Custom Furniture. Made Right. section. I'll, I, etc. Maybe try to switch away from "I" to "you" in that, make the customer the center of attention.

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As of 7:30 central time, the site loads quite well on my phone. I see you are taking the suggestions to heart, and its working well.

 To build on @Chestnut 's comment about image size, I suggest using B&W photos when color isn't the critical aspect of the image. Dropping color shrinks the file tremendously, and gives an 'artsy' feel to the image.

Good job, and nice work. Are you gearing up for business, or just sharing a passion? I didn't notice any shopping cart type links....

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14 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

As of 7:30 central time, the site loads quite well on my phone. I see you are taking the suggestions to heart, and its working well.

 To build on @Chestnut 's comment about image size, I suggest using B&W photos when color isn't the critical aspect of the image. Dropping color shrinks the file tremendously, and gives an 'artsy' feel to the image.

Good job, and nice work. Are you gearing up for business, or just sharing a passion? I didn't notice any shopping cart type links....

Well, there are three links to my Etsy shop - I guess I should ditch the “E” logo and replace it with a shopping cart icon.  It’s not like Etsy is paying me to use their logo, and humility and subtlety won’t do for marketing.  

 

As for business... I’m covering my bases.  I want there to be a clear way for potential clients to reach out.  It can’t be my career, but I want there to be a clear paved road for it to be a lucrative hobby.  

 

I’ve gone through and downsampled the images to 50%, reordered them so that detail shots are paired with the related project, and also added the names, materials, and dates to each image in the portfolio.  I also swapped out the gappy-looking dovetail photo for a better looking photo of the same drawer.  I replaced the Etsy logo with a shopping cart logo, and changed the “Contact” strip out for a “How to Buy” strip.  Hopefully that’s clearer.  I’ll keep tweaking it!  The next thing is to make the testimonials more in keeping with the site’s style.  I’m making it an active element that swipes left and right through a lot of different reviews, each with a project photo.

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Russel, the images are looking good, although the 'toe table' still stands out. In fact, the lighting in that shot produced a shadow so sharp around the table's edge, that it looks like it was cut from another photo, and pasted over your feet! :D

Is the 'mobile' version simply an adaptive template based on the 'full' site, or is it created seperately? It looks nice enough on my phone, but was a little slow to load this evening. That might be an issue on my side, though.

Another question: is there a way for the mobile version to display the page text just below the introductory image of you at the workbench? I'm having to scroll waaaaaay down to find the text.

Coming along nicely! You are certainly working out the kinks in your site better than I did with mine!

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23 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

Russel, the images are looking good, although the 'toe table' still stands out. In fact, the lighting in that shot produced a shadow so sharp around the table's edge, that it looks like it was cut from another photo, and pasted over your feet! :D

Is the 'mobile' version simply an adaptive template based on the 'full' site, or is it created seperately? It looks nice enough on my phone, but was a little slow to load this evening. That might be an issue on my side, though.

Another question: is there a way for the mobile version to display the page text just below the introductory image of you at the workbench? I'm having to scroll waaaaaay down to find the text.

Coming along nicely! You are certainly working out the kinks in your site better than I did with mine!

I noticed the mobile site being a tad slow, too.  Yeah, Wix is the service I'm using, and they automatically make your desktop page into a mobile page, although you can tweak the mobile layout as needed.

 

I'll take a little time to photoshop some backgrounds and whatnot tomorrow.  I'm going to bed, haha!  

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Okay, I just shelled out $40 more for unlimited bandwidth.  Anyone want to see how loading times do for them now?  I think it should be a good bit better.  The original bandwidth was only 2GB.  Evidently this should make it load a ton faster.

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41 minutes ago, Immortan D said:

Looking good. Set a link to your site from your signature here in these forums, will help promote it.

Thanks, I'll do that!  Good idea.

 

I just went through and photoshopped out the bad backgrounds and lowered file sizes of almost everything - hopefully it's a trimmer, faster experience now.  And no more toes!  :D

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A little late here, but I have a few thoughts. This is basically me parroting what a friend who does this stuff (web site development, business development and search engine optimization) for a living has told me.

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of this sort of website is to get people in touch with you. Yes, they need to see fancy pictures and such to be convinced they want to contact you, but beyond that, you really want to make it easy to get in touch. I suggest revising your "How to Buy" section to "Contact Us" or adding a separate contact us line, even if they both go to the same place. "Contact Us" is basically the industry norm for this term and people look for it. I did.  

Also, "How to Buy" is a bit presumptuous for your communication page, maybe I want to talk first? I might have a very specific project, budget or time table in mind, all of which could preclude us being able to work together, so we need to talk first, before I can buy, you know? 

I'd also end your other pages with a link back to the contact page... so they read all through your "about me" section and then at the end, you give them a link to get in touch. You can even build it into the actual text. On your "How I work Page" one of the boxes is "communication", that should again link to your "Contact Us" page, right? You want it to be very easy to get in touch, because that is the goal here.

Now,  for the "Contact us" page, the email text box thing is fine, but I also strongly suggest adding an email account and phone number. If you are worried about privacy, create an email address Denettewoodworks@gmail.com or something like that and get a Google Voice Phone Number (though it looks like you have a number up on your facebook page already).  People like emailing from their own email set up, because then they have a copy of the email in their sent folder. Otherwise with these email text boxes, sometimes you wonder if the message went into some abyss... Similarly, some people just want to call instead of email, for various reasons, and you should accommodate that.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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