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natasha natasha is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Walthamstow, London
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My new site- opinions please

Hello guys,

As some of you may or may not know i've been working on my new site Bag a Card with Adrian Johnson from Assystance.

I would like your opinions please on the site, but mostly the cards and designs?
( be kind please) Lol....

I would just like to say a BIG THANK YOU to Adrian he has been great!!!!

www.bag-a-card.com

Thanks
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Natasha

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Ian J Ian J is offline
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Re: My new site- opinions please

Quote:
Originally posted by natasha
I would like your opinions please on the site, but mostly the cards and designs?
( be kind please) Lol....
One has to be cruel to be kind. I don't really have any opinions on the site as a site as I would guess that the target market is probably female and most men don't have a clue how the female mind works anyway.

I am not keen on the wording of the text on the home page as I feel that it is a little amateurish and implies a business run from the spare room.

The opening text of :-

Quote:
Bag-a-Card handmade cards are designed and handmade by Natasha Britton.
She started making handmade cards in December 2003 as a hobby for family and friends. Encouraged by positive support from family and friends, Natasha decided to go online and start selling her exclusive designs to the public
I would change that around to something like the following which I believe flows better :-

Quote:
Bag-a-Card handmade cards are designed and handmade by Natasha Britton who started making cards some while ago as a hobby for family and friends. Encouraged by their positive support, Natasha is now selling her exclusive designs directly to the public
"Natasha's ultimate aim" implies that you haven't yet met your aim and the word "customers" is repeated twice where an alternative word may be better. Perhaps the sentance could be rephrased along the following lines :-

Quote:
Natasha's aim is to provide people with a beautiful, exclusive, personal and unique handmade card of the type and quality that you can't find in the high street.

Bag-a- card is located in London
A small point in the next line but "retail" should have a small R

On the contact page I am afraid that a Hotmail account may be a big turnoff for potential customers and would suggest that you use something like sales@bag-a-card.com which can be diverted elsewhere but sounds much more professional.

If you click on a "buy" link it takes you to a Paypal page where it shows the supplier as natasha@britton4010.freeserve.co.uk which again doesn't indicate a professional image.

It may be that the small cottage industry is the image that you wish to portray in which case please disregard the above.

Would I buy one of your cards - yes I would and probably will at the appropriate time
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natasha natasha is offline
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Thanks Ian for your feedback i will take all of what you said on board!

Cheers
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skandal skandal is offline
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Hi, Natasha,

I like the cards, but as I leave most my card need buying to my wife its difficult to express much of an opinion on them, I'll get her to have a look at them and feedback anything she has to say.

With regards to the site here are a couple of things that I didn't think looked quiet right, this is purely from the visual aspects not technical as I'm non-techie!!

There is a bit of overlap where the "d" in customised is hidden behind the beginning for exclusive which seems to make it feel a little cramped.

Also is it possible to resize the flowers that are on the menu bar so that there is one behind each menu option? At the moment the lines which are between each flower seem to make the menu bar look a little confused, while it is obvious what each button does at first glance it can look a little strange to see a thin line between the word Contact and the word Us.

While on the subject the bag-a-card header panel looks a little small, there is a line down the right showing parts of the flowers used in the menu bar.

Also I feel that it would be better of you could view the larger pictures of the cards by clicking directly on the small picture rather than using the link at the side.

Hope this project goes well for you, best of luck.

Tim
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Ian J Ian J is offline
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A few more comments on site optimization (whilst I am waiting for dinner)

Google seems to place greater importance on words that come early in the title and description and I would suggest that you put your most important keyword first.

Your current title is "Bag-a-Card: exclusive handmade cards by Natasha Britton" and to be honest I am not sure how best to rephrase that but "Bag-a-card" isn't an important keyword so shouldn't come first. Perhaps something like "handmade cards - exclusive from Bag-a-card" might work better.

The meta description is wasted as it is the same as the Title but Google allows you to have almost twice as many characters. Again try and get handmade cards and whatever other important search terms people may use right at the front end.

Google doesn't use keywords any more but some of the other search engines do. The rules have always been that the most important keywords come first so you should think about rejigging yours.

Google also rates sites by their "importance" and they decide this by the number of inbound links to the site. You need to get as many other sites linking to yours as possible with the most brownie points being given to links from businesses in similar lines and also those that have high Google Page Ranks themselves.

Perhaps we should start a shell link exchange
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natasha natasha is offline
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Thank you Tim for your feedback nearly everything you pointed out has been changed thanks for your advice.
Let me know what the Mrs thinks of the cards.

Cheers
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"Make no small plans for they have no power to stir the soul." (Niccolo Machiavelli)

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Ian J Ian J is offline
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Me again - I was going to send you a PM but found that they are disabled here which is a shame.

Not everyone has pin sharp eyesight and mine is particularly poor. I am not sure exactly what your cards are made of and I originally thought that they were just painted card but having gone back for yet another look I am not so sure.

Until I clicked on Birthday 002 I wasn't aware that it said "Dad" or that it looked embossed. If it embossed I think that perhaps you should add a descriptive line to the picture and I think that you should also cater for the short sighted by perhaps giving your designs a name instead of a number. Web surfers have notoriously short attention spans and if you don't grab their attention immediately you may have lost the chance as they will be off to the next site.

Card 011 is a lovely card but what exactly is it. It could be painted or embossed or even a silk flower stuck on. I can't tell, but whichever it was I would probably buy it - but you need to sell it more to me. I would much rather buy something called "Hand painted rose" than something called "011"
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natasha natasha is offline
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Thank you Ian for all your feedback it has been very helpful, all my cards have embelishments, so they are raised, i don't have any painted ones.

I will take into account what you said, orginally i started to think up names for all the cards but it was getting too difficult and couldn't think of enough names but i will add a short discription to each card, thank you.
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Ian J Ian J is offline
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An interesting point when you are optimizing your site is that if you search on Google for "handmade cards" you get a completely different set of results than if you searched for "hand made cards" so you will need to optimize your site for both terms.

According to the Overture keyword suggestion page here the other obvious term that you should be optimizng for is "hand made greeting card" as that is apparently a common search term.

Someone else's turn now
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natasha natasha is offline
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Thanks Ian for your suggestions, i'm not too clued up on the whole search engine thing, but i'm learning.

Cheers
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i-check i-check is offline
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Hi Natasha,
First of all well done on getting the site up and running- I've been looking forward to seeing it for what seems like ages. I love handmade cards but thats probably a woman thing!

I like the overall look of the site- its simple and contemporary. I like the font you have used for the logo and the headings, it seems really effective.

I think that the homepage could benefit from direct links to the 'range of cards' available. Anything that makes it easier for the customer to get to your product has to be beneficial.

For your contact details, I always like to see a physical address or at the very least a land line number. It just gives the customer more confidence in Bag-a-card and gives you more credibility as a retailer.

On the customised cards page, it implies that the envelope has been customised in some way- has it? Or is it just colour co-ordinated?

I too would prefer to see a description of the card- even if I have to click to see it.

I have to say that I really like card 006. I just wish I had seen it when my best friend got married a couple of months ago.
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jklondon jklondon is offline
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thoughts

Hey natasha - firstly well done for getting a final site up

I think a lot of good points have been made re: site design so wont go into these. Was just thinking if I would use it and I might do when I need a card it looks like you have some good designs....

going forward however if you want to make this into a real business you will need to make some changes / enhancements to your product - just some ideas in no particular order ..


- Stress some key factors on the front page to make your offering unique to stop me going into my cards-galore shop! so for example:

- Can you print / create customised greetings ?

- Can you post the things ! ..ok it losses the personal touch but would appeal to the commericals who send out cards en-mass during xmas (this may / may not be a business you want to get into - I would if I was doing this).

- Free delivery - absorb this into your margins as you want 0-100% , but stress this point on the front page, make it a selling point.

- Others.. sure there loads - some might work some not, but if you can implement these ideas cheaply and guage reaction its worth doing.

- Scrap PayPal - or implement it better - It can work well so have a look around the web to see what others have done.

good luck !
J
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i-check i-check is offline
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Re: thoughts

[quote]Originally posted by jklondon
[b]
- Can you print / create customised greetings ?

- Can you post the things ! ..ok it losses the personal touch but would appeal to the commericals who send out cards en-mass during xmas (this may / may not be a business you want to get into - I would if I was doing this).




I think thats a good point. I know a couple of people (blokes!) that actually get their PA to choose and send birthday cards etc for them. That may be a good option.
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natasha natasha is offline
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Thank you both Amy and J for your comments both are very helpful thanks.
I'm working on all the comments that were raised cheers
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Ken Ken is offline
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Product range / Customer diversification

Hello Natasha,

I'd agree with the points Ian raised esp. with regards to the email address.

As for the product range,I too did a quick search on Google to see what turned up and it struck me that there are quite a few people who are doing the same as you are doing,for exactly the same occasions,which means that you must find a way to make what you are doing stand out from everyone else who is offering cards for same occasion.Otherwise,there's no real reason to buy a card from you,or another online small biz or worse still,Paperchase or Clinton Cards (!)

I know *i-check* mentioned chasing the corporate sector as a poss. customer,but I would disagree,as they will send cards in bulk and look to the bottom line.A card will be secondary to the client gift !

A sector I do feel would have some potential is Jewish cards.
Why ?

1/ I see you live in London - as you know,there is a big Jewish community up in north London - Golders Green,Hampstead,Radlett (*where I'm from originally) ,as there is elsewhere in country;nb Manchester,Glasgow.
From personal experience,having looked for and ended up buying
a 'congrats on your new baby' for a Jewish work colleague of mine,I had great difficulty in trying to find a card saying 'Mazel Tov' (Congratulations) which wasn't tacky/cheap looking or gaudily coloured.So,from personal experience,I have not seen anyone making any handmade personalised cards with a Jewish slant for special occasions.

2/Judaism has more festivals/high holidays than you can shake a stick at.My own personal feeling is that the most popular festivals for card buying would be birth (Mazel Tov !) , Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah (M. & F. coming of age;c.13 yrs old) ,Hannukah (Festival of Light;around Christian Christmas time) and Yom Kippur (Jewish New Year ).

3/Distribution channels: from having looked (via Google) a couple of US companies who have made a living out of selling handmade Jewish cards,I see that they have targeted customers in 2 ways.
a/ synagogue shops/kiosks
b/independent retailers in Jewish areas

You could also think of advertising in other more off-beat lateral thinking ways :
1/Website links : mutual links to Jewish Chronicle (London jewish newspaper) , Kosher butcher chains etc.You may scoff;but you will be reaching you target audience far more specifically thatn just having a 'stand-alone' website,hoping to reach 'everyone' with a scatter-gun approach.


Although I'm not Jewish,I grew up in a very Jewish area of N London/Herts and have many Jewish friends.....and this just struck me as a sector which has not really been focused on by card mfrs. Although I have seen that some of the larger card store chains have started to introduce a Jewish range,these are still the same tacky/cheap looking cards (nothing handmade),so who knows - if you ever grew your business,then aiming to have a range of handmade Jewish cards in major retailers might be your ultimate goal ?!!!

K.
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