Please Review and Critique my site.

by brad91
28 replies
I have a site that has been up for a little over a year now. I have made some sales but the traffic just doesn't seem to increase. I have done lots of forum comments, articles, a couple videos, some ppc, directory listings, etc.
I have a business blog to help promote it also.

I feel there should be more consistent sales, with increasing traffic by now. I am ranking on 1st and 2nd page of google for some keywords.

Take a look and be blunt. I don't have enough posts yet to put in the link.
hope this is ok. BuyFastpitchGloves dot com

thanks
#critique #review #site
  • Profile picture of the author SamirSM
    I would like to suggest adding a thicker border to the main body of the pages. The background seems a bit distracting.
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  • Profile picture of the author DylanJames
    I think it looks good but honestly the background distracts me when I've viewing the page. Sometimes "ugly" is more functional. Just my opinion though. Great job on the site overall.
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    • Profile picture of the author salegurus
      I agree the background is a bit of a distraction, simple sometimes works best. But all in all not bad.
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  • Profile picture of the author simplebutcreative
    Originally Posted by brad91 View Post

    I have a site that has been up for a little over a year now. I have made some sales but the traffic just doesn't seem to increase. I have done lots of forum comments, articles, a couple videos, some ppc, directory listings, etc.
    I have a business blog to help promote it also.

    I feel there should be more consistent sales, with increasing traffic by now. I am ranking on 1st and 2nd page of google for some keywords.

    Take a look and be blunt. I don't have enough posts yet to put in the link.
    hope this is ok. BuyFastpitchGloves dot com

    thanks
    I'm looking at the site and looks like you might need a redesign to something simpler and more organized. I agree with everyone about the BG. It should one BG not a repeating one. I would recommend that you go with WordPress (self hosted)
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    • Profile picture of the author w11guy
      I agree with the others. When I first loaded the page the background was white (because the images took a while to load) and it looked ok. But then the images loaded and it was so distracting that I didn't want to look at the main part of the page. I would have trouble staying on a site like this.

      But you say your problem is traffic, so the way the site looks won't have anything to do with this. Have you tried Google AdWords? I had an ecommerce business (now sold) that was very sucessful, and I used mostly AdWords and price comparison sites to drive the traffic. This won't work with all types of products though, but it's easy to test for a few dollars. PM if you need some advice.
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      • Profile picture of the author brad91
        First off, Thanks for all the helpful comments. You guys are great.
        The background was a suggestion a while back from someone. I think it takes too long to load, but didn't seem to hurt traffic - or on page time.
        I might try to make it a single picture or go back to the solid.

        I have been told the traffic issue is because the site was built from a template so it is not compliant with Google's latest something or other. (I actually thought those folks just wanted to sell me on a site rebuild.)

        I can't do the adwords anymore.

        Thanks,
        Brad

        Oh, and w11 - I don't have enough posts yet for PM...thanks though
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        • Profile picture of the author MarcoJardel
          I apologise in advance if this critique comes across as harsh.

          In ECommerce, people are still sceptical about buying Online. A buyer arrives on your website and questions if your site is "legit" and "trustworthy". "Is this site safe to enter my credit card details".

          I know you're using Paypal as the payment provider, but many technophobes have no idea. They just think they are putting their credit card details into your site. If you want someone to open their wallet, you have to earn their trust.

          Your site has to look professional. At the moment it's failing pretty miserably.

          The functionality is there but the orientation of the site is all over the place. I think you need a complete redesign. These are just some of the things that need correcting:
          • Lose that tiled background. Make either a solid colour or a gradient. Those pictures pieces together look amateurish.
          • Personally i would lose the header. It doesn't look right touching the left border with all that white space on the right hand side. I would make the header just a font on a white background. This will instantly look more professional. Try a font like 'Varsity' or something similar.
          • The page itself is a mess. There are things everywhere. Start losing the things that arn't necessary. I don't want to be overwhelmed. For example, why is that Twitter unit even there? In the middle of the page.
          • Left hand menu is below the fold. Move this menu up to just below the top menu and move the opening spiel over to the right.
          • The link to the product on the left is completely out of place and why is it so close to the text? Sort your padding out. Infact, id lose that section completely. If you *have to* advertise that product on the site, link to it from a nice 468x60 banner. It will look far better.
          Hope that helps. Even if you can't afford a full redesign, there are certainly things you could change right now that would instantly impact upon the site for the better.
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      • Profile picture of the author jmamike
        Originally Posted by w11guy View Post

        I agree with the others. When I first loaded the page the background was white (because the images took a while to load) and it looked ok. But then the images loaded and it was so distracting that I didn't want to look at the main part of the page. I would have trouble staying on a site like this.

        But you say your problem is traffic, so the way the site looks won't have anything to do with this. Have you tried Google AdWords? I had an ecommerce business (now sold) that was very sucessful, and I used mostly AdWords and price comparison sites to drive the traffic. This won't work with all types of products though, but it's easy to test for a few dollars. PM if you need some advice.
        sure,just change site design.
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  • Profile picture of the author dat9er
    Hate to go in a completely different direction, but have you tried shopify? You could create a really professional looking site, with an excellent back end very quickly and relatively cheaply (I think it starts at $30/month, but not sure).
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    • Profile picture of the author scorpion
      If I were to start an e-shop, I would look for a fast, easy and affordable way to build one. I had a friend who paid thousands of dollars to a rookie and it was not delivered after many weeks.

      Shoplify sounds like a good option except that you have to pay every month.

      My preference would be to go to themeforest and select a ready-made Wordpress theme and buy it off the shelf. It is fast, affordable and nice looking.

      You can take a look at some of the eshop websites that use wordpress themes from themeforest at showcasethemeforest dot com
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  • Profile picture of the author dat9er
    You have a point scorpion, I suppose you could pay that 30 dollars once. Shopify is great. But hell I've probably spent... maybe $200 on themeforest by now? Never on ecommerce sites, but lots of other great stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author brad91
      Two more great suggestions. Thanks!

      I thought about doing something like that in the beginning. I actually got started in one of those "coaching" programs and the fee included the website template and hosting. I found out I had to design and build and maintain the site myself - thought they were doing that.... Kind of left me on my own after a while. Can't even get in touch with them now. Of course the sample sites they showed were actually custom sites. Discovered that later too.

      I think I have kind of gotten off track somewhere with it and was looking for some suggestions - which you guys have helped with a lot.

      I was really looking for ideas for getting more traffic. The sales are there, but not enough to make a good living. I figured I would need 100 visitors to get a sale. That has kind of played out. Sometimes better.

      Just need to get more daily visitors somehow.

      Brad
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  • Profile picture of the author Adam98
    It looks good but the background distracts me..
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  • Profile picture of the author LauraJames
    Please note that the background is distracting. Also, there is too much clutter at the bottom of the home page. Best wishes to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I agree with the majority of the feedback that's been given so far. You've done a lot of things right, but your site has a laundry list of conversion factors that it's totally missing on (no offense!).

    My two biggest concerns would be:

    1. Your site looks very dated. It has a very mid-90's oscommerce look to it. As MarcoJardel eluded to above, people will not pull out their credit card unless they feel "warm & fuzzy." One of the biggest trust factors is having a modern looking, updated website. It would also increase your conversion rate to accept credit cards right on your site if you currently accept paypal and nothing else. Many online shoppers don't know of paypal and/or don't trust paypal.

    2. Your content and categorization is all over the place. A huge factor for converting visitors is having a clean & well-structured web store (this also helps with SEO).

    If this were a site I had purchased and was overhauling, I would scrap the template/framework and start from scratch. Most of your textual content can be re-used, but your site needs to be put onto a better looking platform with better structure.

    Obviously, rankings/traffic are a totally different issue. A website can always increase it's traffic and that's a good thing (especially if the traffic is organic). However, it's easier to double your conversion rate than it is to double your traffic. So I always focus on getting a good conversion rate before spending too much time/effort/money on getting better rankings.

    Hope that helps!!
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  • Profile picture of the author brad91
    Thanks Dave, Laura, Adam and anyone else I haven't thanked!

    A couple people have mentioned the paypal thing. I do accept regular credit cards through a merchant account. I just added the paypal to make it easier for some people.

    I'll have to move the credit card image back up where it is visible I guess.

    Any suggestions for the makeover? Should I hire a company to do it, or could it be done just using a cpanel type account? There are a lot of spiffy things I would like to have done, but I think it would cost a fortune to have it completely redone.

    What would it cost to do a complete site? With some "smart" features like suggesting upsells at checkout and things like that? You know, make it look like the big box store sites.

    Any suggestions on who could do such an overhaul?

    Thanks,
    Brad
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      I would only pay someone to do it if the time is more important to you than the amount it will cost. You should be able to figure out a way to export all of your product data and such, and move it to another platform. If you understand the process it's really not that big of a deal. You can just import all the info into a different cart platform with better structure and a more modern look. Some good shopping cart options are Magento & X-Cart.

      With the right shopping cart platform the site really builds itself for the most part. You input all the data on the back-end, and the front-end is created as you do that. In a good cart platform you don't have to do much hacking into the code itself. Let me know if you want further advice!
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      • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
        It's not a bad site.

        Now just do the hard part and start getting it traffic
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      • Profile picture of the author brad91
        Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

        I would only pay someone to do it if the time is more important to you than the amount it will cost. You should be able to figure out a way to export all of your product data and such, and move it to another platform. If you understand the process it's really not that big of a deal. You can just import all the info into a different cart platform with better structure and a more modern look. Some good shopping cart options are Magento & X-Cart.

        With the right shopping cart platform the site really builds itself for the most part. You input all the data on the back-end, and the front-end is created as you do that. In a good cart platform you don't have to do much hacking into the code itself. Let me know if you want further advice!

        Thanks for the suggest,
        I actually started messing around a little using NVU last night. Trying to move things around and make it easier to look at.
        The shopping cart was the part that kind of bothers me. I know it is simple to do a Paypal button but the whole shopping cart thing seems daunting.
        I'll check out those you suggest, I may be able to use the service I already have and just get out of this ApplyBuilder thing.

        Brad
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  • Profile picture of the author michael scott
    I suggest redirecting www.buyfastpitchgloves.com/homeplate.html to just http://www.buyfastpitchgloves.com just to start. This is for future link building purposes.

    Also, The page title is very cluttered.

    Fastpitch Softball Gloves | Baseball Gloves | Akadema Gloves | Softball Gloves | Made In USA

    Wouldn;t you rather have a page title that can be more human readible? "Softball Gloves" is repeated 2 times and I don;t think it's necessary.
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    • Profile picture of the author brad91
      Originally Posted by michael scott View Post

      I suggest redirecting www.buyfastpitchgloves.com/homeplate.html to just http://www.buyfastpitchgloves.com just to start. This is for future link building purposes.

      Also, The page title is very cluttered.

      Fastpitch Softball Gloves | Baseball Gloves | Akadema Gloves | Softball Gloves | Made In USA

      Wouldn;t you rather have a page title that can be more human readible? "Softball Gloves" is repeated 2 times and I don;t think it's necessary.

      Hmm - I thought I had already done that redirect. Guess I better check on that one.
      As for the page title and softball gloves, I figured that Fastpitch Softball Gloves and Softball Gloves would be seen as two different keywords. Maybe there are too many keywords to start with.


      Thanks, Brad
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  • Profile picture of the author rashamba
    Quick reaction. Too busy. I am not sure where to navigate or what to look for. Also, your $5 shipping is not a selling point. The only thing that makes shipping a deal is the term Free. Amazon tested that and it is what made all the difference. Best to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author brad91
      Originally Posted by rashamba View Post

      Quick reaction. Too busy. I am not sure where to navigate or what to look for. Also, your $5 shipping is not a selling point. The only thing that makes shipping a deal is the term Free. Amazon tested that and it is what made all the difference. Best to you.

      Hmmm Free. Seems everyone wants something for free.

      I already give them $12 worth of free stuff with every glove they purchase. Guess I could go with regular shipping and save myself some cash. ( maybe make an actual profit...) I see almost every other glove guy does regular shipping cost and no freebies either.
      Suppose I could use that white space for other marketing of some kind.

      Thanks for the insights.
      Brad
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      • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
        Originally Posted by brad91 View Post

        Hmm - I thought I had already done that redirect. Guess I better check on that one.
        As for the page title and softball gloves, I figured that Fastpitch Softball Gloves and Softball Gloves would be seen as two different keywords. Maybe there are too many keywords to start with.


        Thanks, Brad
        Usually when a store is forcing to a sub-page or sub-folder it's because of code in the .htaccess file that comes with the software you are using. By moving platforms, I'm guessing that will stop happening on it's own. Keep in mind though, you'll want to do a 301 (like michael scott suggested above) if you have any backlinks/rankings to that sub-page.

        A simple way to do a 301 redirect using your .htaccess file is to add this code:

        redirect 301 /homeplate.html /

        Originally Posted by brad91 View Post

        Thanks for the suggest,
        I actually started messing around a little using NVU last night. Trying to move things around and make it easier to look at.
        The shopping cart was the part that kind of bothers me. I know it is simple to do a Paypal button but the whole shopping cart thing seems daunting.
        I'll check out those you suggest, I may be able to use the service I already have and just get out of this ApplyBuilder thing.

        Brad
        Good cart software sure makes the process easier. You simply enter the product content and such in the backend and the site/cart is all handled by the software. For payment processing you just set up your payment methods in the back-end, and it automatically captures funds for orders through your shopping cart. All major cart software packages will allow you to easily configure your paypal account to your store on the back-end.

        Originally Posted by brad91 View Post

        Hmmm Free. Seems everyone wants something for free.

        I already give them $12 worth of free stuff with every glove they purchase. Guess I could go with regular shipping and save myself some cash. ( maybe make an actual profit...) I see almost every other glove guy does regular shipping cost and no freebies either.
        Suppose I could use that white space for other marketing of some kind.

        Thanks for the insights.
        Brad
        When folks are getting a low volume of sales they start questioning price point and what they are offering for free as incentive to buy. Usually this is less important that increasing traffic and having a site that converts. If you don't get enough visitors, you wont get many buyers. In most of our stores, we offer free shipping, but we jack up the price of the products to cover it. Just make sure that when you do this your prices are still competitive. You don't have to be the lowest online, but you do have to have reasonable prices!
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