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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone! This is my first post so I want to start off by thanking everyone for all the great info they've provided here. Your input is invaluable! I was thrilled to find this place because I have far more questions in this biz than answers.
Anyway, I'm struggling with putting together a site. I have close to zero HTML experience but I'm trying to learn. I have a couple pages for my site layed out and I wanted to get some input. It's pretty stripped down so please bear with me. Only a few designs are hanging around right now and most of the links aren't active yet. I also need to add payment buttons and hundreds of other things like shirt pages and close-ups, a shopping cart, etc... If anyone could let me know what they think of the general layout and impression of what I have right now I would greatly appreciate it. I'm dying to finish a website and get some work rolling!

Here it is!
RRPOFF.com
 

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..not much there yet so its kinda hard to critique...lol
There is once you get past the (useless) splash page:
http://www.rrpoff.com/mainpage.html

Lucy's comment is a perfect example as to why sites shouldn't use splash pages though:

You waste a click and you may even confuse potential buyers into thinking your site isn't finished or that you don't have anything for sale.

The actual site layout is pretty darn nice though! Very clean and fits the theme of the shirts well. I think once all the product pages are there, you'll be off to a great start. But lose the splash page.


Did noticed that this URL = http://RRPOFF.com/ and this URL = http://www.RRPOFF.com/ are the same page. .... no need to have the same page 2 times on the web
I don't think there will be any problem with this. Most sites answer to both the domain name with and without the www part. Google had a problem with it for a little while, but not too much to get concerned about.

You could put an .htaccess file in your main directory so that only one version shows up though.
 

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Was the photographer wearing three quarter length pants when they shot that photo of the guy in sunglasses by any chance? Other than being useless, the splash page is also way too big: a 350k image is way too much to ask dialup users to bear.

The actual website has a nice layout, and I like your designs. In general you need to look at shrinking your image sizes (your header is 180k and your sample designs are 260k - both way too high). It's a really nice start though.

Have you decided on a printing method and t-shirt brand?
 

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Well, I'm going to look past all of the little issues and say:

THAT IS ONE OF THE NICEST SITES I'VE SEEN! VERY COOL! :)

Alot of design talent there. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, I was getting close to flipping out and re-formatting the whole site but I think I'll keep it as it lies thanks to your feedback. I will do something with the useless splash page. Honestly, I just really wanted to have a picture of someone about to wrestle a bear! It was one of my first ideas for the site but I really didn't integrate as effectively as I could have. As for the image size, you're all right, they are too big. I just opened it here at work for the first time and they took quite a while to load. I've been real unsure about what file format, resolution, and size to use. I guess I went overboard with it.
As for a printing method Solmu, they're screen-printed on FOL Best Tees right now. I like AA's business outlook politically but I'm not entirely sold on the thin tees yet. I love a soft tee too, and most of all a well-fitted tee, but the cost and sexual agenda of AA has put me off a little. I really like Hane's Beefy tees too, and I might go with them just for the sake of "Beefiness!" It would probably compliment my site's vibe so far.
But really guys, thanks for the great comments!
 

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Heya Sinister,

You can have that same image on your splash page, but cut it down to <100k easily. It just needs to be compressed. Given you will lose a little bit of resolution, it wont be noticeable if you push that threshold. Another suggestion is to break that image up into 2-3 pieces for faster loading... if you want to keep the splash page that is.

As far as your site is concerned.....I am jumping on the bandwagon with the whole useless splash page idea. A single splash page really serves no purpose. If you really want a splash page, you should add a news section or new tees....or something.

Designs are cool, concept is cool, web layout works for your intended market. Like you said, it is missing the checkout/cart....but the overall theme and designs are off to a great start.

Cant wait to see the finished product

Did noticed that this URL = http://RRPOFF.com/ and this URL = http://www.RRPOFF.com/ are the same page. .... no need to have the same page 2 times on the web.
Those are the same page.....not 2 different ones. You dont need to punch in www in front of any URL really.
 

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sinisterguido said:
Honestly, I just really wanted to have a picture of someone about to wrestle a bear! It was one of my first ideas for the site but I really didn't integrate as effectively as I could have.
The image is funny and it really personifies your brand. Instead of using it for a splash page, you could re-work it and use it for your off-site advertising. For example you could make it into a 200x200pixel button that alternates with some simple text for a sale or promotion. (Just don't go nuts with the animations please). :)

Rest of the site looks great. Keep it up!
 

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sinisterguido said:
As for a printing method Solmu, they're screen-printed on FOL Best Tees right now.
Ah, music to my ears ;)

sinisterguido said:
but the cost and sexual agenda of AA has put me off a little.
I have issues with aa as well. There are other companies putting out similar garments in similar conditions (the sweatshop free angle... I think for better or worse Dov is probably one of a kind), but they are still just as costly (if not slightly more so) and don't generally have the range (American have a great style and colour range). If you're interested there are a few suggestions on the forums, but personally I think FOL 50/50 Best is a good way to start (and keep going with if your customers respond well... I just say start because ultimately what anyone continues with is more up to their customers than themselves).

On the topic of splash pages... while I do agree that they're useless and best avoided, some successful sites (e.g. t-shirthell) do use them.


I think you're starting off on the right path - good luck with your site.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
dub, thanks for the image advice. I saw your site and the frontpage image of the landscape looked stellar.
I also liked Jasonda's suggestion of using it for an ad. I have another version of the image I was going to use for possible print advertising, but you're right, this one would make a good advertising button.
Solmu, it looks like we're on the same wave length here! The company I work for gets a lot of Alternative Apparel which is a nice alternative to American. Unfortunately, as you said, the cost isn't much better and we've had trouble with some of the shirts burning at certain curing temperatures. We also get gads of other brands that all seem to fit and feel completely different. We'll just wait for that perfect cheap shirt!
Thanks again for all the encouragment everyone, I'm going to pull the site down and try to finish it off.
 

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On the topic of splash pages... while I do agree that they're useless and best avoided, some successful sites (e.g. t-shirthell) do use them.
I'm hoping to find out why soon :)
 

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Rodney said:
I'm hoping to find out why soon :)
Cool, you're doing an interview?

My bet is that it was first put in to keyword spam for SEO (the splash page also has about twenty text links), and it's just never been changed. Maybe it's a sophisticated super secret selling solution not known to us plebs though ;)
 

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sinisterguido said:
Thanks again for all the encouragment everyone, I'm going to pull the site down and try to finish it off.
Keep us posted - I'm curious to see how it turns out, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
 

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I would change most of your images to .gif. This format gives you smaller files and goes very well when used for no gradiation images, for example fonts, logos, etc. In photoshop, you can choose the "Save for web" option and add more or less resolution/colors while you can see how it affects your final file size.

Good luck!
 

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Actually you can compress jpg's just as well imo. If you use imageready, your jpg outputs can be super low without losing that resolution.

I have also found that it has more freedom than the "saving for web" option.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You guys are great. I followed your suggestions and finally got the company up and running for online business. Down-sized graphics and no more useless splashpage, I hope it does the brand justice. A website's been a long time coming for RRP OFF.
Thanks again for the direction!
 

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Re: Does sweat shirts sell good ?

sinisterguido said:
The retail chain I work for seems to sell more hooded sweatshirts than crew neck sweatshirts right now.
But generally speaking the hooded fleece flies off the racks. That's along the frosty northern coast though.
One of the better websites I have seen in a while. Designs are tight, content text is brilliant and entertaining...well done!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Re: Does sweat shirts sell good ?

MotoskinGraphix said:
One of the better websites I have seen in a while. Designs are tight, content text is brilliant and entertaining...well done!
Hey, thanks David. I appreciate the positive feedback. Many people just seem confused or strangely affronted by our approach.
We don't sell any fleece at RRP OFF yet, but as I said, the retail chain I also work for moves a lot of fleece in general.
 
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