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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, long time reader, first time poster. Just started up my own t-shirt selling business this year and I'm working hard on some marketing strategies, just wondering what ones have worked best for you guys in the past. Check the site out it's www.bonaroo.co.uk, and feel free to suggest changes, criticise it or lambast it till your heart's content.

Cheers
 

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Welcome!

I have to say that your site is one of the better that I've seen on here.. you've got a clear theme that runs through everything, the designs are easily read, there are no mispellings and your terms are clearly spelled out. It almost brings a tear to my eye.. almost.

The one thing you're missing (which I think would REALLY help you) is some photographs of people wearing the shirts. Right now I can see the design, but I have no idea how big it is on the shirt, what the actual colors will be like, etc. I'm not saying you have to do it for every design, but a few peppered throughout the site would really help to answer these questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cheers Chris, i'm glad you liked it so much, taken me a long time to try and get the theme right so I was delighted to read your post, officially the first bit of feedback I've had about the site.
You mentioned it would be nice to see the designs on each shirt, actually the pics are on the site, the link to them is under each description of each design, it reads "see this design on all available t-shirts - click here", you'll then see how the design looks on the various t-shirts i'm selling.
I realise now I'm going to have to make that link a bit more obvious so people see it clearly.

Cheers
 

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Overall the site is good. The shirts... well a lot of the designs look like the caliber you might run across on Cafepress. I only made it through about 5 pages before the top banner reloading every single time I changed pages drove me completely crazy. The sound of the logo slamming into place over and over again was torturous. I suppose I could have turned the sound down on my computer, but I didn't bother. I left.
 

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Definitely lose the sound effects. In fact, I'd suggest removing the flash navigation altogether and just using html myself.

Don't use frames. I don't see any reason that you do; all it does is prevent people from bookmarking individual pages and prevent search engines from navigating your site.

The copyright text at the bottom of the site is really faint and hard to read.

There isn't any 'home' navigation at all as far as I can tell.

Front page - 'facility.Here' no space after period. 'disappointed they' - should be a hyphen in between it, or something.

I don't really see a way to change it very well if you keep the rest of the layout the same, but the news section is inside a seperate scrollable iFrame -- which is one of the more annoying web elements IMO. Wheter you change this or leave it, you should makes the images clickable as well as give them alt text.

Extra space before comman in 'it up , as in' in The Yard section.

Again, in the category sections, you should make the images clickable and give them alt text.

Ah, now I see why you had the frameset... hmmm. I would suggest finding a better way to go about this if possible - another company to use for payments. That ad-frame looks very unprofessional, and the normal frames means that Google will never index your whole site by itself.

The pop-up for the final info gathering/billing phase was indeed blocked by Firefox, but I do see they at least address that inside the annoying little frame at the bottom. I don't see why it uses a pop-up at all, as it would make a lot more sense to do it in the page itself to me. Also, while you are still using this mediocre service, make sure your navigation links escape the ad-frame -- the ad-frame stays there when you use any of the navigation at the top to leave the moltengold site.

Your loading time in dialup could use some work, but it could be a lot worse.

There are probably some other issues (and likely other spelling and grammer mistakes I missed), but that covers most of it. I like your protest shirt =)
 

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Twinge said:
Definitely lose the sound effects. In fact, I'd suggest removing the flash navigation altogether and just using html myself.
This was the only problem on this list I actually noticed.



Of course, that was because I closed the site the second I heard the sound effects.

Any web designer still insisting on using sound needs to learn that web-browsers having the ability to play sound is a bug. It may have been intentionally coded, but it's a bug all the same. I'm yet to come across a single instance where it was anything other than annoying. For the record - don't bother coding a mute button, because I won't bother looking for it. The chances of a website coming along with sound effects I'd rather listen to than the music I'm listening to when I visit said website are entirely nil.
 

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Any web designer still insisting on using sound needs to learn that web-browsers having the ability to play sound is a bug. It may have been intentionally coded, but it's a bug all the same. I'm yet to come across a single instance where it was anything other than annoying.
That's a fairly ridiculous statement. There are instances where aural enhancements are in order and actually help the web experience. The sound effect on the Bonaroo site would be "ok" if it only played out once. Hearing it replay every time the page is changed is not ok. Sound effects on a web site should be used appropriately and as another level of immersion. When they become a distraction, as they do on the Bonaroo site, it will send visitors packing.

Once again, regarding the statement Solmu put out there... let's not confuse properly used sounds on a professionally done site, with a MIDI loop of The Girl from Ipanema playing over a poorly designed site devoted to some random guys favorite hobbies. I could turn you on to hundreds of examples of flash sites where sound effects were a welcome addition.
 

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DickTees.net said:
That's a fairly ridiculous statement. There are instances where aural enhancements are in order and actually help the web experience.
Name one.

I specifically said I haven't come across any, but I'm happy to amend the statement if proven wrong. I know of audio based websites that are very useful (like the speech accent archive) or fun (like let them sing it for you), but none that offer audio unsolicited.

DickTees.net said:
The sound effect on the Bonaroo site would be "ok" if it only played out once.
No it absolutely would not. Once was enough to send me packing. I may be more sensitive than some, but there are plenty of other viewers who would do exactly the same thing. I'm not going to hang around to see if it plays once or fifty times - once is too many.

DickTees.net said:
When they become a distraction, as they do on the Bonaroo site, it will send visitors packing.
The second it plays over the top of my music it is an unwanted distraction. Which means the second it starts even once it's an unwated distraction.

DickTees.net said:
let's not confuse properly used sounds on a professionally done site, with a MIDI loop of The Girl from Ipanema playing over a poorly designed site
There is no functional difference, because both will make me close down the site instantly.

I realise I am putting this a lot more bluntly and forcefully than is normal (or necessary for that matter I guess) - but the reaction itself is perfectly common. I guess I don't want to leave any room for grey area - there is none.
 

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I agree, sound affects are always distracting on websites. The whole Idea of web sites is to give your customer control of the shopping experience. If your customer doesnt ask to hear a sound, dont play them one. Its just distracting and unprofessional looking. I have not seen a site with sound affects that I like either. If I come across a site with sound affects, I leave immediately, and many of your customers will too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You are all right the sound is an irritation and I'll change it, I'm glad you brought this up because it has been the source of many arguements over the past few weeks and this sorta settles it.

Cheers
 

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Solmu said:
I realise I am putting this a lot more bluntly and forcefully than is normal (or necessary for that matter I guess) - but the reaction itself is perfectly common. I guess I don't want to leave any room for grey area - there is none.
Hypersensitivity can completely ruin any experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Solmu is entitled to his opinion and to be fair he has a point, thanks for your comments I value them, but my initial post also included a request for some advice on marketing strategies for a brand new company, that have worked for you guys in the past, any tips?
 

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Big Jim Slade said:
Solmu is entitled to his opinion and to be fair he has a point
*shrug* I don't think anyone really said otherwise (objecting more to my style than my content, which is fair enough) - I'm certainly not worried about it.

Big Jim Slade said:
my initial post also included a request for some advice on marketing strategies for a brand new company, that have worked for you guys in the past, any tips?
Some things that have worked for some people in this forum in the past:

*Google ads
*Offering free promo t-shirts to radio DJs, TV hosts, etc. You're more likely to get publicity from small local access TV shows, radio stations etc. Given how cheap a few wholesale shirts are it can still potentially be worth it.
*High profile print ads. Expensive, but also effective.
*T-shirt countdown works for some, and it's free to list 1 shirt so you can't fault the price.
*Link exchanges can help your search engine standing. They're not, in my opinion, likely to get you any business directly - but raising your search ending standing will in the long run.
*Targetted web advertising - work out where your target audience hangs out, and advertise on that site.
 

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Solmu said:
*Offering free promo t-shirts to radio DJs...
In the US this form of "payment" for publicity is viewed as a variation of the practice of payola. Not likely to find many radio stations, especially the ones tied in with Clear Channel, to give you plugs in exchange for merch. In the US anyway.
 

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DickTees.net said:
In the US this form of "payment" for publicity is viewed as a variation of the practice of payola. Not likely to find many radio stations, especially the ones tied in with Clear Channel, to give you plugs in exchange for merch. In the US anyway.
You're right, I had completely overlooked that.

I think someone mentioned on here they'd had success doing just that, but I agree that I wouldn't expect many takers Clear Channel affiliated or otherwise.

It's a problem you could run into in general when giving away free merchandise to people of profile.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You'd be surprised, before deciding to break into the business of t-shirts I spent a number of years working as a freelance journo for radio stations across the UK. DJs would frequently accept "gifts" and "freebies" on practically a daily basis. They also accepted t-shirts which some would wear as "personal" items of clothing and on more than one occasion they would have their pic taken for newspapers at various public get-togethers and if they so happened to be wearing these freebie tees, (with the company name or design all over it), then that was "just one of those things". Nobody really cared, certainly no-one in management ever pulled them up about it.
 
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