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We've updated the look and feel of our website several times, until we've gotten to the point where we feel like it's easily-navigated, aesthetically-pleasing, and is attention-capturing.

However, we believe that in order to try and keep customers coming back, we should keep the site looking fresh and new, not just add new t-shirt designs.

What could we do differently or add to our existing website that may improve it, or bring new customers?

Thanks in advance for any input!

Welcome to Cooper's Rugged Design!
 

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I love your gallery, Ann. The pictures are just stunning.

I was thinking, what about a blog on your adventures?
 

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Unless you're selling a product to customers who happen to be web designers, most customers don't really care about the site design as long as it's fast, functional, and doesn't look like it just time-traveled from 1993. Once your site is at that stage, constantly re-tooling it is a complete waste of time. Update it once every 6 months at the most.

Spend more time worrying about marketing your site and actually getting your customers to see it.

That said, I just realized that there are several problems with your site, which makes me think that it's not at the stage where you can leave it alone for 6 months.

Firstly, the navigation bar on your home page is floating over the deer's head. I'm using Firefox. Have you tested in Firefox? If not, you should.

Also, on your product page, it's impossible to see the actual design on the shirt until after clicking it. Don't make your customers work so hard. They know they're buying t-shirts.. they don't need to see the whole t-shirt template. Show a big thumbnail of the design that they can actually see, and then click on to see the design on a shirt.

I can't believe you have your product page split into two pages. I didn't even notice the little footprint with the "1 to 45 of 67" on it. I have a feeling that most of your customers are not even seeing the second page. Put it all on one page, it is only taking a few seconds to load right now it shouldn't be a problem.

The title of the product page is "Index". This is a big no-no for SEO. You need to have a proper title.

I see no About Us page and no FAQ page. Buying on the internet is still very scary for some people. You need to make sure they understand that you are a real business and not just some fly-by-night operation. You should also include your physical mailing address.

A FAQ page is very important because your customers need to be able to find out shipping and sizing info before they buy. They are not going to bother emailing you to get that info, they are just going to wander off to a different site.

Hope that helps...
 

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Believe it or not, I've considered it. I want to take tons of pictures and just write, write, write...but I keep thinking, I should be designing and working on other aspects of my business. Not enough time I guess, but then again...it can't be ALL business, right?

Why not let it be both? Enjoy writing about it and give your outdoor enthusiasts customers something to keep coming back to catch up with.

My husband loves to visit your site for the pictures. If you had an ongoing journal on there, he'd be reading it and keeping up with it.

Maybe not a daily blog, but weekly, bi-weekly, heck, monthly - something to keep it fresh - but not overwhelming. Daily seems like it would be too much anyway. Imagine being a customer gone for a month and looking at all that? It'd be pretty - that's for sure - but too much to catch up with if you ask me.

I visit Johnny Cupcakes site just to read up on his blog. That's why I mentioned it to you. Seemed like it could be a good fit for you as well. (I don't even actually look at his new designs, hehe, I just read the blog to see what he's been up to.)

Yours would have as much as a hook as his because your customers are so wrapped up in exactly the same thing your product is wrapped up in.

I think you'd find loyal readers in your customers, and folks like my husband. Alot of these folks can't get away from the job or take a vacation, some can't go on the hunt they dream of, but you and Harlan get out there, and like Sunny's photography thread that takes me away from it all once a week or so... I imagine it could work like that for these sportsmen. :)

Best wishes, Ann. :)

Oh, you could post photos of you DDR'ing... that may bring repeat viewers to the site! :p
 

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Hi Ann. First off you need to appreciate that your site is aimed at a very specific market segment, so those are the very people that you need to target. Changing the sites design around tends to confuse regular customers, rather than help them in any practical way.

Although it's a personal perspective, an online shop should only ever be about being able to view the goods and pay for them. It's like when you go shopping in a 'real world' bricks and mortar shop, you don't particularly want to know the owners life history, but you do want to go through the checkout fairly quickly. Whilst in the shop you want to see the goods on display and see the prices clearly marked up

Having end of season sales, using discount vouchers, attending shows, holding free competitions are all the practical sort of things that will retain existing customers and stimulate fresh interest in your goods.
 
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