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Discussion Starter #1
I was going to post this in the kookietees.com thread but probably better its closed as this should have its own thread.

When I first signed up to the forums I posed requesting feedback on my site, etc. I got some responses, but nothing like I was hoping to get. I was hoping to get a review more like solmu's of kookietees.com (perhpas not as negative, but as throughou)

I would be willing to trade a shirt for a review from solmu. I imagine there are some other thick-skinned folks out there that would also be interested in doing this.. The reivew could be done after the shirt is received so that it could include shipping, packageing and quality of the shirt as well..
 

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Man, I was doing in-depth site reviews on these forums before Solmu even signed up! Ah, well... If I didn't have much to say about your site before it probably means I thought it was pretty good, but I'll take another look at it here.

I think you probably went a little overboard in lacing your front page text with keywords. Its pretty obvious that chunk of text is meant for a search engine and not a human to me, and that's a bit of a put off (though a fairly minor one). However, if you're going to list all the shirts in text on the front page anyway for keywords, you might as well make them clickable links. Likewise, I think you should make the top banner clickable and go to the shirt that it is currently showing.

Your navigation is split a bit oddly, with the 'Home/Shop/Share/News' at the very top and the rest of it smaller in the middle.

There seems to be an excess of empty space at the bottom of the page.

Your footer isn't consistent on all pages (Possibly only different on the 'Partners' page).

The front page seems to stall briefly (2-3 seconds or so) showing only Paperplain/com/Home/Shop/Share/News.

The locations https are used are also rather inconsistent - looks like your top 4 animals use it and the rest do not. Also, once you go to an https page, everywhere else you go is https as well from then on, including the homepage.

Typo - 'avialavle' in "Looking for T-Shirts avialavle in XL, try the The Multiply T-Shirt, The Rhinoceros T-Shirt, The Squirrel T-Shirt, or The Rabbit T-Shirt." This is also kind of confusing since other shirts are also available in XL.

You only have the array of pictures for some shirts (top 4 I believe), not all of them.

The 'Multiply' shirt isn't shown on the left sidebar, and it is the only one that is not.

Having the animals category seems kind of silly when its your only one, though I imagine that's another SEO attempt. Not a big deal. Though, if you decide to keep it there, I would definitely suggest taking out all of the 'thes' that are repeated in the list of shirt names.

Speaking of SEO, you should add ALT text to all of your images for the t-shirts. Another place to drop some keywords in, but don't go too overboard.

I find it kind of odd that you have both 'Partners' AND 'Other sites'. Is 'partners' some older code that wasn't removed, perhaps?

If any page should have more focus on making sense than having keywords, it is probably the about us page. I'd give that one a bit of an overhaul to make it friendlier and less keyword-centric.

Penguin, Donkey, and Elephant are missing from your Site Map.

I would suggest making The Top list of navigation (Home/Share/etc.) regular text instead of images with javascript mouseovers.

Your load time on dialup is not great, but not terrible. It would take over 30 seconds to load the front page for a dialup user. You might look at compressing your images a little bit more to see if you can get a bit smaller files with the same quality.


I think that's about all I've got. Really, the site is pretty good overall, and most of this list is minor tweaks and changes. The biggest issue would probably be making the site a little more human oriented instead of search engine oriented.
 

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Hey Martin! I didn't realise PaperPlain was represented here.

I've always liked your site and your products....as Solmu has said before, it's one of the 5 or 6 standout sites on www.t-shirtcountdown.com.

Keep up the good work. Given your very specific style, I'd love to get some idea on your selling rates and clickthrough. Obviously, you might not want to say :) .
 

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Also, the "Emo Fasion Clothing" in your browser header is going to loose more sales than it gains.....it you want emo as a term for search engies, hide it!
 

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martin said:
I would be willing to trade a shirt for a review from solmu. I imagine there are some other thick-skinned folks out there that would also be interested in doing this.. The reivew could be done after the shirt is received so that it could include shipping, packageing and quality of the shirt as well..
I'm quite sure Rodney wouldn't appreciate me parlaying posts on his forums into what amounts to money. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea myself. I like free stuff as much as the next guy, so if people want to PM me free stuff I may take it. I'm happy to give feedback on the item and shipping. Like I said though, I'm not going to solicit and anything I post is obligation-free.

Twinge said:
Man, I was doing in-depth site reviews on these forums before Solmu even signed up! Ah, well...
I guess you were too civil to attract as much attention ;) I don't think I'd regard that as a bad thing.

Twinge said:
If I didn't have much to say about your site before it probably means I thought it was pretty good, but I'll take another look at it here.
That is exactly the problem. I rarely respond to critique requests because I'm not that interested in saying "decent site, not perfect, but pretty good" - which is what I'd be saying 99% of the time.

I like PaperPlain - always have. Do bear that in mind, but with that said I'll see what I can find I don't like... :)

The "Tribe.net: T-SHIRT j u n k i e" stuff you have in your news feed is strange and very offputting. I'm not at all convinced a commerce site even needs a newsfeed, and it can certainly be harmed by one that's not maintained properly. Personally I'd just drop the newsfeed feature entirely.

Each page has a block of blank space at the bottom. It's big enough to be annoying and best removed if possible (but small enough that it's not a disaster).

I like that your links page is called "Other sites.". I'm not a huge fan of the prevalance of links pages, and I think it's a classier way of putting it.

Your contact page is good - it doesn't require extra information I don't want to volunteer, and the text inputs are a good size.

In the about page, "All our animal t-shirts shirts" is a tautology, which is bad. I think "with eminently stylish (some would say emo) designs" covers your bases nicely. The "Our current designs, [big list of designs] represent" is annoying. It's obvious this page was written for SEO and not for human consumption. It should be able to do both, and long lists of obvious information are not human friendly.

"represent a stategic shift in the mindset" is too corporate mission statement. "awesome t-shirt colours" is awkward, and I imagine again it's there for search engine keywords. T-shirt colours aren't really awesome... if you must use the word, I'd suggest finding somewhere else to put it.

"The T-Shirt market, and animal t-shirt market in particular, have in recent years seen a drastic decrease in self realized t-shirts." is going to be meaningless babble to most customers. "These efforts are pre-destined to dramatic failure." is overwrought, whereas the next sentence "Who realy wants a stupid looking photo of a tiger head that fades at the edges on the front of a black t-shirt?" is brilliant. It is candid, simple, and something your target market will entirely agree with, which will build ties to your product. It also has a typo (realy). I haven't noticed many typos, but it never hurts to run those pages through a spellchecker. You wrote "aualities" towards the end of the page.

Overall your About page is good, but I think it should be gone over to make it more human friendly.

From the FAQ page: "Random questionbs", suggesting it definitely wouldn't hurt to quickly run your pages through a spellchecker. The typos are minor, but no typos is always better.

Personally I prefer a FAQ to be all on one page. I tend to be interested in multiple areas (e.g. a customer may want to see the size chart and the payment methods). I really like how easy you've made it for people to ask a question to be added to the FAQ. In general your site aims to keep pages in nice managable chunks. Combine that with the text input box for new FAQs, and I guess you have good reason not to have it all on one page. I don't know... it's probably better the way you have it now, it's just that normally that's not how I prefer it.

In shipping faq: $7,00 should be $7.00. "Yes, it cost $5" should be costs. Also, having a return charge is controversial (though I can easily see why one would do it and it's entirely up to you)... unless that's just the charge to post back the new item (i.e. not an additional service charge), in which case you should probably clarify that a little. "receeive" should be receive.

From the payment faq: "a animal" should be "an animal", "and mail it out once we have made the deposit" should be "once you have made" or "once we have received" (I prefer the 2nd).

On the t-shirts faq: "Are we realy selling" should be "Are we really", and I think this would be a good place to have a sizing chart.

Animals faq: This is a really interesting idea, I like it. I assume it's partly to get hits from search engines, and I think it's a good way to do it. It's rude to even bring this up, but I will anyway: I assume you wrote this stuff yourself or have permission to post it. If you didn't, then fix that immediately. If you did, good job. I think this section could be expanded. It would be too much work and too boring to have that level of depth on every animal, but if you could formulate a dot point list of interesting and/or amusing trivia or characteristics that would be good (just one list for all the animals, not a bunch of points per animal).

Random faq: This answer was getting a little too serious, but was saved by the note in square brackets. This is as good a time to mention it as any: I like your model shots. They're unpretentious and they get the job done.

Learn: Good use of free resources. While I believe Wikipedia does allow reproduction, I think they require some more documentation about the works' copyright status. I've never looked into it myself, so I don't know. If you've already done that and have it covered, cool. (whichever way you look at it this isn't a big deal - it's an open-source encylopaedia and you've credited the source - but I'm not sure if it fully meets their requirements for use).

Obviously the sitemap is A) Good, and B) Out of date.

The news section has typos (I only noticed the one "avialable" but didn't read through most of it).

For some reason the images on your site don't cache. So every time I load a new page it reloads the images from your server, or if I'm looking at product shots and mouseover back and forth between two photos it will reload them each time. I can't tell how big they are (because they're not cached), but the filesize *seems* really good. Still, on dialup this reloading would be a problem and it'll use more of your bandwidth than it needs to. Now, whether or not this problem is my end or yours I couldn't say, but I've never experienced it my end before (which is not to say it's not, but it might be worth a quick look so see if it happens when you browse).

Now... onto the content.

Your About page has the line "Out first line of T-Shirts, animals," and I remember even the first time I visited your site I was excited by the prospect that this was your first line of clothing - not the only thing the site did. I like the design philosophy behind the company (simplicity, essence, etc.) and wanted to see that applied to other concepts.

Visiting your page now, it seems like all you do is animal tees. The animal thing is cool, but I want more. When I buy t-shirts I aim to buy several (I get the impression this is unusual though) because I live in Australia and I want to save on shipping costs. What I'm looking for (again, maybe I'm not typical) is variety.

Essentially I'm questioning your current business model here without the benefit of knowing your sales or future plans... so obviously this should be taken with a grain of salt and feel free to ignore me.

Anyway, my personal opinion on what you should do is this: stop making new animal designs. You've done a lot of them and quantity is not originality. I'd phase out a couple of the older ones that aren't doing too well. Then I'd introduce the first shirts in your new 2nd line of clothing. Then I'd cut back to a few core favourites in the 1st line (always selling some animal t-shirts in other words, but not as many as there are now), and expand the 2nd line. Rinse, repeat, end up with a lot of variety.

Obviously this depends hugely on finances, marketing, sales, etc. But my opinion is that it's probably time to start expanding. You're already starting to paint yourself into a corner with the animal thing, and soon there won't be room to breathe. You're already at the point where you may get customer resistence if you tried to expand, and that's only going to get harder. I think selling the same animal shirts day in day out would get dull and it's time to expand... you may like your business exactly as it is and think I'm being rude, so that's for you to decide.

Now, the most important thing for me to end on is this: I actually like your site. When I concentrate on finding problems for you to fix it turns out I can find quite a lot, but there's a lot you're doing right. The basic layout, the colour scheme, your product design, your concept, your company philosophy, the size and shape of your pages (I like the rounded corners on the menus), the attitude, etc. are all well done. Overall I think you have a good unique company image, which not many sites can claim. You're inoffensive & "family friendly" (or whatever you want to call it) without being dull. (I do particularly like your Multiply shirt by the way). If the time comes for you to get a company logo and go that extra step (whether it's being stocked in stores, advertising more widely, or whatever) I think you're well positioned to do so.

(two hours and 1700+ words later I remember the other reason I don't do site critiques :p)
 

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Twinge said:
Your navigation is split a bit oddly, with the 'Home/Shop/Share/News' at the very top and the rest of it smaller in the middle.
I didn't mind that myself. The two rows serve different purposes and they're in the kind of locations I'd look to for those kind of features.
 

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Solmu said:
For some reason the images on your site don't cache. [snip] I can't tell how big they are (because they're not cached), but the filesize *seems* really good. [snip] Now, whether or not this problem is my end or yours I couldn't say
Ignore this bit. I went back to take another look at individual designs and the "problem" was gone. I'm guessing it was a memory issue at my end.

Regarding filesize, I see they're not as good as they'd seemed (I'm on a decent connection here luckily). Still, I know exactly what it's like trying to find the trade-off between filesize and quality. You've got to choose between a good looking site and quick load times, and you've obviously made that choice already. If I was you I would have made the same choice - not all the product images load at once and not all customers need to view them. Looking good is important, and they do look good.

In general I didn't pay much attention to individual product pages earlier, so turns out I have a few more comments (sorry for the length).

I like the humerous cool facts (e.g. "Cool Fact: Turtles win races."). These pages have a lot of minor typos ("avialable" on pretty much every product page, "than whats shown" on turtle should be "what's"), including your own company name on the Walrus page (you have "PaperPlan" there).

Rabbit, donkey and penguin have a subtitle description under the title, which none of the others do. Rabbit / Multiply / Donkey / Elephant / Penguin don't have the blurb descriptions the other shirts do. Personally I like the blurbs. I think the template you have set out for yourself with Squirrel / Rhino / etc. etc. is a good one; the other animals should follow the same layout.

Turtle / Squirrel / Rabbit each have long complicated titles (e.g. "High Quality Rabbit Novelty T-Shirts The Rabbit T-Shirt"). The simple ones you have for the others (e.g. "The Penguin T-Shirt") are much better.

I like your product pages, but consistency is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, thanks for the great feedback. Since you took the time to actually provide lots of info, I though I had better make these changes right away so that you know your effort was not in vain.

When it comes down to it, I probably was aware of a lot of these issues, but having someone point them out adds some fire to getting things done..

Twinge said:
I think you probably went a little overboard in lacing your front page text with keywords. Its pretty obvious that chunk of text is meant for a search engine and not a human to me, and that's a bit of a put off (though a fairly minor one). However, if you're going to list all the shirts in text on the front page anyway for keywords, you might as well make them clickable links. Likewise, I think you should make the top banner clickable and go to the shirt that it is currently showing.
Removed the crappy text altogather.

Twinge said:
Your navigation is split a bit oddly, with the 'Home/Shop/Share/News' at the very top and the rest of it smaller in the middle.
I will consider chanign this next time I do a site re-design

Twinge said:
There seems to be an excess of empty space at the bottom of the page.
I think this was caused by having lots of things in the left column, that forced the main colum to be just as long. This should be fixed now that I removed some of the stuff from the left area.

Twinge said:
Your footer isn't consistent on all pages (Possibly only different on the 'Partners' page).
Removed the partners page. It was an old HTML page that did not get updated last time I changed my footer template.

Twinge said:
The front page seems to stall briefly (2-3 seconds or so) showing only Paperplain/com/Home/Shop/Share/News.
Possibly because the next thing to display is the big graphic? Not sure if there is anything to be done about this as I realy like that iamgea area.

Twinge said:
The locations https are used are also rather inconsistent - looks like your top 4 animals use it and the rest do not. Also, once you go to an https page, everywhere else you go is https as well from then on, including the homepage.
Not sure how the top 4 animals are diffrent in the URLS? You are right, once you go to https:// you should stay there.. I dont think this is a problem though is it?

Twinge said:
Typo - 'avialavle' in "Looking for T-Shirts avialavle in XL, try the The Multiply T-Shirt, The Rhinoceros T-Shirt, The Squirrel T-Shirt, or The Rabbit T-Shirt." This is also kind of confusing since other shirts are also available in XL.
Fixed the spelling and updated the 'other shirts' blurn to include the new animals. Also added this blurb to all items..

Twinge said:
You only have the array of pictures for some shirts (top 4 I believe), not all of them.
Yeah, got lazy editing the images, and now I dont have photos for the new items, so I am waiting until after the next shoot. (on the to-do list)

Twinge said:
The 'Multiply' shirt isn't shown on the left sidebar, and it is the only one that is not.
Fixed.

Twinge said:
Having the animals category seems kind of silly when its your only one, though I imagine that's another SEO attempt. Not a big deal. Though, if you decide to keep it there, I would definitely suggest taking out all of the 'thes' that are repeated in the list of shirt names.
The SiteStruc CMS software forces me to have a categorey, and automatically displays it even if its the only one. You used to have to select that category once you went to the shop page before being able to see the thumbnails. Fixed that, but never got around to removing the level link on the left side. I am hoping to add more categories soon anyhows..

Twinge said:
Speaking of SEO, you should add ALT text to all of your images for the t-shirts. Another place to drop some keywords in, but don't go too overboard.
True, also on the to-do list.

Twinge said:
I find it kind of odd that you have both 'Partners' AND 'Other sites'. Is 'partners' some older code that wasn't removed, perhaps?
yep, its gone now..


Twinge said:
If any page should have more focus on making sense than having keywords, it is probably the about us page. I'd give that one a bit of an overhaul to make it friendlier and less keyword-centric.
I cleaned it up some, but need to re-write the whole thing..

Twinge said:
Penguin, Donkey, and Elephant are missing from your Site Map.
Fixed.. also added the learn pages for these..

Twinge said:
I would suggest making The Top list of navigation (Home/Share/etc.) regular text instead of images with javascript mouseovers.
Hmm.. I realy like the look of the Java, but will consider this change.

Twinge said:
Your load time on dialup is not great, but not terrible. It would take over 30 seconds to load the front page for a dialup user. You might look at compressing your images a little bit more to see if you can get a bit smaller files with the same quality.
I could probably lower the file size of the 5 images on the homepage without loseing much... also on the to-do list


Twinge said:
I think that's about all I've got. Really, the site is pretty good overall, and most of this list is minor tweaks and changes. The biggest issue would probably be making the site a little more human oriented instead of search engine oriented.
I had been doing fairly well with SE Placement, but it looks like I just got rocked with this last Google update. So screw seo, and hopefully the changes I just made address this..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here we go again...

Solmu said:
The "Tribe.net: T-SHIRT j u n k i e" stuff you have in your news feed is strange and very offputting. I'm not at all convinced a commerce site even needs a newsfeed, and it can certainly be harmed by one that's not maintained properly. Personally I'd just drop the newsfeed feature entirely.

I removed it from the home page, and now its just buried off the News and SiteMap pages.

Solmu said:
Each page has a block of blank space at the bottom. It's big enough to be annoying and best removed if possible (but small enough that it's not a disaster).
Hopefully this was fixed by removing the feeds stuff in the left column.

Solmu said:
I like that your links page is called "Other sites.". I'm not a huge fan of the prevalance of links pages, and I think it's a classier way of putting it.
If nothing else, we aim for classy :)

Solmu said:
Your contact page is good - it doesn't require extra information I don't want to volunteer, and the text inputs are a good size.
Heh... Its the standard built in contact form for our CMS (SiteStrux).

Solmu said:
In the about page, "All our animal t-shirts shirts" is a tautology, which is bad. I think "with eminently stylish (some would say emo) designs" covers your bases nicely. The "Our current designs, [big list of designs] represent" is annoying. It's obvious this page was written for SEO and not for human consumption. It should be able to do both, and long lists of obvious information are not human friendly.
Okay.. removed that section..

Solmu said:
"represent a stategic shift in the mindset" is too corporate mission statement. "awesome t-shirt colours" is awkward, and I imagine again it's there for search engine keywords. T-shirt colours aren't really awesome... if you must use the word, I'd suggest finding somewhere else to put it.
Removed this as well...

Solmu said:
"The T-Shirt market, and animal t-shirt market in particular, have in recent years seen a drastic decrease in self realized t-shirts." is going to be meaningless babble to most customers. "These efforts are pre-destined to dramatic failure." is overwrought, whereas the next sentence "Who realy wants a stupid looking photo of a tiger head that fades at the edges on the front of a black t-shirt?" is brilliant. It is candid, simple, and something your target market will entirely agree with, which will build ties to your product. It also has a typo (realy). I haven't noticed many typos, but it never hurts to run those pages through a spellchecker. You wrote "aualities" towards the end of the page.
A bunch of this text was originally intended to be over intellectualized and slightly humorous. Sort of poking fun at ourselves, but still meaning everything said. As mentioned, I need to revamp the entire page soon. I did fix the typos though.

Solmu said:
Personally I prefer a FAQ to be all on one page. I tend to be interested in multiple areas (e.g. a customer may want to see the size chart and the payment methods). I really like how easy you've made it for people to ask a question to be added to the FAQ. In general your site aims to keep pages in nice managable chunks. Combine that with the text input box for new FAQs, and I guess you have good reason not to have it all on one page. I don't know... it's probably better the way you have it now, it's just that normally that's not how I prefer it.
I could probably do to combine the Shipping and Payments sections into one (more of the nuts and bolts info). And leave the others. (On the to-do list)

Solmu said:
In shipping faq: $7,00 should be $7.00. "Yes, it cost $5" should be costs. Also, having a return charge is controversial (though I can easily see why one would do it and it's entirely up to you)... unless that's just the charge to post back the new item (i.e. not an additional service charge), in which case you should probably clarify that a little. "receeive" should be receive.
I changed this section to clarify, and made it the $3 we have actually been charging people for this.

Solmu said:
From the payment faq: "a animal" should be "an animal", "and mail it out once we have made the deposit" should be "once you have made" or "once we have received" (I prefer the 2nd).
How about 'once your check has cleared' i.e. its not when we receive it, but once we have deposited it in our bank and it does not bounce.

Solmu said:
On the t-shirts faq: "Are we realy selling" should be "Are we really", and I think this would be a good place to have a sizing chart.
Because we use different brand t-shirts for diffrent animals its not really possible to have one sizing chart. This is why we added the sizing chart to each item. I am hoping to switch to one brand t-shirt and eliminate this issue. But that's a whole nother project/ conversation. (Anyone know any sites actually printing and selling royal apparel shirts?)

Solmu said:
Animals faq: This is a really interesting idea, I like it. I assume it's partly to get hits from search engines, and I think it's a good way to do it. It's rude to even bring this up, but I will anyway: I assume you wrote this stuff yourself or have permission to post it. If you didn't, then fix that immediately. If you did, good job. I think this section could be expanded. It would be too much work and too boring to have that level of depth on every animal, but if you could formulate a dot point list of interesting and/or amusing trivia or characteristics that would be good (just one list for all the animals, not a bunch of points per animal).
I sort of forgot about this area. When I first built the site a friend used the submit a question form to ask those 3 questions about squirrels. They did it partly as a joke, and partly to test the form. I think I Googled the questions and posted answers to play along.

Heh.. I just googled " What do squirrels eat " and it looks like I lifted this text basically verbatim. I have hidden this section until I have time to re-do it right and expand. If that ever happens...

Solmu said:
Random faq: This answer was getting a little too serious, but was saved by the note in square brackets. This is as good a time to mention it as any: I like your model shots. They're unpretentious and they get the job done.
Solmu said:
Yeah, I though it was funny, and really people are always curious about who the models are so here is a little bit of info. Thanks for the props on the photos. Everything is amateur, from the models to the photographer. I was pretty happy with what me and some friends where able to do without spending any money.

Solmu said:
Learn: Good use of free resources. While I believe Wikipedia does allow reproduction, I think they require some more documentation about the works' copyright status. I've never looked into it myself, so I don't know. If you've already done that and have it covered, cool. (whichever way you look at it this isn't a big deal - it's an open-source encylopaedia and you've credited the source - but I'm not sure if it fully meets their requirements for use).
I checked this out further, and it looks like i need to add the following license to be in proper compliance:

"This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license"

Done and done.


Solmu said:
Obviously the sitemap is A) Good, and B) Out of date.
Think I got that fixed..

Solmu said:
Now... onto the content.

Your About page has the line "Out first line of T-Shirts, animals," and I remember even the first time I visited your site I was excited by the prospect that this was your first line of clothing - not the only thing the site did. I like the design philosophy behind the company (simplicity, essence, etc.) and wanted to see that applied to other concepts.
At this point t-shirts is as far as I plan to take it, but I do plan to go beyond the animals. I have a more urban/artsy set of shirts that a friend did for me that should be on the site in about a month, and I am almost done designing my next series so that should be up in about two. Its going to be the 'historical series' if your curious.

Solmu said:
Visiting your page now, it seems like all you do is animal tees. The animal thing is cool, but I want more. When I buy t-shirts I aim to buy several (I get the impression this is unusual though) because I live in Australia and I want to save on shipping costs. What I'm looking for (again, maybe I'm not typical) is variety.
As for this section and the rest of the questions about my business model that I did not quote. I think your basically right, and agree with what you have outlined. I do hope to keep all of the animals available even as I add new shirts, but maybe I should consider losing a few.. Time and money are whats hodling things back right now.

Solmu said:
Now, the most important thing for me to end on is this: I actually like your site. When I concentrate on finding problems for you to fix it turns out I can find quite a lot, but there's a lot you're doing right. The basic layout, the colour scheme, your product design, your concept, your company philosophy, the size and shape of your pages (I like the rounded corners on the menus), the attitude, etc. are all well done. Overall I think you have a good unique company image, which not many sites can claim. You're inoffensive & "family friendly" (or whatever you want to call it) without being dull. (I do particularly like your Multiply shirt by the way). If the time comes for you to get a company logo and go that extra step (whether it's being stocked in stores, advertising more widely, or whatever) I think you're well positioned to do so.
Good to hear some positive feedback as well..

Solmu said:
(two hours and 1700+ words later I remember the other reason I don't do site critiques :p)
Yeah, wow. I tried to emplement most of the changes you have suggested, so at least you know its appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
monkeylantern said:
Hey Martin! I didn't realise PaperPlain was represented here.

I've always liked your site and your products....as Solmu has said before, it's one of the 5 or 6 standout sites on www.t-shirtcountdown.com.

Keep up the good work. Given your very specific style, I'd love to get some idea on your selling rates and clickthrough. Obviously, you might not want to say :) .
I have been here for a little while, but find it hard to keep up with the volume of posts. This is a popular little forum!

t-shirtcountdown.com treated me well as long I was remembering to send out my newsletter asking people to vote just before the end of the month. Usually if I could get in the top spots early, the natural voting would keep my shirt up there. More recently even if I get in the top spots at the start of the month, I would inevitably get beat down by "I Heart Strippers" and the like. So its no longer worth even adding the please vote request to my newsletter. I have considered doing paid advertising on the site a few times as it does seem like the traffic they send is good traffic.

As for my selling rates and clicktrough.. I dont realy have any clicktrough to measure as I dont realy have any banners adds or the like. My selling rate and conversion rate (maybee what you meant by clickthrough?) both suck to be honest. Conversion rate is at about 1% probably because of the limited style of shirts I have, and I generally sell a few shirts a day. Once I get my conversion rate up (hopefully by adding more designs) I will look at doing some paid advertising... Thats the toughts at the moment at least..

Thanks for the props for the designs and site as well!
 

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(re: the corporate mission statement-y text in the About page)

martin said:
A bunch of this text was originally intended to be over intellectualized and slightly humorous. Sort of poking fun at ourselves, but still meaning everything said. As mentioned, I need to revamp the entire page soon. I did fix the typos though.


Fair enough. I can kind of see it, but I obviously missed the joke. Humour is very subjective, but I think maybe it was too realistic :)

To be honest that page needed a revamp though, so I'm glad it's on the to-do list.

martin said:
I could probably do to combine the Shipping and Payments sections into one (more of the nuts and bolts info). And leave the others. (On the to-do list)


That makes sense. I did decide after reading through the separate faq pages I kind of liked it that way, but streamlining it is still beneficial - especially putting the information people will most often need together.

martin said:
How about 'once your check has cleared' i.e. its not when we receive it, but once we have deposited it in our bank and it does not bounce.


Ah, okay - now I understand what you were getting at originally. When it comes to money, I tend to think of what the customer is doing with it rather than the proprieter - the latter is just a big irrelevant black box to the customer. I also think of the customer as the one depositing the money. This is all just a question of personal wording not right and wrong ways of doing things, but clarity is always good.

"
once your check has cleared" is nice and unambiguous, and it is a normal policy.

martin said:
Because we use different brand t-shirts for diffrent animals its not really possible to have one sizing chart. This is why we added the sizing chart to each item. I am hoping to switch to one brand t-shirt and eliminate this issue. But that's a whole nother project/ conversation.


Since you list the t-shirt brands on the individual pages you could list a sizing chart for each brand in the FAQ. That could get clumsy looking or confusing though.

There's a whole lot of advantages to only stocking one brand, so I guess like you said this will clear itself up when that is possible.

martin said:
At this point t-shirts is as far as I plan to take it, but I do plan to go beyond the animals.


Yeah, I didn't mean beyond t-shirts
, just beyond animals. Not many t-shirt sites move beyond t-shirts, and I'd say it's hit and miss whether the sites that do are better or worse for it.

martin said:
I have a more urban/artsy set of shirts that a friend did for me that should be on the site in about a month, and I am almost done designing my next series so that should be up in about two. Its going to be the 'historical series' if your curious.


Cool, that's good news. Good luck with that.

martin said:
I do hope to keep all of the animals available even as I add new shirts, but maybe I should consider losing a few.. Time and money are whats hodling things back right now.


Time and money are always important. That's why I suggested dropping a few of the animal shirts; not because I thought it was necessary for the site, so much as it was the practical thing to do.

So long as the site navigation is clear so that people aren't overwhelmed with the number of shirts you shouldn't have any problems.

martin said:
Good to hear some positive feedback as well..


There's a lot there to like, it's just necessary to focus mostly on the negative in order to improve the positive.

Thanks for the followup.
 
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