Author Topic: Critique my new side gig website?  (Read 7028 times)

v8rx7guy

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Critique my new side gig website?
« on: December 07, 2017, 12:15:01 PM »
Update 6/17/2018 Post #52

Hey everyone, I recently started up a new website on Cyber Monday.  It's going "OK" but I don't seem to be converting as many visits into the orders I was expecting... I am hovering around 1.5-2%.  This is my first website ever and really my first "real" entrepreneur attempt.  Would you all mind critiquing it for me?  I'm not even going to introduce the concept because I think that everything should be there for people to understand what I am offering.  Let me know what you think!

www.washingtoninabox.com
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 10:01:21 PM by v8rx7guy »

solon

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 01:44:12 PM »
Just some things I was thinking as I looked at the site.

Very professional looking. Would have no qualms about buying.

Very jealous! Why didn't I think of that? This is the kind of side gig Chris Guillebeau would put on his side hustle podcast. https://sidehustleschool.com/podcasts/

How do you find so many Washington-related items? Do companies give you a discount on their products? Do they pay you to be included? I know you probably don't want to give away your business secrets, but these are questions that came to mind.

Good luck with the business!

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 01:55:52 PM »
Looks awesome.  This is the kind of thing people will check out and file away in their head for future info.  I wouldn't just randomly order one for myself unless I was from there and missing it.  If I was living there, I'd buy it for people that hadn't been to visit yet or had and loved it.  I'd also buy stuff if I was out of state and wanted to send stuff to someone that previously lived there. 

Could you expand to other states? Not sure how hard it would be to source.

I worry people will steal the idea though and just buy the stuff and make their own basket to give as a gift but there is no way around that.

Could you sell at rest areas / the airport?

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 02:35:06 PM »
Thanks for the compliments... I put a crazy amount of work into it considering I decided I wanted to do it in early November and set a Cyber Monday deadline for getting the site up.  I was born and raised in WA, so I sorta "know" the stuff that people around here, that was pretty helpful with brainstorming the products to offer.  I also did a lot of google searches for "what is washington known for" and "what famous things are made in washington", etc.  I had a big long list of items and started narrowing them down due to feasibility and cost.  I really want to keep my inventory low, but yet have a lot to offer for anyone.  I have gotten vendor / wholesale pricing on a few of my items which is pretty darn generous for a start-up... I am hoping as time passes and I buy more product I can get more companies to give me wholesale to get my margins up... certainly no one is paying me yet, but I have had companies approach me to ask to be included.

 I really wasn't planning on making much money this year, maybe just enough to cover inventory and a bit of my start-up costs.  I think next year when I have a little more legitimacy I'll get more orders and re-orders.  I am just a little bummed because I am only about 25% my sales goal with two weeks left until Christmas and a decent amount of inventory on hand.

I suppose it could be expanded to other states, I actually got this idea from a state that already existed.  So I'm certainly not the first to do this... though if I'm successful, I might try to expand the theme to a few other states I am familiar with.

bwall

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 02:38:52 PM »
I think it's a good idea. Any business that offers 'thank you' gifts to clients would be a potential client; real estate agents, car dealers, or anyone who sells to those who make a big ticket purchase.

Also, not too easy to be 'amazoned' into a low margin business.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 03:19:47 PM »
Hey everyone, I recently started up a new website on Cyber Monday.  It's going "OK" but I don't seem to be converting as many visits into the orders I was expecting... I am hovering around 1.5-2%.  This is my first website ever and really my first "real" entrepreneur attempt.  Would you all mind critiquing it for me?  I'm not even going to introduce the concept because I think that everything should be there for people to understand what I am offering.  Let me know what you think!

www.washingtoninabox.com

I'd suggest adding some Cougar Gold Cheese from the WSU Creamery but it's about $25+ shipping for a 30oz can so that might be a bit hard to fit in price-wise.

This is a great blog/podcast that should have some good tips for you. https://www.ecomcrew.com/ I'm in the very early stages of trying to build an ecommerce website and have found some great tips from these podcasts. I just listened to one of the first episodes on my drive in this morning and they mentioned that a standard conversion rate is about 2%.

I would echo the previous comment about marketing to companies sending out thank you gifts. I work in the commercial real estate industry and we have multiple clients who send us gift baskets or other gifts this time of year. Some of the brokers and property manager will send out gift baskets to their clients and won't bat an eye at spending $50 or so on something nice. If you were to reach out to businesses that have clients elsewhere in the country this would be a good fit. Better hurry though as the window is closing and this is probably going to be a pretty seasonal product.
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tralfamadorian

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 06:54:50 PM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 07:17:12 PM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

Thanks for the feedback.  I have always been concerned about your first item... and that is that people don't click the "what's in the box" button or main menu link.  This is where the pictures and description of all of the items live.  I wonder how I can make sure my potential customers find this page?

Making the best sellers a bit more "themed" would be a good idea, I like that.

Shipping info should be on the FAQ page, but I agree, maybe a bright icon showing the flat shipping charge would be helpful!

CareCPA

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 07:32:17 PM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

Thanks for the feedback.  I have always been concerned about your first item... and that is that people don't click the "what's in the box" button or main menu link.  This is where the pictures and description of all of the items live.  I wonder how I can make sure my potential customers find this page?

Making the best sellers a bit more "themed" would be a good idea, I like that.

Shipping info should be on the FAQ page, but I agree, maybe a bright icon showing the flat shipping charge would be helpful!
I would include actual photos of example boxes on the homepage, instead of a graphic of a box.
I would also be curious what the difference is between the "5-item Washington Box" and the "5 Item Best Seller Box?" They're the same price, and most potential customers are too lazy to click on both to find the difference. To us it looks like an odd duplicate.
On the web browser tab (I don't know the technical name), figure out how to get rid of the Shopify bag, it will look more professional.
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tralfamadorian

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 08:07:25 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  I have always been concerned about your first item... and that is that people don't click the "what's in the box" button or main menu link.  This is where the pictures and description of all of the items live.  I wonder how I can make sure my potential customers find this page?

Duplication is the easiest way to go here. Minimize your customers' clicks as much as possible from first touch to completed checkout- don't try to get them to get elsewhere on the site for information because most of them will not do it.

Smokystache

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 08:23:49 PM »
May be a bit early, but eventually you could have seasonal boxes and give people a discount for purchasing all 4 seasons. Or some other variation of a subscription/multi-sale offering.

Could market it as a care package to be sent to college students.

Looking good!!

SC93

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 11:11:59 PM »
You might think I'm crazy but.... you have 1 too many choices. Get rid of the 5 best sellers. I'm telling you, if you give people that many choices it will not work as well for you as if you cut it back to 4. 3 would be ideal but I do think you need 4 in this case. Great idea & nice job!

Northern gal

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2017, 12:08:33 AM »
I have also heard 2% conversion is standard.

Can you try split testing for pictures etc?

There was a webinar of femtrepreneur / samcart a few months ago that had 7 points on how to increase conversions. Pictures were definitely mentioned, I forgot the rest. There may be a webinar repeat though...


Linda_Norway

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2017, 02:48:31 AM »
It looks like a professional site.

I tried the search function. Typed in "Shipment". No hits. Typed in "Shipping". No hits. Typed in "Ship" and got a hit with a 5 item box. I had expected to find a hit with shipping costs or explaining free shipping.

From the front page:
Washington in a Box showcases Washington-made and Washington-themed items shipped in a custom artistic box for one flat rate, and you get choose the items! - maybe add "to" before "choose".

I would write Washington in a Box in quotes or in a different format, for example cursive. Then the text would be easier to understand the text at initial reading.

westtoeast

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 05:04:19 AM »
Just wanted to say that I think this is a really neat idea! I used to live in WA and it was fun looking through the products you included. Good luck!

wordnerd

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2017, 06:03:19 AM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

This is all excellent feedback.

MustachioedPistachio

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2017, 06:33:30 AM »
Just spitballin' here.

Are you doing or planning on any marketing? I used to work in hotels...this type of product would be great for loyal guests that live out-of-state. Businesses will likely be your best bet! Custom packaging for high volume business clients? Have you sent any boxes to friends, family, acquaintances?

Are you showing up in search results? From a super cursory search, here's your top competitor: https://www.madeinwashington.com/ . Personally, the type of merchandise on that site looks gimmicky and overpriced. Like, too gift-baskety. Devoid of thought and creativity. How can you offer a better alternative?

Do you plan on adding any more non-perishables? I'd imagine you could get some good wholesale pricing from local Etsy folks or artisans. Graphic tees, candles, hygiene products, small pieces of art, fridge magnets, cool infographic of "Did you know...?" about WA, etc.

Foresee any royalty issues reselling the sports team items?

Consider eventually investing in 49+ other domain names? ;) This seems like an interesting "franchising" type opportunity. If it really takes off in WA, then OR, ID, etc, then you could sell the business framework and brand awareness for a royalty or what have you.

katsiki

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2017, 06:36:29 AM »
Site looks great!

This sort of web site was huge 5-10 years for Louisiana / Cajun items.  (It still may be).  You might get some ideas if there are still good cajun sites out there.  They would do gift baskets and individual products (red beans, beignet mix, etc).

Good luck!
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v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2017, 08:24:17 AM »
Ok, so a little update here.  I have updated my site with some items that you all recommended.  First of all, I fixed the typo in the "What's Washington in a Box" and I added a line at the end to lead people to click "What's in the Box"... hopefully this helps get people to see the items before grabbing a box.  Next, I added "$5.99 Flat Rate Shipping" to the announcement bar, right under the Promo Code, so I hop that helps people know ahead of time what Shipping will be.  Finally, I took photos of an actual example 3-item and 5-item box so that my customers can see what they look like (I still need to do an 8-item tonight).

I started pumping the Facebook ad machine hard last night, here's hoping for today!

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2017, 09:49:52 AM »
One more marketing idea - wedding expos! Couples getting married love to have welcome gifts in the hotel rooms for their guests.  You could market to them at the expos, advertise in local bridal magazines and talk to hotels about offering your packages to engaged couples booking rooms for their weddings.

webguy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2017, 10:02:13 AM »
I don't have much time but here's some quick feedback:

1) This is too confusing:

12/1 - 12/8 Promo Code!
TAKE5 = 5% Off Entire Order
$5.99 Flat Rate Shipping


Personally, I would just offer a promo for free shipping, replacing the above with:

FREE SHIPPING on all orders until 12/8!

And make it big and bold at the top so it's obvious.

Or if possible, I would either include the cost of shipping permanently in the price of each box and either increase the price slightly if needed or just absorb the cost for now as you try to gain traction.  You want to try to eliminate any reason someone might have not to complete their purchase.  It's confusing to see a price, try to calculate 5% off that price, and then have to mentally add $5.99 for shipping. Just make it simple and easy for the customer to make a decision.

2) When ordering I would definitely replace the drop down list with something more visual.  This could be something as simple as an image that appears when hovering over the name of an item, a grid of images w/names to select from, or perhaps a more elaborate UI.  A dropdown of text like that isn't very helpful unless I know exactly what each item is, as I end up having to cross reference each item with your "What's in a box" page.

3) What's your main source of potential customers to the site?  Perhaps run a promotion or giveaway?  Do you include any marketing material/discount in the box to encourage re-ordering or purchasing the gift for someone else?

I don't think the site needs much improvement beyond just making things easier for the customer to order and removing any potential barriers. I think most of the effort is going to have to come on the marketing side.

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2017, 03:07:46 PM »
Great looking site and a great idea!   I mean, it belongs in the MMM Hall of Shame but great idea for the sucka consumers out there. 

tag

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2017, 05:55:52 AM »
I only looked briefly but I really like it! I'm from Seattle. I'm going to forward your link to all of my family who still lives there.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2017, 08:33:47 PM »
I only looked briefly but I really like it! I'm from Seattle. I'm going to forward your link to all of my family who still lives there.

I appreciate that.  Thank you!

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2017, 08:28:12 AM »
The site looks great, especially for it being your first website! A few things I noticed that could be useful/beneficial to you are copied below:

1.) Conversion Rate.  You mentioned your conversion rate was in the 1 - 2% range (which is actually pretty solid).  Conversion rate optimization is really a fascinating topic.  You can get far down the rabbit hole and run conversion rate experiments using all kinds of different tools.  Optimizley is a great (paid) tool.  You can also set up A/B tests for free with google analytics.  Looking at your website briefly I noticed it was in Shopify so here is a link explaining how you can set up a split test on your Shopify site (https://www.shopify.com/partners/blog/how-to-split-test-in-shopify-to-increase-revenue)

2.) In the same vein of conversion rate optimization, one of the best things you can do to improve conversions is to improve website load times or site speed. You can test your site speed with lots of free tools, two great free options are Google Page Speed Tool (https://developers.google.com/speed/) and Pingdom page speed (https://tools.pingdom.com/).  Load your URL in both of those and they will spit out recommendations for you on how you can increase site speed. Every 1 second you shave off of load times will improve your conversion rate by 7% Source; https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/

3.) SEO Figure out what you want your website to rank for, then tune it to rank for those terms!  SEO is obviously a huge topic, and it quickly gets into the snake oil salesmen types but there are several very easy things you can do to help figure out what your site can/should rank for.  The first step is to identify profitable keywords that your site can realistically rank for.  You can do this by opening up the Google Adwords Keyword Planner and typing a huge list of search terms into it (everything you can think of for your site).  The tool will process this list and spit out how much traffic each term gets, and how competitive (think how hard to rank for) each term is. From there you can load that list into a tool like the keyword difficulty planner from Moz (https://moz.com/).  Once you widdle the terms down to the highest traffic and least competitive you can try them out on your site, keeping track of your traffic as you slowly optimize over a few months.  One quick tip, it takes a while for Google to register changes to your site, don't expect to update your site and come back in one day to see a difference.  Give each change you make a minimum of 2 weeks.

4.) If you have not already, claim your webmaster tools account and link it to your google analytics account.  Webmaster tools shows you if your site has any crawl errors (which will hurt your rankings) and it will also show you how your site is performing organically.

5.) Looking at your sitemap it looks like it does not include all of your pages (https://www.washingtoninabox.com/sitemap.xml).  Sitemaps are useful in that they show search engines which pages to crawl.  Cleaning up your sitemap wont transform your site to suddenly ranking well for all your terms, but its a basic building block and not having a completed sitemap is just shooting yourself in the foot.

6.) Paid advertising. I noticed you mentioned running Facebook ads.  Personally, I've never had much success with standard Facebook ads.  Loading Custom Audiences to Facebook does work very well if you have a customer list.  But seeing as how you just launched the website you probably don't have a big customer list yet.  The advertising that has the most bank for the buck that I always advise people to start with is re-marketing.  A good remarketing campaign will run right around 300% ROI.  The reason being is these customers are already farther down in the buying cycle comparied to visitors from other paid verticles. Two great companys you can setup re-marketing through are Critio (https://www.criteo.com/). and Adroll (https://www.adroll.com/).  Both are great options but Critio typically outperforms Adroll.


That's all I can think of for now (its a slow day at the office with most people off for Christmas break).  If you have any follow-up questions just let me know!





Smokystache

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2017, 09:29:09 AM »
The site looks great, especially for it being your first website! A few things I noticed ...

Wow, belly05! Solid first post filled with awesome advice. I'm not the OP, but I appreciate the info. Welcome to the forums and hope you get as much out of them as I do.

SC93

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2017, 11:39:27 PM »
That was a great post! Those snake oil salesmen are why I learned to do my own SEO. It was useless trying to find someone that would actually do what I wanted and then when I did find someone they would either go out of business or be so busy their prices went sky high!

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2017, 10:40:44 PM »
That was a great post! Those snake oil salesmen are why I learned to do my own SEO. It was useless trying to find someone that would actually do what I wanted and then when I did find someone they would either go out of business or be so busy their prices went sky high!

I started a new website for a side gig a few weeks ago with literally about three paragraphs of content thus far between 4-5 pages. It's already showing up on the second page of Google and I've done nothing as far as getting other links. Just a few basic things with the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. Hopefully once I start putting some real content in place and getting internal links, etc. it will get up to the first page of results. Still, it's a slow and steady type thing and it may take months to see any significant results.

After listening to many podcasts from the EcomCrew talking about SEO the consensus was that 95%+ of SEO "professionals" are worthless, and the other 5% are too busy/expensive to help you out. Basically, if they promise amazing within six months or less they're full of BS and may even end up hurting you in the long run if they do things that Google doesn't like. Provide good content, a good user experience (i.e. fast loading pages), and make sure you are filling out the basic meta tags and titles, etc.
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SC93

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2017, 11:44:03 PM »
The trick is to show up on Google under the search terms people actually use. If I'm selling used toilets, people probably wouldn't search USED TOILETS. They would more than likely either search for a plumber or plumbing supply. I bet getting the top spot under USED TOILETS would be pretty easy and could be done by tomorrow. I bet getting on the first page for plumber or plumbing supply would cost a pretty penny and would take a long time. I know you probably know this Michael but some others might not.

So the moral of the story is..... go to google, search for others in your business. What did you type in to google to find them? Now go to the bottom of the page and see what other terms it gives you.

belly05

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2018, 09:08:50 AM »
Wow, belly05! Solid first post filled with awesome advice. I'm not the OP, but I appreciate the info. Welcome to the forums and hope you get as much out of them as I do.
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Thanks, Smokystache! I found MMM about one year and have been reading/lurking since then.  Finally decided to jump in on the forum!  Its such a cool community and everyone is amazingly respectful and positive, I'm really looking forward to being more active here and picking up good advice/habits from the community.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2018, 09:27:17 AM »
Awesome feedback, thank you all.  Well the Christmas season is over, and I am happy to say we met our goal!  We would not have gotten there, had we not had a corporate order of over 60 boxes!  We ended up with a conversion rate of about 1.5% with a much heavier visit to purchase rate as Christmas got closer.  We are now getting ready for a special Valentines Day box.

Regarding SEO... that is something I need to seriously work on.  If you google "Washington in a Box" it does not show up... at least not in the first 10 pages of results, I stopped looking after that :(

SC93

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2018, 09:59:20 AM »
After the 1st page most people stop and after the 2nd for sure. A few years ago a site might have had a chance on the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th page, but people nowadays look at the 1st page and move on.

Washington in a box probably isn't what needs to be ranking anyway. If they know about you then all they have to do is google your exact .com. You want to be ranking under all the many other search terms such as Washington state... souvenir, gifts, gift shop, themed gift ideas and all the others.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 10:07:18 AM by SC93 »

Chippewa

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2018, 10:17:06 AM »
add in-box pictures to your 5-item Best Seller's Box and Carl's Box. Get the Instagram running for further connection to box and company (add link to site in profile).

As for SEO without a blog, hire someone to write press releases but caution where to publish them. They don't need to be all high ranking sites to publish. A mix is fine. All low ranking sites, won't do you justice. Or write guest posts on people's blogs within your target location. Doesn't have to be about the box or co.  Could be about any niche you have experience in (gardening, family, etc..). What your looking for is the blog or website author putting a link back to your site.

What would people google search to find your site? Add that to your Tag line (i.e., Washington in a Box - Unique Gifts for Friends)

Great looking site!

Roots&Wings

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2018, 06:18:35 AM »
What would people google search to find your site? Add that to your Tag line (i.e., Washington in a Box - Unique Gifts for Friends)

Great looking site!

+1 to tagline.

If I was looking for local Washington-made products or gift basket, I would never think to search for "Washington in a Box" (and have no clue what that even means without scrolling through the website). Great idea!

Smokystache

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2018, 09:17:30 AM »
I definitely think that selling bulk orders to business that want to send them as gifts is a place to focus on:
(you probably realize many of these things, but just to emphasize them):

- each client results in 5-500+ boxes
- better possibility of recurring orders
- easier to plan your inventory when you have several large orders
- assuming they give you some decent lead time, you can pack these orders during times when you're slower (or hire some short-term help to complete the orders)
- businesses are spending from a corporate budget- which is always better than an individual spending from their own family budget
- businesses see this as an investment to earn money, not just purely an expense

You might consider asking your friends and family if they rememeber when they have gotten similar types of baskets from a company/business. This will help you know who to approach. My family and I have received baskets/gifts from insurance agents, funeral homes, bed and breakfast inns, business development centers .....

Looks like you're doing great!!

mustachedali

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2018, 10:34:37 AM »
Looks good. I'd put a tagline or some kind of summary so people know what you are selling upon immediate visit. Also add a favicon (can see it's a shopify shop). Maybe catchier images of the boxes would help boost sale (something other than a plain box).

SC93

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2018, 01:16:20 PM »
Yes. aside from everything else..... those pictures don't even rank a 1 out of 1-10. Show a made box. Present it. Once someone finds your site, the picture will either make or break the sale. Make a video. Maybe even stage an opening. Get someone to open a box and act happy and surprised!!! Lots of things you can do for once they find your site.

Northern gal

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2018, 05:29:08 AM »
Awesome feedback, thank you all.  Well the Christmas season is over, and I am happy to say we met our goal!  We would not have gotten there, had we not had a corporate order of over 60 boxes!  We ended up with a conversion rate of about 1.5% with a much heavier visit to purchase rate as Christmas got closer.  We are now getting ready for a special Valentines Day box.

Regarding SEO... that is something I need to seriously work on.  If you google "Washington in a Box" it does not show up... at least not in the first 10 pages of results, I stopped looking after that :(

Congratulations! And thanks for reporting back.

I'm sure there's people out there who achieve 1.5% conversion and give up rather than reaching out to hear that they are doing just fine :)

keep on keeping on!

MrMoneyMullet

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2018, 09:20:41 AM »
Beautiful site and nice work, v8rx7guy!

Best of luck with the side hustle. I'm posting to follow for this awesome site advice getting doled your way!
Mullet-related tagline courtesy of forum member Miss Piggy.

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v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2018, 09:40:38 AM »
I did some screwing around and I believe I should be on the 1st page of search results for "Washington in a Box" on Google now... baby steps!

jambongris

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2018, 10:06:05 AM »
Awesome feedback, thank you all.  Well the Christmas season is over, and I am happy to say we met our goal!  We would not have gotten there, had we not had a corporate order of over 60 boxes!  We ended up with a conversion rate of about 1.5% with a much heavier visit to purchase rate as Christmas got closer.  We are now getting ready for a special Valentines Day box.

Regarding SEO... that is something I need to seriously work on.  If you google "Washington in a Box" it does not show up... at least not in the first 10 pages of results, I stopped looking after that :(

I just googled “washington in a box” out of curiosity and your site was the 3rd result for me.

jambongris

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2018, 10:10:11 AM »
It also looks like there are two shipping rates posted ($5.95 in the FAQ and $6.95 on the front page).

jpdx

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2018, 01:51:39 AM »
Someone else mentioned and it's worth repeating:

These days you need to offer FREE SHIPPING. Amazon has conditioned customers to expect this. People want to feel that their dollar is paying for the items inside the box, not towards transporting the box.

Nothing is free, of course, it needs to be worked into your pricing. But it needs to feel free to the customer.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2018, 10:29:10 PM »
Someone else mentioned and it's worth repeating:

These days you need to offer FREE SHIPPING. Amazon has conditioned customers to expect this. People want to feel that their dollar is paying for the items inside the box, not towards transporting the box.

Nothing is free, of course, it needs to be worked into your pricing. But it needs to feel free to the customer.

Ugh... I know, amazon has spoiled a lot of people, including myself!  Believe it or not, I am already heavily subsidizing the cost of shipping into my price!  My average box to like the Midwest is $11.00, I am charging $5.95 (or sometimes $4.95 during a sale) for shipping, and have another $5.00 or so built into my price just to cover the shipping.  Crazy, my boxes only weigh 3-5lbs

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2018, 04:14:02 PM »
Someone else mentioned and it's worth repeating:

These days you need to offer FREE SHIPPING. Amazon has conditioned customers to expect this. People want to feel that their dollar is paying for the items inside the box, not towards transporting the box.

Nothing is free, of course, it needs to be worked into your pricing. But it needs to feel free to the customer.

Ugh... I know, amazon has spoiled a lot of people, including myself!  Believe it or not, I am already heavily subsidizing the cost of shipping into my price!  My average box to like the Midwest is $11.00, I am charging $5.95 (or sometimes $4.95 during a sale) for shipping, and have another $5.00 or so built into my price just to cover the shipping.  Crazy, my boxes only weigh 3-5lbs

I think it's reasonable to charge shipping but at a certain point you should consider offering free shipping. That might be $100 or it might be something less. Find a number where it makes sense for you, and the customer is incentivized to place a larger order. After all, one order of 5 boxes is easier to handle than 5 orders of one box.
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tag

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2018, 07:55:51 AM »
I just ordered a box! Thank you!

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2018, 08:39:52 AM »
I just ordered a box! Thank you!

Wow thank you!  This was very unexpected, but much appreciated.  I'll make sure you box gets to the other end asap!

tag

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #47 on: January 10, 2018, 04:37:29 PM »
My pleasure! We stayed with family in Boise for a week, this was the perfect thing to send them. Well done!

thedayisbrave

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2018, 08:02:28 PM »
It is a great idea! I just looked it up for my state (NC) and looks like someone is basically doing the same thing.

You have a great, very professional looking site.  I agree with offering free shipping on orders above a certain dollar amount.  It's a great way to upsell and feel like the customer is appreciated.

As far as marketing goes, this may seem obvious but try to appeal to the "local" market.  Everybody is touting "local" these days.  If you search social media (I'm thinking of Instagram specifically), you will probably connect with tons of people in the tourism/hospitality/local business area and get great exposure that way.  Partnering with local influencers could be really great for you, but I wouldn't expect it to be a one off thing... you'd probably have to do it consistently before it started paying off.  Typically with any sort of marketing your customers have to see your name 3-5x before they will consider buying from you.  But if you're associated with a company or brand they already know and love, the conversion may be that much easier.  Plus, you can usually do local influencer campaigns with minimal capital... either do a product trade or shoutout campaign (where you promote their product/service in exchange for them promoting your product/service, etc). 

Just an idea!
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Bicycle_B

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #49 on: January 23, 2018, 03:05:12 PM »
Hi, v8rx7guy!  Just found this thread and therefore your site. 

Fwiw, Googled after a few minutes and my Google now has your site as both the #2 and #3 listings (it takes me to separate pages on the same site - the main page, and the collections/allitems page).  #5 is a pesky competitor, "Design Your Own Gift Baskets - Made in Washington".  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, be flattered.  Annoyingly, when I clicked on their site, it forced me to into a "pick a basket" popup and wouldn't let me access their actual site, so yours had a better visitor experience IMHO.

Ideas for promotion/marketing:

1) Send press releases/story ideas to local media.  Give the local business press a summary of your Christmas startup experience, ask if they want to interview other recent startups for a combined article.  They might just print a version of your press release instead of doing further work.  Ditto for any hyperlocal news outlets.
2) Maximize item 1 by contacting local celebrities and asking if they would like to give their significant other a free gift basket for Valentine's in exchange for a photo op / blurb.  Post blurb/ photo on website and social media.
3) Create a Washington In A Box Twitter feed that posts funny OR just plain Washington-loving tweets related to Washington human interest stories.  Congratulate celebrities on weddings, local football teams, etc.  Follow said celebs on Twitter, tweet nice things at them, see if they reply. Got any downtime that can be used for tweeting?
4) Offer local heroes a freebie to give to their loved one (again, photo op / press release/ tweet). Ask your suppliers for free goods in exchange for them being the supplier featured in the gift basket.
5) Same as 4, but monthly or related to various calendar events.  Could be general holidays, or very local things.
6) Maybe read local historians/humorists/etc to find dates/events for 5, then you could package the whole thing into amusing human interest stories that can be press released to local media as well as tweeted.

PS.  Forgive me, why does the socks' description say 12th Fan?  Isn't it 12th Man?  (I could be wrong... I live in Texas, the local version is 12th Man but it's been around for 95 years... if ya'll's version is more feminist friendly, ignore this PS.  Just seeking to maximize your localist cred).
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 03:13:11 PM by Bicycle_B »