Web Site Critique, Please?

Business By kansaswolf Updated 1 May 2009 , 8:25pm by Alicia0620

kansaswolf Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:30am
post #1 of 24

I'm in the first stages of getting a (legal) home-based cake business off the ground. Got a few orders here and there, but I'm looking at getting some business cards and such as soon as I have a working WEBSITE. If some of you experienced web designers could help me out (advice-wise), I'd be most appreciative! Or even if you're not experienced, just let me know what YOU think needs to be changed! Thanks everyone! icon_biggrin.gif

http://suchcakes.webs.com

23 replies
txsteph Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:59am
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I personally would not put pricing on your site. That is going to have people thinking they can get a super designed cake for the lowest price you have listed per serving. It is a good start.

txsteph Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:04am
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BTW I also have one from webs .. I do not advertise it since I am in TX and I am not licensed, but I made it hoping to be licensed one day. You can look at it if you want.

http://cakesbysteph.webs.com

Evoir Posted 1 May 2009 , 9:09am
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Kansaswolf - kudos to you for making a start on your website (something I am still working on!).
I do not have a LOT of experience in webdesign, but you asked for opinions anyway, so I'll add my 2 cents...
I think it is set out logically, for start - which makes it easy to navigate.

1. Lots more photos!!
2. Maybe a logo added near your name, or a more interesting font?
3. (This is just personal preference)...I don't like the blue tones for a cake business - to me it looks 'clinical'. As a health professional, I guess I have a bias there!! But to suggest indulgence/luxury maybe go for brown/pink tones? Or earthy colours?
4. Can you wax a bit lyrical about your cake flavours and fillings? ie., put a description next to each one?

Like I said, just my 2 cents...I look forward to seeing how it develops!

icon_smile.gif

tootie0809 Posted 1 May 2009 , 11:53am
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I agree about the blue tones in at the top where your name is. I kept thinking it looked technical or, like Evoir said, clinical. Something more whimisical or lighter colors I think would be better. I'm a website junkie. Since I'm thisclose to finally getting my home bakery licensed, I've been looking at every bakery/cake decorating website out there to gather ideas for my own. I keep the ones I really am drawn to on my favorites so when I go to design mine, I'll know what types of websites catch my attention. I've got quite a few saved up. I think with some minor changs yours will be a great advertising tool! Good luck to you in your new business. How exciting! icon_smile.gif

jillmakescakes Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:12pm
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Here's my 2 cents:
I agree with the previous posters, definitely change the blue. The design is somewhat generic looking. I almost thought it was one of the "holder"
pages that sometimes pop up.

Change "rates and services" to Rates and Flavors. Or even consider making this two separate pages. Also, if you are going to have pricing, consider having a range so that people don't get surprised. "Or cake prices range from $2.00 per serving to $X.XX per serving. This range is due to the complex nature of the cakes that we create"

The photo on the home page should link to your photo gallery

You say "About Us", but it is really "About Me". Think long term, are you always going to be a one person operation? If not, then consider changing your "I"s to "we"s on the home page and make the about us section "About the decorator".

While you've got some great cakes, the background is pretty cluttered. Consider using a fabric drape as a "stage" for the pics. Here is the one that I use: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-625549-.html

Your contact us page has no real contact info. can your clients reach you by phone or email? If not, you may need to explain why.

I know that it takes a ton of work to get the website even started, so kudos to you for what you have so far!

tcakes65 Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:27pm
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The first thing that jumps out at me is your photos. One in particular is a picture of your cake on your work table with powdered sugar around it. To me, it's distracting, and takes away from the cake. I suggest having a space or table that you can set up a backdrop to take better pictures. If you can edit some of your photos to eliminate the reminants of your ingredients, that would help.

I personally like the blue color on your page. Is it possible to add a picture or a logo next to your business name? I also recommend putting a picture of a cake on each of your pages to jazz it up a bit rather than just having text.

As for the pricing, I would be a little more specific. Maybe state that your wedding and occasion cakes start at $2/serving and provide a minimum flat rate that you charge for sculpted cakes. For example, on my web site, I state that my scuplted cakes start at a minimum of $150. That way there isn't any confusion, and people know they aren't going to get a scuplted cake for the same per serving price.

The minor critiques aside, I think you're off to a great start on your website. thumbs_up.gif

cricket0616 Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:28pm
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I have to agree again with the blue tones. I think the website is professional looking, but yet not fun or whimsical. It think the color would change that some. Additional pictures(which I am sure you are still working on.) I also think you should place a couple of pictures of your cakes on the front page. Give them a taste of what is in your gallery....something to draw them in. Good luck to you!!!

cakelady99 Posted 1 May 2009 , 12:44pm
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I think the biggest issue is that the 3rd party ads don't belong on your site.
While I was browsing, an ad for another cake business came up. http://www.grabup.com/uploads/238a31011db2be8d6a30ace78937de08.png

Imagine if I were a potential customer. Clicking that ad would take me away from your site.

There are better options for a free site, the best being [url]weebly.com[/url]

kansaswolf Posted 1 May 2009 , 3:19pm
post #10 of 24

Thanks for all the advice guys! Keep it coming! This was my first draft, so I'll try to get that worked on before actually giving the site to any potential customers... icon_biggrin.gif

I agree, I need a photo box of some kind. I should probably also get some cake dummies or something to expand my portfolio, huh? My family can only eat so many cakes...

Good point on the blue, also, I wondered about that. Blue is one of my favorites, so I picked that one, but I figured that'd be one of the first things to go! Gotta appeal to the masses, right? icon_biggrin.gif

I will definitely change the pricing. I would LIKE to have SOMETHING on the pricing page, as that's one of the main questions people have. I know I've simply shut down pages before that didn't tell me how much things cost. A range and a minimum for carved is probably what I'll do. The site didn't have much in the way of fonts, which was sad, but I'll try and find something cool...

Anything else?

tortitas Posted 1 May 2009 , 3:31pm
post #11 of 24

The cakes that are beside the flower pot, are they on the floor? if they are, that's a no no. I know what you mean when you said "my family can only eat so much cake"! What you can do is take those photos and crop them and if you can, change the background to blur out whatever is in the way. Best of luck with your new business! thumbs_up.gif

tortitas Posted 1 May 2009 , 3:31pm
post #12 of 24

The cakes that are beside the flower pot, are they on the floor? if they are, that's a no no. I know what you mean when you said "my family can only eat so much cake"! What you can do is take those photos and crop them and if you can, change the background to blur out whatever is in the way. Best of luck with your new business! thumbs_up.gif

kjskid Posted 1 May 2009 , 3:37pm
post #13 of 24

I personally like the purple colors and the design of your logo. Your cakes are great!

If possible, the home page should fit all in one page so you don't have to scroll down. On your side menu, Contact Us should be at the bottom of the menu.

On the Flavors page, put your Rates and Services under all the flavors so it flows better. I would do Cake flavors/Fillings/Frostings/Rates and Services in that order.

On the Photo Gallery page, you have to click on the album to view all the photos. It took me a bit to figure that out, and I'm a very experience computer user. Your Photo Gallery should show all of your cakes, or at least a few and then a link to take you to the next page. I originally thought you only had one cake to show. Also, you should put a message that says to click on the photo to enlarge it.

On your contact page, you have *s next to some of the fields, but no explanation what the * means. I assume it means it's a required field, but if so, that needs to be explained, or have (optional) next to the non-required fields.

Hope this helps and good luck!

kansaswolf Posted 1 May 2009 , 3:39pm
post #14 of 24

Noooooo, not on the floor! They're on my kitchen table! Ew, floor cake... icon_wink.gif I think I'll try some blur effects on the ones with bad backgrounds...

kansaswolf Posted 1 May 2009 , 4:53pm
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Alright, ladies (and gents), I've updated this with most of your ideas (Unless I forgot some)... icon_biggrin.gif How does it look?

pastryjen Posted 1 May 2009 , 5:12pm
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I haven't read all the posts in this thread so forgive me if this has been mentioned...

"I also do a little chocolate work for accents. I've done mostly bows and 2-d figures, though I do the occasional molded chocolate! (Shells, roses, stars, etc.) "

This is how I interpret it...(btw - I haven't had a chance to check out your photos so this has nothing to do with your work, just what I think you are saying.)

"I have worked with chocolate 1 or 2 times. I've tried bows, they look okay. I can do 2-d figures, they're not bad. I can also mold chocolate, (sigh).

How about...

"I enjoy working with chocolate as accents. My expertise is bow making and I have experience with 2-d figures and molded chocolate..." ? or something similar

I hope that helps and know that no offense was meant.

kansaswolf Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:00pm
post #17 of 24

Ooh, good point... I knew it sounded funny, but wasn't sure what to do about that... Thanks! And no offense taken, I need brutal honesty NOW before my costomers see it and are turned away! icon_biggrin.gif

(And *if* I get a little miffed, that's MY problem, because I asked for advice! icon_biggrin.gif )

Thanks everyone, this continues to be a great help!

Rylan Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:32pm
post #18 of 24

First of all, I wanted to tell you that you have a lot skills and talents in your hands. Your cake are beautiful.

Ok so here's my honest opinion. I hope I don't make you feel bad, as I just wanted to let you know what I feel needs improvement since thats what you asked fo =].

I love a white clean look but I don't see it working all together when I say your website. Maybe add some color or change the design. I think you should change the font for "SuchCakes", as it looks too bold and it doesn't blend very well with the image on its background. I would suggest softening it up a bit. I also really wasn't impressed with the purple image I was reffering to, it looked very generic, especially with the dimension effect.

I would also suggest softening your cake pictures as well. I'm not really a fan of the "flash" in the camera since it makes everything look unappealing to me (unless retouched). I think you should improve the quality of the pictures because it sometimes make the cake look less appealing.

Other than that, I wish you all the best. Your creations are awesome.

__Jamie__ Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:36pm
post #19 of 24

The very front page "Thanks for looking up SuchCakes online...."

It doesn't sound right to me.

Swede-cakes Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:59pm
post #20 of 24

Kansaswolf, I can see you've put quite some time into getting as far as you have with your site. Good job!

I have a Webs site too, and I've learned to "work" their system to get most of what I want on my site. But, I also know that the fonts are limited to block/printing style for your Header (where your company name is). There are no really pretty script or roundhand fonts. Argh!

My pointers are few, as you've already made great strides with other's advice.

1) Branding. Think about what colors and images you want to associate with your company. Raspberry and Apple Green? Chocolate and Aqua? Blush and Black? I have chocolate and pink. Do you have a logo? Perhaps a monogram, or an abstract cake image? When people see it, they'll know it's you. It should be consistent on everything you publicize, incl your website.

2) You probably really like the butterfly, and it's feminine and nice, but look into the other templates again. There may be something with an inviting background color that doesn't have a colorful graphic. This will provide the backdrop for your info and pics. This is where your Branding ideas will come in.

3) You've got a great array of cakes, all different styles. Separate them out into multiple galleries for two reasons. 1) Right off the bat, people will see how many cakes you've actually done. 2) Much easier for your customers to find samples of your work in the style they're shopping for; multi-tier, carved, etc.

4) I love how the name of your company is a play on your last name. Think about when someone sees one of your cakes at a party. They'll say something like,"She does great work! Have you seen her website?? Oh, such cakes!" So...add that well earned exclamation point to your company name. thumbs_up.gif Now you'll be known as Such Cakes! A small point that makes a big impact.

You're very willing to take all our advice and tips in stride, good for you! I wish you all the best!!! icon_biggrin.gif

Alicia0620 Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:02pm
post #21 of 24

Yeaaa for you getting started!! I'm in the process of getting licensed and getting my home business up and running too. But the first thing I did was sit up one night and create my website. You may check it out if you would like: www.scratchnbake.com

I personally like warm colors for a baking website. To me it says come enjoy my warm chocolate chip cookies, or taste my great beautifully designed cake. Just preference I guess.
Also, on your website, I would move the photo gallery more towards the top. Just as a suggestion but have: Home, photo gallery, flavors, pricing, About the Decorator, and last the contatct page. To me, when I go to a decorator's website, I like to see the photos first!! To see what they can offer and then I venture my way to the flavors and pricing. I would include a FAQ's page. Could you provide a Cake page with photos, pricing, and flavors as a sub-page?

And I would definitely start using a background for your photos. I recently purchased a $5 cardboard tri-fold that I now use as my background holder. It works WONDERFULLY. I just drape whatever I want over it and no more ugly background or "sore eye spots".
Good luck to you!

Swede-cakes Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:06pm
post #22 of 24

Oh Alicia0620, what a good idea! I've purchased those tri-folds before for my kids' school projects, but didn't think to buy one for me. I usually take an off-white table linen and drape it over the back and arms of a dining room chair. It creates a good neutral backdrop look.

sweetjan Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:06pm
post #23 of 24

love your site, alicia0620!!!! very inviting!

Alicia0620 Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:25pm
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Thanks guys!!! I was literally website challeneged and one night just set up till 1 am and figured it all out on my own. So it's not hard, just a little time consuming. I don't advertise it much only because I haven't had my inspection or have gotten my license yet. But that's the next thing on my to do list! Also, I found a GREAT web host where I set up my site and purchased my domain rights through. They were really helpful since I constantly had questions and they provided an all night online chat lol!!

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