FullHouse Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 6:27pm
post #1 of

It's been quite a learning experience, but I have finally completed my business plan, filed for licenses, dealt with the IRS (NO FUN) and designed my website. I'm going to be offering cake and cupcake decorating parties at customer's location (home, clubhouse, etc.). I'm marketing for Kids Birthday's and Girls' Night out.

Here's my website: www.nccakeparties.com
I used iWeb to design it and InMotion for hosting.

I've submitted my URL to Google, Bing, & Yahoo. I've made sure my titles reflect my business. Also, apparently, the more people who link to my site, the higher up I will be on Google search (I've read this can take weeks or months to happen). What a learning process. If any of you have any additional advice on how to get noticed in Google searches, I would really appreciate the tips icon_smile.gif.

50 replies
Kaylani Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 7:04pm
post #2 of

The website looks great! Your details are wonderful. Obviously you have put a ton of thought & work into the site. Congrats on the new venture! icon_biggrin.gif

vtcake Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 7:35pm
post #3 of

Your cakes are gorgeous, congrats on having great talent.

Your website is pretty good. As a home computer worker, I offer the following, take or leave as you see fit:

I suggest deleting some of the multiple exclamation points...most people get the excitement with only one exclamation point.

Kids Parties should be Kids' Parties, just as you did Ladies'.

On the Kids' Parties page, when you wrote about taking the mess home with you, your !! (if you insist on 2!) should be inside the ( ), not outside

In 2007, my then, 5 year old son=take out the commas after the 2007 and before the 5.

**will kids really pay attention to a 60 minute lesson?

Good luck, sounds like a good idea.

CWR41 Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 7:51pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

In 2007, my then, 5 year old son=take out the commas after the 2007 and before the 5.




I prefer "In 2007, my (then) five-year-old son", but since you didn't ask for editing and proofreading help, I'd like to comment that your business name and phone number that has pink text really doesn't show up well on the colored (blue and green) backgrounds, but it's easy to read on the white background pages.

costumeczar Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 9:09pm
post #5 of

This is a really specific question, but it can help a lot with your search engine results. When you put the large words in the blue box on each page (Cake decorating parties, kids party packages, etc) is that done in a design template, or are you telling the template that it's the title of the page?

The reason that I ask is that the search engines read the tab at the top of the page on the browser tab, and that counts a lot for your rankings in search results. If you're putting the title in separately then you can put in "cake decorating parties NC" or something more specific on every page, or at least put the NC on there. That shouldn't be the same as the text on the page, so I'm wondering if there's a way for you to change that.

To show you what I'm talking about, go to my website www.acaketoremember.com and hover the cursor over the tab at the top of the page. I've started every page title with "wedding cakes richmond va" then added the extra description of what that specific page is. That way the search engines will see "wedding cakes richmond" on each page, plus the extra. It isn't the same as the text on the page.

Shermie1 Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 9:34pm
post #6 of

Great Concept... Good Luck.

LaurenLuLu Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 10:22pm
post #7 of

I agree with the above poster about the grammar and exclamation points. Also, the pink lettering on the blue/green background almost hurts my eyes. If you really have your heart set on pink, maybe have it in bold typeface instead? I almost have to read it with peripheral vision and I don't even wear glasses icon_smile.gif You're obviously very talented and your concept seems fun!

Navyempress Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 10:33pm
post #8 of

Hmm... 919.. That sounds familiar! My husband is from Pikeville, just north of Goldsboro. I grew up on the other side of NC. We'll be flying into RDU this Christmas. Good luck with your business. These days with busy parents I'm sure you'll get lots of business!

One question, though. Is there a reason you do not provide the cookies for the Girls' Night cookie party? If I were a busy mom who didn't bake for a living, I'm not sure I would have the time or knowledge to make perfectly flat cookies for decorating. And I've never had those Pillsbury sugar cookies to bake flat enough.

We will be having our fourth child next year. It's great to see we are not the only crazy ones. When people ask why so many kids, I just say, "We're from the South!" Hahaha.. I can use that excuse for anything..

jason_kraft Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 12:57am
post #9 of

You'll want to work on making your branding more prominent on the site. As it stands, you only mention your company name on the site in small pink text on a teal or green background, which some people may have difficulty reading.

A well-designed logo might help.

FullHouse Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 2:42am

Thank you guys so much for the advice. I really appreciate you all taking the time to check over things for me. I will take another look at my website from a Windows based PC. The pink contrasts nicely on my Mac, which is what I used to build the site. It sounds like the colors may not be showing up the same when viewed from a PC. I'll have to play with that a bit.

I deleted many of my exclamation points (I guess I am just really excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) - pun intended.

The 60 minutes is allotted for the entire activity, setting the kids up, teaching them some techniques, letting them decorate and package their cupcakes. I've taught cupcake classes at a craft store and had a hard time getting them to finish in 2 hrs (for 8 cupcakes). I'll bring along some freezer paper to let them play with icing just in case they run out of cupcakes to decorate.

Kara, I'm so not tech savvy it is pathetic. I do type my titles directly into the text box on the page layout. I'm not sure how to edit the tab, but I will make a note to research that and fix it (hopefully). Thank you for pointing that out. Right now, my website only comes up if I search for my URL, but not any other search.

Navyempress: Congrats on #4. Its busy, but we love it. We are actually from NY, so the Southern excuse doesn't work for us, I just have some fun and tell 'em I got DH tipsy 4 x's. 2 kids were born in NY, 2 here. RDU is just down the road. We love it here. I've done the cookie decorating gathering for friends and they all wanted to learn to bake and were thrilled when I shared a recipe & baking tips, the came with the cookies ready to decorate and were begging me to do it more often. That is actually when the first seed was planted for this, then finalized when I worked with DS's class.

Again, thank you all so much for taking your time to help me. The more eyes looking at this, the better.

FullHouse Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 2:43am

Jasonkraft, do you recommend hiring a logo designer or is there a trick to DIY?

jason_kraft Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 2:50am

If you don't have graphic design experience, I would definitely recommend hiring a designer. There are several services available on the web that can help (google "logo design services"). You could also check local colleges and trade schools to see if they have graphic design programs, a student who knows Photoshop well can easily put together a logo based on your specs (a basic mockup on paper would help).

Once you have your logo, you can use it to brand flyers, invoices, boxes, etc. in addition to the web site. To simplify matters I would stick with a black and white logo, it can be layered on a color background on the web site (or any other medium where color is easy).

FullHouse Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 2:55am

Thank you, jasonkraft. I'll have to put that on my wish list until I can fit it into my budget. Start up costs really add up quickly.

metria Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 3:50am

oooh i've got lots of cousins in Cary! i'll have to mention you to them.

try to use only 1 or 2 fonts in your entire site. limit yourself when you decide which should be bold, different sizes, or different colors. it will help make your site look much more cohesive and consistent.

FullHouse Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 4:14am

Metria, thanks so much for the referral, I greatly appreciate it. Small world. I'm working on the fonts a bit more. Have DH's PC side by side with my Mac, trying to get things uniform on both. It's amazing (and incredibly frustrating) how different they look on each.

Lcubed82 Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 4:20am

Sounds like fun!

On the Kids' page, the two cupcakes are to TAKE (away) home, not bring. (That would be consistent with how you worded it on the Ladies' page.)

Good luck with your adventure!

costumeczar Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 12:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FullHouse

Kara, I'm so not tech savvy it is pathetic. I do type my titles directly into the text box on the page layout. I'm not sure how to edit the tab, but I will make a note to research that and fix it (hopefully). Thank you for pointing that out. Right now, my website only comes up if I search for my URL, but not any other search.

.




If you can get into the code from your template I can tell you where to put the head titles in. Poke around and see it you can, and let me know.

cakeythings1961 Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 1:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Navyempress


One question, though. Is there a reason you do not provide the cookies for the Girls' Night cookie party? If I were a busy mom who didn't bake for a living, I'm not sure I would have the time or knowledge to make perfectly flat cookies for decorating. And I've never had those Pillsbury sugar cookies to bake flat enough..




I was thinking the same thing. My guess is that you'll get more people interested in this kind of party if you provide the cookies. icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 1:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeythings1961

Quote:
Originally Posted by Navyempress


One question, though. Is there a reason you do not provide the cookies for the Girls' Night cookie party? If I were a busy mom who didn't bake for a living, I'm not sure I would have the time or knowledge to make perfectly flat cookies for decorating. And I've never had those Pillsbury sugar cookies to bake flat enough..



I was thinking the same thing. My guess is that you'll get more people interested in this kind of party if you provide the cookies. icon_smile.gif




Good point. Just a cookie tip, if you can't get them perfectly flat on the top (and who can), decorate the side that was against the pan. They're much easier to ice that way.

Navyempress Posted 29 Nov 2010 , 4:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeythings1961

Quote:
Originally Posted by Navyempress


One question, though. Is there a reason you do not provide the cookies for the Girls' Night cookie party? If I were a busy mom who didn't bake for a living, I'm not sure I would have the time or knowledge to make perfectly flat cookies for decorating. And I've never had those Pillsbury sugar cookies to bake flat enough..



I was thinking the same thing. My guess is that you'll get more people interested in this kind of party if you provide the cookies. icon_smile.gif



Good point. Just a cookie tip, if you can't get them perfectly flat on the top (and who can), decorate the side that was against the pan. They're much easier to ice that way.




I don't usually have problems getting my cookies flat with the Cookie Craft recipe and it doesn't spread. But the average busy mom probably wouldn't have the time to make dough from scratch. If I worked outside of the home, I know I wouldn't either.

I remember a couple years ago, I decided to make cookies for Christmas for gifts from the family at the last minute and "cheated" and used Pillsbury. It was a pain to roll out and they puffed up in the middle. Even though I pushed them down after they came out, they were still so uneven. I never thought to use the backside, though. Good tip, costumeczar. Probably would have saved me from throwing out so many..

FullHouse Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 10:17pm

Hmmm, for some reason I stopped getting notifications on this. Glad I checked back anyway.

I'm going to keep it that they provide the cookies for now and see how it works out. I can keep my pricing lower that way b/c they aren't paying for my time/ingredients. I actually am doing a cookie decorating party with my friends in a few weeks - I'm hosting at my house as a holiday get together for my close friends. I invited 10 with the instructions that they bring the cookies and all 10 RSVP'd yes. I was actually surprised, this time of year everyone is so busy I didn't think 10 people would be free the Sunday before Christmas but they are all so excited. Thanks for the tip about the decorating the backside, CostumeCzar, I'm sure it will come in handy.

CostumeCzar, thank you SO MUCH for offering to look at the code, you are incredibly generous. I will see if I can find it, I have no idea how to do that so I will be searching around the Apple forums this weekend to see if there is a way.

FullHouse Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 10:19pm

lcubed, thanks for catching that, I changed the wording. It's amazing how many times I proofread that and it never caught my eye. I think I tend to read how I meant things to be and don't notice how they are.

pinkbutterfly Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 12:42am

Congratulations on your new business!!! It is a great idea. I also have a children's party business but I specialize in dress up tea parties. I bring the party to you. I liked your idea and thought I could add it to my business. (I hope you dont mind icon_wink.gif ). I do have a few questions for you. Do you supply the cupcakes already baked, if so, do you have to have a liscensed kitchen to bake your cupcakes and cookies in? I'm in California which doesn't allow to sell out of your home. I provide desserts for my parties, but I purchase pre-made desserts. This would fit in perfectly with my theme parties. Thank you! icon_smile.gif

CWR41 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 1:16am

Are you asking for help with proofreading?

FullHouse Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 1:34am

Pinkbutterfly: Don't mind at all. I do supply the cupcakes already baked. I am buying them and the icing wholesale from Sam's Club, it's actually cheaper for me (in terms of ingredients & labor) to just buy them from Sam's - $25 for 150 un-iced cupcakes, $30 for 28 lbs of buttercream. I got the idea when I was short on time so purchased un-iced cupcakes for my son's class to decorate, kids inhaled them all the same as if I baked. My son said he could tell the difference and likes mine better but still was happy to eat Sam's. They also case sell 5" rounds, 10" rounds and sheets. HTH.

CWR: I'm welcoming any and all advice on this. Business, web design, or stupid mistakes I missed during proofreading icon_smile.gif. TY.

CWR41 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 2:17am

Alrighty then thumbs_up.gif
I hope this is helpful...

-Making a multi tiered cake
-Making a multi-tiered cake

how it all began...
How it all began...

In 2007, my then, 5 year old son saw (if you delete what's between the commas, it doesn't make sense... it needs to be a complete sentence.)
In 2007, my (then) 5-year-old son saw (or)
In 2007, my (then 5-year-old) son saw

...that I took a few years ago
...that I took a few years ago.

The top of every page starts off with a CAP first letter of every word; Cake Decorating Parties, Birthday Party Packages, Ladies' Cake Decorating Parties, but "about Creations by Barbara, Ltd." doesn't, then Cake Gallery, and "testimonials" doesn't.

(testimonials section)
sugar-cookies
sugar cookies

Barbara was extremely organized, had all the
Barbara was extremely organized, and had all the

Royal Icing, it's uses
Royal Icing, its uses

(Marie I. section) use quotation marks like the others above.

(Preferred method of Contact section) "Email" and "Either" boxes change shapes after scrolling up or down (could be my screen).

Sorry I don't remember which page, but at least twice the page loaded with your address like this: (on two lines on the lefthand side of the page)
xxxxx.co
m

FullHouse Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 3:09am

Wow, CWR, thank you so much for taking the time to check so carefully. I fixed the grammatical errors, the check boxes on the contact form are set up from a website service that creates the HTML for the forms for me, that I can't change. It doesn't do that on my screen, but I'm learning that items on different browsers show up differently. Same situation with my address on 2 lines, fine on mine but I did expand those boxes since its getting cut off on yours. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

CWR41 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 5:25am

You're very welcome. Much success with your business!

Edited to add: I found it! It's on the "about us" page on the left where it says "Contact Us:", that's where it says...
xxxxx.co
m

Do you see it too?

pinkbutterfly Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 6:46am

Full House: Thank you for the info. We have a Sam's Club in town, but I have never been. Is that wholesale to the public or because you have a business?

indydebi Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 7:24am

Could you offer to provide the baked cookies as an option with an upcharge? That way you could keep your package pricing low but still give an option to those who might be interested in the cookies but didn't want to bake them, and would be willing to pay extra for you to do the work.

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