Now Ready For Your Critiques

Business By brenda549 Updated 12 Apr 2011 , 2:41am by jason_kraft

brenda549 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:10pm
post #1 of 37

After lurking on this board for so long, I am now ready. I am working on my business plan, looking at a rental kitchen today, and have developed my website.

If anyone would be willing to provide feedback on how it looks and feels that would be great!

www.brendabakes.com

My logo is not on there. My best friend is a graphic designer and is working on it for me.

I know my pictures are not professional. Hobby baking for three years = amateur pictures.

::deep breath:: Okay, GO!

36 replies
SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:26pm
post #2 of 37

When i click your link, it says the website does not exist.

momg9 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:27pm
post #3 of 37

I liked the general look of the site and that there was a lot of information. I didn't like the movement of the pictures on the right side of the page as I was trying to read about the products and prices. It was hard for me to focus on what I was reading.

JRAE33 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:34pm
post #4 of 37

I couldn't get past the moving pictures. It was too distracting and they are moving too fast. It literally made me dizzy. I think if the pictures stay still and you have a gallery that people can thumb through themselves it would be more user friendly.

Ambar2 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:41pm
post #5 of 37

I agree about the pictures, you should make a gallery page and stick them all in there...overall you did an awesome job explaining the prices and deposit etc...Very good job, and good luck with your bussiness

brenda549 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:50pm
post #6 of 37

Thanks, everyone!

I turned off the auto-play for the slideshows except on the home page.

HappyCake10609 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 12:54pm
post #7 of 37

Hi! Congratulations on getting started! I'm still looking for a kitchen to rent in my town so I can start my business, so I'm a tiny bit jealous... but always happy for a fellow caker icon_smile.gif

As for how your website looks... I think it's great. But there are a few things that I would change (I'm just super picky about things like this, ask anyone, I can't get them to help me anymore-I have to do it myself, lol)

-FONTS
Your fonts are a bit inconsistent across your pages. You have a mixture of Times New Roman and Arial. I would pick a combination and make sure it is uniform across the site. I think Arial is great for the body of your content because it is easy to read. With the headings you can get a bit fancier. My personal preference is to not use Times New Roman because I feel that it looks "generic." Again, that is just MY preference. I would pick either Arial and make it a bit different by bolding or italicizing it. Or pick a font that is slightly "fancier" but still easy enough to read. Also, on your "About Me" page, your content is bolded, or possibly even a completely different font. I would try to get it to match up with the other pages because it doesn't seem to "mesh"

-GALLERY
On the "Cakes" tab, the thumbnails are a little too small to see well. So if someone was wanting to browse and select each cake it would be difficult to see. I don't know if you can change that... I have a wix website as well, and the galleries confuse me! What I did was create a thumbnail pic and link it to a separate page for each cake... I'm still searching for a better way! IDK, as a "person who browses the web" I like to be able to make out the pictures, otherwise it just gets confusing and I overlook them.

I really like your color pallet! Very cute and fun icon_smile.gif Also, your pictures are not bad! I was expecting much worse, lol. It IS tough just starting out to get good pics. If you want to "fake" it like I do, here are my tips:
-try as much as possible to use a uniform background, I find it is less distracting when looking at a portfolio if the backgrounds are all about the same, the focus is then on the cake. I use a white sheet that I have just for this purpose. I drape it over a box (or laundry basket!) and voila, instant white backdrop!
-Whenever possible use natural light and no flash. Last year I discovered that if I turned OFF my flash and used natural sunlight my pictures came out so much better! I had to fiddle with my camera settings a little, to figure out which setting worked best in this situation. But I feel like the pictures look so much better!
-www.picnik.com This is a FREE online photo editor. What I use it for is to adjust my exposure and contrast to really brighten up my pictures (it has a ton of other features, but I rarely use them). Like I said, I'm just faking it, and can't figure out the exposure/contrast settings on my camera, if I even have them, lol! You'd really be surprised at what a difference it makes, a dull dreary picture that you thought was no goo, can really come out beautifully!

I really like how you have photo's on each of your pages! It's a nice touch!

Like I said, I have a wix website too... if you want to see what I did with it: www.wix.com/happycakesbyrenee/main I made it before I really understood how to use wix and made a separate "master page" for each of my pages. I want to go back and change it, just seems like so much work!

I'm sorry I went on so long, and I really don't mean to nit pick... I just know, that when I ask for feedback, I don't want someone to just tell me "Looks Good." I really want opinions about what they would change/what they like, so I tried to do that for you icon_smile.gif

Oh and I LOVE your Backyardagins cake! So cute, the figures are perfect. My son loves that show!

Great Job, and Good Luck with your business icon_smile.gif

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:23pm
post #8 of 37

HappyCake, i cannot access your website either. Must not be compatible with an ipad. That also means it is most likely not compatible with an iphone. Many people are using these now to browse the web, so you both may want to copnsider either reeporting the problem it to Wix, or using a different service that works with moblie devices. I hate to see you lose business because people cannot access your website..

HappyCake10609 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:30pm
post #9 of 37

Hmmm.... I tried to follow the link in my post and I got an error message too, but it works fine if I type it into my browser bar or use my bookmarked link... I wonder if there if the link gets "broken" somehow posting on CakeCentral? IDK though, because I was able to access OP's link? Wix is a flash website, not sure if that makes a difference on iPad or iPhone, but I know I can't access it on my Blackberry... I will report the problem to Wix though, in case the problem is on their end... Sorry, just thinking "out loud" lol. I'm going to post the link here again, in case I did something wrong the first time...

www.wix.com/happycakesbyrenee/main

brenda549 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:41pm
post #10 of 37

Thanks for all the feedback! This is exactly what I need to hear. icon_smile.gif

The fonts are actually Garamond and Arial, and I totally agree they need to be consistent. As soon as my friend gets my logo finished, I plan on refining the website with fonts complimentary to the logo.

Luckily, I have another friend (I have such great friends!) that is a photographer hobbyist. She and I have been discussing the best ways to photograph my products. My husband is also a Photoshop professional. I plan on using their abilities quite often in the near future!

Thanks, again!

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:41pm
post #11 of 37

Yep, ipads and iphones don't use flash. My husband is a computer programmer and says that websites need to stop using flash; he can't stand it.

That new link you posted takes me to a pink screen, then immediately goes to another screen telling me to update flash. So i guess that Second link does work. (is your website pink?)

So many people these days are using mobile devices that don't use flash. It would be a wise business decision to not use a flash based site in order to reach the most customers. I know for me, I never use my regular computer anymore for browsing the internet. If I go to a sit and it needs flash, I just go somewhere else.

Best of luck to you all with your cake businesses! icon_smile.gif

Kread Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:46pm
post #12 of 37

You need flash to view, and it's not compatible with iPhone/iPad. Maybe you can have a non-flash option?

HappyCake10609 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:47pm
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretAgentCakeBaker

Yep, ipads and iphones don't use flash. My husband is a computer programmer and says that websites need to stop using flash; he can't stand it.

That new link you posted takes me to a pink screen, then immediately goes to another screen telling me to update flash. So i guess that Second link does work. (is your website pink?)

So many people these days are using mobile devices that don't use flash. It would be a wise business decision to not use a flash based site in order to reach the most customers. I know for me, I never use my regular computer anymore for browsing the internet. If I go to a sit and it needs flash, I just go somewhere else.

Best of luck to you all with your cake businesses! icon_smile.gif




Can you recommend a good, user friendly site host/builder? I have NO experience with html, so really need something very user friendly!

Brenda- It's great that you have so much talent at your disposal! I'm sorry to high-jack your thread with my questions, but maybe you'll find it helpful too... I didn't know that flash was such a problem!

TinkerCakes Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:50pm
post #14 of 37

I looked over the other post quickly, not sure if anyone mentioned this.... Velvet was spelled wrong...it's "valvet" on your site, products page.

TinkerCakes Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:51pm
post #15 of 37

Almost forgot...congratulations on your new business/website!!!! icon_smile.gif

brenda549 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 1:56pm
post #16 of 37

Happy - Hijack away! It is all a learning experience for me as well.

My geeky husband is the one that sent me to wix, solely because it is a flash site. He says more and more people are using it. Who knows?!?!

Thanks, Jason-Lisa. The site builder does not have a spell checker and I have been going blind looking for spelling mistakes for two days!

Mb20fan Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 2:44pm
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason-Lisa

I looked over the other post quickly, not sure if anyone mentioned this.... Velvet was spelled wrong...it's "valvet" on your site, products page.




Just what I was going to say...

I like your "Need to Know" tab. Very informative. Wish you well and congrats!!!

melon_ball Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 3:29pm
post #18 of 37

Just an FYI, another issue with using a Flash-based site: Google and other search engines can't look at the content.

Unlimited Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 3:49pm
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by brenda549

The site builder does not have a spell checker and I have been going blind looking for spelling mistakes for two days!




I'd be willing to bet that the site builder HAS a spell checker, they just aren't using it. Within the last 10 years or more, every program has a built-in spell check... even email has one. If they're using a program that's ancient, they can still paste text into another program for spelling and grammar check!

If it's your job to correct their mistakes (not saying that it is at all), you can also paste the text into another programrather than going blind.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 3:54pm
post #20 of 37

The site looks good, but as others have said you should avoid using Flash unless it's absolutely necessary. For example, you could have a Flash-based slide show within a regular HTML-based web site, but there's no reason to make the entire web site using Flash.

I would recommend contacting a web design student at your local college, showing them your existing site, and asking them to remake it with HTML. It shouldn't take more than a few hours. They should also be able to help you upload the site to a web hosting provider and make changes to the site when necessary.

Christy0722 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 5:05pm
post #21 of 37

I love your colors! Very appealing to the eye.

However....I do have a word of caution. While looking at your gallery, I noticed that you have pics of cakes with copyrighted characters. You may want to do a search on CC and read some of the forums concerning copyright infringment. It can spell disaster for your business. It is illegal to sell cakes with copyrighted characters UNLESS they have been purchased to place on the cake. In the instance of your disney cake, the characters look to be "toys" but the playhouse and ears look to be made with fondant.

I know of several cake artists who have received "cease and desist" letters or who have been sued b/c of copyright infringment. One person lost her business. I have heard that Disney actually has people in their legal department that do nothing but look for infringement.

Not meaning to burst your bubble....just something for you to think about.

brenda549 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 6:21pm
post #22 of 37

Thanks, Christy.

I played around with the colors for a long time it seems. I wanted to find a combination that wasn't too "busy" looking and easy on the eyes.

Yes, I am aware of copyright infringement. All of the cakes posted were hobby cakes. The character and college cakes were made specifically for family members. Not for sale or compensation - not that it matters with infringement laws. Money exchanged or not, it is still copyrighted. I just posted them to show a range of experience with decorating. I have been contemplating whether to keep them up or not.

Christy0722 Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 7:14pm
post #23 of 37

IMO, I would not keep them on your business site. If I were a customer shopping for a cake, I would automatically assume that you would do a Mickey Mouse cake for me for payment because it is advertised on your business site.

It's much easier to say "I don't do copyrighted characters" without pics on your business site. thumbs_up.gif

Elcee Posted 7 Apr 2011 , 10:57pm
post #24 of 37

I looked at 4 pages on your website (home, about, prices, contact) and couldn't find what state you're in! icon_smile.gif You refer to cities or towns and a county, but where? Maybe it's me?

ilovesprinkles Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 1:39pm
post #25 of 37

I think it looks fantastic! I wish I had a graphic designer friend, or time to work on all the ideas I have for my comparatively pathetic little blog. icon_smile.gif

CWR41 Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 4:34pm
post #26 of 37

I'm impressed! I'd say it's nearly perfect. If "feedback" also includes spell check, I'd change only a few items...
Homepage: cookies personalized (delete extra space between both words.)
Products: tried and true recipe. (can be: tried-and-true recipe.)
Gallery/Cakes: encased and filled with your favorite filling and icing. (filling and icing can be flopped to agree with the order of encased and filled.)
Prices: great tasting, delicious desserts (should be: great-tasting, delicious desserts.)
Full payment is due at time of order if event is less than 21 days away. (add comma after: order.)
Need to Know: buttercream iced cake (should be: buttercream-iced cake.)
addtional time (should be: additional time.)
Contact: (the line spacing is too tight.)
Great job!

CWR41 Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 4:37pm
post #27 of 37

Ops! Forgot to include this one...
About: single owner operation. (should be: single-owner operation.)

Jacscakes213 Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 5:07pm
post #28 of 37

I'd live to look...but I can't seem to see where the link is ...could you tell me what the site is... I am in the process of designing my site...but a very detailed process it is.....

CWR41 Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 5:15pm
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacscakes213

I'd live to look...but I can't seem to see where the link is ...could you tell me what the site is... I am in the process of designing my site...but a very detailed process it is.....




You have to go to page 1. The first post, started by the OP, includes her link.

Staryberry Posted 8 Apr 2011 , 5:25pm
post #30 of 37

First, I want to echo what other people have said. The changing pictures on each page makes it difficult to read the content. Flash can definitely be problematic, because no everyone can access the site. Also, please check your spelling. While we all make mistakes, people may worry that you will be sloppy and unprofessional with your cakes if your website is not perfectly spelled.

Also, I see you link to your blog. While, from the first couple entries that I read, you don't seem to have this problem, please understand that this will make your blog a marketing tool and not a personal diary. Avoid talking about cakes that failed or disasters that are narrowly averted. No customers wants to think about how their wedding cake might topple over etc. Also, make sure your spelling is correct on your blog posts as well!

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