Learn concepts from great web sites to help make your web site a source of pride as well as success!
The World Wide Web is a wondrous thing. There’s so much information out there on every subject imaginable, including, of course, scroll sawing. You can also be assured that some sites are better than others. In this column, I highlight those “better sites,” offering my opinion about what makes the site an effective selling tool. Some of these sites are recommended by you, the reader, and are always welcome. Send your suggestions to me at Jigg6037@home.com.
This time around, I’ll look at two websites. The first belongs to puzzle maker Mark Gaetano Cappitella, and the other to Mr. Solid Surface, Barry Gross. All of the concepts used in these sites will enhance your website design and make it a source of pride as well as success!
Mark Gaetano Cappitella
Mark created this site to promote his custom-made, all-wood scrollsaw puzzles. His site is complex yet well designed. Not many sites offer language translation to Dutch, French, Spanish, German, and English languages, and secure online ordering (see sidebar for a listing of some services available.) Besides being quick loading, considering the amount of graphics involved, the site map is very complete. One could easily spend several hours just exploring this site and exemplary construction, worthy of any web master’s envy.
I especially like the lack of animated GIF files that take up valuable space and do little to enhance the performance of the site. Also, note the size of his index page. It fills 15 screens of information, yet it still loads faster then most pages. This layered construction approach improves loading time for this much information and allows the end user to begin reading even before the site is entirely loaded. The size of his logo is only 24K and shows no quality degradation at all. This suggests Mark is using some major compression of his JPEG image files to further decrease loading time. Bravo Mark…well done!
Barry Gross, BG Artforms
My next site for review belongs to Barry Gross, another innovative artist. He specializes in creating art from Corian®, which is a kitchen countertop material. Barry, an experienced woodworker of over 30 years, has a terrific site. On it, you will find technical advice for working in this medium, helpful hints, and a troubleshooting guide. He also sells materials and patterns, as well as blades and polishing materials needed to complete any Corian® project.
One interesting inclusion in his site is a kit review. The review had originally appeared in the Woodworker’s Gazette, a fact that’s clearly indicated in the text that introduces the review, lest someone think that Barry wrote it himself. You may want to think about searching out reviews of your work or products to use on your site.
His site also contains a gallery of images of finished projects (22 total) some of which are quite impressive. The images are updated regularly to reflect new advances in his art form. The class schedule idea is good, but I would like to see the option to enroll online as well as updates of spaces available. The sculpted menu on the left side of the main screen (without use of panels), makes navigation simple and uncluttered.
I truly dislike sites with panels where one must switch back and forth to scroll the available windows of information. It just makes it cumbersome for new or inexperienced users.
In closing, these two sites offer some cutting-edge techniques (no pun intended) for our craft. I have only skimmed the surface of these two sites. Each has many more features that make them noteworthy. I highly recommend you explore theses sites to get inspiration for improving your own site to better serve your customers. A killer website can be thought of as a “power tool” for sales!
Online Payment Services
There are many online payment services available to the public. Some are easier to use but more limited in the available options. Others only send payment once a month to minimize overhead costs. Each user must weigh the capabilities, costs, and liabilities each service has to offer. Do your homework well on this one, and you will be well-rewarded in sales. Also keep in mind that most web hosting sites offer online payment service in their many options. A few sites to start your research: