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Guest kevdsn

After many hours my first go with CC

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Guest vrakas

Nice, good job :)

Please take care and change the text colour of the copyright on the bottom as it is not seen clearly ;)

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Guest kevdsn

Many thanks for your comments.

The tiny text at the bottom of the homepage is only there for the benefit of the seach engine bots and is not really designed to be read by visitors, its basically a keyword list. I used to hide it altogether but the bots are wise to that now.

The slow page load is a problem which i have to investigate, not sure why that should be, did it happen all over the site or only in the store?

Ooops the copyright have become almost invisible, didn't notice that, must be due to the background that I added, will get on to it.

Thanks for your comments to date I really appreciate some outside feedback.

Best regards

Kev

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Guest groovejuice

I like a lot of the customization you've done, but perhaps your starfield BG is a bit overwhelming. I find it is difficult to focus on the text and other content because of the "distraction factor". I'd try to add a little blur and reduce the opacity. I really like to visit stores that deviate from the usual skins - good work!

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Guest

The tiny text at the bottom should have the copyright info in it if not you must have a license or you are breaking the copyright laws.

And as stated in terms and conditions it must be left intake and readable if you do not have a CubeCart license.

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Guest kevdsn

Hi folks

The store copyright notice has now been restored.

Thanks for pointing it out to me.

Regards

Kev

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Guest

lol i think you meant to post this in "Show Off" section. This is for promotion of mod services

cool site ~

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Guest kevdsn

After many hours banging my head on the desk I finally have got this shop online.

Any critique or advice greatly appreciated, I will be removing the language box and setting up the currency shortly.

Spiritual encounters online Jewellery store

Many thanks

Kev

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Guest

the only thing i can suggest is to upgrade the store to 3.0.8 before you make any major changes.

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Guest

the only thing i can suggest is to upgrade the store to 3.0.8 before you make any major changes.

THats the FIRST thing i was thinking

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Guest kevdsn

Yes have to get on the the updates, can I go straight to 3.0.8 from 3.0.2 or do I have do each upgrade in turn until I get there.

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Guest vrakas

Yes have to get on the the updates, can I go straight to 3.0.8 from 3.0.2 or do I have do each upgrade in turn until I get there.

You can do it both ways.

There is available a way to make an upgrade to the latest version if you dont want to go through each version, check this link ;)

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Guest chantesse

...After many hours I've finally got my first store online...

I like your homepage intro and the style suits your products very well - wish I could put more effort into the style of my store.

You have a spelling error on your store homepage:

"Welcome to Siritual Encounters online store"

clue: 'p' !

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Guest kevdsn

Many thanks for your kind words and thanks for pointing out the spelling error, will put it right tom.

Regards

Kev

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Wow, I guess I'm definitely in the minority here - I thought your splash page was pretty bad - too many graphics, slow loading, tiny text for keywords - just a lot of stuff that I don't really like in a webpage.

The store itself is much, much better - a nice clean version of the Classic skin with a few color changes. Works every time. :w00t:

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Site looks great however page dimension is a 'step back' - width 600px only? :huh:

CubeCarts two basic skins meet last years web standard page dimension :huh:

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Guest

Uhh....your page says you're still running CC 3.0.2. If this is true, you are SERIOUS need of an upgrade. There are MANY changes in the latest version including several security patches, etc....

Don't worry, if done properly, you won't lose your skin or any of your database.

:)

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Guest Brivtech

2 comments regarding this site:

1. The shop area seems tiny on my large monitor. Could you stretch it out slightly? Otherwise the star background (Which I like) appears a little overwhelming.

2. On the home page, you've got some banner links. Do you really need these? They don't look that great on there and cheapen the site. I would consider removing them or re-formatting them. Try to make them a uniform size, or at the very least, centre them to the page.

Otherwise, not bad at all, especially for a first go.

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I think I have become the Simon Cowell of this board when it comes to layout and design. For our non-USA friends, Simon is the acerbic truth-telling judge on a popular talent search television programs. He serves many contestants very well by saying bluntly what they need to hear before they waste a lifetime on their misplaced fantasies of talent and fame.

That said, while I am going to be negative, I expect that you trust my sincerity in answering your request for feedback.

I'm not all at all impressed with your design.

First, the Web Site Home Page:

It is over-designed. Too busy. Aside from the general clutter, those mini-banners at the foot amount to an announcement that you have limited understanding of commercial concepts as they apply to the web.

Ask yourself two questions - and you should see what I'm driving at.

1) what is the purpose, in fewer than 5 words, of your web site?

2) what is the purpose, in fewer than 5 words, of all those banners at the foot of the home page?

I suspect your answers will be . . .

1) to sell stuff

2) to attract traffic

Think through how, if at all, those banners serve those goals. Are you a winner or loser in the link exchange? Why do you think those directories give away the service "for free"? Those links go two ways. Are you winning more buyers (not just "page view" visitors - *buyers*) than you are sending to those directories?

Learn the answers to those questions by examining your site's traffic using a Web Traffic Analysis tool such as AWSTATS, Webalizer, Urchin and Analog. (Reality check: You *are* using a host that provides a variety of WTA tools, aren't you?).

Those tools will show you which directories are delivering traffic - and which links are taking it back to them. You should be able to see which sources deliver buyers and which do not.

I have no doubt, based on my own experience of analyzing web logs for about 12 years, that you will discover that you are giving away more than you are getting.

As for those mini-banners to show standards compliance, how many items will they sell? What does your jewelry buyer understand about those issues? If you lose one visitor as a result of those compliance tags, that is reason enough to remove them.

That "index bait" text at the foot of the page is ugly and unprofessional and probably useless. Keywords alone are virtually worthless as far as Google and Yahoo and MSN are concerned. Their algorithms are more sophisticated

If you want useful site promotion, consider the Froogle link on the View Products page. It's free and actually works. Also, take a look at the Search Engine Optimization mods at cubecart.org.

Yikes! We are still on the site home page.

That right hand menu is another amateur device. Usually, that type of placement has but one motivation - to be different. Guess what? It works - but it works *against* you. It is different with a negative result.

Much of the world reads from right to left. They will not think that a menu on the right is, in any way, "different." But your web site is not in those languages. Your readership is Western. We expect menus on the left. That's why they are commonly there.

By putting a menu on the right, you are starting out with dis-orienting your visitor for no reason other than wanting to be different. Different and creative are not the same thing at all.

The women in the two photos are beautiful. Why two? One is sufficient; two are distracting.

About all those words to explain the buttons . . . totally un-necessary. The labels are enough. The paragraphs add absolutely no meaning or value beyond what is already presented by the label. Trust your visitors to understand what those labels mean. Why slow them down on the way into the store?

Light Bulb Goes on Above My Head!

On further reflection, the entire home page itself is one big, un-necessary mistake. It is a distraction and a delay to entering the store. The store itself should be the first page the visitor sees.

If you want to add links to those other pages (about us, healing, parties, etc.) make them Site Docs and put links to them in a box on the side of the page. One design flaw in all the CubeCart templates puts site docs at the foot of the page.

Now for the Store Home Page . . . (finally)

That banner is waaaay too big. Its excesses are two.

1) the dominant graphic has not been prepared for the web. At roughly 55Kb, that graphic, by itself, is bigger than the entire first page should be. The ideal home page of a web site is less than 40kb *total* - including text and graphics. Much of the world is still on 56k dialup. Some of it may even be using 28k. The gold standard for web page download time is Yahoo. As much as everything else about Yahoo repels me, I must give them props for the fact their home page usually downloads at around 6 seconds on a clean 56k connection.

The true download speed of a web page (or the lack of speed) is masked because after the first download of a page, it is delivered from the visitor's computer's cache, not over the internet. Pages that are seriously slow due to excessive file size seem to download quite quickly to a less knowledgeable site designer because they are not coming from a distant server.

The consequences can be deadly. Studies of user experience are consistent in reporting that visitors are impatient with pages that do not download faster than 20 seconds. At that point, they begin clicking away to some other page at the rate of 50% every five additional seconds.

40k equals that critical 20 seconds. Do the math for your store home page, which I'm estimating totals at least 70k.

A quick check of your category thumbnails, as small as their dimensions are, says they run in the 18 to 25k range. That means your are generating them from huge files. Prepare them for the web before uploading them and they will be appropriately smaller files as thumbnails without loss of quality.

To do that, use an image program such as Photoshop or Adobe Elements - or one of any number of similar apps that will strip away the un-needed bytes that slow down your images.

2) physically, the banner, text and logo, overwhelm every page of your design. The issue here is, What's the point? Do you think that a visitor will forget what site he is on? The top of the page is valuable real estate and you are using it to bludgeon your hard-won visitor with your identity when the focus should be on your products.

Ideally, your banner height should top out at 125px high. Less, like 100px, would be better. Your products would then move up closer to the center of the screen.

IMHO, there is a mis-understanding of the rich feature set of Cube Cart. Just because "Popular Products" and "Featured Product" and "New Products" are possible, that is not sufficient reason to use all of them. Consider: how does the default content of the Information box help drive sales? Is "Language" really needed on this site for your markets?

A GuestBook may be a good idea for gathering feedback but its implementation here, hosting the GB on someone's else's server, is not. You are sending your hard-earned traffic to someone else's candy store where they are exposed to adverts for products other than your own. Further, any privacy promise you make on your own site is thereby made useless because the remote guestbook operator almost certainly collects those email addresses for spammers and either uses or rents them or both.

You would be far better off using a guestbook that is provided by your web host, that runs from your own web site. My hosting customers have a choice of three different guestbooks, one simple flat version and two that are PHP/MySQL driven. Your web site host should be providing you with at least one.

And, BTW, that big fat graphic in the first page of your Guestbook is another conceit that you should reconsider.

As I said at the start, I hope you take my blunt comments as being in the spirit of your question, to improve your web site. While I do not expect you to agree with my opinions, they are sincerely intended to help.

Regards . . .

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Guest kevdsn

Firstly may I take a sec to thank everyone who has taken the time to offer me advice on this site, especially jerseyjoe who has educated me on many points and I feel the critique offered had been fair and beneficial. I am going to go back to the drawing board now and start again taking on board all the comments and advice offered.

Once again a big thank you to you all for your valuable input, it's resources like this that help in the steep learning curve to perfection..

Kev

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