Dec 13, 2011 at 10:25 am #1811645
Take your contact info off the front page! Build a "About Us" page (easy to do) that has a contact form and your info. Don't have your email address in full print, it will get picked up for spam.
Address; 14309 stalgren ct
Albuquerque New, Mexico 87123
Would be better:
Email: will_zila at yahoo dot com
Address: 14309 Stalgren Ct
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87123
Contact forms allow for easy emails to be written to you. That way they never leave your site to do that.
Smaller font size for the front. Actual small size photos for the front page. (Not many but 1 or 2) Left sidebars tend to be my favorite over a right side/high. Most folks read left to right so consider that.Dec 13, 2011 at 10:43 am #1811651
Instead of a home address, I'd use a PO Box or some other mail box service.Dec 13, 2011 at 10:43 am #1811652
Also…I know I am ancient at 38 but there was one thing my parents drilled into me: That I could do high school. It was only four years of my life. When I was 15 that seemed like it was forever. It truly did. I nearly dropped my Sophomore year. As my Dad pointed out high school was the bare minimum for education and it still is! Without a diploma it will forever hold over your head that you couldn't finish basic school. It is why my husband and I drive our oldest son so hard to do well in school – and he is Autistic. You can make gear and do school at the same time. It is no different than raising kids and going to school or having a job! I sew gear when my children are at school/napping and as well am sewing currently at 30 weeks pregnant! One doesn't have to go all one way – you can get an education and work at the same time. Sure HS blows – I won't lie. But you owe it to yourself to finish. Two years of your life. That is it. I could have done HS again FIVE times now – the years go by fast when you get older.
Although I have no idea how old you are now?Dec 13, 2011 at 10:45 am #1811654
I agree. A PO Box should be mandatory for all business. It isn't that pricey either. And I can write it off every year on my taxes ;-) That and your phone – I use my mobile # for my business, not my home #.Dec 13, 2011 at 11:11 am #1811659
Thank you for all the constructive criticism guys. And yes I have my GED. I have taken three semesters at my local community collage and placed into college level classes
For everything except writing. I am terrible at it and no dropping out is no excuse. I am working with my brother to get the site edited. And buildin all the final versions of the product to get good pictures up. Thanks again for all the suggestions guysDec 13, 2011 at 11:23 am #1811661
William, fortunately technology allows you to cheat at writing, even without spending a dime. While Microsoft Word would be the best solution, LibreOffice with a grammer extension will also allow you to spell and grammar check your writing. We are talking about your website, and that is important to work on, perhaps you should also take the same care when you post here. While the website is your storefront, your membership here is your face to your business and I bet this place provides your largest audience. This community can be great, but it can also be rough when there's anything but perfection, and deviating far from perfection can incite a brutal audience. Big Sky sure knows about the latter. You really want to avoid that.Dec 13, 2011 at 11:26 am #1811662
alan yorkBPL Member
@alanyork9Locale: PIEDMONT N.C.
I would like to be your customer.I can't do that if it encourages you to drop out of school.Your education is a lot more important than you might think.Pursue your venture part time while you go back to school or get your GED.Promise to continue your education and I will promise to buy from you.Dec 13, 2011 at 11:40 am #1811671
Jim ColtenBPL Member
fortunately technology allows you to cheat at writing, even without spending a dime
True … to an extent. There's a cute poem about the utility of spell checkers that contains a LOT of correctly spelled words … just not the right words! (example: bored vs board).
My favorite spell checker story involves MSWord's dictionary not containing my bosses name … it suggested a very unsuitable substitute (moron!). Was especially scary since he most certainly isn't and he's a good friend to boot!Dec 13, 2011 at 11:51 am #1811673
Jeff LaVistaBPL Member
Your website is awful, I would never purchase a product from such a poorly made site, it seems like a risky transaction, regardless of how good the product is. And people not already familiar with your products have no way to get that familiarity.
You need pictures, bad.
Since I honestly have nothing better to do, (i am a photographer without a job) I could take them for you, but you but you would have to mail the samples, I'm in new york.Dec 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm #1811680
@troutLocale: Long Beach
Christ people on this site are brutal sometimes.
Yes, have someone help you with your site. You want to focus on the gear, that's fine. For the amount of work required to have a good website you may prefer to pay someone. Having a good site is a necessary building block.Dec 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm #1811682
I understand the writing – it has never been my strong point. What helped me was simply writing! Sounds dumb but it worked. One reason I blog is it keeps me doing just that, writing. I admit I fully use the spell check and as well the grammar check that WordPress offers – but I also learn from what it says is correct. Obviously it isn't always right, the majority of the time it is. Once I learn what is correct I keep using it. Do I make mistakes? Sure! But with time and practice you will get there.Dec 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm #1811688
spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
"Christ people on this site are brutal sometimes."
For a forum that prides itself on civil behavior, I agree. But it's all cool, because at least the forum software makes sure we can't swear.
Will, my best advice is to take advantage of the folks who've offered to help whip the site into shape.Dec 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm #1811694
Rusty BeaverBPL Member
Obviously, good literacy does not have a lot of bearing on tactfulness which, William has over some of you. Giving constructive criticism is great but there's absolutely nothing gained by anyone being as harsh as some of you were. Within each of us are weaknesses and strengths. A weakness does not make one any less of a human being with feelings. Please be mindful of your words.
My unsolicited advice is to take up the offers to help with editing, photos, etc. Perhaps you could pay them with gear. This will allow you to focus your efforts on gear and school. I commend you for trying. Keep plugging away, dude!
EDIT: Glad others spoke up too (saw that after I posted). I was beginning to wonder what kind of community this really was….Dec 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm #1811696
William, FWIW, I'd also suggest 'hiding' the site for now. Wait until you have it updated/redesigned with photos to launch.Dec 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm #1811698
@surfingdwedgeLocale: Northern California
My advice would be to take down the site temporarily until you sort it out to be at least presentable to the customer.
-People who look at the website will probably immediately turn away due to lack of photos, confusing layout, and poor grammar. As a result, many will never return to the site EVER AGAIN to shop/compare or even consider purchasing products. Make it look professional.
-I know that according to your profile, you are only 16. Your ambitions to pursue a business at that age are impressive, but I would recommend focusing on school until you are at least 18. Regardless, to be "brutally honest", the website in its current form seriously hurts your credibility. Make the website reflect the quality of your work. Once again, make it look professional.
More info on your products, and pictures are needed. Also, you need to get your weights down. Saying a product is going to range in weight from X-Y shows that either you aren't sure, or that the consistency of your work as far as materials/stitching/design varies…a lot. I would at least hope that you have built prototypes for every product you offer (and measured the actual weight, as well as taken some pictures). You may already have this down, but you should have blueprints/cut dimensions and layouts for every item you construct.
Don't stop pursuing your dreams, but don't cut corners with education that will only take a small fraction of time over the span of your life.
Edit: @ people that are criticizing the brutal honesty, there's really nothing wrong with it. Tell him what is wrong for what it is. It would be hurting him more to sugarcoat the realities of his web page. Now @ those that are making snide remarks such as "lolz" and "the bar must be low these days" and other non-constructive, possibly personal insults, *sigh*.Dec 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm #1811701
Richard GlessBPL Member
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I think you are doing a pretty gutsy thing trying to start up this business. I agree the web site could use a lot of improvement, and there are lot of good suggestions in this thread.
But I'd be particularly interested in when you think you'll have some of the tyvek rain gear ready to sell.
RichardDec 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm #1811710
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Wow that got long in a hurry! William you're being gutsy starting your own business good for you.
Here's two ideas once you get the website fixed up.
1. You also want to start working the kinks out of your products early. The last thing you want is for someone to review your products and put out the word that there's a mistake you could have avoided. I don't know how much you get out but if your time is limited maybe you could enlist a couple people to help you. This also gives you the benefit of different perspectives.
2. You want to increase the profile of your stuff. Right now everyone knows about MLD and SMD. Once you're really confident in your gear perhaps you'd want to give BPL, Backpacktestgear.org or someone a free pack or whatever to review.
.Dec 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm #1811714
Larry De La BriandaisBPL Member
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
I would have to echo the comments that you need to take the website down until it is as close to perfect as it can be. As you have already seen here, the purchasing public can be quite brutal when the find mistakes.
You NEED LOTS of pictures.
I also like detailed specs, but just give the average weight. If the size makes a difference list a size and it's weight. Pictures are more important that detailed specs.
AlterEgoGear is a great name. AlterEgoBackpackingGear is not. It's way to long and the backpacking part is not necessary.
Those who succeed never give up. Remember that.
Good luck.Dec 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm #1811717
Just "Alter Ego Gear" might not be the way to go because that's already the name of motorcycle apparel line by Joe Rocket. I don't know how close you can come before it can become a problem.Dec 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm #1811725
Eugene nailed it there is already a Alter Ego Gear. I will take the site down till I have it up to par. Eugene smith offered to take professional pictures for me, since he is in N.M I will take him up on that. The weight variance of products is for different materials. I will post exact weights for each item. Yet again thank you guys and gals for all the suggestions.Dec 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm #1811742
Brett PeughBPL Member
I was watching his blog and was going to order right before he took it down so I definitely want to order one now.Dec 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm #1811748
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I don't know about New Mexico, but in some areas you can do a fictitious business name search over the Internet. There are only so many large cities in New Mexico, so those would be the places to look for a business with your target name.
Also, pick out a few other small companies making this kind of gear, and study the photos on their web sites. The really good ones will have a lot of consistency from one photo to another. Sometimes they are outside underneath a tree, but often they will be inside with a white background. Study the one company that you think is your prime competitor.
–B.G.–Dec 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm #1811755
@adie-mitchellLocale: Northwest Mass
"The design went through four major evolution steps, which each had a dozen sub-steps, resulting in about fifty prototype packs until the final design was deemed good enough for retail."
That's the number of prototypes that went into the huckepack, a great looking pack. Gives you pause, doesn't it?Dec 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm #1811762
I'm at about 30 prototypes for the assault. It's amazing how long it takes to get it just right. Especially with packs there is a lot of different aspects to them.Dec 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm #1811778
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Naming a business / website is a tough one. It doesn't seem like a big deal at the time, but it's something that's very hard to change once your business is established, so you don't want to be 5 years into this and regretting that your business name is way too long.
If you really want to keep Alter Ego Backpacking Gear, you could still choose a shorter web URL like AlterEgoBG.com, AEBGear or AEBG.com
Another option is to switch Gear to something else, like Alter Ego Equipment or heck even Alter Ego Research
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