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Discussion in 'GIVEAWAYS - TGT' started by GreySmoke, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. GreySmoke

    GreySmoke Member

    Oct 13, 2012
    The ssl cert is in and activated. writes are don under ssl (i'm told) for login, account and checkout.
    McAfee has also been added.
    Any webmasters please examine and let me know of any issues. (my guy doesn't seem very good and would be open to a new business relationship)
    Will work on descriptions this weekend.

  2. Byrd666

    Byrd666 TGT Addict

    Dec 24, 2012
    Hill County
    Went back again. Looks like you're getting there. A couple of thoughts, under the CS or Home tab is where I would look for contact info. The "About us" tab should be just that. "I was born a...etc., and after our trip to... etc. We are dedicated... etc. " About the company stuff.

    I'm not really sure if the soft gray text with a white background works for everything though. Soft with a hard black highlight is easy to see, not as much in the 'about' area though. Maybe just a tad darker to keep within the theme, but, dark enough to contrast the white to make it completely readable.

    Maybe I'm just nitpickin'.
  3. SIG_Fiend

    SIG_Fiend Administrator TGT Supporter Admin

    Feb 21, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I'm not eligible for any contest, so I'm not replying because of that. ;)

    Figured I'd respond, since I optimize websites for a living. GreySmoke, feel free to PM or email me if you'd like, as I could talk your ears off with ideas on how to improve the site. Here's some of the highlights:

    • For page load time improvements, here's a great place to start: GTMetrix
      • I ran a report for you:
      • Under the PageSpeed and Yslow tabs, you'll find recommendations on what types of things could use improvement on the site, to improve page load times as well as improve the rendering of the page
      • Click into each item and it will give you specific info on some of the page resources that might need to be improved
      • Pro tip: For things like "Optimize Images", they will actually compress some images for you, AND they provide the optimized version. Download these, save them in the same exact location on your server, with the same exact file name, and you will have already started optimizing your site by reducing the page size. There are other tools I can recommend that can do this in bulk, if you want to optimize hundreds of images
      • The "Waterfall" tab shows you the order in which all of the page resources load, and how long it takes for each. First thing that stands out is the initial server response time is a little slow at ~800ms. If it was me, I'd be aiming for more like 200-400ms, but the restriction is likely if you're on a shared server or have shared server resources.
      • Primary things that stand out to me are, the overall page size is far too large. If it was me, I'd want to get that page size down to 1mb or less. Also, the number of HTTP requests (61) is a bit too high IMO. Personally, I'd want to see less like 30-40, or even fewer.

    • Overall, without seeing how your Wordpress is setup and exactly what plugins you're using, I'd say:
      • Enable gzip
        • Might need to make some changes to your .htaccess file at the server level
        • Unless it will conflict with your theme, or Woocommerce, the W3 Total Cache plugin is usually pretty good at making quick work of some of these server-level optimizations
      • Optimize your images
        • GTMetrix will do some of these for you in a pinch. For bulk PNG optimization, I've had excellent results with PNGGauntlet
        • My PNGGauntlet wouldn't work tonight for some reason, so I just now used this one:
        • I optimized the images for you on the homepage. Reduced overall image size by 63%! Here's the optimized images in Google Drive. They're the exact same file names. Just upload those, replacing the originals on the server in the exact same locations, and you will have already made a HUGE improvement in site speed.
      • Make the standard font size on the site 16pt or 18pt font. Most themes use ~12pt as standard, but it's just too small these days
      • Drop the plugin. No one pays attention to hit counters anymore. Sitewide, should remove ~175kb in page size and several HTTP requests. Good improvement to be had.
      • For the Godaddy and McAfee trust metrics, consider doing this unless they don't allow it. Get rid of the Javascript for them, host the images locally (compress them of course), and simply make them nofollowed image links that link to the verification pages. Add target="_blank" to the hrefs, so they open in a new tab. This would also make a nice improvement in removing unnecessary scripts, reducing page size, and removing HTTP requests.
      • Nofollow all of the links in the footer.
      • Consider migrating entirely to HTTPS. This means 301 redirecting the entire site to the HTTPS version. When you have multiple versions of a site that can be crawled by search robots, that's called duplicate content. When both HTTP and HTTPS versions are present and crawlable, that means your entire site is duplicated. This effectively means the different versions of your site fight each other for keyword rankings, and make it that much less effective to rank and get traffic.

    Let me know if you have any questions GreySmoke. Also, if you need help with any implementation, not a big deal. Just let me know.
  4. TexasBB

    TexasBB New Member

    Nov 21, 2014
    I like your site. Well organized. I would make the main shop page more uniform and lose the red sale buttons. The red draws your eyes to the point that you skip right over the prices listed in green. I would make all prices red as that really stands out. The slashed prices lines just adds to the clutter. Simple is better. I would suggest higher rez photos for your backgrounds on your home page as a blurry pic leaves a bad impression. Google website pictures and you can find sites that will tell you the right sizing and rez on your photos so they will load quickly. I like your sight. You might think about a new category for 1911's. Those are kind of a different animal and would let people get to what they want to look at more quickly. You could also do a link to different calibers.
  5. dmessy

    dmessy Member

    Aug 28, 2015
    Looks good, pretty bare bones but functional

    ROBERTESTX New Member

    Aug 31, 2015
    Hey GreySmoke,
    You should be proud of what you've done thus far. I think your site looks pretty good. Lord knows I've seen much worse. I clicked on A LOT of products, and for the most part your website is hitting your database correctly - there were a few database errors. Not sure if it's a one-off deal or if something is out of whack with your MySQL database (Or whatever DB is on your backend.) One suggestion I would make, and it's regarding consistency. Have you considered creating a drop-down menu on your "Shop" link? I see you have one on the Customer Service link, and I really did expect one on "Shop" (or Products), because when I go into the Products page, I see quite a few categories. It will help us drill into the exact area we want right from your homepage. Also have you considered placing the "Contact us" under the About link? I somewhat agree with one of the other forum members that mentioned to put more information there. While putting when you were born and where you were born isn't exactly following standards, it would still help to put some information there about your core values, and DEFINITELY put your Mission Statement there. Tell us why you exist in the world of web. :) I for one often visit the About us page before I do business with a company. For example, I look to see if they are a Veteran owned business, things like that. One last comment I believe has already been made. I would be very careful on the stock photos I use on the site, especially the images on your slider. The image for the M9 is a good image for the firearm, but your text overlay really makes that an overly busy slider. I noticed that in most slider images you have enough room on top of the firearm or main image to place your text. I would consider that. I think you should still use the fade in/out as that looks really good, but when you have that text fading in over the firearm or image, it looks a bit messy/cluttered. I'm not sure if you are using Wordpress or what tool, but most sliders I've used give me the ability to position the x,y coordinates of the image. Maybe yours does as well. I really like the "Recently View Products" section on the page. That's a very useful function. Also if you can put your product categories under the "Shop" link, it would free up that real estate and let you move up the "Top Rated Products" and also move up the "Recently Viewed Products" making them more accessible. If you go that route you may need to consolidate product categories. For example you could break out "Accessories" and run "Magazines", and "Gun Cases" under accessories. Just an idea...
    I really admire your courage for putting yourself out there and asking everyone's opinion and two-cents. I read through some of the comments, and boy some of them were interesting - but at least they took the time to review and list all of their observations, or in some cases it seems complaints. You must have some thick skin!
    Anyway, I'll check back periodically to see how your site is progressing. Best of luck GreySmoke! You makes us Texans proud!!

    Take care and good luck!
  7. Barney_Fife

    Barney_Fife Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Word Press is a good starter CMS, but it's a starter CMS. The good news is that you can change-out that "Elegant Theme" for something else very easy. Don't slam your web guy too much, as top-notch web design is very expensive.

    If you plan on staying with word press for a year or more, I would recommend learning to use it and not try to delegate the website to someone else. Word Press's big advantage is that if you are patient and determined, you can learn to use it yourself.

    SEO is very important, and it's like taking off your clothes and jumping into a shark tank. I could probably write a small book on it. Page load times are critical for google ranking, and a CDN (cloudflare is free) is a must-have. There's on-page SEO, and off-page SEO, and on-page is safe and necessary and off-page is very dangerous to do as 90% of SEO guys are crooked and stupid both. Again this is something best to learn on your own, slowly. Most of what you hear is BS, and even if it's not the target is always moving and so even good information can still be old and obsolete.

    On a shopping site, the aesthetic is completely secondary. 90% of what you are showing is not necessary to create interest and begin the sales process. New visitors are absolutely merciless in this regard. Your site gets less than 3 seconds of the visitor's attention and in that time they decide whether or not to stay or leave. Google Analytics will show you your "bounce rate" and I don't know what the numbers are supposed to be, but you want to know what "too low" is and avoid it.

    Don't worry about being "listed" because Google is really good at finding you, however anyone that tries to pretend that getting "listed by google" is an issue worth talking to should be immediately ignored as being stupid, dishonest or both. (lots of scams in internet marketing)

    Hmm, what else. Oh, so my big theory on the website is that you should allocate the percentage of "real estate" in the same ratios as what your visitors want, example if they are 90% there for buying something then 90% of your web page should be about buying something. If 1% reason for being there is to "contact us", then that's exactly how much real estate that little function should be given. Hint: almost no one wants to contact you, and if they do they are trying to sell you something and if they don't want to sell you something they want to waste your time and not buy anything anyways and remember my 3 second rule. If it takes more than 3 seconds chances are they are gone.

    Meaning that, they aren't going to call you or email you to ask you questions. They are going to hit the "back" button and shop somewhere else, and never give you a 2nd look or a 2nd thought. You get one chance to make the right impression and it's pass/fail with no half-credit for trying really hard.

    I don't like the "scroll" thing. I think you should be using 95% of that real estate to present what you are selling in the most logical (first) and attractive (second) manner possible. Color pitchers are for fairies and teenagers. Real men want hard, durable facts, words, descriptions, model numbers, etc... and arrange the right way and in a font large enough to see. Older men have more money and poor eyesight.

    A "women" section might be a good idea. They like to be treated special. Pink weapons, pink stuff. But also lots of color selections too. They'll buy if you have the right color, and they won't if you don't. Might seem stupid, but it's the stupid man that allows a woman with money to spend it somewhere else. Women like choices and options and color coordination.

    At one point, I had this idea of searching the internet for all the word press sites that had a particular theme. Oh yeah, it was weird. Too long of a story to explain it, but my point here is that it might be worth your time to search all the gun-related websites that are using Word Press CMS and steal ideas from them. There's no honor here; this is marketing. So leave your ethics at the door, because if you had some kind of magic marketing secret the whole world would steal it from you. As Salome (my former co-worker from Mexico) once said, "It's a doggy-dog world." So, within the Word Press "universe" look for cheap and easy ways in which to maximize the effectiveness of your website. Save links to websites you find that are particularly good, so you can revisit them. One thing about teaching yourself web design/development is that as you advance on the learning curve, things that you missed the 1st time around become noticeable, and meaningful, where they didn't used to be.

    Also, pick-out major "powerhouse" websites as your "ultimate example". Mine is, and use them as a goal to strive for. Think about why you like them, and how you would like your site to look more like them, and why. Leadership is by example, and you cannot follow without having an example that sets the standard. Otherwise you are spinning around lost and directionless and all the facts float around disconnected and disorganized. Establish a goal and then start making dots between you and that goal, and then start drawing lines between those dots and then move along those lines, through those dots and towards that goal.
  8. GreySmoke

    GreySmoke Member

    Oct 13, 2012
    Made a major change - got rid of the home page and it starts off in the shop page now.
    Better - Worse?
    Only a few days left to grab the prize. Take a look, make suggestions. I've tried to implement as many of the suggestions as I can do without CSS, PHP or HTML, Not my skill set you know.
  9. A.Texas.Yankee

    A.Texas.Yankee TGT Addict

    Mar 21, 2012
    Very good feedback here (some I took for my own site I'm building!).

    The only thing that I can say that hadn't already been mentioned, is the detail on your products is lacking. There's no real specifications on the product other than a short, bland description. I look at a product and say, "Why should I buy it." If the description doesn't answer it, I move on. I want to buy from someone I feel deserves my business (not saying you don't, you just have to show me you are, kinda thing).

    I take that Firearm Philosophy (shameless plug!) wherever I go. I'm in almost the same stage as you in website building. I'm moving slowly because I'm self teaching. I'm assuming you're paying someone else for development and notice you are using WordPress. That is a great tool, but one I wouldn't pay someone else to do for me. The idea of WordPress is that you can do it on your own. I love WordPress, but not for eCommerce (even with something like MooCommerce added in). I tried it and just didn't like it. If you are paying someone else to develop, you might consider a script better designed for eCommerce or pay a monthly rate for an all in one package if you never plan to take the step of developing it yourself.

    Look into Magento. They have a free community edition and a commercial paid edition.

    Also, look at Fiverr. If you need a graphic quick and cheap (and many other things) they are hard to beat.

    Feel free to PM me, too. I'm a small home based startup FFL.
  10. SIG_Fiend

    SIG_Fiend Administrator TGT Supporter Admin

    Feb 21, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Fiverr is great. Not every gig is good, so it's always a bit hit or miss. The best thing is the ability to spread a relatively small amount of money across several gigs from several sellers, and end up finding something that will work. There's a lot of great sellers there for getting things like logos made for cheap. I highly recommend it. It's a great way to spend $5-20 or so and build a great-looking brand right off the bat.

    The difficult thing with websites is always managing the server side. This is why so many people end up with webmasters or ongoing retainer fees for developers. Nowadays, it's really not necessary much of the time. For Wordpress, a managed Wordpress host is the way to go, if it will work for the type of site someone wants built. My current favorite is WPEngine, which is local here in Austin. For $30/mth, the server side is entirely managed, auto updates handled, auto daily backups, and security entirely handled. If your site ever gets hacked, they will take care of fixing it and/or reinstalling a backup for free. Great peace of mind for $30/mth, which even a small business can afford. With that, then a person could simply have "one time projects" for their website, and not have to keep a developer on a retainer.

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