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No Sales At All!!


ChrisW123

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Hi Everyone,

 

After about 3 months of my website being live, I haven't sold any products at all. :( So I'm wondering what the problem is, and I'm looking for help to figure it out.

 

Here's more details:

 

1) My site is photography related, and sells printed photographs in an 8 x 10 print size. I have about 160 images in various "galleries" for customers to choose from. The price is $28 for each print which isn't out of line from other sites I've looked at, and selling for less really would not be worth my time because of the work involved. At first I was selling them for $18 but no purchases, so after looking around at other people's prices for similar images, I found my price was low and raised it to $28 (still below "the norm").

 

2) I've done everything I can think of as far as contributions added, attention to detail to make the site as easy and attractive as possible to use. I only have PayPal as a payment option right now, but I don't think that is the problem because only 2 customers have ever created an account so that means the rest would never have even seen the payment options to see only PayPal.

 

3) For this month and last month I had 727 "unique visitors" to my site according to my webhost logs. So as odds go, shouldn't at least a few of those (some robots probably) have purchased something?

 

So basically I think the problem is one of these things:

 

1) The website is too hard or annoying to use. Colors, layout, etc. are not appealing to most users. For checkout, I use something similar to "Checkout without account" but is my own "hack".

 

2) The product itself (8 x 10 prints) is not attractive to customers.

 

3) The price of the prints is off (it's too high or low).

 

So if interested, please take a look and let me know what you think the problem could be given the info above: Image Critique

 

Thanks, -Chris.

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Do you have a image thumbnailer contrib installed? I ask because I'm on a fairly high speed connection, and your images come up rather slowly.

 

What have you done to advertise?

 

-jared

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Do you have a image thumbnailer contrib installed?  I ask because I'm on a fairly high speed connection, and your images come up rather slowly.

 

What have you done to advertise? 

 

-jared

 

Yes I have the "OnTheFly Thumbnailer" contrib installed. I've also noticed that they popup a little slowly. Is this normal? Should they all appear at once?

 

So far for advertising I've added my website URL to a bunch (about 100 search engines) by hand, and have a product feed setup to Froogle and to Yahoo. All the free stuff for now. I plan to use AdWords and a service to submit to 500,000 se's, etc., but not now since I'm thinking my product or something on my website is bad. So I want to wait before I do that.

 

I guess the real question is out of about 800 "hits" to my website (some from Yahoo product search) what is the usual percentage of purchases I should see? Example, out of 800, and assuming my website is easy to use and the product is good, should I see 1 purchase? 10 purchases? 100? What is the normal percentage?

 

So I'm wondering if the problem is my website, my product, or there is no problem and 1 sale out of 1000 is normal, which would mean more advertising and SE submission, etc. would be warranted.

 

-Chris.

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There's nothing that I can see obviously wrong with the site. It's a fairly stock install, but everything appears to work. The only thing I noticed that was different was that when I added something to the basket and clicked to go to Checkout I was taken to the new account sign-up page with an option of going to the Login page, instead of going to the Login page with the option of creating a new account.

 

I really don't know about the market for photographic sales, so can't advise you as to whether you are over-priced or not.

 

Vger

 

p.s. You could get rid of the 'page parse time' from the bottom bar. I've never understood why people include that on sites.

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Let's see...a PR1 on the homepage and your site is nowhere to be seen for your chosen keywords.

 

1. Get a descriptive domain name

2. Invest some time learning the art of SEO (search engine optimization)

3. Start a relevant linking campaign

4. Submit your site to every free directory on the planet Earth (internationals too!)

5. Wait 3 months for the steps 1-4 to start showing signs of life

6. Repeat steps 2-5

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Title relevancy to page content is excellent.

The Title relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

Description relevancy to page content is excellent.

The Description relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

Keyword relevancy to page content is excellent.

The keywords relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

from http://www.sitescreamer.com/from22.html

 

But I do now know why your site takes so long to load - FrontPage extensions!

 

Vger

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With your product, I would not expect to get a sale with only 800 unique visitors, unless they were specifically looking to buy your product.

 

What is the average number of clicks on your site? If it's less than 2 pages, then you know for a fact that your visitors were not actually looking to buy something.

 

To get those kind of visitors, you're going to need to spend a little money. Froogle is nice, but how many visitors are you getting specifically from them? Not many, I'll warrent.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE: As of Oct 2006, I'm not as active in this forum as I used to be, but I still work with osC quite a bit.

If you have a question about any of my posts here, your best bet is to contact me though either Email or PM in my profile, and I'll be happy to help.

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There's nothing that I can see obviously wrong with the site.  It's a fairly stock install, but everything appears to work.  The only thing I noticed that was different was that when I added something to the basket and clicked to go to Checkout I was taken to the new account sign-up page with an option of going to the Login page, instead of going to the Login page with the option of creating a new account.

 

I really don't know about the market for photographic sales, so can't advise you as to whether you are over-priced or not.

I modified the checkout so that if the user is not logged in, it redirects to the create account page, with the large message at the top saying to use Login if they have an account. This seemed so simple, I opted to do this myself rather then deal with possible problems occuring by the OWA contributions. I know it still shows the "Account Created!" page after but that's OK. I may remove this altogether since it doesn't appear to help anything. Or not we'll see.

 

Let's see...a PR1 on the homepage and your site is nowhere to be seen for your chosen keywords.

 

1. Get a descriptive domain name

2. Invest some time learning the art of SEO (search engine optimization)

3. Start a relevant linking campaign

4. Submit your site to every free directory on the planet Earth (internationals too!)

5. Wait 3 months for the steps 1-4 to start showing signs of life

6. Repeat steps 2-5

I know the PR is awefull. As far as SEO optimization I really don't know what else I could do. I have meta_tag controller installed. I have allproducts page, have a site map, I have exchanged links with all the sites you see on my Links page, most of which have very high page ranks, I have 90 to 100% "relavency" of keywords to content, description to content, I have safe SE urls on, etc. What else can I do? I think I just need to wait like you say in #5.

 

Keyword relevancy to page content is excellent.

The keywords relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

from http://www.sitescreamer.com/from22.html

 

But I do now know why your site takes so long to load - FrontPage extensions!

I used something similar to this (I think you may have posted it) a couple days ago and tweaked every single page to get the 90 to 100% relevancy. Thanks for posted it!!

 

My site seems fairly fast to me, even if I clean out my browser cache. I have cable modem. Are you on something slower? Did you find "FrontPage extensions"? If so, how do I get rid of it? I don't think I need that.

 

With your product, I would not expect to get a sale with only 800 unique visitors, unless they were specifically looking to buy your product.

Do you mean because the product is not appealing? Or overpriced? Or just something not that many would be interested in?

 

If you have a product that people want, at a good price, and it's seen by 800 "targeted" customers, how many of them would you normally expect to buy the product? There has to be figures on this. With figures, I can figure out what the problem is. Maybe I'll Google it later and see if I can dig up some figures.

 

What is the average number of clicks on your site? If it's less than 2 pages, then you know for a fact that your visitors were not actually looking to buy something.

I didn't notice this figure in my stats page (webhost stats). That's a good point, I'll have to find this.

 

To get those kind of visitors, you're going to need to spend a little money. Froogle is nice, but how many visitors are you getting specifically from them? Not many, I'll warrent.

 

You are right, not many at all from Froogle. But, I do get a decent amount from Yahoo listings. But I pay for that. It's not much but I'm not getting any results.

 

Thanks for all the comments! Really a lot of help. :)

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heres a site where you can test you speed

Web Page Speed Analysis

 

 

your thumbnails are a bit large in kbs. it would help if you could get them down to "atleast" 20 to 25kb. most of your thumbnails are 30 to 80kbs. you might not think it will slow down your site but it does..

 

if you have photoshop 6 or up you could use websave..

 

not everyone has cable and by what I seen from your speed on other lower connections is very slow and I think you'll get more visiters that way who would want to stay longer

 

your PR is 1 and that's not good at all, should be at least a 4

 

you may want to give more rich discriptions on each page and products. the more text, the better.

 

keep advertising alot

 

<<5. Wait 3 months for the steps 1-4 to start showing signs of life>>

 

maybe thats true but don't wait, keep doing stuff

 

<<After about 3 months of my website being live, I haven't sold any products at all>>

 

some people wait years to just get one sale..

 

800 people a month a not a whole lot.

 

keep at it

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heres a site where you can test you speed

Web Page Speed Analysis

your thumbnails are a bit large in kbs. it would help if you could get them down to "atleast" 20 to 25kb.  most of your thumbnails are 30 to 80kbs. you might not think it will slow down your site but it does..

 

Sevencrows, I tried out that link to analyze your page (great Thanks!), and it doesn't mention any thumbnails that are 30 to 80K like you mentioned. It says my thumbnail images are about 5K. Actually they are really around 7K on my hard drive.

 

My LARGE images on the product pages are anywhere from 20K to 80K. But there is no way I can make them smaller. They are already saved at only 30% image quaility with SaveForWeb in PS7. Believe me, I've paid critical attention to the size of all the .jpgs on my site and have made them as small as possible. I have to keep them at this quality or better since the picture you see IS my product. :) If it were a picture of a Book or Computer, etc., I'd wouldn't need the quality.

 

not everyone has cable and by what I seen from your speed on other lower connections is very slow and I think you'll get more visiters that way who would want to stay longer

I know I realize that people on modems are going to hate it. I weighed the pros and cons of leaving the thumbnail on the products page and then having the user click it to get the full image, or displaying the full image immediately on the product page (giving no choice to modem users to just view the thumbnail). But I think for my site (photography), I have to keep it like it is and show the large image immediately. It's a tradeoff between ease of use and slow connections.

 

your PR is 1 and that's not good at all, should be at least a 4.

you may want to give more rich discriptions on each page and products. the more text, the better.

Absolutely I have to go through the descriptions. I got lazy trying to think of a great description for 160 images, so some of them are "short and sweet". :) Better descriptions would be a big plus I think.

 

some people wait years to just get one sale..

Well I don't have that kind of patience! :)

 

Thanks for the comments! Good stuff.

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for the thumbnail.. ok ok.. :) actually I think I screwed up, sorry. but your pages are alittle slow for some odd reason.. :blink:

 

well I was going to mention to put in some better quality pictures on the front page like you have in the sub-section. the ones in the sub-section look alot better than the ones in front.. less grainy

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Chris,

 

I can sincerely empathize regarding your sales growth issue associated with your website. While this may be already apparent in previous posts by other osC members, I can't stress enough how important it is to make your osCommerce site have a life and personality of its own.

 

While the aesthetic aspect of your website is critical, equally so is a demand for your goods/services and the company's online visibility.

 

There is no mystical, "open sesame" solution to quickly boost sales. However, here is, in my humble opinion, a to-do list that would greatly increase your sales potential:

1) Develop a Marketing Plan

2) Become quite familiar with HTML markup and basic PHP tags

3) Experiment with Colors and layout of your website using stylesheet.css

4) Understand your pricing strategy and current market competition

5) Focus on SEO methods (forums, cross-linking, meta tags, robot files, etc)

6) Answer this question: What's in it for me, the customer, to shop at your site?

7) Drink lots of caffeine.

8) Work 15 hours per day for at least 6 months.

9) Did you drink lots of caffeine?

 

I am confident the above will greatly boost your sales by an exponential figure. :)

 

Remember to pay special attention to your index.php file in the root directory. You can really mess with this to give the site an authentic style.

 

Thx

Carpe Carp: Seize the Fish.

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Do you mean because the product is not appealing? Or overpriced? Or just something not that many would be interested in?

 

I mean that people that visit your site from search engines are probably just serfing around the new, looking for a particular image for a project, report, and just information, and are not looking to buy prints. You can probably determine that by looking at the search phrases that people used to find you. Are they words like 'Waterfall' or 'Sunset', or are they words like 'Buy Prints'? Obviously, the first is going to give you VASTLY fewer number of sales.

 

But, I do get a decent amount from Yahoo listings. But I pay for that. It's not much but I'm not getting any results.

 

Again, this may not be targetted enough. What are the search terms they used to find you? I suggest opening a Google Adwords account, and advertising specifically on 'Buy Prints'. That being said, I think you're going to have to ask youself if there really is a big enough market for this kind of thing. Have you researched how many times a key phrase like 'Buy Prints' is serached for per month? Are there other key phrases such as 'Buy Prints' that specifically target the people you want to visit your site.

 

A good example of this is our WizardsandWars.com site. We have a couple of different advertising campaigns. One of them is very specific, targetting the key phrase 'Buy PC Game'. For people that found our store using this key phrase, we get about 1 out of every 35 visitors give us a sale, or a 35/1 ratio.

 

However, we have another campaign, geared towards giving us additional exposure in the marketplace, and not focusing so much on ROI, that we use the search term 'PC Games'. Obviously, this search term is searched for on Google much more often, and it is very easy to get a great deal of traffic advertising on this term. However, this term brings people in that are not really looking to purchase. Some are looking for reviews, screenshots, specifications, tips and tricks, release dates, etc. For people that found our site using this key phrase, we only get about 1 out of every 1000 visitors that make a purchase, or a 1000/1. We even track these customers in a cookie for up to 30 days after their initial visit, and the conversion ratio is still very poor. Still, we like to use this advertising because it's cheap ($0.05 per click) and because it gets our name out there in a very compeditive market.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE: As of Oct 2006, I'm not as active in this forum as I used to be, but I still work with osC quite a bit.

If you have a question about any of my posts here, your best bet is to contact me though either Email or PM in my profile, and I'll be happy to help.

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Title relevancy to page content is excellent.

The Title relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

Description relevancy to page content is excellent.

The Description relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

Keyword relevancy to page content is excellent.

The keywords relevancy to page content is 100%.

 

from      http://www.sitescreamer.com/from22.html

 

But I do now know why your site takes so long to load - FrontPage extensions!

 

Vger

Relevancy is just great...but search engines (specifically Google) have been using offsite ranking factors for years now. If the engines relied solely on meta tags, which they used to do heavily, it opens the door to blackhat tactics. Thus, the Google PageRank algorithm took the lead for relevant search results. Since then Yahoo, MSN, and others have followed suit with their own flavor.

 

The point is that you can have relevancy with every meta tag but it won't matter a if you don't have a good linking program to complement the onsite optimizations.

 

I'd suggest reading up on the Hilltop algorithm that Google will be rolling out soon. Want more proof of the search engine placement shakeup that is about to happen? Take a look at MSN and their version of Hilltop...already making waves.

 

END POINT: You can optimize the header tags all you want...and is a critical piece of the puzzle. However, without backlinks who will be able to find your optimized meta tags to begin with??

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well I was going to mention to put in some better quality pictures on the front page like you have in the sub-section. the ones in the sub-section look alot better than the ones in front.. less grainy

What "color depth" is your display setting in Windows set to? Even the category images don't look "grainy" to me, but a couple of them which have details against the sky have noise in them. This is a trade off of quality verses bandwidth. For the category (gallery) images, the quality is only 10% to make things as fast as possible. If the pics look grainy, meaning you see a bunch of little dots, consistently throughout the images, check your Color Depth in Display settings and turn it up to 32-bit if possible.

 

I can sincerely empathize regarding your sales growth issue associated with your website. While this may be already apparent in previous posts by other osC members, I can't stress enough how important it is to make your osCommerce site have a life and personality of its own.

I know my site is kind of "stock" looking. I've tried to spend time on the content and the way things work rather then the appearence to a large degree, but you're right that's next on my list. I wish I would have installed the STS contrib to begin with, because I've heard it's hard to install once you have made a lot of changes. Didn't know that when I first began working on my site. Thanks for the great list of things to check, I'll definetely go through this list. Thanks!

 

I mean that people that visit your site from search engines are probably just serfing around the new, looking for a particular image for a project, report, and just information, and are not looking to buy prints. You can probably determine that by looking at the search phrases that people used to find you. Are they words like 'Waterfall' or 'Sunset', or are they words like 'Buy Prints'? Obviously, the first is going to give you VASTLY fewer number of sales.

I don't think my logs/stats have the keywords that people use to get to my site. But I'll check them again. I guess I really need to do more analysis of the traffic I'm getting. I know something is wrong, just not sure what yet. :D

 

I'd suggest reading up on the Hilltop algorithm that Google will be rolling out soon. Want more proof of the search engine placement shakeup that is about to happen? Take a look at MSN and their version of Hilltop...already making waves.

 

END POINT: You can optimize the header tags all you want...and is a critical piece of the puzzle. However, without backlinks who will be able to find your optimized meta tags to begin with??

Cool Chemo, thanks for the tip. I did hear something about MSN's new search engine and focus more on competing with Google, etc. Sort of nice see that Billy Boy Gates is having to compete in the search engine department a little bit. :)

 

Thanks everyone for your great replies and ideas. Hopefully by this time next year I'll have 1 or 2 sales. LOL :D

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ChrisW123- my settings in Windows are just fine. it's set where it should be set.. its at 32bit. if you don't want to make those pictures better on your front page, then thats fine with me but they will be grainy to me.. but that's just my option.. it's your choice.. fast as possible doesn't always mean better anyways. you can have it super fast and people will say blah to the front pictures and leave.. first impressions are good..but I was just talking about the front page anyways and they just seem pixelized..

 

if you like it the way it is, don't change it..

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I still like the look of the site but I still wouldn't buy anything. The thumbnail images need to be slightly better quality - esp. the gift voucher one which is the worst I have seen.

 

I wonder who buys prints these days and for what purpose. Isn't 8 x 10 rather small to hang on the wall and rather expensive to keep in a photo album. I would have thought that something 12 x 15 would be suitable for display.

 

Why not experiment with pricing and sizing and see if anyone bites? Are most of the vistors site reviewers perhaps :-)

 

Do your vistors get as far as adding items to their shopping carts? How many of them register?

 

I was interested in the digital art but again it turned out to be prints. There would probably be more interest in art for use on websites - on the other hand sites such as comstock.com are doing an excellent job in that area.

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ChrisW123- my settings in Windows are just fine. it's set where it should be set.. its at 32bit. if you don't want to make those pictures better on your front page, then thats fine with me but they will be grainy to me.. but that's just my option.. it's your choice.. fast as possible doesn't always mean better anyways. you can have it super fast and people will say blah to the front pictures and leave.. first impressions are good..but I was just talking about the front page anyways and they just seem pixelized..

Maybe I'll redo them all then. 10% quaility was probably to little in quality. I'll resave them at maybe 30%. Thanks!

 

I still like the look of the site but I still wouldn't buy anything. The thumbnail images need to be slightly better quality - esp. the gift voucher one which is the worst I have seen.

I think it's because I have my thumbnail size a little larger then the osc default. So this causes the voucher gif, which was probably designed to look good at that original size, to look bad now. Thanks, didn't even notice that.

 

I wonder who buys prints these days and for what purpose.  Isn't 8 x 10 rather small to hang on the wall and rather expensive to keep in a photo album. I would have thought that something 12 x 15 would be suitable for display.

This may very well be the problem. I offer only 8x10 because that's all my printer will handle. So, what I'll do is offer larger sizes and have them printed at Kinkos or wherever the best place is to this done. Then, if I find that this IS the problem and people begin buying larger sizes, then I'll invest in a new printer that can handle the larger sizes and do it myself.

 

EXCELLENT IDEA! Thanks!

 

Do your vistors get as far as adding items to their shopping carts? How many of them register?

I've only had two people register, ever! Well besides me off course. :)

 

I was interested in the digital art but again it turned out to be prints.  There would probably be more interest in art for use on websites - on the other hand sites such as  comstock.com are doing an excellent  job in that area.

I think this is another thing I'll do, which is to make the images themselves for sale. Then the customer would download them. And maybe offer packages of 10 or all of them, etc., at a discounted rate. The problem with this is I don't think there's a contrib for this here (I've checked). Does anyone know of one elsewhere that's in PHP, that maybe I could tweak myself to fit osC?

 

Thanks, -Chris.

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If I can add 2 cents... I'm reasonably certain that it's the product that is the problem.

 

Anyone can go out an buy an entire CD of stock images for next to nothing. And with all due respect - they look as good or better than what you are offering.

 

I often take flack for being quite blunt, so why not risk it once more: I dont think that any amount of advertising or SEO is going to change that fact that you are trying to sell something people don't buy. I can goggle up images - tons of them. Sorry. I just dont think it will ever work.

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If I can add 2 cents... I'm reasonably certain that it's the product that is the problem.

 

Anyone can go out an buy an entire CD of stock images for next to nothing. And with all due respect - they look as good or better than what you are offering.

 

I often take flack for being quite blunt, so why not risk it once more: I dont think that any amount of advertising or SEO is going to change that fact that you are trying to sell something people don't buy. I can goggle up images - tons of them. Sorry. I just dont think it will ever work.

AfterDark, I WANT blunt comments and feedback! Don't sugar coat your comments, because it doesn't help me (or anyone else) if you do.

 

I've tried to make my site more of an "art gallery" type of thing, were the customers would not necessarily be looking for a bunch of stock images to print for advertising or use on their website, but rather more of something they would want to display in their home as "artwork".

 

Stock image CD images are MUCH lower resolution then my images for the most part. They are NOT meant to be printed unless you are talking about a 4 x 6 print or for other needs where high res is not needed. With most stock images on a CD, they would not look good printed on 8 x 10 or larger print because they just don't have the resolution. High volume stores that sell these types of images cannot offer high resolution images because it's not practical for them to do so, given their target audience. If you DO find high-res images on this type of CD, they will be much more expensive.

 

But... the problem with my approach I think from talking to others who are similar to my site (non stock photography) is that it takes a long time to build up a "name" and "reputation" for yourself before you will get sales.

 

Anyway, thanks for the comments!

 

Sevencrows, check out the gallery page (main page) again, I fixed all the gallery images there to make them 30% quality. Better? I also fixed the gift voucher images. I increased the "canvas" size of them to match my thumbnail image size which is 170 x 136. Let me know if they look better.

 

-Chris.

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I've tried to make my site more of an "art gallery" type of thing, were the customers would not necessarily be looking for a bunch of stock images to print for advertising or use on their website, but rather more of something they would want to display in their home as "artwork". 

If your pictures are meant to be framed and put up in a home or office as artwork, why don't you show your visitors this ?

Imagine what your pictures could become in a home like setting.

I don't remember which site, but I've seen a site where you could actually order the frame also (and simulate it online in different colors). To me, that's the full service site I'd be buying from. And definitely needing more choice in sizes imo.

Also, If you want to appeal to the rest of the world, why not list the size in centimeters too ?

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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Yeah, you might actually want to put a frame around the thumbnails, and the larger image pop up as well to demonstrate what you have in mind. It didn't occur to me when virst viewing your site that this is what you had in mind. My thoughts were similar to AfterDarks.

 

Also, I have heard that *frames* themselves are a very profitable business to be in, and I'm relativly certian that this might be a better market for you online.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE: As of Oct 2006, I'm not as active in this forum as I used to be, but I still work with osC quite a bit.

If you have a question about any of my posts here, your best bet is to contact me though either Email or PM in my profile, and I'll be happy to help.

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I also thought that they were for web-use. I'd also echo Carines idea about supplying the images framed or unframed.

 

Also, you made the good point in this thread about the products which are sold to hang on your wall at home/office etc. But nowhere on your site does it actually really point this out...

 

What you want is a couple of testimonials from local businessmen - give them a free framed picture to go in their office. Go along and take a few photo's etc, get them to do a little write up and give them each a page on your site. Good for SEO as well as getting other customers "in the mood".

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Yes I agree that stock images with decent resolution are expensive (and there are often all sorts of restrictions on what you can do with them. You can offer different resolutions at different prices. Why I mentioned stock images was that I see pictures with a much clearer subject in a stock image portfolio. Makes me want to have them. These ones do not have the clarity of subject but often look like a piece of a larger photo.

 

Displaying them with a frame sounds good. The size of the thumbnails required depends on the users screen size (resolution really). To those on large screens anything under 100 px looks too small. To those on small screens anything over 150px looks way too large!

 

Hardly enyone even registering. Now that is bad! Usually people sign up and mull things over for a while before buying. It does sound as if you need to get out there with that camera some more instead of playing with the pc :blink:

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