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ok, very frustrated guy here.

I've had my site open for about a year now, and have sold….nothing! Obviously, that is disappointing and frustrating to me. Especially since I have (what I think) is a good-looking and user friendly website, and products that are decent and fairly priced.

I guess at least one of those ingredients is screwed up; what I think is correct really isn't. But which one(s)?

I'm not looking to make a living off this website, but God, I'd like to sell a couple of things a month for some extra money.

Maybe people just don't pay around $400 for a nice clock; maybe that price point is too little (see "$5,000....for a stationary box")

Whatever the issue is, product, price or website, I just don't have the right formula in place to sell things. Other guys do it, I can too.

I have a great idea for a cutting board (yes, yet another cutting board), that is more than your usual glued-up pieces of scrap; I can make them fairly quickly, as you can just glue up a bunch of scrap, say 18" long, and just slice of a 1" piece as a board (like slicing cheese), and then sex it up the way I'm thinking.

But again, the question is…will it sell?!

Can anyone comment on my site and stuff, and what might sell instead of what I have?!
 

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How many hits do you have every day and how does you site rank on the search engines?

You will find out that there are a bunch of ways that you can increase your hits and that can pay off big time.
ie. search tags ect.

It sounds like the woodworking part is done, now you may need to focus on the technical side.
 

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One of the things that "maybe" is not helping is that your website is listed as a Social Website and a lot of computers have security filters not allowing access to these. Keep sending the magazines photos and write ups on your work. There was an article in one of the mags recently about building a clock and named the company that sold the parts, the parts company is now back logged two months…
 

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Your experience is "normal". Most internet businesses fail. It is extremely difficult to start a business on the web without understanding how internet search engines work and building and maintaining your site to take advantage of the search algorithms. You've got a professional looking website and there is nothing wrong with your price point or quality but I'm guessing you've really done very little to market the site. I suggest you start your business as a merchant on eBay and Amazon.com. Just because you have found other clock sites on the web does not automatically equate to profits being made by the other sites.
 

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I've had a similar experience. I've seen lot's of web sites and talked to lots of artist and I just have to conclude most of what we see is just smoke and mirrors. I've checked out the sales of people on ebay and esty and they are very low usually with very low prices. I think of them as hobby prices. They work out to about $5.00 an hour after constructions and sales. You will get lot's of advice on how to do it right and I'm sorry I think most just works out to more ways to waste your time….now go out and do what I think can't be done because I'm not following my own advice. Another show in May….maybe this one will be different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Under the search term mission clocks>

3rd result on Yahoo
38th on Google :(
4th on Bing

Obviously, the big hangup is on Google.

Kindlingmaker: I didn't understand what you meant "is that your website is listed as a Social Website" - where do you see that?
 

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Pashley,

I went to website and read the woods you are using. The pictures are not doing you justice. Might want to consider having some professionally taken with a zoom to show them off more.

The Keene is my favorite, but the tile detail isn't able to be appreciated. It looks like dust on the top of it, although I know it is just reflected light.

I think the price point is right and wording is good. You need some better pictures.

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Steve, I take the pics myself. I'm using decent equipment - a Nikon D40 with a tripod, and outdoors lighting. I also use a white back drop that extends into the foreground - same as pros use. I've also shown the products in settings. What am I missing?!
 

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Patrick, Are you selling these locally, or just via the internet? I'm a little more fortunate in that I actually have a storefront to sell things out of. I don't get a huge amount of foot traffic, but those that stop in usually pick up one or two things along with a business card.

I've actually started approaching some small stores in the surrounding areas to either stock my things, or sell them on consignment.

Word of mouth is my strongest advertising, I'd say 90% of all my business is done with referrals. The website is a great tool, but I think of it as only a small part of the overall plan to stay successful. You might want to search out some mission catalog companies that would showcase your work, its very impressive, sounds like it just needs that "spark" to get it selling the way you want. I'd say look at all your options not just the internet, with that said I do have you bookmarked to tell customers that are interested in Mission items.

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
James,

I've been thinking about this; I don't think you can appreciate the item unless you have it right in front of you, and agree, I should try to get it into some local stores. I live in a large area, Rochester, NY, so I should be able to find some stores!
 

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Pashley,

Please don't take any offense to my comments about the pictures. I would not change the current ones at all, the settings are very complimentary to the clocks. It is just that the true wood and craftsmanship aren't shown off as much.

Your coffee table views are example of what I was commenting on for the clocks. The closeups of the end and tiles really give the person looking a feel for the piece. On the Keene, a closeup of the contrasting woods in one upper corner and closeup of the tile would be more information to the potential customer.

Think about this; tell them in text what the exciting details are about your craftsmanship, show specific pictures that show those exciting details and then remind them in the price section about what they saw.

Buyer may not know what in the world Paduak is or a reversed embossed ceramic tile. Couple closeups of them can put it in perspective.

Steve.
 

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James, like pashly said..get your products in some stores. Without my dealers I would be a sitting duck as far as the furniture end works. My cabinetry and design business is 63 years old inherited from my family..word of mouth from pleased customers, builders, and people riding by my shop supports that end of the business.
I have three business web sites started in 1994 and SEO'd into the internet on a weekly basis each for a different aspect of my business. I have over 400 excellent back links that actually send the hits to my sites, not the search engines, that took a couple of years to get. It takes my time and effort to market my sites but…do people actually buy off of them?...very seldom. What they do is give my business exposure just like a store front. When you have a product and the price starts getting close to the hundred dollar and higher range my experience has taught me that it's the serious buyers that will buy from me not your everyday wish I had that buyers. I build serious cabinetry and furniture and it's expensive and my shop and dealers are in areas where serious buyers are. I recently built a farm table to go in a wine tasting room near me. I put the table in unfinished, turned legs and planked curley maple top and was to get the table back this week to finish it. The lady called me Saturday and said not to worry about finishing the table because someone saw the table and bought it just like it was for more than the initial price we were going to ask for. Build me another one and I'll carry your money to you on Monday.
Direct exposure in a public place sold that unfinished table where people go to spend money. Market your product other than your web site and you may be surprised how your clocks will sell for you. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SteveMI: No offense taken, Bud; I guess I was like, "What else can I do?!" Agreed, about the closeups, especially of the Keene. Will do.

bruc101: Having the actual piece in a store is also good for impulse buying too. The website, it seems, is more like an interactive business card, at least for what I'm doing. Maybe people won't shell out this kind of money on a product sight unseen, and who can blame them?

So I think my game plan will be to do a little tweaking on the website, in terms of the menu, and adding some close-up pics, and more importantly, getting the product in front of faces in the real world.
 

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Pashley - I've got an Etsy store along with a website to try and sell some wine bottle stoppers. It's seeing this kind of stuff: stuffed bunny head that keeps me convinced my work will eventually sell when seen by the right people. the trick is to get those right people looking at my wine bottle stoppers! I'm showing some of my work to a local retail shop tomorrow.

and I think the same goes for you.
 

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Of business's I've started and stopped over the years, some have worked out and others have bombed. What I did come to find out though is that the website is like a brochure. You've got to hand out brochures or get someone to hand one to a customer for you. The website itself generates no/little business. But, it's a great tool to direct people too who come to you or someone you sold to.
Some people do have some luck though on places like ebay, etsy, and amazon.

In the late 70's I did manage to sell a dozen acoustic guitars that I made. But, I had a network of people on the college campus. When I left college, guitars stopped selling. Today, I can put $2000 worth of work in an instrument and you can find a commercial one and comparable one for half that. And you can find a surprisingly good one that you'll love for $400, probably made to extremely close machine tolerances in Japan.

And I'm beginning to feel that high quality woodworking is becoming sort of like the art world. Thousands of starving artists for each successful one. People can buy a print at a store for a fraction of the original. People can buy an actually decent copy of a woodworkers coffee table for a fraction of the real thing. You can be a collector and own some Gainsborough's or you can purchase one that the average person wouldn't know the difference. You can pay a premium for furniture that is painstakingly handmade and can be passed down. Or you can purchase a machine made facimile that the average person wouldn't know the difference and save a bundle. Most people don't care to pass down or get other people's furniture. They've got a house full of stuff they've collected over the years when you're dead anyway. They just sell it. Look in the paper at all the estate auctions. They do it all the time.

Cynical? maybe. But that's it from my reality. I've never tried to make a living or even expected a partial income from woodworking. I keep it personal. An occasional commission were I really don't make much after all the effort, or for friends and family. As a hobby it stays fun.

And yes, I know.. of course there are exceptions. If you're one of them Bravo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
SteveMI: I've add two pics per your request. Check it out.

darryl: I've had an Etsy account for several months. Nothing. Felt animal heads selling! OMG.

Craftsman on the lake: I agree about the website-as-a-business-card notion. About this cheaper quality stuff - yuck! I was out shopping for a couch yesterday, and wandered into the dining table for ideas - while some of the designs were decent, the materials (some odd wood; nothing native, like oak, cherry or maple) and the finish (especially) was crap. I'm guessing construction is on the same par. People still get what they pay for. Yes, you're getting a dining table and four chairs for $499 - see you back here in 5 years. Guess I just see things differently since I build the stuff now.

You know, there's a saying, "If you want to live with the classes, build for the masses; if you want to live with the masses, build for the classes." - that is to say, if you want to be rich, build something the masses can and will buy; if you want to live with the masses, build for the upper classes.

Interesting.
 
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