under every scar, theres a battle I've lost (devereux1880) wrote in entrepreneurs,
under every scar, theres a battle I've lost

Hi everyone, I’m posting here for some advice.

*post edited*

Some of you may remember me from the last time I asked advice here, I had the same business but at that time was focusing on free lance logo design and now that’s shifted to retail and freelance writing. It’s all going very well but I think I need to rearrange the site which represents that business and which expands it.

This time I am here for two reasons, the first is for advice on the best pathway to take to change and grow the business I have and the second is to look for someone to make me a new website next year.

Behind the cut I have a little bit more info and I hope that people could give me a few pointers. - In a nutshell I am asking where I should go from the point I am currently at which is earning a good income from my site but wanting to take things to the next level by having someone make me a much better site and finding some appropriate services to use to advertise the site.

I have also included a more specific question about on line advertising.

To Start - Some background

The site – http://www.fluffylikerazors.co.uk

The site is a bit of a crash zone right now. The mess basically occurred as my work began to rapidly transition and I had no time to rethink the site.

It used to be a site that sold clothing to alternative types and was advertised through sponsorship, promotions and some manual web posting style advertising.

It is now turning into a place where people can request freelance writing for a price. If I could display what I have already written / who I have written for in a better way I would get more prestigious work and I would like the site to look much more sleek than it currently does as right now it’s just me frantically smashing some content into very old HTML once every two months or whenever I get time.

The site section where people can request comissions is currently shut down beacause I don't have time to complete any more comissions and also I have no time to make that area of the site appealing. I am thinking that in order to make progress I need to free up more time and also to get a much more attractive site that actually represents what is happening.

Essentially my issue is that I have really run out of steam in terms of being able to just edit something here and there and the site needs to be rethought and remade.

Ultimately at this point in time I have no idea what to do to go about achieving this. As can be seen from the site my own web skills aren’t extensive and it’s not an area I would want to spend time improving, my time is 100% occupied with working.

Basically how I do business is to sell clothing and to sell writing and I am hoping to use the site to develop a way to display a few other projects I will be working on next year.

The site currently acts as a one stop shop where a work portfolio / work and retail all co exist. This is the way the business has evolved and earns, it would just be better if it all looked a lot better than it does!

Overall I want a site that could
• continue to let people buy and maybe make it more appealing for new customers
• look smooth
• be fun and interactive
• allow me to easily update various sections

So can people recommend a web design company or individual with an online portfolio I could go and look at?

What kind of options are best when seeking for a professional site developer to create something which is changing and will keep changing over the years?

I would really be looking for somewhere that could cater to the site being a little bit odd in how it operates in that it's not just there to make money but that is an important factor.

For the type of business I have does anyone have any comments on pathways I should or should not take? I have spent the last few years just editing my own site but now should I hand that all over to a designer or try and stay more invovled? Does anyone have experience of this kind of situation?

It is the initial impetus and direction here that is tripping me up!

Specific question on advertising.

I plan to advertise the clothing section of my site this xmas, (the new site is planned for next year.)

My hosting company recommends I sign up to HyperSubmit. Is this a worthwhile service? If so, how much money is it advisable to invest in this service?

My hosting company provide me with a Mirago voucher. Is this worth signing up for?

More generally, what kind of paid advertising services would people recommend, any to avoid?

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Hi, thanks for the reply

I'd agree with you that the site is confusing. It's ended up that way since I've had so little time to spend on it and it's gradually become more and more behind. What I am ultimately looking for is someone who can make me a new site from the ground up and help me to streamline it into something people would want to look around.

As to the selling, basically it used to be 100% clothes and is now moving to part clothing and part free lance writing (such as short scripts and stories or articles).

I have probably put a bit too much detail into that post so I'll go back and see if I can edit some things out and make it a bit simpler.

Thanks again.
your site is confusing - and your post is confusing.

As cambler mentioned, good to simplify your value proposition so that you can brief your designer / developer.

What's your budget for the web designer / developer?

As for online advertising - hypersubmit will not really help much. it's just listing in directories. if you really must -just go for the cheapest plan and cancel after 1 year.

As for mirago - i will prefer to stick with google and yahoo. Who's your target audience & what's your budget ?

Then again, it's best if you think through - where's your visitors likely to come from, and hang out online. this can help you to narrow where to advertise.
Hi, thanks for replying.

I think some of the confusion is coming from the fact that I'm not sure what to do or what my options are.

With the budget it depends on how much I liked what I was going to get. Roughly I would be looking at about 500 GBP. I know there are places that do good sites for less out there but I have no idea how to choose. I know I am looking for something with a strong visual style that somehow reflects the site name.

Thanks for the info on advertising. As to target audience, thats also a bit complex as I have never aimed for an audience, I've just done what I could do and adjusted it until it started selling. The people who buy writing are really diverse from publications to students to house wives but I suppose alot of them are all "alternative", alot of gothic and musicialy inclined people.

Previous to now I have done alot of advertising off line and that has never been very organised, more handing out cards at events and friends telling their friends. I suppose that means my target audience enjoy live events?

There are some literary slant designs which I have advertisied specfically to literary types, a Sherlock Holmes design and a Don Quixote design. Since there are forums for those people it was fairly easy to see the appeal of that specific design set and go and tell those people about it.

My budget for advertising - this is something I would want to start rolling slowly, if that makes sense? I would only want to spend one or two hundred GBP to start with and then see what kind of return those services gave me before deciding how much more to invest. I think the shopping aspect would need to be more prominent to justify that as with the clothes more visitors= more sales but with the writing I can only work so fast.

My short term plan was to just spend a very little on advertising before xmas (maybe £50-£100) and then do something more involved when I have a new site. - I'm not sure if maybe I should use something like google adsense for that quick splash of money.

Another target audience point - most of the shopping customers are from the USA or Europe as currently shipping to places outside these zones is more expensive for the customer.

Most writing customers are also USA/English although I am getting more customers from Europe now.