Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Web site is my Best Friend

Many of you know that I am a "one girl" operation.  I also have a very talented, supportive husband who does all the things I can't do (or don't want to!).  He works for Cup a Dee Cakes every minute he is not at his regular job.  Chad has built my website from scratch and changed it every time I ever wanted it to be "prettier" or more functional.  I hate to say that I don't often take into account how very hard website work is to do.  Much like my customers don't always realize how much work goes into a cake, they just want it "pretty".  (At least I get paid for my work).

My website is my best friend (except for Chad!) because it is like a salesman, an information desk, a photo album, direction giver, price estimator, policy police, availability calendar, etc.  "Webby" (let's call her) does so many things that it frees me up to bake and decorate.  Since the beginning, I have tried to give my customers all the information I could.  I don't feel like hiding my prices, or designs, or the fact the I have a legal commercial kitchen built onto my home (I have posted pictures as well as health department scores in the past).

If a competitor uses my design or knows my prices, so what?  We have worked hard to make our prices and policies fair.  I don't feel like I am competing with anyone in my area.  We all have different styles, personalities, prices and not to mention cakes.  I've looked at my biggest three competitor's websites today and am surprised that the are giving customers very little useful information.  They show some pictures, some cake flavors, and maybe some 'partners'.  No pricing or consultation information. 

Our first presence on the web didn't have pricing.  I spent half of my day answering phone calls about how much a certain pictured cake was or where my prices started.  The minute we posted prices my "how much is it" phone calls stopped and I had more time to make cakes.  I am a frugal person,.  I know that my prices are a lot higher than the local "Super" center.  I started with party cakes about $1/serving and delivered everything for free!  I am now at $3/serving for round cakes because I am staying booked up.  That didn't happen in a year though; it's taken us six years.  I don't want to be the biggest place in town, I want to be the best! I am 110% alright with doing two weddings on a weekend and that's all.  I want to continue to enjoy what I do.

I am soooo off subject here....

We had over 600 pictures on Webby, we narrowed those down to about 275.  There were just some on there that I was NOT proud of anymore.  I had about 150 pictures from the past year that we haven't put on the site because we have been so busy.  We focus on making wedding cakes now, so we narrowed our categories down from things like "animals, first birthday, girly, sports" to "traditional, contemporary, celebration".

When we changed to Go Daddy for web hosting it opened some new ways of doing our site (so I am told :)...)  We now have a formula that computes the price of the cake for us, where before every time I had a price increase/change I had to re figure each cake and Chad has to change it on the site.  Now if I want to go up .25 on a square cake and .25 on fondant the code will do it all for us.  Oh how I love Webby!
 
My point to this rambling is:
  1. I am proud of my husband and the improved website and want you all to know it!  He only gets paid in cupcakes, so your kind words will be welcomed!
  2. Ask someone "If you are looking for a baker, what would you like to see on their website?  What kind of information do you need to help you make a decision?"
  3. Many of us are very small businesses.  Use your website as a tool to take some of the everyday questions off of you.
  4. Know that your website is the first and sometimes the only impression people will get of you.  If it's not good, they won't even pick up the phone.
You may look at Webby and think parts are too wordy or too complicated.  For example, I know I still have too many pictures under "Birthday", but they are all my babies and I can't choose which to get rid of yet.  We have done everything with great thought, trial and error, and for the benefit of customer service.  It suits our business and I don't claim for a minute that it is for everyone.  I am grateful to have such a "pretty" and useful tool that can evolve and grow with our business!  Thanks Chad! 

Now I have to go ice some cakes because Webby hasn't learned to do that yet!

6 comments:

  1. You have no idea how much this blog has inspired me. I agree with you, I am also a "one baker/decorator/ small bussines owner" I pretty much do everything myself, including a company full time job and a toddler. But I love making cakes and I am building my dream making them. People like you inspire me to be better in what I love and to realize that is not easy, but it can be done. It is wonderful to have support from our husbands, mine is really good coloring gumpaste at 2 am in the morning when I am about to have a nervous breakdown.

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  2. Jenniffer, imagine that I read the entire post AND browse your Webby. Both you and Chad did a great job, and most of all, Chad deserves a big truck loaded with cupcakes :-))). All that info is very useful and you made me realize that I need to improve my blog by adding more details. Excellent job you guys!

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  3. Totally forgot to mention: what would have happened if we wouldn't have our husband's help? Hmmm, don't wanna think about it!

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  4. Such sweet comments... have you been out shopping again? ;) Seriously, we're in this thing together, I just do whatever I can to help! And please, no disrespect, but no more cupcakes! How about some bacon!?!

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  5. Wow! This is truly an inspiration. You both did an incredible job on your site and i love reading your blog. I can only dream that one day i'll have my own business as a cake decorator. Right now it's a side hobby that i love doing. I love the whole baking/decorating and being inspired and being creative. Thank you for posting this it shows me that one day i can have my own cake business!

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  6. I love your site, I have been working for years on mines, and still can't get it the way I look it, so I decided to take soem web-site building classes soon to do it myself!

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Thanks for visiting the blog! I look forward to reading your comments!

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