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WEB/DIGITAL need feedback on website and overall premise

camski

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Jul 24, 2007
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post moved from another thread-
I took some advice from MJ and started my own forum (not at all related to this one so no conflict of interest) and am now getting ready for the final phase of promoting it. But before i do that, I would love for some of you more experienced internet entrepreneurs to critique it. Let me first say that my site isn’t an original idea but I feel strongly that it is better than anything else out there than exists right now. You see I am a foodservice salesman which means I sell food to restaurants, jails, bars, schools, hospitals and basically anywhere that serves food. There are a lot of people in this industry and up until my site the only real place where we would go was place called http://Foodservicerumors.com But to be honest it is not very user friendly and it really isn’t in a forum style where you can post and then reply easily. On their site you have to send an e-mail and then they will post it for you (a process that takes a few days) In addition to get to that point you have to go from the main page to another page and then click on the news and comment section. Check it out so you know what I mean.
Anyway I feel my site is better from a user friendly standpoint and I think (of course I am bias) that it looks a whole lot better. Now the reason I chose this type of forum is because 1) it interests me 2) there is a large amount of people in this industry/ specialty- my best guess is over 100,000 people nationwide 3) there exists some opportunity to get revenue from manufacturers (example Tyson Foods )who would want to focus some advertising dollars directly to a sales force who can then market those products to end users. 4) there isn’t a forum (that I am aware of or have been able to find) that exists for this group. So I would appreciate any feedback you can give regarding it (the site) and my overall business premise. I don’t think this site will make me rich but I do feel like I can make it profitable and will be educational for me in the realm of web business.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t plug Tom at Apto hosting. This guy is awesome. He took my calls any time day or night and made the whole process easy for me, an admitted ignoramus when it comes to anything involving the internet and making a website. So with all that said here is the link to my site please let me know what you think.http://foodservicesalesman.com
Please keep in mind that this is just the beginning and it doesnt have many posts right now but you will get the general idea of what I am going for and who I am trying to connect with. Look forward to some constructive criticism.
 

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aptohosting

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Cameron- We are working on the changes you have recently submitted! Hopefully everything will be set and good to go by the end of the week. Thanks again for the positive feedback and let us know if you need anything!

Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
1-866-404-9090
 

Z5 FILMS

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Aug 13, 2007
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That "rumor" site is JUNK. I don't know what that thing is. Yours is much better.

I would not worry too much about the logo right now. You can always change it later if you think of something better. It's a start. I kinda like the 18 wheeler idea.

The thing that stood out to me was the huge Google ad on left side. It's huge and distracting. The forum is nice and clean, then there's this huge advertisement on the side. I would use the narrower vertical ad

Your site, do what you want with the ad. Other than that I thought it looked nice and clean, good colors.
 

andviv

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Z5 is right. The google ads banner made me think that I had landed to a page that some people bought and had there to drive traffic only, you know what I mean?

I guess the biggest problem is that the google thing is the same exact color as your page. Also the fonts in your site are smaller than the banner. So that banner steals the focus of the page.
 

Allthingznew

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I agree your site looks much better than the other one, I also agree the Ad is too big. From the other site it looks like keeping up to date is the main focus. Are there blogs that do this? If so, can you get linked to them? Also, how are you planning to spread the word about your site? Is/are there industry magazine to put an ad in?
 

Luke12321

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Good adsense is fine for now but I think eventually your best bet would be attracting sponsors to purchase ad space! Like Apto and DK is doing here at fastlane. I am sure in a industry like this, you guys will be discussing prices and quality of service, and a company would love to reach out and advertise in such a place I am sure! Also....decrease the adsense. Don't let it take focus away and it just don't flow with your site. Maybe introduce them later but as of right now....I would say cut it. As far as promoting it, I am sure you have ideas but anyone you come in contact with that is in the industry...biz card them. Advertising in magazines if they exist would be great if the numbers ad up. Maybe even create a blog to go along with the site? Advertise on related blogs as well and SEO your site. Adwords campaign? As someone said above, the top "banner" or whatever with the truck is weak. It is not eyecatching...but I think the idea of the truck is good! Maybe try to to make it "come to life" more? I am sure Tom can hook you up with that if you just let me know what you want. Great job on the site again btw Tom.
 
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camski

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Jul 24, 2007
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Noblesville, IN
I have contacts all over the country in various parts of the business, so I am spreading the word to them. I am getting traffic to the site people just arent posting yet. It will take a little time I believe, but once people who I know visit the other site take a look at mine I think they will start posting. I have some other things that are in the works but I dont feel comfortable mentioning them here.
 
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camski

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Jul 24, 2007
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Noblesville, IN
Good adsense is fine for now but I think eventually your best bet would be attracting sponsors to purchase ad space! Like Apto and DK is doing here at fastlane. I am sure in a industry like this, you guys will be discussing prices and quality of service, and a company would love to reach out and advertise in such a place I am sure! Also....decrease the adsense. Don't let it take focus away and it just don't flow with your site. Maybe introduce them later but as of right now....I would say cut it. As far as promoting it, I am sure you have ideas but anyone you come in contact with that is in the industry...biz card them. Advertising in magazines if they exist would be great if the numbers ad up. Maybe even create a blog to go along with the site? Advertise on related blogs as well and SEO your site. Adwords campaign? As someone said above, the top "banner" or whatever with the truck is weak. It is not eyecatching...but I think the idea of the truck is good! Maybe try to to make it "come to life" more? I am sure Tom can hook you up with that if you just let me know what you want. Great job on the site again btw Tom.
I have a plan to create ad revenue but I need to get some traffic first, which I am working on, and I have already discussed a few changes with Tom and I believe he is watching this post as well. Like I said I am very early into this and I really appreciate the feedback!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Cam,

Forget about AdSense and trying to generate revenue -- to start, you've gotta focus on CONTENT. Hit the "TheAdminZone.com" for tips on getting a forum off the ground. To start, you've gotta be the provider of the content to encourage participation. This is time consuming but necessary to get the ball rolling. Start making posts, start asking questions, start making polls -- get people talking! Maybe post something funny like "food service horrors" ....

After you get content and traffic, then you can start thinking about AdSense.
 

phlgirl

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Thanks for the site referral, MJ. Looks like another wealth of knowledge! Will be passing it on to a friend who is struggling with his own message board launch. ++++

Camski - I think the site looks good. It is simple but effective. I noticed the same thing MJ mentioned - lack of content. When people from your industry show up, it would be great if there were some existing threads (other than news) for them to comment upon. I think people are hesistant to just jump right in and start creating (i know i was when I first found FTM) but if they have something to respond to......common issues in the industry, newbie questions, new technology in foodservice, etc. - this might get them going.

Also, you might want to add an off-topic area....a place for fun, lighter fare type chatter.

Great that you found a niche!! Best of luck!
 

biophase

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I agree with the above. The Adsense ad is too big. You don't need it now, wait until you get traffic and then integrate it into your forum.
 

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camski

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Jul 24, 2007
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Just a note on how I am promoting this site. i have e-mailed all my contacts in the industry and informed them of the creation of the site. I am also offering some free advertising to a high profile recruiter in the business in exchange for his help in promotion. I also e-mailed the teamsters union (national) to let them know that I have also included a portion of the site geared towards the warheouse and truck drivers. This site might prove very useful to them when it comes to contract negotiation time. Doing more but that is it for now.
 
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camski

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Jul 24, 2007
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I wanted to run another idea past you web savvy people here. I know this might sound cheesy, sexist, and completely catering to the lowest common denominator but I am considering running a hottest sales rep contest (No Nudes or even bikinis type shots but in business attire). With a cash prize to the winners (I would run a men and womens contest). In a way I dont want to be known as a hotties site in any way, but my thoughts are that a) hot pics and a cash prize would spur interaction b) the word might really travel about the site and the contest c) It might spur daily visitation to the site to see what is going on. d) like it or not sexy sells

My questions are should I bag this idea altogether and try something different? Do you think it might take the site in a different direction than my original intent? If I do it, how much would be a suitable amount to offer as a prize to spur competition?
 

MJ DeMarco

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I wanted to run another idea past you web savvy people here. I know this might sound cheesy, sexist, and completely catering to the lowest common denominator but I am considering running a hottest sales rep contest (No Nudes or even bikinis type shots but in business attire). With a cash prize to the winners (I would run a men and womens contest). In a way I dont want to be known as a hotties site in any way, but my thoughts are that a) hot pics and a cash prize would spur interaction b) the word might really travel about the site and the contest c) It might spur daily visitation to the site to see what is going on. d) like it or not sexy sells

My questions are should I bag this idea altogether and try something different? Do you think it might take the site in a different direction than my original intent? If I do it, how much would be a suitable amount to offer as a prize to spur competition?
I like the idea. Its viral and encourages visits. And it sounds like you want to keep it professional and since its unisex, one can't call it sexist.
 

carlhuber

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If you are sure you don't want to do "nudes or bikinis" then a "hottest sales rep" contest is going to fall flat. How do you think the girls are going to show off their - ahem - physical qualities? Just headshots from both sets? No way. People will be confused and not bother taking pictures...either that or you'll throw out pictures and people will get upset.

The alternative is if you set it up real slick. Like have people be able to go through and do voting, have a community driven contest, and winner. Or do an interview with a select few (like how collegehumor.com does their "cute college girl" pages) The additional interactivity might keep peoples' interest.

If you want a true web 2.0 viral style sort of thing, consider "most creative sales rep" and have them write "food service salesman.com!" on a sign and take a picture of themselves promoting your site in a unique way - place the sign in a strange place and take a picture of it? - and offer a prize for the most creative promotion. Something like that. I bet some girls will show off their assets anyway with that avenue...:smxG:
 

MJ DeMarco

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Jorge

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CRBFL

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If you want a true web 2.0 viral style sort of thing, consider "most creative sales rep" and have them write "food service salesman.com!" on a sign and take a picture of themselves promoting your site in a unique way - place the sign in a strange place and take a picture of it? - and offer a prize for the most creative promotion. Something like that. I bet some girls will show off their assets anyway with that avenue...:smxG:
Mmmm, viral. That's where it's at. Great idea Carl Huber. How about doing the same thing with videos and them posting all of them to youtube. Depending on the appeal of the videos you could be looking at a good deal of traffic. What about a Press Release? I would also have to second (or, like sixth?!?) drop AdSense for now. Create content and traffic -> monetize.
 

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