Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Carlson Craft just this week released its new fan programs brochure, with some brand new wedding program fan styles, including one on recycled paper. They will be retiring the old brochures soon, as the new one has all the most popular styles in it plus a few new ones. The only bad news is that they have quadrupled the fee for having them assemble the fans. I used to charge $45 for 100, now they charge $45 for 25! I guess a lot more people will be assembling their own fans. It isn't hard to do, just a bit tedious. Here are some of the new styles. Our wedding fan program samples page continues to be popular, I had to demand a few sites take down images stolen from it they were using to sell their own homemade (laser printed) fan programs. Why they would try to sell their programs based on our artwork is beyond me, they don't have the same library of motifs and monograms that Carlson Craft has access to for us.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
We have tested the new site using the numerical URL (http://220.127.116.11) and it seems to be working, thanks to some help from a terrific programmer, Katie Grogan, who has helped me with my shopping cart over the years. Now we just have to swap out the numbers for the name throughout the site, and change the nameservers at the registrar, and hopefully it will be a smooth transition. We are doing it on Friday afternoon, to give us the weekend to fix anything that comes up.
This became necessary when we had 3 full days of time OFF LINE in March due to our current host, 1and1, which is terrible and I don't recommend to anyone. The only thing I can say about it is that it was cheap, but we have outgrown it. Rackspace is more than we really need, but I couldn't find a hosting provider in between in terms of price that could give me the uptime and service responsiveness that I need in order to sleep at night. So hopefully it will be a quiet weekend with no news to report as everything will go smoothly!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
The latest excitement was when our website was down all day yesterday due to a server hardware problem. I was very unhappy that my host, 1and1.com, did not move it to a backup server but just left us offline for 10 hours until it was fixed. That was not a happy day! But we are good to go now.
We are seeing a lot of creativity with color, too. On the photo wedding fan programs you can print the text in two different colors, so between the colors and the fonts you can really make a unique design.
Our prices are still below retail, though we have to limit it to one free proof now. The proofs are taking up to 3 days to turnaround, so many people don't have time for more than one proof anyway, not a big change for most customers.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I haven't done much with our wedding planning sites, www.idoinmn.com and www.idoinnj.com, but I updated them a little bit this summer. I also added some content pages to the weddings area of my main site, new info on wedding invitation etiquette, writing your wedding programs, and save the date cards. There is a dearth of good information out there on these topics; most of the search results are just lists of sites where you can buy the stuff, not actual information. I think that is why our sample pages (for programs and program fans) are so popular--people want to see what others have done to get ideas.
As for Post-its, after slipping a bit in the rankings on Google for our main keywords (custom Post-its and personalized Post-its), we are back in the top five. Fewer people search for custom Post-its than for custom Post-it notes, but those who do, find us! The majority of the search results for either term are big companies that don't sell fewer than 500 pads anyway. (Those companies contract directly with 3M as their supplier, but 3M doesn't deal with the small orders themselves.) So our challenge is to help people find us. We plan on reworking the Post-its section some more this winter, as the wedding season slows down.
Friday, July 28, 2006
As the summer wears on we are selling more and more of the business card Post-it notes that were introduced this spring. They are a convenient size for coupons and of course perfect for business cards. I have been using them to attach a business card to a brochure I send out with samples, and they work great for that, no paperclips. Our
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Wedding programs continue to be hot for us, and I finally have worked out with my press a better way of getting the orders to them than faxing (copy comes out too light so they can't read it well) or their online ordering system (which for some unknown and mysterious reason takes 3 days longer than faxing). I got a real person's email address to just send in orders that way! What a relief for us, as the delay in getting proofs was really a problem.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
On a different note, I discovered that Carlson Craft has another color of napkins we hadn't been offering. Antonia Rose Printing is a vacuum cleaner for personalization options on Carlson Craft items, offering more different monograms, motifs and fonts than anyone else we can find online. Every time we find something new in an album or online (on a competitor's site) that is an option, we add it to our site. In browsing competitor sites I saw peach printed napkins from Carlson Craft, so I called Carlson Craft and sure enough, they still offer them. They aren't in any of the 8 albums we have! But they are on our site now and we have already sold them twice in the 2 weeks they have been up!