OK, belay my last post. Thanks to the feedback you have given me on our Face Book page, and to a customer who has taken time to email his thoughts, I realized I have been working under a false assumption this whole time.
THE REAL PROBLEM
I just today figured out that the problem so many people are having is not with the categories. It is with the general search return. When you type in a key word, you are getting a list of returns that asks you to ‘click for older posts.’ This is confusing a lot of you, and I understand why (finally).
Folks, my web store is based on WordPress software. Basically, it is a blog page with a shopping cart grafted onto it. I did this because it is something I know how to control and — more importantly — it is something I can afford. But it has limitations. Fixing the issue with general search returns is one of those. do not think I can fix it. However, there are some things can do:
THREE TYPES OF SEARCH
First, I can change the theme or layout of the web site. I am looking at a theme that will put company information at the top of the page, above the header, and category menus under the header. These categories can then be used as a ‘quick search’ that will return everything we make for a specific vehicle. This will be a little like an ‘artillery strike’ version of a search.
Second, I am going to work with Karl and Dave to re-name everything in our product line. We will keep the old names in the product description page, but we will narrow the listing name to commonly used key words. This should return fewer results in a general search. This will not be a sniper search that returns only one hit, but more like a ‘grenade search.’
Third, I can add a simple list of product numbers and names and hyper-link each of them to their listing page. This will require reading a long scroll of numbers and names, but you will be able to get through is quickly and, when you find what you are looking for, go straight to the item you want/need. This will be the closest I can get to a ‘sniper search.’
Even after I make these changes, my store is never going to function like a ‘normal’ store. I have already explained why. I have come to accept that. All I can do is hope that you will do the same. Still, there is something else I can do to help with this, as well. I am thinking about posting a static “WELCOME” page on the new site. Basically, it will be a short instruction on “How to Navigate this Site.” Honestly, once you understand what I am about to do and play around with it just a bit, the new site should be easier to use.
This is another area I have never figured out how to use, but I will correct that when the new site goes live. You will be able to follow the TMD BLOG page for all our updates, or you will have the option of just following the News Letter on the new store. The news letter will not bore you with my weekly updates or Joe’s Corner posts. It will simply provide information about new releases and nothing more. Furthermore, I will provide an archive so you can search those new releases for at least 90 days after they are posted. After that, they will roll in to the regular product line. This will keep from clogging up the key word search returns.
IS THAT EVERYTHING?
OK, if I have finally wrapped my head around this the way I think I have, this should address most of the problems you folks have been having with the web site. If I missed anything, please let me know.
Right now, there is no real content. I am just playing with the design layout. Once I like the basic concept, I will be able to make it all go live on the real web site in one evening. Then I will go back and ‘tweak’ each individual listing as time permits.