Site Analysis: What's Wrong With the Crazy Baker's Website?

You're the Boss: The Art of Running a Small Business

Hall Hitzig, who has branded himself “The Crazy Baker,” offers his sweet delicacies — blondies and brownies, sticky toffee pudding, tortes and other baked goods — through his Web site. They are the kinds of goodies you find in upscale bakeries in major metropolitan areas. That’s a good thing, but it also presents a problem: Mr. Hitzig is about as far from a major metropolitan area as you can get.

He lives high atop a mountain in West Virginia, and his bakery sits in the valley below. Many of the people who live in the area are reluctant to pay premium prices for his premium products. That, of course, is why he decided to take his business online. “We live in a rural area and having a business that would reach our demographics is tough,” he said. “Our products are upscale and high quality so we thought that we could expand our customer base with a Web site.”

Mr. Hitzig is savvy when it comes to Web design and marketing. He has a great domain name. He utilizes social media extensively with presences on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. His content management system gives him the power to perform a number of search-engine optimization operations, and he has worked hard to get the best possible online search placements.

But when it comes to selling online — the only metric that really matters — the site thus far has failed to deliver. “We are on our third Web site, and it is definitely the best one yet,” Mr. Hitzig said. “We are actually quite pleased with it. However, our conversion rate is dismal.”

Read more on the New York Times

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