Project: 88 Monks

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – Website Has Been Updated; New Background and Header

So I feel this is all I can do with the site as of now. I don’t want to touch the shop just yet since I need access to his Big Cartel site and he’s considering changing eCommerce platforms. Also, he doesn’t have consistent product pics so I’m not going to start updating something only to change it up halfway through it.

5.14 88Monks Landing Page

What do you guys think? Feedback is much appreciated.

Check out the progress from then till now.
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – New Landing, About, Store and Contact Pages (Still a Work In Progress)

Been working on the site since the 9th (when eNom finally decided to release the domain to Bluehost).

Here’s a screenshot to the landing page. I made it so there’s 3 featured photos.

Featured photo 1: “Welcome to 88 Monks”

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.26.32 AM

Featured photo 2: “Hip Hop, Kung-Fu, Video Game Shop!”

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.35.42 AM

Featured photo 3: “625 N. Alvarado St. Los Angeles, CA 90026”

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 9.30.23 AM

I made it this way so its easier to navigate. There are still some lingering issues that I need to take care of like adding the social media links and removing the unwanted post tags. I’ll have to dive deeper into the HTML for those…pain in butt.

Finally got the shop loaded. Originally, I was going to use WooCommerce but I decided that it was too much work. I decided to stick with Big Cartel and seamlessly integrate it by using iframe tags. I did do some HTML work on the Big Cartel side. Still needs work.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 9.31.47 AM

As I mentioned on the other post, the About page is fine the way it is. I couldn’t find the old picture they used so I just added something from their Tumblr account. Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 9.32.04 AM

Finally added a much needed contact page. It’s pretty basic and it doesn’t say much but at least its up.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 9.32.12 AM

There’s still a lot of work to do on this site…mostly on the back end and some aesthetic tweaks but it should be up and running soon.

It looks a lot better than the what it looked like before:
Landing Page
About Page
Product Page

Stay posted.

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – Why You Don’t Cheap Out on Hosting Servers

I received the login information and ready to go to town on this site. 88 Monks is a wordpress based site with a Big Cartel plugin for a shop, which is cool. There are many way to go about having an online site and this is a cheap way to go. After you get the domain and host, you get the Big Cartel shop. You can get the free version, which is good for 5 products (I think) or you can pay monthly for up to 100 products and options (again, don’t quote me on the number).

So I logged in. Much to my surprise, this site is dated. I mean, this needed more updates than Internet Explorer. I did everything I could to update the site. I tried updating WordPress itself but that didn’t work so I deactivated plugins in one at a time, then all of them, then some but not all plugins and nothing worked.

4.30 Failed Plug ins

“Download failed. Destination directory for file streaming does not exist or is not writable.” It’s a problem with the server. It has to be.

Turns out that I was right. The server is complete crap. 88 Monks was originally hosted on GoDaddy but the domain expired and eNom, a second rate host, bought it. I logged in to their back end and I thought it would be a simple WordPress install but it wasn’t.

5.05 Enom 1

I couldn’t even make a fresh install. The user interface was minimal but crap. It wasn’t functional. What you’re looking at below is the actual control panel. You can’t do anything. Not even through FTP.


After going back and forth with eNom customer service and 88 Monks, I decided it was best to bring 88 Monks to the present. I decided on Bluehost since it’s reliable and I’ve never had a bad experience with them.

Do you see this? This is how most hosts look like when you first log in. Its simple, it’s clean and its easy to use.

5.05 Bluehost 1


Moving on the cpanel, baby, look at those drop-down menus. It’s easy to use even for a novice user and its functional.

5.05 Bluehost 2


The next step was to move hosts domains from eNom to Bluehost. And this is the part that really ticked me off. When you work with hosts and decide to move domains, the process usually takes anywhere from 24-48 hours. For reasons unknown, eNom takes anywhere from 7-10 days. This whole process started on May 1st. I have a few more days to go. I talked to eNom’s customer service on this and they politely said they can’t do anything about it and that’s just the way it is. Now the reason why you don’t want to cheap out on hosts is specifically for three reasons: 1) Customer Service, 2) User Interface/Ease of Use and 3) Reliability and Speed. eNom is far behind the rest of the players in this game. They do have price on their side but when it comes to technology, you don’t want to cheap out on hosting servers.

Check out the previous 88 Monks related posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – The Product Page

On the first installment of the 88 Monks saga, I critiqued the landing page.
On the second installment, I talked about the About page.

Let’s talk about the Product Page. I can’t think of a word that’ll exemplify what I’m trying to say so I’ll have to just describe it. There’s nothing more annoying than a poorly built website that has products everywhere you go. It just follows you. You can’t escape it. But I understand. You want the customers to buy what you’re selling but having it everywhere actually screams out desperation. “BUY ME! BUY ME!” It’s like how women get turned off when you show too much interest in them…but that’s a topic for another day.

Other than the second row being broken (in addition to other problems mentioned on the other post), there is a sidebar that has ALL OF THE PRODUCTS LISTED. On top of that, there is a Follow Us and Share Us section on that same sidebar that pretty much has the same information sans YouTube. This sidebar is on every page – but I guess in 88 Monk’s situation, it’s not all bad since there’s only 3 pages to this website.

5.05 88Monks Products 1

First of all, you don’t want to overwhelm the customer. As mentioned in the first installment, you don’t want a landing page with too much information. You want the customer to visit your site and browse around a bit before checking out your site. It’s all about the experience. In the second installment, I mentioned having a contact page. You need that. You need to be transparent. You want to create an open line of communication. And the lesson learned from this installment is that consistency is key and less is more.

More updates coming soon!


ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – The About Page

On the first installment of the 88 Monks saga, I talked about this landing page and the problems I saw with it. Now I’m going to critique his About Page. In all honesty, the About page is pretty decent. It perfectly depicts what 88 Monks is all about (growth and support of the community) and the history of where they got the name. BUT there’s no information about how I would contact you. I don’t even know your name. In addition to the not-so-professional-or-trustworthy-landing page, the lack of transparency on WHO the person behind 88 Monks is creates an impersonal barrier and MAY, (not will) drive people away.

4.30 88Monks before about 1

If you’re having problem reading the image, please read below:

Believing that the freedom of speech is a human right, we bring to our audience an awareness to the world through our clothing. We are the trusted caretakers of the 88 Monks Philosophy: Help artists grow and society grows with them.
Who we are…
Branding ourselves as the 88 Monks was inspired by the 88 Generation who in 1988 protested against military rule in Myanmar, a country formally known as Burma.88 Monks was created and established in Sept 2009 by a group of collaborators to give the voiceless a voice to be heard. Just as the 88 Generation fight for a democratic society, we as the 88 Monks provide a platform, a temple if you will, to meditate on the creativity of artists and transmit their talents to a world wide street gallery through clothing. 88 Monks is an incubator of ideas created to foster the creative talents of the under exposed. 88 Monks seeks to inspire the struggling, create awareness and share the vision of its artists, a true representation of the 88 Monks Lifestyle.88 Monks takes pride that we are a Los Angeles based brand and are committed to share that freedom and lifestyle with the world.
Company Overview
We create exclusive looks for our clientele that reflects their lifestyle at an affordable price. The 88 Monks are dedicated to presenting the newest art available, keeping each client on the cutting edge of fashion and artistic subcultures. Believing that the freedom of speech is a human right, we bring to our audience an awareness to the world through our clothing. We are the trusted caretakers of the 88 Monks Philosophy: Help artists grow and society grows with them.

The idea is awesome. The execution is terrible.

Let’s work to improve that.

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – The Landing Page At First Glance

A friend of mine has been having trouble with his business, 88 Monks. It’s an apparel line that has both and online “presence” and a physical store-front. The twist is that 88 Monks is an apparel line that also offers consignment, meaning that he will have other brands being sold on his shop. The reason why “presence” is in quotation is because he really doesn’t have an online nor a physical presence. His marketing tactics are guerilla, meaning that he only focuses on stickers and word-of-mouth, but they have had no real impact on the success of his physical store-front. His social media presence is also lacking. There are many problems but for now, I want to focus on the website and the problems with it before talking about his social media presence and the lack of marketing.

Below are screenshots of the before/current pictures of 88 Monks. The pics aren’t seamless (one page) because I’m writing this up at my day job and I don’t have Photoshop here.

Now, I actually like this landing page (or what I thought was a landing page).  The banner is decent, the site pages are visible and there’s a video to catch the viewer’s eye. If someone clicks on the video, bam, you got someone sitting on your page for a minute and 27 seconds and you’ve sparked their interests for more content.

4.30 88Monks before 1


But what do they get when they scroll down? An online shop. And an online shop that is severely lacking in quality. I’m not talking about design because I’ve seen worse sell for more but I’m talking about the layout. The second row of this shop has only one picture placed on the far right. Why? There’s no reason it should be like this.

4.30 88Monks before 2


Also, this shop does not have consistency, which is key to having a successful online shop. The images are mixed with stock pictures of white tee with graphics laced over it and actual product shots. There’s also one picture with a completely different background. How will you ever gain the customer’s trust with a shop looking really suspicious and low-quality?

4.30 88Monks before 3


Oh there’s more scrolling? An about page? On the landing page? Why? There’s a separate page for that on the first picture.

4.30 88Monks before 4


And then there’s random pictures? Looks like a Tumblr or Instagram feed placed right on the landing page. I’m feeling overwhelmed here!

4.30 88Monks before 5

4.30 88Monks before 6

To sum it all up, it’s clutter. It’s just too much information. Sure it may look nice at first but when you scroll down, you see a shop that’s inconsistent and has bugs, an about section that doesn’t really say much, and many many pictures that makes you feel overwhelmed. Plus, this page is not configured correctly to be picked up by any search engine.

I’ll fix this.