A Simple Website may be all you Need
If you haven’t a lot to sell, just a few pages online is all you need.
The simpler the better – just two pages can work well. One page with your name, contact details, prices and pictures of your work: the other being the checkout with a link to PayPal. It’s even possible to put all this on a single page! Less is more. The easier it is to buy, the more likely you’ll make a sale.
Make the Site Personal
This is important, as buyers are more likely to trust someone they can relate to. They want to know there’s a real person selling. A thumbnail of yourself smiling with a name goes a long way. So do testimonials – ask customers for comments on your jewelry.
Make it easy for potential buyers to contact you. An e-mail address on your front page will bring mountains of spam if you have a busy site – so create a form for enquiries, or add an extra link to go to your e-mail address.
How to Build a Website with an Online Store to Sell Jewelry
If you really want to make money, what you need is an e-store with a nice front page, a Paypal checkout, and marketing to bring traffic.
This is much easier than you think, especially the first part.
How a site works
When you view a website, you’re accessing the hard drive of another computer, sometimes in a different country. This host machine stores the website for the creator. The site itself has hidden code called HTML (for short). When your browser views this code it translates it into the image you see on the screen.
Rather than spending ages writing this code yourself, all you need is a program to generate it for you. Some word processing programs can do this, or better still you could invest in Front Page or Expressions. However, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to use website building software with an HTML editor built-in, these also make it simple to publish to your host.
One such program I use is from Ewisoft, but there are many others like MrShop. I joined their 30-day free trial and then signed-up for a hosting contract with Go Daddy. These companies make things easy and inexpensive.
Custom store software
For high-volume sellers, Miva offers great online store software. Get the shop for free by signing a contract with certain hosts, or buy the software outright and upload it to your own host. Google for the best deals. If you have US$500 to $1,000 to splash on, then it’s much cheaper in the long run to buy the Miva store software. However, if your cash doesn’t flow that well or you doubt if your store will be a long-term success, then it’ll be cheaper to pay per month and rent the store from a host.
Register a Domain with a Host
Before you begin working on a new website, you must register a domain. This needs to be as simple, as short, as memorable as possible, and available. Start by writing a list of names that are related to you or your business.
For example, if you live along Bure Lane and sell designer jewellery, write Bure Jewelry (at the time of writing burejewelry.com was actually available). Or you could use your own name or the type of pieces you design.
Go for a dot com if possible, especially if you’re in the US, as it’s easier for potential customers to remember. However, a.co.uk for Britain, or.eu for Europe may be more available and appear “local”.
Lately, new suffixes have become available, like.co. Although this stands for Colombia, the suffix is intended for general use and “co” is associated globally to the word “company”. These new suffixes give you the opportunity to own a domain with your chosen name.
When you’ve scribbled all possibilities, go to a popular web host like GoDaddy to see whether it’s taken. If someone else has your preferred domain, consider a different suffix, or change some of the wording. It’s better to string words together, than use hyphens or dots, as it’s easier to remember.
Example: If annspearls.com is taken, then annspearlnecklaces.com is better than anns.pearls.com. This can then be expressed as AnnsPearlNecklaces.com
At the same time choose a contract for storage space under the name from a web host, like GoDaddy -the minimum priced will be sufficient. I think I paid (in December 2009) about US$75 for the registration of two domains and one year hosting. Or you can pay monthly, which works out a little more.
Be sure to print out and keep all letters and settings mailed from your host, you will need these later. Likewise, make a note of all the passwords – you may create more than you can remember! After you’ve done all that, you’re almost on the road!
Your Front Page
The next thing to do is design your front page. This is important as it’s the first thing a potential cu