We received an interesting question recently from a well established jewelry store. They wanted to know the drawbacks or disadvantages of "getting a new website." We thought the question was interesting enough to answer as today's Daily Golden Nugget.
To answer this question, let's first assume you have had a website for at least 2 years, and you are thinking of getting a new one.
So what are the "disadvantages or drawbacks of getting a new jewelry website?"
Before we itemize a list we'd first like to say that we really don't see a disadvantage of making a new website that runs with current standards of technologies, website usability, and design that appeals to the current market. With that said, let's outline the hurdles you need to get over to make a new website.
When replacing an old jewelry website with a new one, the biggest problem will be managing the old website URLs and pointing them all to the new locations. You would do this through 301 redirecting.
Setting up a new website most likely means you will also have a completely new website URL structure. Usually this is because the new content management system will not have the same methods of URL control as your previous.
We're giving you our previous Bit.ly links for 301 Redirect training below, but the basic idea is that you don't want to lose your website ranking. Over the life of a website, random people will link to you for random reasons. You might have also paid a lot of money to an SEO firm to do link building for you. Either way, that's time and money that needs to be saved and protected somehow.
When switching to a new website you need to make sure every page of the old site is redirected to a replacement page on the new site. If you don't have a replacement page then you should 301 redirect those old pages to the new home page instead.
Make sure your new website company provides page discovery and 301 redirect services.
So what happens if you get this step wrong or don't bother with 301 redirecting? Well, if you think business is slow in this economy now, without 301 you would run the risk of not being able to pay your bills for a few months.
Our previous education on 301 redirecting:
Basic Lesson: http://bit.ly/kfwAer
URL Restructuring: http://bit.ly/hvsHrH
The second hurdle we see with setting up a new website is the need to learn new content management system (CMS) software. Even though we're talking about jewelry websites here, the reality is that many software companies are creating software that runs in a web browser. You don't need to install it on your computer like your POS or inventory management software; instead the CMS runs through any web browser and on any computer.
There will be a learning curve to this new CMS, and that in itself is a hurdle to overcome. Like all new software, you will need at least 1 month of playing with it and probably several months before you are a real master at it.
Make sure you understand your upgrade options. You will want new versions of the CMS when it's available. Some website companies will sell you the software and charge for every upgrade when requested. Some website companies will provide the CMS as part of their monthly support.
Regardless what type of CMS you go with, don't worry about "ownership" of the software. Instead, view it as a tool that has a specific life span. Once you outgrow the tool it will need to be replaced anyway.
We've seen many e-commerce sites that went from the Jumla CMS to WordPress 2, then WordPress 3, and then decided that they wanted their own CMS custom programmed using the PHP website language. Each move was also accompanied by a website redesign over the course of about 6 years of website evolution.
The third hurdle you will need to overcome is the initial setup time for the new website. Every redesign will require some amount of your attention. Make sure you dedicate yourself to the setup process. You need to account for the time to proofread the work of your web designer, review layouts that they suggest, pick colors and worry about product data entry. If you are setting up an eCommerce site you also need to worry about silly things like what thank you message to write in the purchase confirmation email.
Our own programming and transfer team has converted old jewelry sites into new jewelry website designs and transferred content hundreds of times. The fastest website was put up in a week with little design or creative input; but the best representations of a store's brand usually take more than a month of creative design and tweaking before a jewelry store owner is happy. So please, find the time to include it in your schedule.
Like we said above, we don't really see a drawback in getting a new website to replace your current jewelry website. So we instead presented this list of hurdles we see all jewelers go through when they call on our programming team.
We'd like to hear your own experiences. What issues did you find most annoying or troublesome during your last website redesign and replacement? Reply back to this email, post your comment directly on our website, or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JewelerWebsiteAG. If you're short on words, feel free to send a Tweet mentioning @jwebag.