Every time I meet with a group of jewelers I'm surprised by the number of them that don't have a website yet, or those who set up a website 10 years ago but haven't updated it since. I often times hear that jewelers don't know where to start and they don't know who to believe because every website company tells them something different. Honestly, it's not just jewelers who don't know where to begin or who to trust because I hear this question asked a lot at general in-person business socials I attend.
For today's Daily Golden Nugget I'd like to recap some of my thoughts on how to get started with your first fully formulated online presence. I'm saying "presence" instead of "website" because it's important to know that you will eventually need to have a more involved online presence than just your website.
So how do you get started with your website, and online presence?
It all starts with a goal. What do you want your website to eventually do for you?
Some questions to get you thinking about goals:
* Do you want to sell online or just use the website as an online business brochure?
* Do you want to use your website to build your list of potential in-store customers, or just have people join your email list?
* Do you want to want to mention your website in your offline ads, like newspaper, radio, and TV?
* Do you want to use online advertising that brings new business?
Each of those questions represents a completely different strategy for building a website. Whatever you goal is you need to commit to getting it done. Commitment will require your time, someone's labor, and a budget.
Here are two things to keep in mind about your budget:
1. Smaller budgets mean you are going to have to spend more of your own time working on the site, and you will probably build a smaller website with fewer features.
2. Larger budgets mean you can create a website that has direct response to customer actions. You can afford to hire a reputable firm to build your site and help you develop an internet strategy.
Here are four things to keep in mind about your time:
1. What are your best skills as a jeweler? Marketing? Repairs? Design? Sales? Administrative? Think about each of these skills and how long it took you to learn or master them.
2. Do you want to learn website design and programming, or would you rather leave that to a professional?
3. Do you want to learn internet marketing and search engine optimization, or leave that to a professional too?
4. Do-it-yourself website companies give you tools to build a website over a weekend. Taking this approach means you will need to maintain the site on your own, and you are taking on the full responsibility of all the time needed for internet marketing and optimization.
Your budget is going to be greatly affected by how you answer those last 4 questions. If your passion is selling jewelry then you should not allow yourself to get sucked into a bottomless pit of time required for website development or the do-it-yourself websites.
There is also the possibility that you can hire someone in-house to create and manage your website for you. I've worked with several jewelers who hired employees for website work. This sounds like a good strategy, but you should only take this approach if you can afford to pay an employee full time without them also working on the sales floor or somewhere else in your back office.
I hope I've given you some ideas to think about. In tomorrow's Nugget I'll actually explain some exact steps you would have to go through in order to accomplish the 4 goals I outlined above.