Although I keep up with the changes in the internet, I know it's not realistic for you to. This is my job and my responsibility, whereas you are running a jewelry store and need to pay attention to daily operations there. But that doesn't mean you should be a complete ignoramus about your website.
It's your responsibility, at minimum, to make sure your website is attracting people correctly. To help you with that, I've put together this list of 5 things you need to do with your jewelry website on the day you launch it and immediately after.
Set up Google Analytics
There's a lot of information inside GA and from time to time I even feel overwhelmed with the decision making power that even the smallest business can gain from these website statistics. In all honestly, you will need to hire a professional if you want to unleash the power inside.
As the store owner you should, at minimum, learn how to check the number of visitors to your website and the pages they are looking at.
Set up Google Webmaster Tools
Whereas Google Analytics will give you information about how people use your site once they get there, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) gives you all the information about how Google looks at your website and the keywords that trigger your site to appear in search results.
Navigate over to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/and set up your account. The setup process requires you verify the ownership of your website. They have a few different methods to verify the site and you might be able to do it without asking your web programmer for help.
In this post (not provided) world you will need to look into GWT if you want to know how your website is ranking for various keywords. But that's not all it's good for...
GWT will tell you how many times your website appears in search results based on the queries people have. The graph they provide will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling as long as the blue line graph is going up and to the right. I'm intentionally being vague when I say "blue line graph" because that's how all the charts appear. Your website is doing a good job as long as all those charts are showing steady, or an upward moving blue line.
If your blue line is going down then you need to talk to your website team or SEO guy.
Create and Submit the Sitemap.xml File
The sitemap.xml is a hidden page on the website that you should submit to Google and Bing so they know all the pages of your website. You can refer to this previous Nugget for information on how to create a Sitemap.xml file and then follow these directions to submit the sitemap to Bing.
Now that you have a GWT account set up you would log into it and navigate over to the Crawl > Sitemap page and submit your sitemap. Google will immediately fetch your sitemap.xml file and start reading all the pages and files listed in it.
Create the Robots.txt File
The robots.txt is another hidden file on your website that you can use to tell search engines how to read your website. You can use this file to tell search engines to ignore you entire site, folders within you site, or individual pages.
This really is a simple text file that you should create in a text editor (Notepad is fine) and upload to the root directory of your website.
To fully understand all the nuances of the robots.txt file you should google "creating a robots.txt" and look at the results there, but there are some key things I do want to point out...
A good web programmer will set up a robots.txt file while they are building your website so search engines won't read it if they accidently find it. In this case the robots file will contain these 2 simple lines:
User-agent: *Those lines tell all search engines that they should not read any of the information on the website. This is a really good practice to prevent duplicate content from appearing in engines when in reality you are simply in the website migration process.
After spending months developing the website it's easy to forget to forget that this block was put into place so make sure this is on your launch checklist.
After the site goes live you can change the robots.txt file to simply be this:
User-agent: *That 3rd line shows a "Sitemap:" setting which Bing uses as one of the ways to discover your sitemap.xml file mentioned above.
Read through the Google results to find more specific information about creating Robots.txt files for your site. There's a lot of possibilities.
Reevaluate Your Goals
On the day your website launches you should probably reevaluate what your goals were. In my experience, it takes more than 6 months for a retail jeweler to go from start to finish with the new website setup process. The motivation to set up a website probably began 3 to 6 months prior to that.
Sadly, because the process took so long to complete, the day your website launches, it might already be a little out of date with the latest technology or what user expectations are.
Sit down and create a reality checklist for yourself, including:
* Your original thoughts or goals
* Does your website meet those goals?
* What holidays are coming up? Is your website ready for them?
* What will your website need to do for your marketing in 3 months?
From this point forward, you need to think of your website as an integral part of your marketing. If you thought that your website was completed, well, sorry to say that you are sadly mistaken. Your website will never be complete.
Reevaluate your website, your marketing, and your future needs every 3 months and to make sure it's being used correctly.