Websites have become part of the normal process of establishing a business. It's more important to get your website and social media started before you even open your retail doors. In some cases, you need to get your website launched before you even make the first sale.
I'm not specifically talking about e-commerce website, but consider for a moment that your website needs to be the support system for your business. What's the minimum amount of work you need to put into your website before it will start to support your business model, and ultimately create sales?
Let me answer that with an example...
Let's say you are a new jewelry designer just graduating college. Your initial goal is to place your line in a few local stores but you know you need some type of marketing support to help those stores sell your designs.
Your marketing support will start with your website. A website is more flexible than any printed marketing material, and you can create, delete, and recreate content on your website until you figure out what best represents you. Once the website is complete, or at least complete enough, you can then create some printed marketing materials for use in the retail stores.
As a new jewelry designer you will need to explain who you are, and how your designs are inspired. This is the type of information you would have on your About Us page... Perhaps you would want to call the page "About Me," or simply "About."
If your goal is to truly sell through a retail channel, then you need to immediately plan for a web page showing the name and addresses of your retail stores. This could be a list of store names or a personal Google map that you've set up with store location pins. You don't need to have a database with a proximity zip code search; you can simply have a list of stores organized by town, county, or state.
Direct your website visitors to this locations page with links around your site indicating "Where to buy."
Other than the About and Locations page, you also need a Home page, Contact page, and a page showing your products.
I'm not sure if this will come as a surprise or not, but if you're in the jewelry industry (regardless if you are a retailer, designer, or manufacturer), your customers expect to see a catalog of jewelry photos on your website.
The best thing for a newcomer designer would be to show good product photography along with a story to explain the inspiration of each one.
If you are a jewelry store, you should at least have a page of some products that represent what is most popular in your store.
Please note that I'm not suggesting an e-commerce site, just a catalog of jewelry with details for each.
I have seen a few small jewelry websites ranking well when they had large photographs on their homepage without a lot of text. I was perplexed when I first noticed high ranking for what could be considered a minimalistic approach to website design.
The truth is that you really need to pay attention to SEO quality on a small website. The basic SEO things you need to concentrate on are:
1. Make sure to write all the content yourself, and in your own voice.
2. Fully describe all your jewelry styles with more than just "Made in 14K White Gold with Garnets"
3. Use simple and descriptive file names for every page.
4. Use simple and descriptive page titles for every page. You could even match your file names.
5. Use descriptive names for all your product images, using hyphens instead of spaces. For example: ring-14k-white-gold-garnets.jpg
6. Include the ALT and TITLE attributes for all the images on your site. Use simple descriptions in those attributes without overdoing your keyword usage.
7. Make sure to sign up for Google Webmaster tools and analytics so you know how well your website is performing.
These are just some basic guidelines when creating a new, small website. You might only need 5 or 6 pages on the site to start.
The important point to remember here is that customers like to see nice photographs on a jewelry website, and that's going to be the most important part of this support system that will help you sell.