A Rough Guide To Establish On-Line Business For Jewelry & Gemstone Companies
So you are a small or mid-size jewelry, gemstone company operating in traditional brick and mortal environment. You have realized the potential to take business on-line.
How do you start?
Here is compact and to-the-point guide:
1. Domain name:
First things first; get a simple but effective domain name for your company.There are many companies which offer on line domain reservation Click Here for the list.
Our suggestion for selecting the domain name
- Integrate your company name; for example Arsalan Gems can have arsalangems.com if not available then go for arsalangemsonline.com or arsalangemsshop.com would be good.
- Don’t go for domain names with hyphen or which are difficult to type or pronounce for e.g. www.arsalan-gems.com
- .com names are the most preferred once.
- Most of the domain names will be unavailable. So using creativity in selecting the catchy but simple domain name is important.
- Check out this article; a bit dated but still holds good when selecting a domain name.
Most important ingredients of the web site. Get ready with photographs of your inventory. Preferably in three angles and in good lighting conditions. If hiring a professional photographer is out of your budget you can do it in-house. All photographs should be in a same angle and of good quality (at least 640×640 resolutions). Label the photographs appropriately example “solitare-ring-m123-Top angle .jpg” the labeling is not only self-explanatory but also SEO friendly.
Don’t Photoshop images except for clearing dirt. Photoshoping or doctoring images of jewelry is not ethical.
It will range from $2500 to $6000 depending on your requirement. But $3000 would be good enough. If you have something like bluenile.com or gemvera.com in mind ;set aside a million as they have huge ERP system , logistical module, billing, accounting and dozen more modules integrated.
Be ready with your data in any spreadsheet format. It may include Jewelry stock number, design number, metal, size, stone details stone origin, cut, size etc.
You may find a good web site development agency through elance.com but be careful to look at their past experience and feedback. Jewelry web site designing is a specialized job.
Ask the programmer how long he will support your web site with bug fixing. Initial support of at least 3 months is crucial till web site becomes stable.
Also request your programmer or the development agency to provide a demo of backend console from where you can manage your web site with no or little training. Some of the backend web site management includes updating inventory, changing static page contents like contact details phone number etc., adding new pages in content like additional questions in FAQ.
Go for Open source platform only like php+mysql. We strongly suggest opensource free frameworks like OpenCart or Magento. A developer may suggest frameworks like dotnetnuke or aspdotnetstorefront. But unless you have complete knowledge about these I would not suggest them.
You will have to buy a hosting package from server provider like Godaddy.com , Justhost.com or hostgater.com (there are hundreds of companies for hosting). Linux server with shared hosting is going enough. Don’t go for expensive fancy stuff like VPN or dedicated server.
Here is the list of some top hosting companies.
8. Additional cost:
For integrating payment gateways like PayPal, MasterCard or visa you need to buy a SSL certificate. Your developer will help you in getting one. For on-line transactions getting SSL certificates is an absolute must. Verisign is one of the most well-known certification authorities. But if you are looking for cost effective solutions checkout here; also check out cheapssl.com
If you wish to have real time online transactions through credit cart you will have to subscribe to payment gateway providers.
Payment gateway is the service that automates the payment transaction between the shopper and merchant. It is usually a third-party service that is actually a system of computer processes that process, verify, and accept or decline credit card transactions on behalf of the merchant through secure Internet connections.
Your developer will integrate the payment gateway into your ecommerce website. Alternately if you don’t wish to have online transaction you may opt for offline transactions where in when order is fired the buyer can make payment through check or wire.
Here is the list of some recognized payment gateway providers.
Search Engine Optimization is perhaps the diciest area. If anyone is promising you to put your web site in first page of Google for search terms like “engagement rings” or Diamond Jewelry” he is conning. Google algorithms are extremely sophisticated. It takes months before your site can even start showing up in first three pages for generic search strings like “Diamond engagement ring”.
The best you can do is to make your web site search engine friendly by following this guideline:
- Ask your developer to integrate a blog and keep regularly blogging your thoughts, industry News etc.
- Don’t use flash in your web site.
- Introduce original content in the web site like “How to select jewelry” or “Type of color stones” etc. Google ranking algorithm will give good scores for original content.
- Ask your developer to create account on Google webmaster central and submit sitemaps to Google spiders.
- Submit your web site to directory listing services such as Dmoz or Yahoo Directory.
- List your website in appropriate category of social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, delicious and Digg.
- Ask your developer to provider Google Plus, Twitter and FB sharing Icons on the web site.
10. Social Networking
You may open a Face Book –fan page, Twitter and Google Plus account. Regularly announcing “what’s new “on your web site, news and your thoughts. But you need to keep these accounts buzzing. Don’t open social networking accounts unless you devote regular time to keep these active.
How should I advertise my web site?
- Advertise your web site URL wherever you can.
- Print it in stationary; e-mail it to your clients.
- Declare it on your personal FB profile.
PPC ads or Google paid advertising
We would not suggest the same for small and medium size jewelry companies unless you have $2000 monthly budget exclusively for advertising. It’s expensive and competitive.
Related Readings : What features to ask for in a typical e-commerce web site?
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