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Contract jeweler going online


#1

I have been a contract jeweler with Z corp for a few years now. The
bread and butter pays well but does not satisfy my designer or artist
side of me. I am wondering if these websites that sell unusual
silver and cab pieces are doing well. Do these websites do there on
posting and there own website work themselves? I would like to talk to
someone on any advice that they may offer on this transition.

Thanks
John Eric Coleman


#2

Hi,

I have 2 sites, one for jewelry and the other for supplies (and
other things). The supplies do better than the jewelry site. Of
course I do market it more and the jewelry is still developing its
own path. In the 90’s we were working with marine industry sites and
the trend was that business to business use of the Internet was doing
very well. It still seems to be. Many of us buy our supplies on-line.
Even large construction companies do a good bit of business on-line.

That being said, the site is not going to manage itself. You can
build the site and maintain it, but a large part of Web site
management is in the marketing of the site and this takes an on-going
commitment of time.

Web site work is not difficult. Software makes it fairly easy -
however, content is critical and that is why it is usually better for
us to do our own sites (we know our own products, customers and image
better than anyone else). The caution here is to not allow the Web
site to take over your life - and I have to say it can do so.

If you are thinking of doing the site yourself for your silver and
cabs, you might want to download our free QuickStart Guide

http://fine-wire-
jewelry.com/spectrum/quickstart/QuickStart%20Guide.pdf

and subscribe to our free weekly JumpStarts .

Right now the shopping cart part of the site is down because the
certificate is being reinstalled, so that part won’t show for you (I
am hoping my host will get his act together very soon on that).

Good luck on your site if you decide to proceed,

Louise
http://www.fine-wire-jewelry.com/spectrum


#3

Hello Eric,

The first website I made was as rudimentary as they get, but it
worked. I think it worked better then anything I have come up with
since. You need to treat it as a business card rather then a
marketing tool. Hardly anyone will see it except the people you
direct to it and, the people who find it via the search engines are
a mixed bag. Best of all, a web site lets you brand yourself and if
you are careful in presenting yourself well, your customers will
come to you with the expectations you might hope for.

As far as making the site - how long is a piece of string. You need
a domain name and you’ll need to find a company to host it. So far
you haven’t spent much $. If you’re ok with computers you can upload
files to the server/host which you make using am html editor etc.
You can use templates if you like. You can design the whole thing on
a word doc and put that on-line for practice. Beware, it takes ages.
Web designers do actually earn their money. The other thing is
photos…

If you intend to keep your bread and butter work and develop an
on-line presence all by yourself then it will take a long time and
double your hours.

Phillip


#4
I have been a contract jeweler with Z corp for a few years now.
The bread and butter pays well but does not satisfy my designer or
artist side of me. I am wondering if these websites that sell
unusual silver and cab pieces are doing well. Do these websites do
there on posting and there own website work themselves? I would
like to talk to someone on any advice that they may offer on this
transition. 

The first thing you should ask yourself is what type of web presence
do you want? There are two schools of thought on this. A
gallery/showcase type of site, or a lets make a little bit of money
with e-commerce type of site. You can effectively combine the two
with some style and grace, but plan on spending a little bit of cash
doing so. Especially if you want to do this yourself, Ill give a
brief rundown on what you might need to do.

First things first, register a domain name ($35 year or less), and
find a hosting company ($3-$20/month)

Second, and probably the most important thing…photos…and great
photos at that. This is the first part of developing a good site, and
the first part of spending money. Learn how to photograph your stuff,
this takes time, a decent camera, decent lighting, and some sort of
photo editing program (photoshop is what I use). Because photography
is two dimensional, sometimes its difficult to convey the piece in
all its glory. Once your happy with that, onto developing the site.

Your site can be very simple or very complex. I like keeping things
on the simple side. That being said, invest in a good web development
tool. Personally I like to use Net Objects Fusion
(www.netobjects.com). For $200 you can get the latest version, its
pretty intuitive and has a quick learning curve (unlike Dreamweaver).
Play with the software, learn how to build publish a site locally,
how to upload your site to your server, learn what happens when you
make changes and the like. This is going to be the most time
consuming portion of building your presence…gettting it to look
and act the way you want it to.

The nice thing about a purchased bit of software are the tutorials,
you can learn tons from them, the added bonus, you dont need to know
html to build a great looking site, it does all the hard work for
you.

Just remember content is king! Visit other sites and see what you
like and dont like.

If that is all you want stop here…if you want to turn it into a
small e-commerce site then read the following…

I cant say enough about www.mals-e.com, a free, yes i said free,
e-commerce solution. Simply sign up, learn how to intigrate their
linkages into your site and BAM! you have an online store. These guys
have been around for years, and I use them on one of my sites with
absolutely no problems what so ever, not even a single bit of spam
from them which is nice. It takes a bit of time to learn how mal’s
integrates into your site, but once you figure it out, it will be
down hill from there.

If you already have credit card processing in house you dont need
the third party processors, if you dont, then youll have to sign up
for one. One nice thing about mals is its integration with paypal.

Marketing your site is key, especially if you want to sell stuff. No
one will know your there unless you tell them.

Lastly, you can always pay someone to get you online as well.

Well, that about wraps up the basics, good luck with it. If you have
any questions, feel free to email me.

P@
www.patpruitt.com

PS: some sites ive built.
www.customsteel.com - mals e-commerce integration
www.codysanderson.net - basic info site
www.marlaallison.com - paintings by the g/f


#5
Personally I like to use Net Objects Fusion (www.netobjects.com).
For $200 you can get the latest version, its pretty intuitive and
has a quick learning curve (unlike Dreamweaver). 

I don’t know Net Objects, and take this as endorsement, not
disagreement. I LOVE Dreamweaver - one of the best programs I have.
Buy a book to learn it, it’s really not that hard, and it does
everything relating to websites. Fast, easy and full-featured. Many
plugins available, too.


#6

My former profession included web design. Dreamweaver is indeed the
program of choice. I have the full studio 8 and can make any form
website I chose static, dynamic flash etc.

Now I need the time lol I would rather be making jewelry…heh off I
go

teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#7
studio 8 and can make any form website I chose static, dynamic
flash etc. 

I’ll pass on, paraphrased, some good advise I read. Dreamweaver has
many features to learn, but once you learn them, it’s pretty easy to
use - drag the link arrow over to a web page, and it links!! Gotta
love it. The advise: Flash is not so easy to learn. If you just bring
up the GUI, it can be a mystery of even where to start. And what I
read is the real advise: Doing real flash takes real expertise, best
left to a pro. I’m a smart guy, brave, intrepid {;<}, but
sophisticated flash programming is really out there. Loops, nested
loops, imbedded movies, movies imbedded in imbedded movies, sound,
action scripts. It’s not really that hard to do some simple motion,
but if you’re looking for the kinds of cool flash sites you see out
there, hire a pro. There are also a variety of canned things - photo
albums, headers, buttons and the like, out there.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8

Between Flash and dreamweaver and just a plain old basic website
using basic html and log res graphics… Just remember they are all
tools and you can produce good and bad sites from any of them.

I live at the end of a series of links before my connection even
makes it to the Canadian backbone let alone the interconnect to the
US so from way out here where even broadband is not so broad… are
a few points to consider.

1- Forget Using a really fancy Flash module for your opening pages,
nothing makes me leave faster than a loading flash progress bar.

2- Load low res thumbnails linked to high resolution pictures… LOL
and tell people that, you would be surprised the number of times I
have told my mother in law that when the icon changes to that symbol
you can double lick it to get a even bigger and picture if you
want…

3- Once the website is done go to a friends house and test it. Also
if you know someone with a dialup do the same and test what it looks
like on a slow connection. There you will see problems like server
timeouts and security issues.

HTH
Kay