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
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
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.
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