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Internet sales


#1

Perhaps I could add my experience to the recent discussion regarding
selling jewellery on the internet. We started doing this about 3
months ago, our site (www.atlanticajewellery.co.uk) is hosted by a
commercial ecommerce provider but was self-built. As they say, there
are advantages and disadvantages, and I think that people are too
quick to jump on the disadvantages because, like us, they started out
with visions of flooding sales. Disillusionment quickly followed.

The number 1 problem is attracting people to your site without
spending huge bucks on advertising. There are lots of web people who
will sell you advertising, with no way of knowing if it will really
atract custom. In general it won’t, and you will waste cash. For
us, web sales have been extremely slow, despite the fact that we have
good stuff that’s hard to find elsewhere and at good prices. So
that’s been a bit of a flop at present.

The second disappointment are the search engines. Basically, don’t
expect to get listed, period. All this about having the
right meta tags and page design is just rubbish. Unless you have a
lot of traffic already you can submit yourself until you’re sick of
it, and you won’t find yourself on any of them. The only way to
initially build your hit number is to get out and talk to people, in
the trade, customers, friends, anyone who will listen. If there is a
trick to getting listed, then someone is keeping bloody quiet about
it because I haven’t figured it out yet.

The advantages are harder to see but they are there nontheless. For
a start you don’t have to maintain retail premises. In the UK you’d
have to think of at least �20k/annum overheads for this, so for a
startup you would need about �100k of business in your first year.
This is a lot if you’re just starting up. Our web site, credit card
handling, and mail order facilities will cost us only about �1500
this year, which is a much more affordable startup. As soon as
you’re on the web you have a much more credible image than if you’re
just a small craftsman working in the shed. Most of my income is now
from custom pieces, but having the web site gave me a way to make the
transition from being essentially an amateur to a professional.

There are other advantages too. You can show anyone your stock
securely without having to lug it about. You can provide backup
on care, cleaning, gemmology, which will attract visitors
and make the site more useful to everyone.

So we’re not expecting to make a lot from the web site this year, or
maybe next. I expect it’ll still be the personal sales that keep us
going. But the presence and credibility it provides is enough to
make it worthwhile.

Clive Washington.


#2

Uhmmm, Clive… sorry to disagree, but having the right meta tags and
page design is what will get you listed in the search engines,
along with having good site navigation, no broken links and content,
content, content. In fact, even if you pay for a listing your page
design and content will be the primary factors of where you will end
up in the rankings. The search engines use algorithms (which change
constantly) to determine the rank of a site and if your design and
meta tags don’t fit within the prescribed algorithm(s), then you
won’t be listed.

I also have had a site for 3+ years. I’m not sure how many total
pages I have listed on all the search engines, but I know its a bunch!
I rank in the top ten on most engines for the keywords I want to be
ranked by and I have numerous listings between the ranks of 20-40.
Then, there are hundreds of my page listings ranking below 40.
Sometimes, I’m embarrassed at the number of listing I have on some
search engines, but those engines usually don’t have an algorithm that
excludes multiple pages from the same site for the submitted search
term and I can’t do anything about that. It takes work and following
the search engine guidelines to get and maintain these listings.

At Hanuman’s request, we are starting a list off Orchid to discuss
jewelry/gemstone marketing on the web, page design, search engines,
etc. etc. Anything to do with the web as long as it specifically
relates to jewelry or gemstones not any other industry! If you are
interested in joining us, let me know off list and I’ll send you the
when I finish getting it set up - probably sometime
tomorrow.

Nancy

Nancy Bernardine-Widmer
Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry
http://www.bernardine.com
nancy@bernardine.com


#3

Hi Clive,

I responded briefly to your post on Orchid, but wanted to respond off
list as well.

Basically three months isn’t a judge of whether you will get listed
or not. Some search engines don’t even send their robots out to walk
sites more often than ever few months. It isn’t like in the "old"
days when Altavista and Infoseek would list a submitted site,
sometimes within hours. There are just too many sites out there now
to do that kind of turn around. Also, the SE’s are much more
discriminating now and if the site doesn’t fall within their stated
guidelines then it won’t be listed.

I remember the first time I saw my site listed I was sooooo excited!
It was 10/98 on altavista and I was number 156 for my keyword, but
back then I thought that was fantastic. Obviously, I knew nothing!.
:slight_smile:

I’ve studied a lot, worked hard and belong to a number of web design
and marketing groups in order to stay current. It takes work to have
a web site, just like owning a brick and mortar store or doing the
show circuit.

There are around 20 Orchid members so far who have responded they
wanted to be part of a group to discuss jewelry/gemstone marketing on
the web. Please let me know if you want to join us. There are
several of us in the group who have active well placed web sites doing
decent business on the web as well as people like yourself, just
starting, and a number who are interested in a web site but have done
nothing about it yet. Let me know if you are interested in joining us
and I’ll send you the info when I finish setting the list up.

Nancy


#4
I think that people are too quick to jump on the disadvantages
because, like us, they started out with visions of flooding sales. 
Disillusionment quickly followed. 
This is the main problem with the whole Internet  E Commerce industry

right now all these folks thought they would need wheelbarrows to haul
away the money from their websites. Well like any other business
venture it takes time skill and a bit of luck to succeed. I have been
selling from my website since 1996. It has grown steadily since I
started and it now provides for my income and a full time assistant.

     The number 1 problem is attracting people to your site without
spending huge bucks on advertising. 
I get much more response to print ads that direct folks to my site

than any of my Internet ads but regardless of how you advertise you
must advertise or no one will ever find you.

    The second disappointment are the search engines.  Basically,
don't expect to get listed, period.  All this about
having the right meta tags and page design is just rubbish.  Unless
you have a lot of traffic already you can submit yourself until
you're sick of it, and you won't find yourself on any of them.  The
only way to initially build your hit number is to get out and talk
to people, in the trade, customers, friends, anyone who will listen.
 If there is a trick to getting listed, then someone is keeping
bloody quiet about it because I haven't figured it out yet. 
This is not quite right. To get listed you must do two things One you

must understand how search engines index your website and to do this
you need to do some study. I would suggest two resources both provide
some free to the public but you can get more detailed
by subscribing to them. the first is
http://searchenginewatch.com it is by far the most detailed and
accurate about how all the major search engines work. The
second site is a site promotion tool that will automate much but not
all of the work in submitting your site to the search engines. It also
has a lot of very good on making your pages search engine
friendly it is http://selfpromotion.com/ . The Second thing you must
do is correctly build your site to be search engine friendly. I have
encountered very few people who design websites that know how to do
this and it is terribly important if you want to be indexed in the
sites. so study the above resources and edit your site then try again
to get listed.

I agree heartily with the rest of your posting it is a great low cost
way to set up and run a business that will provide an income for you
and your family. Just don’t expect to get rich over night and be
prepared to work hard to make it work.

Jim

James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone (510) 533-5108
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (510) 533-5439


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau