I think I have been talking about my new website for years. Since Day 1 of my previous website, I knew that I would eventually replace it with a gorgeous e-commerce platform. It took way more time, work and patience then I thought it would but I am now the proud and happy owner of a professional website. The design is the work of Akufen and I hired a freelance programmer who worked with an e-commerce platform to build the website. What I like about the design of my website is that it’s all about the pictures and therefore, all about the products. There is also a portfolio section called Archives where you will find a selection of my favorite pictures and jewelry designs from the past five years. This section is there to inspire you and give you ideas when you wish to order a custom made necklace or a bespoke wedding headpiece.
Like I said, building a new website is a lot of work so I thought I would share some advice I wish I had before the project started :
Don’t rush into making the website : the Internet is full of useful information about making a great website. Spend time looking for inspiration, steal good ideas from websites you love, read about smart web design, online customer service and efficient checkout. Ask yourself what you like and dislike when you shop online and ask questions to people who went through the process of building a website.
Keep it clean : small companies or independent designers can rarely afford to pay someone to design a sophisticated branding for their line. If it is your case, I suggest you keep things neat, clean and white. Black and white is always good. You don’t want your potential customers to be distracted by what is around the product they are looking at.
Don’t split the work : the more different people you have working on your website, the harder it is to coordinate everything. Even if everyone did great work, I think it would have been easier if all the work had been done by the agency I hired for the design. Or if the designer I hired was someone always working with the programmer I worked with.
Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved : products descriptions, information pages, return policy, shipping options, photos in the right size,… A lot of things will have to come from you. And all those things take a lot of time and require some research : read about good product descriptions, smart returning policies, how to take good pictures and anything that can be useful.
It doesn’t have to be perfect to go online : Of course it is better if you have an absolutely perfect website to launch. But if you are a one-person-team working with limited resources (that’s me !), you can keep some tasks for after the launch. As long as your checkout is good, your products pages look great and the website works perfectly, it is okay if it still needs some fine tuning. For example, I chose to launch my website even if I am not done with writing great product descriptions. In the meantime, my less inspiring but still useful descriptions will do just fine.
Make sure once the website is done, you can update it yourself : you don’t want to have to pay someone every time there is a picture to upload or a comma to remove. There are a lot of very good affordable e-commerce platforms you can use such as Lemonstand or Shopify. They are easy to work with and very reliable.
Most importantly, make sure you love your website and believe in it. The more advice you seek, the more you will get and the more confusing it can become. So remember : focus on what you believe in and what you can make time for. At the end of the day, it is your website and you are the one who will use it to promote and sell your work. So trust yourself and keep moving.
How about you ? Any advice you wish to share ?