Doing Business Virtually: Create and Launch a Website

 Doing Business Virtually: Create and Launch a Website

For small businesses, these challenging times call for flexibility, agility and creativity. The ability to pivot from a physical presence to an online presence could help a business survive, or even thrive.

If you already have a website and you are selling virtually, you should continually update, optimize and maintain your site. If you don’t have a website, this could be the perfect time to launch one.

Good news: Getting your business online can be quick, simple and more affordable than you might think.

For the jewelry industry: 75% of major purchase jewelry shoppers start their journey by doing online research. 15% of all major jewelry purchases are completed online.

Begin at the Beginning

Think about your goals. Determine how much time and money you want to invest. If you want to sell your products online, think about the selection you would like to offer and how to organize it. Consider the payment methods you will accept. Synchrony has a helpful plug-in tool that allows you to accept your Synchrony credit card on many secure website platforms. Then determine how you will handle shipping and delivery.

Research and Plan

You’ll need to purchase a domain name (your dot com name). Create several choices, as your first choice may already be in use. Align to your business name, if possible, to make it easy for your customers to remember your website. Many website builders/hosts will help you purchase and register your domain name and send you annual fee reminders to keep it active.

Research and choose your website host/site builder tool. There are a lot of choices, and many of them are geared toward individuals and small businesses. Once you select a platform, it could take as little as 30 minutes to get up and running—whether you are tech-savvy or not. Most provide easy-to-use templates and cost as little as $20 per month— though some may also charge a small fee per transaction.

There are a variety of features available, from optimization for mobile phones to search engine optimization (SEO) features to help both Google and customers find you. Choose a package that offers the features you want and need at a price that works with your budget. See the resources at the end for more information on how to choose a host/website builder.

Get Started and Build

You’ll need to do a bit of homework before you start building your website. Invest some time gathering information for each product you would like to sell. You’ll need a good photo and a brief product description. Then think about how you would like to organize and display products on your site. For example, do you want a “dining room” section without subsections, or do you have enough products to have a whole section for “dining chairs?”

Choose your website template, then start building. The template will show you where to enter headlines, photos, product descriptions, prices and other details. Enter your cart, shipping and checkout information. Then take a step back—is your website easy to navigate? Make sure it’s easy for customers to find what they are looking for and complete a transaction. Once you’ve completed this building process and are satisfied that your site will provide a good shopping experience, place some test orders to ensure everything is working as planned.

Update and Maintain

You’ll want every customer to have a great shopping and buying experience. When products sell out or are unavailable, update your site to avoid disappointment. As soon as you have new products for sale, add them to the website to help keep customers engaged and interested.

Track and Optimize

You’ll be able to measure the success of your website by many metrics, like sales and number of visits. Your website platform should have reporting tools that reflect this basic information. You may want to go deeper and learn which pages are the most popular, how much time customers spend on your site and where they come from (including search engines.) Armed with this information, you can make tweaks and updates to your site.

Make sure search engines, especially Google, know how to find and feature you. Synchrony has helpful resources available on Learning Center — check them out here.

Finally, don’t forget to share your website information with your customers and potential customers. Add your website to all customer-facing communications, such as emails, newsletters, business cards and advertising.

Interested in other tips, tools, and techniques aimed at helping you run a more secure and successful jewelry business? Browse more of our Business Tips.

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