Thursday, 23 September 2010

Website development

Last December I bought myself two domain names. and

The intention was that within a few months of buying the domains I would have a website that show cases my jewellery up and running on the Web.

At that point I wasn't thinking in terms of selling the jewellery I put up photos of, but more of just having a place on the web where I could sent friends etc to see that kind of thing I make and what I'd been doing with my spare time recently. It would be a lot easier to put up a site of photos than lug the box of finished items around with me when visiting - especially given the weight involved - or at least, that's what I thought.

When I mentioned my plans to friends, more than one of them said "what's the point of the site then, you should be putting prices up in case people are interested". Which complicated the whole process of course 'cos it meant I had to find a way of quickly pricing everything I make so that I have a "reasonable" price on them.

So first, I made a spreadsheet of the list of things I'd made and started trying to put calculations in to generate the prices. This was slow work as such actions are not something I'm particularly good at. But I had some prices.

So I started building a website from scratch. In theory, the day job (computer programmer using Visual Studio 2008 and building browser based applications) would help enormously.

Of course, what really happened was I quickly found that my short period of exposure to Visual Studio etc (about 2 months at that point) really did not provide me with enough knowledge of basic HTML to create a page with photos on it.

I turned to a friend for help - luckily for me, he's patient enough to repeat answers to questions even when I've asked them multiple times over various days and to read the pages I put together.

With his help, the site has grown from a single page to a set of 8 pages including terms and conditions as well as the jewellery photos. All the sterling silver items shown on the site have a price attached and each description comes with a "contact me" button so people can email me if they wish.

The photos on the site are (in my opinion) not bad considering that photography is not one of my talents. The friend who helped with the website is a keen photographer (understatement really) who has helped me learn so much more about taking a photo than I ever thought I'd know, and introduced me to functions on my camera I've never heard of before, let alone used!

It was the same friend who looked over my shoulder at my pricing spreadsheet and started asking questions that started with the words "why don't you...." - at which point I gratefully asked for his help and the resulting pricing spreadsheet was born. A spreadsheet into which I type a few simple pieces of information, e.g. how long it took to make, how many of each size and material of jump ring was involved and a few other bits. And then the spreadsheet produces me either a trade or retail price depending on my input. It makes my life so much simpler now when it comes to pricing everything even if I do have to keep it all up to date myself.

Anyway, the point of this blog post is, that 9 months after I bought my two domain names I am on the verge of uploading my first ever website. I'm currently waiting until on/after 1st October to organise a company to host the site - that way the relevant monthly direct debit payments are due shortly after pay day from the day job so I can afford to pay it.

So, hopefully in the next week or two I'll be able to announce the launch of my site. Here is a glimpse of the home page I'll be loading up.

Screen print of my home page
Then the hard work of getting it known by search engines starts, which will be a whole new learning curve.

Until next time

No comments:

Post a Comment