Creating and Establishing a Craft Website
The advent of the Internet has made a massive difference to businesses, opening up a much wider range of opportunities for promoting their services and products to an even bigger audience.
Having a website that looks aesthetically pleasing, but also functions efficiently, is crucial, so if you’ve not done so yet, it’s time to get creating and establishing your craft website.
Registering a Domain NameThe sign of a good business is a memorable domain name. Ideally this should be the same as your business trading name, as it will make it much easier for your customers to find you. It’s possible though that there may be another business in the UK or another part of the world who’s had the same idea and already snapped up the name you want. If this happens, try varying it, such as putting hypens between the words, or seeing if different prefixes are available (e.g. .biz instead of .com). In the end, whatever you choose must be memorable.
Deciding What Information You Want to IncludeA business website can have various functions. It can simply provide details of your bricks and mortar business, so customers can find out what time you open, what you stock, any special offers you’ve got or courses you’re running.
Or it can provide an online or mail ordering service, alongside the bricks and mortar business. Or you can use it to showcase crafts you, or your customers have made and provide added features, such as videos, podcasts or blogs.
Have a good think about what information you’d like to include on your website and how you’d like your site to function. For a crafts business, a website can be really handy, both for general information and all the added extras it can offer.
One of the things many crafters lack is the knowledge about how to use products to their full potential and they value the opportunity to see demos, or get tips and advice. So if you’re going to include step-by-step instructions, or even video clips or podcasts, these could work very well.
Be clear in your mind about exactly what you want included on your website, especially if someone else is designing it for you. It may help to sketch out a diagram on paper showing the homepage, any additional pages you’d like to have and what information you’d like on each.
Designing The SiteIt can be easy to get carried away with designing the site itself, especially if you have a creative streak, but it’s better to try and keep it simple and easy to use. Include your logo and business name in your website design wherever possible, but stick to using a few colours, rather than a whole rainbow, and a font that will be clear and easy to read.
Remember that there may be some viewers who are visually impaired, so don’t use font colours that can’t be read easily on coloured backgrounds – e.g. white text on yellow or pale backgrounds is often impossible to read for anyone.
Launching Your WebsiteAfter all the hard work, launching your website can often seem like a bit of a let down – as unless you tell people it’s up and running, no-one will know! To help spread the word, add your website URL to your headed notepaper, include it on any adverts you do, mention it on flyers, add it to the bottom of printed till receipts, put it on your business card and add it to the end of emails. The general idea is to promote it as best as possible and let the world know about your site.
Don’t forget to keep it updated, so it’s always got the most relevant information on. A site that is still advertising the January sale in August will not give the best impression.