Creating your Fashion Business Website
In this day and age it's impossible to make it as a fashion designer without a website. Not only is your website essential for online marketing, it can also be a venue for selling clothing direct to the public. But how should you go about setting it up?
The first thing you need to do is to register a domain. This is the online address at which your website will live. Ideally it will feature the name of your business, and you should keep it as simple as possible. You'll need to pay a monthly fee for this address, but it doesn't have to be very expensive. You'll also need to rent server space - the physical space where the data for your site will be kept.
If this already seems too complicated, you can hire a professional web design consultant to help. A professionally constructed website is guaranteed to look good (or you should ask for your money back), but it can be expensive, and in the early stages of building your business it may not be practical. If you would prefer to have a go at constructing you own website, you can find good html and CSS courses online for free. Learning what you need to know to make a simple site is fairly easy. You can always call in a consultant for help with extra features like Flash or Java applets.
The most important thing about your website is that it should be accessible for as many customers as possible. Check that it runs on different operating systems with different browsers. You can then start to tailor it to the needs of your fashion business.
What Should Your Fashion Website Feature?When people visit a fashion website the first thing they want to know about is the designer. This doesn't mean you need to write your autobiography - what's important is your designer brand identity. This should include your logo, a consistent colour scheme, a consistent style and one or two high quality images featuring your most impressive work. You should write a friendly but professional introduction welcoming visitors to the site. This should include lots of words which people looking for a site like yours might enter in search engines. Changing this introduction every week or two will help to keep search engines interested.
It's essential that your website is easy to navigate. Providing a menu bar at the side or at the top and bottom of each page is the easiest way to do this. This should offer links to each of your other pages. Keep your categories simple. You might want to list clothes by type (eg: 'jackets', 'shirts' etc.), or you might prefer to list them by season (eg: 'Spring collection'). It's a good idea to have a 'new' page so that returning visitors can check out your latest creations.
Each category page should feature a full size image of one of your designs along with thumbnail images of the others available - visitors can click on these to see larger images. Using thumbnails cuts download times and makes it easier for potential customers to access your site.
Once they've seen your designs, visitors will want to know how to buy them. You should either provide an online order and payment system (most online banks can help you set this up for free) or full contact details for your business and advice on how to find your retail outlets.
Online Marketing for your Website
There's no point in having an impressive fashion website if nobody knows it's out there. As soon as you've launched your website you should start your online marketing campaign. Here are some simple tips to get you started:-
- Make sure you're listed by as many search engines as possible.
- Arrange to be listed in online fashion directories.
- Arrange to be listed in online business directories.
- Talk about your site in business and social networking communities. Blog about it.
- Participate in link exchange schemes.
All of these options are open to you for free or for very little money, so you should make full use of them before you worry about paying for more traditional online advertising.
Setting up a website for your fashion design business may seem complicated, but provided you take it in simple stages you'll be surprised at what you can achieve.