Saturday, December 02, 2006

Website Changes

Yesterday I made two big business decisions, one of which is a legal matter, the other of which is website related. An Internet business has to devote focus, energy, money, imagination to the behind-the-scenes workings if it will succeed. For me at the very basics is that my site must be colorful to catch the potential customer's eye because what I sell, really, is a pile of white stuff and white stuff doesn't look very interesting unless it is surrounded by color. The very, very basics, though, have to do with the ease with which the customer is able to see the products, make a decision to buy, and execute the purchase.

That last part is where my website has been floundering. I have written about it before, even posted notices that soon, yes! soon the site will offer true eCommerce functions, not just PayPal. We live and learn, and yesterday I moved the site to a new company with the capability of changing the payment mechanism to true eCommerce. Soon, yes! soon customers will not be forced to use PayPal, but can pay securely with any credit card. Or, they can use PayPal if they wish. For me, this brings new advantages which I sorely need -- tricks like reports of customers' purchase history by date, by product. This sounds like a simple report, but operating without it has been difficult if not impossible. Customer history will probably be my happiest moment with all of the upcoming changes.

I don't know why I took so long to make the change, except that I really like and admire my first webmaster. He is brilliant, a young man with a growing business and a growing family, and I just like the way his mind works. The only problem, was that the website didn't grow in proportion to the business growth. This was a decision from the head, not the heart.

This new company is not actually new to me. The owners and I were in a business professionals' group a few years ago. That was when I had a wallpaper shop and was operating as a contractor for my husband's commercial wallcovering business. Another life ago, it sometimes seems. One of the designers helped me develop the logo for the wallpaper business. Yesterday he heard my voice and stuck his head around the corner to say hi. What a pleasure to see him again! I asked if he was still drawing and publishing his comic strip. (He is.) The website design director is an old familiar face, too. We were in the ill-fated Italian club here in Lynchburg VA several years ago. That was the year that we pulled out all reserves and all of the Italians in town put on a huge Italian festival complete with four nights of big-name rock groups. The only problem was that one of the worst hurricanes in Virginia's history hit Central Virginia that week and uprooted tents, turned the ground into soup, and generally ruined the Italian Club's festival and finances in one fell swoop.

The new webmaster and I worked alongside other Italian American townsfolk to make the best of a terrible mess, and then we all went our separate ways. So, to see his handsome Italian face yesterday was such a welcoming sight.

I promised, back when I started the blog, not to weigh it down with too much personal reflection, and I am close to that edge as I write this morning. I just wanted to let you know that there are changes coming and from people I know, so I am expecting them to ease the site and me through the changes with few bumps in the road. This morning, when I first woke up and lay there having those stream of consciousness morning thoughts, the website quickly claimed attention, and I felt at ease about my decisions. It will be fine. I live by my gut, and it tells me I made the right decision.

Readers? You are always invited to respond to any of my written thoughts.


Anonymous said...

How long will it be before the website is back up?

Sheila Wool2Dye4 said...

'Should be back up today (Monday). I just posted a notice that the changover to the new server/host/webmaster ran into a problem. See today's post for contact info. I am so sorry! Don't give up.