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Building A Website

05/05/2013 11:01 AM

Has anyone here done it?

My plan is to start a full time business around my product. The demand is in place; now I have to build a website to sell them from. Online ordering, merchant accounts for credit cards, etc.

The internet is filled with sites that say they can deliver, but I'm looking for recommendations from people that have actually done it. Are there any reasonably priced website builders out there that I should use?

As with just about everything else I do, I'm running the risk of overthinking myself into paralysis, and it's probably not that hard.

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#1

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 11:46 AM

Too bad you don't know how to Google.

I got, About 3,400,000,000 results (0.34 seconds) when I Googled your title.

I don't have a clue. Good luck.

How 'bout that Orb? Great run yesterday!

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 12:41 PM

"The internet is filled with sites that say they can deliver, but I'm looking for recommendations from people that have actually done it."

Which one is best?

How many hits for a USB cable?

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 12:58 PM

"from people that have actually done it"

I don't actually DO anything, I'm a manager.

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#2

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 11:57 AM
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#5

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 1:03 PM

I have never done it but I do have a suggestion to consider. Computer hacking, stealing credit card information and other personal information is such a big and costly risk that if you don't know exactly what you are doing you could get into big trouble. I would suggest having all credit card transactions handled by a company big enough to have teams of IT professionals and lawyers. Thus, if you don't know their name then they might not be a good first choice.

I have purchased many thing from small businesses that have their stores under the overall technology of Ebay, Amazon and Yahoo. I would suggest starting by looking at these three and only expand your search when you learn enough to make it appropriate to add someone else to your list.

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 4:55 PM

Good tip. Would I be responsible if credit card info got hacked?

Is there a way to make that information go away once the transaction is done? I don't want to be in possession of credit card numbers.

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#15
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Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 9:15 PM

"I have never done it but I do have a suggestion to consider. Computer hacking, stealing credit card information and other personal information is such a big and costly risk that if you don't know exactly what you are doing you could get into big trouble. I would suggest having all credit card transactions handled by a company big enough to have teams of IT professionals and lawyers. Thus, if you don't know their name then they might not be a good first choice."

Bah. I just use Vinny and Guidos no questions asked credit card processing firm.

It doesn't matter whose card it its they will get me the money in cash from it.

Granted they used to charge a 20% handling fee but since I got my backhoe they just have me dig deep holes about 3' by 7' in undisclosed locations now and then and call it even.

Nice guys too! They have never once had me come back to fill one in either! For whatever reasons they seem to like doing it themselves.

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#35
In reply to #15

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 5:03 PM

I heard that Gelletti and Spaghetti were another reputable credit card processing firm

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#6

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 1:20 PM

Good things to consider. The prices at Yahoo look good, but I wonder where a Yahoo site will end up on a Google search?

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 1:39 PM

I host my business website at GoDaddy, after using Yahoo for years. I am very satisfied.

FYI I just typed in my company name on a Google search. Four of the firt five in the list were mine.

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#8

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 1:55 PM

I've built a few but I don't have any advice on that but i have built and run more than one business and I have a thought or two. print onto every component you develop either a web address or youtube channel. if you don't already, make a youtube channel and post your finish product being demonstrated as it's intended to be used. you can "tag" each video with key words to assist those searching for "toys", kids toys" backyard games, (your product name)" etc. you can do all that yourself and include graphics with phone numbers, web addresses, etc.Personally I wouldn't do a commercial website to the degree suggest...I think it's over the top in relationship to the actual volume of orders you'll process. best of luck

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#9

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 3:04 PM

I did my website (non commercial) as a google site for free, it's a good way of having a play to see how it works, and what looks good.
IMO it's a good start point to test the water, and the price is right.

You can them move on to something more professional... mind google prob support that too.
Beware of shyster sites selling domain names with poor site development facilities
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#10

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 3:31 PM

Just sell it on Ebay like everybody else....You don't need no fancy schmansy website....Unless and until you break $1 million annual sales....then you can afford it...

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#11

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 4:17 PM

Hello Kramarat, my wife and I are just finishing up our business website, we used Inmotion.com, prices are right, services are great. We did a bit of research and based our decision on word of mouth. Although we built our site from the ground up, Inmotion not only hosts, but will build the site for you. Check them out.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 4:53 PM

I will.

Thanks for the suggestions from the other members too. That's what I was hoping for... narrowing it down to a few that are known to be a decent deal, and work.

I'll try to play around with the free google hosting just to get a feel for it.

The Youtube video is a good idea also; in fact, I'm shooting video at my daughter's school on Thurs. Had parents sign releases last week.

Ebay would probably work, but I already own the domain name, that is also the name of my product. The prices for web hosting are pretty reasonable, and I don't need anything really fancy.

Once things are up and running, I'll post a thread on here and do some shameless self promotion.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 7:36 PM

You can probably do all the promotion and instruction on your web site and only vector off to ebay, yahoo, etc. for the actual "place an order".

I suspect that from a technical point of view Ebay is very good. I have always been very happy with every Ebay transaction I was involved in. One thing to consider about Ebay is the risk that people might think that they are buying from a site where individual people sell the used junk stuff from their garage. Most of us know that there are hundreds of Ebay stores that only sell new products. I'm not talking about the facts here, I am just suggesting you consider what people might think.

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#20
In reply to #14

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 6:36 AM

I might add on Ebay later, but not only is this kind of a niche market that I'm getting into, but I have a slight worry, (probably unjustified), of getting slammed with orders that will take too long for me to fulfill. There are ways to mass produce my product, but all are wildly expensive, so I'll be making them manually out in my shop.

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#16

Re: Building A Website

05/05/2013 11:38 PM

Kramarat, how did you buy your domain name? GoDaddy? I'd like to get one in case I decide to build a site. Any suggestions?

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 6:03 AM

I did it through register.com. Cheap and easy. They also do web hosting, but I wanted some opinions of others. They do send me quite a few emails that try to get me to sign up for other stuff...including hosting, which is annoying.

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#17

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 12:53 AM

Hi Kramarat

Try Joomla, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mFxWmJHXLU and there is a set of excellent free videos, follow the instructions. These will get you to the stage of my site below and then a complete set of advanced videos are about $100 which includes email support and all the topics you mentioned. Forget the hosts which offer free hosting, but there are some which offer a good deal and are Joomla friendly and are mentioned here http://www.buildajoomlawebsite.com/. Remember your site will need to be viewed on phones and tablets as well.

I built this site http://www.gloc.com.au/.

Enjoy the journey, Tony

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#21
In reply to #17

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 6:42 AM

Thanks Tony. I'll check it out. I have to say though, I'm not really interested in learning how to build a website. I want it as easy as possible, and am actually considering hiring a college student to do the actual design, once I choose a host.

Good idea with your product too! There are probably lots of applications, but I think everyone hates the wobbly outdoor dining tables.

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#32
In reply to #17

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 2:21 PM

Very neat device Tony.

Note that the brochure download link does not work in Firefox, works OK in Chrome.

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#18

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 5:51 AM

I have done it, if you are selling that product you should go for an online shop (you can check ahorratemucho.com), and in case you are launching a business or services you could go for something like atecid.com. We work on these technologies, the first case (prestashop) is an open source shop with all type of payment systems and all the payment security available, and in the second case we use Drupal cms, though we can work in any system. Both of them are completely available to user or owner editing, etc. We provide a whole set of services in this areas, from site configuration, to web/shop construction, etc, with SEO package, backup services, you just choose what you want/need and decide if the price for each package is ok for you. Contact us at ahorratemucho.com

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#22

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 9:01 AM

Hi Kamarat, Few points may help.

1. a web site is like an island, if no one knows about it... no one will come. Making the site is only a start, on-going promo and updating continue, i.e. much more is needed.

2. Web sites are becoming more rule bound. While you can easily make a site up yourself some knowledge should be found to follow the rules on privacy, cookies, data storage, etc.

3. If you engage a programmer; there are a lot of poke and hope' rs out there, who usually ask for 50% upfront - my advice is.. don't fall for it! (Lost money that way.)

4. The "pay monthly" trap also can be expensive in the long run (as you have probably guessed) so if you do go this route look wide and far as they can be had for about £5 -10 a month. Even this is expensive for only a few page catalogue site. (watch out for high additional extra charges, e.g. for alterations, etc.)

5. Whoever makes the site, best you have the facility to make small changes yourself.

6. If it's successful (with sales) the site needs to be "attended." i.e. the sales have to be recorded, packaged, dispatched, etc. like as a normal shop. (a site is not just set and forget.)

7. I would not recommend storing people's financial data on your own site. There are many regulated organisations who can take the money for you. Worldpay, Nochequ, Paypal, etc. who all accept credit card payments on your behalf, for a fee. (shop around for the best deal.) Lots more points but....

On the positive side. having an efficient pleasant looking site has a lot of kudos. :)

It's not too expensive a "hobby." Can make money, and (for me) keeps me occupied!

Some of my sites include http://www.mycall.mobi (UK directory and more..) www.businesscarddispensers.co.uk (home made product sales.) and several more.

I'm working on a "killer" site right now (which is the exciting part) as it should make a lot of money. (hope springs eternal) It's almost like making a baby; woohoo! (only without the after troubles) but, if it fails, I will still have had the enjoyment of creating it - like Del's bows, etc. and, the many other projects made on CR4. Personally, I love "drafting" them. (I usually leave the data back ends to a pro. much quicker than me!)

The dream is everything, while a good result can be rewarding.

Good luck with your site.:) (please keep us posted.)

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it's starting to Hanoi me now....!

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 10:10 AM

Good points!

As I'm looking around, I'm finding that the most popular retail sites are the one's that are the simplest. Good news...I like simple.

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#25
In reply to #22

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 10:20 AM

I would also get away of zero cost hostings, there's always something hidden. The last I met was that the time for editing/maintaining the site was 2 hours per day, so you could be working as administrator (or the time added by other users) just that time. It looks it could be enough, but anyone that has been working on this can tell it is not, since you will need to load the site with products, description, prices, transport agencies data, prices, routes, stock amounts, payment media....

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#23

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 10:06 AM

If you have never run a business before then you need to learn how this is done before your start to build your website.

For FREE advise go to score.org and select a location near you. Then spend an hour talking to a Mentor. It is FREE and you will learn what you have to do to run a business. If you are not close enough to a SCORE office then select email mentoring.

Either way this is this is the only way to start a new business.

I started and ran my own business for 40 year and I have been a SCORE Mentor for the past 23 years. During that time I have Mentored hundreds of Clients.

Good luck in our venture.

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#27
In reply to #23

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 11:33 AM

SCORE is a great outfit, and I talked to them early on about bringing a new product to market. I can't say enough about the great folks that volunteer their time!!!!

I've run my own business since 1994, as a painting contractor...which is probably a little more difficult than a web based business, but in different ways. I'm hoping to generate enough web based work, that I can move away from doing job estimates and climbing ladders.

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#26

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 11:15 AM

I have owned and run my web site since 1993. I update and revise it at least once a week, so I think I "know".

I'll try to add something to the plethora of information you have received up to this point. Hard to do since there is a LOT of good stuff. And clearly there will be things I mention here which you already know. Its a matter of what is important.

A web site may be many things. It is best to decide on exactly what it is. Mine is an online catalogue of my products. The reason I emphasise this point is because a lot of web sites are very scattered, in an attempt to be all things to all people. You should strive to stick to one thing. A blog, or a forum, or a catalogue all take different approaches. The most important thing you should consider is the person who is going to be reading your web site. So some efforts should be made to find and retain your target audience. The question you have to keep asking yourself every single line you write on your web site is "how is this keeping my target audience here?" Getting into your target audience's mind is an active exercise which is impossible for a university student or hired professional to do. This has to be YOUR input, if you expect this venture to stand out from the crowd, to succeed.

The second most important thing is web site updates. I have never found a person who builds web sites to have ANY interest in updating it. If you don't have anything invested in the project, boredom settles in VERY quickly. Like the wind and the rain, live with it...its a fact. If you don't want to build or maintain your web site, it will moulder away. Search engines look for regular and recent updates. These should be your responsibility. Choose intuitive software to keep it from being a chore!

For decades, the gold standard for building web sites was HTML. It still is, however, style sheets and php's have become super popular, especially for people trying to keep their web sites looking pretty. I recommend getting into those later on. For now, get something built which you can easily maintain. For this you need a WYSIWYG editor you are comfortable with. Here we can get into arguements over one editor over another....I have found that Sea Monkey, which was based on the old Netscape Navigator Composer to be near bullet proof, and an absolute joy to work with. It works with every browser, and has a long and bug free history. In a world of cantankerous highly tuned race cars, SeaMonkey is a '65 Ford Mustang. Not the fastest, or bestest, but you can fix it! Again, ease of use. Later on, if you get interested in the process, you can bring in style sheets and stuff, but don't let anybody build anything you can't change or fix yourself.

Once you figure out the basic fact that html provides the layout, you can import pictures, backgrounds, and text which become the "web site". Then you need to build your web site on your computer. A set of dedicated files should be used for this. I like "thumbs plus" to handle all the files. (thumbs+ is built upon a windows 3.1 layout, so it is really intuitive and easy) I tend to use a lot of small thumbnail pictures which get clicked on will bring up larger images, so I may have a lot of the same picture, sized to different sizes and perhaps cropped differently. Thumbs Plus stores all of them, and allows me to crop, resize, and do a lot of things which help me to create what looks like a "magazine" page, do it easily, and without fuss. Remember what I said about "don't let it become a chore!" Again, we are looking for basic, simple, inexpensive and doable by you even if your web master decides to take a year long hike in northern China. (like mine did!)

Save your first page, the one people go to see first as "index". Most web sites main page is called "index". If your domain name was Karamat.com, then when people type in http://www.karamat.com, they get a file called "index". The hypertext markup language on your browser will translate your "index" file into a web page. From the index file, you can have internal links to other pages as you see fit. Internal links are handled the same as external links...piece of cake.

A host like go-daddy is good...they have good statistics regarding down time and so forth, but there are lots of others. Not a lot to choose from one to the other. I don't recommend hosting on your own computer. Security issues come to mind. You will need a File Transfer Protocol program to copy your web page from your computer to your host's computer. Core seems to work well, again, not much difference from one ftp program to the other. Core is kind of neat because it is easy to set up. When it is set up, you are looking at two tiles...the tile on the left is your computer files, the tile on the right is your host's computer files, that is the one web surfers see. You just drag and drop from the file stack on the left tile into the file stack on the right tile and it overwrites as needed.

So technically, its a snap. I know you really did not want to bother with the regular maintenance and upgrades, but if you don't do that, then who will. And how much you want to pay for that? There is a reason why such work is expensive...and that is because no web designer can read your mind, and they have to do it over and over again to keep you satisfied. Better, cheaper, and lots more fun to do it yourself.

I could rattle on and on about how to make it mobile phone compatible, and avoiding frames, and such, but if you do it simple for now, and upgrade and get fancier as the mood strikes you.

Does this help?

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 11:43 AM

Absolutely it helps!

All good points. I like your site, but I hate answering phones, so I would have to have one of those deals where people could place credit card orders, and I could check in and fill orders on a daily basis. My product will always be the same, so custom orders would probably just involve the quantity desired.

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 11:53 AM

Much simpler web site then mine then!

But....you still have to retain your client base. How many times have you visited the coca cola web site? Why would you bother? What has coca cola done to direct people to its web site? They don't even print the url on the bottle! (note that pepsi does! what does THAT tell you?) What is important to the customer, not what is important to you.

VERY difficult to do, and the simpler and smaller the web site, the harder it is to capture and retain a customer interest. But the more rewarding the results!

Good luck. Its easy enough to do once you have done one or two. But like the game of chess, easy to learn, difficult to master.

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 12:10 PM

Karamat,

As previously suggested you could use ebay/amazon/ other equivalent site to sell from and use you own website to advertise. Create a webpage on your site for the shop and provide link to ebay/amazon/ other equivalent.

The company i worked operated this system for a while. the boss tried to exploit a temporary "niche" in the market but ultimately it failed. too late to an over saturated market.... However the company used word-press to setup a website and provided link to an ebay account for sales.

It was quick, easy, practical and while fees involved there was no worrying about privacy, regulation and customers information. The long term idea was if the new venture was a success the company could go about creating its own website and handle the sales and possibly hosting.

One other thing to note about website builders is that they (generally) have little interest in compiling your website. they want you to know what you want and then pick a theme. they will want you to know no. of pages, content of each page pages and then email them each page in word format as you want it to look so they can copy and paste it in.

Or if they are clever/lazy they will tell you find a website you want and send them the link and the information you want to repopulate each page. the will just copy the code, change the information and possibly charge you a fortune for it!

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#42
In reply to #26

Re: Building A Website

05/07/2013 10:33 AM

Well said Yusef1, I've added my vote.

Modern systems such as Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal use a Content Management System (CMS) where the site is loaded and maintained on the server, I urge you all to view the videos on YouTube, I mentioned previously.

They operate from a template which you choose and includes menus, columns, setup for contact list, blogs etc. and you can add other functions such as maps, shopping trolley etc. Modern templates also expand/shrink to fit the screen, which is a problem on phones.

Depending on how these sites are setup, the owner with a little training can make their own changes, add/change pictures, pages, menus or text live on the site without uploading a new site each time.

It is painful to make the make the change to a CMS and a big learning curve, but your knowledge of HTML will not go to waste and is often needed where the inbuilt editors need some help.

What hasn't been mentioned is the system used 20 years ago of using WYSIWYG programs to do the coding for you, is that if you made changes through these programs they used to leave a lot of code behind, which you would had to manually remove or your site would slow down to a crawl. I see your code is fairly clean (right click, view source)

You make some excellent points about Google search looking for updated websites, the total lack of interest from the original programmer in updating a site and the thought process behind planning the site. Thank you for taking the trouble to write it.

The HTML system used 20 years ago is still the code used today, but we are up to HTML5 with a lot of improvements, I notice yours is in 4 and reasonably well behaved on my android phone.

Since I wrote this I noticed your new site which looks great.

Tony

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#29

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 11:53 AM

How about the sites that let you build your web page right on their site? Seems like that would be the way to go, if I don't want to have to learn a bunch of computer stuff.

http://www.godaddy.com/hosting/website-builder.aspx?ci=76664&isc=cjchst199a

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#33
In reply to #29

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 2:36 PM

requires the same amount of computer knowledge as building your own, and you don't get to customize it as much. You actually "should" use a service such as "site builder" for your web site since you do require a secure server if you are planning to accept credit cards. The one in your link is just fine...you will need the "premium" package since you will require the ssl certificate.

I have actually used that link and that service to put my other web site together and load it up. As a web site service, it is better than most. Admittedly, I deviated a lot from their standard designs... my fighting club is not standard...and not much of it is still there from the original template! So you can't go by my fight website! I used the premium package because I wanted a forum....

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 3:02 PM

Well heck, I guess I'll delve further into that one. 7 bucks a month is pretty reasonable. I'm sure I can upload my own pictures for the site. At some point, I may be interested in getting a blog or forum going as well.

Cool hobby you've got going. Looks like fun.

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#36

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 6:40 PM

look at the websites for businesses in your immediate area. Find one you like. use their web building person. now you have someone you can face to face with. I have been online for several years. I finally have gone back to just using Paypal for money. I like the guarantee. Paypal has lots of online help for just about everything having to do with money exchange. Yes they do take a small percentage.

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#38
In reply to #36

Re: Building A Website

05/07/2013 7:51 AM

I'm thinking that the more payment options there are, the better. I'd like to get it set up for the major credit cards and paypal.

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#37

Re: Building A Website

05/06/2013 7:01 PM

Go to the computer science classes at your local JC and talk to the professors there. Students are always looking for real world experience for cheap and they have the Profs to help them if they get jammed. Also, your ISP can usually host your site and help you and your student setup the credit card stuff with your bank or PayPal and Google Payment system.

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#39
In reply to #37

Re: Building A Website

05/07/2013 7:53 AM

That was my original thought, but now I think it would be better to use a hosting company like godaddy. Maybe not quite as impressive of a site, but I like the idea of being able to go in and make changes and updates on my own.

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Building A Website

05/07/2013 9:05 AM

Even then, get a student anyway. It gives both of you a learning experience and you get to help each other. I have several clients who are or have done what you are doing and having the other brain during the setup helped them a lot. The student got real world problems to solve with a common real world site. The client got real time solutions and coding expertise from the student and their Profs back at school.

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Building A Website

05/07/2013 9:49 AM

Fair enough. It costs nothing to put up an ad on craigslist, and it would probably help me over some of the technical hurdles. I'll do it.

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#43

Re: Building A Website

05/07/2013 5:20 PM

Okay guys, I just set up an account with godaddy. I'll post the website when I have it up and working.

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#44

Re: Building A Website

05/08/2013 6:00 PM

ps... I did mention (point 7) that Paypal is very useful for accepting payments,
and saves you from all the liabilities of holding financial data online.

That is, not just transfers, Paypal will accept credit cards for you also,
(as will most "collectors.") and is a one stop (button) payment solution.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Building A Website

05/09/2013 12:36 PM

Rude behavior? Darn, I missed it.

Yeah. I talked to the people at godaddy, and they said that paypal was the way to go, to get started.

Once I start a business account, I can move to directly accepting credit cards if I want.

On point #7: No financial data would be stored on my site. All transactions are run through an entirely different, (secure), site. Once the transactions are finished, I don't think I could access credit card #'s if I wanted to.

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#46

Re: Building A Website

05/09/2013 7:09 PM

Kramarat, you went with GoDaddy, and I think I will too. Did you get the package with domain name, sitebuilding and hosting? It seems like the easy way. But I can't decide between the standard and deluxe packages, and wonder if I should go with 12 months or longer? Anyone please chime in.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Building A Website

05/09/2013 9:08 PM

I had to go with the deluxe because I'm going to need the SSL part for online selling.

Money's tight, so I went for a 2 year plan. I think it was about $300. The more years you sign up for, the more you save.

Nice folks so far. The guy I talked to spent about an hour with me, telling me how to transfer my domain name over to them, etc.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Building A Website

05/10/2013 12:00 AM

Cool, now hire a student and you will be golden in no time flat!

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Building A Website

05/10/2013 6:03 AM

We'll see. I kind of pride myself on being able to get things figured out, so I'm going to give it a try first.

That said, I can also recognize a crappy website; so I'm not going to rule out getting help.

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