Where do I begin? Website help?

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Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby lagoertz on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:51 pm

I'm new here & desperatly need all of your expertise to help get me started. Basically I have an idea for an online business that I want to start & have already started aquiring inventory...My problem is I know NOTHING about creating a website and don't really have a lot of free time with my fulltime job & rasing my kids...So I am hoping that I can find someone to design & build my website for me, and then teach me how to go in & maintain it. Is this a realistic idea? Where would I find someone to do this for me at a reasonable price? I have looked at several programs such as Site Built It, and considered creating one on my own...I'm just afraid it would take me a year to do it myself. I need a website that will have multiple pages/categories along with a shopping cart and will need the capability to have 1000 plus images on it that will need to be updated on a daily basis. My hope is once I can get this off the ground that I will be able to make this my fulltime job. Any advice/ideas/and or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I am so excited about this opportunity & can't wait to get started! Thanks in advance for your responses.


LeeAnn :D
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby Susanne on Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:41 pm

LeeAnn,

You've asked a question that would take many pages to answer fully. Here's just a bit to get you started:

As someone who just spent the last 8 weeks getting a basic web site up using web design software, I would highly recommend you NOT do that unless you have computer experience. I am familiar with writing code and I'm pretty tech savvy and I still struggled.

Paying someone to do it for you can be a huge help because it's a major project, but that can be costly and you are always dependent on them anytime you need to make any changes. The least expensive and friendliest place I know of to get help is Freshnets, but I'm sure other ladies have some equally great recommendations.

Here's a possibility: Are you familiar with the Wordpress blog site? It's really easy to log in and post information, images, links, etc. You can change the look by changing to a different template with just a few clicks of the mouse. You can have that same convenience by installing the Wordpress software on your own site (it's a free download)

Find a good web host (I like mom webs, green olive tree and bluehost, but there are lots of other options) Have them install Wordpress. If they won't do it, you can pay Freshnets to help you, or go to Blogging starter pack.com and sign up for that. Blogging Starter Pack walks you through how to install and use Wordpress on your site. Wordpress software is not just for blogging, it's becoming a standard for creating web sites . It's really the way to go for someone who doesn't want to spend a lot of time on html coding. And you can have a shopping cart!

That's just the tip of the ice berg. There's many more things you'll need to do. Take it one step at a time and keep coming back with questions. Believe me, you can't do it alone, but you CAN do it. I hope others chime in with some more suggestions. I'm curious to know if the technical side of websites is an obstacle for people.

Cheering you on...
Sue
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby awrighty on Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:48 pm

I used site build it for my first few websites and can tell you that they are great. In some circumstances though it can be better to pay someone. But I would shop around and check out what people are offering and for how much. And how much time they're willing to put into helping you update your website in the future. Be careful of website designers that make things too difficult for you to understand, charging per question you ask them and ego. You want someone you can work well with. I also think that it's helpful to have someone designer your site who is in the same area as you. That way you can visit them and learn how to do what you need to and be able to change things in person.
Good luck!
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby KellyMcCausey on Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:31 am

Hey there :) I hate to pop in and self promote but I think we can really help you.

If you're interested in Wordpress - which I definitely think you should be - my design company offers a coaching program that will teach you how to manage your site entirely on your own.

Bundle that with a design package and you can be up and running with confidence in about a month for around $500.

The site is FreshNets.com and I have a great team of WAHMs working with me there.
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby lagoertz on Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:05 pm

Thanks Gals! I appreciate all the good info. I looked into Worpress & freshnets...I'm not ruling it out, but that option seems a little overwhelming to me right now. I have spent the last few days searching online for store builders & have 3 that I reaaly like the looks of. Has anyone heard of these or had any experience with them: 3DCART.com, SHOPIFY.com, and Shoppingcartsplus.com. They all come with some level of customizing that they will do for you, even creating a logo which I desperatley need. They can get pretty pricey though for the monthly fee...Up to $100 a month for what I would be looking at. Does this seem like too much? I have no idea what a fair rate is for hosting & all that it entails. I'm sure I will be wearing you guys out here...I am so new to this stuff. I am so glad to have found ya'll.

LeeAnn :)
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby BethinArkansas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:55 am

lagoertz wrote:Thanks Gals! I appreciate all the good info. I looked into Worpress & freshnets...I'm not ruling it out, but that option seems a little overwhelming to me right now. I have spent the last few days searching online for store builders & have 3 that I reaaly like the looks of. Has anyone heard of these or had any experience with them: 3DCART.com, SHOPIFY.com, and Shoppingcartsplus.com. They all come with some level of customizing that they will do for you, even creating a logo which I desperatley need. They can get pretty pricey though for the monthly fee...Up to $100 a month for what I would be looking at. Does this seem like too much? I have no idea what a fair rate is for hosting & all that it entails. I'm sure I will be wearing you guys out here...I am so new to this stuff. I am so glad to have found ya'll.

LeeAnn :)


Welcome LeeAnn,
Getting started with no experience will be overwhelming. Doing business online is not too different from doing business anywhere else. How overwhelmed would you be if you were opening a brick-n-mortar store to sell your products? Inventory managment, business taxes, equipment, rent, liability insurance, etc.

I'm a little concerned about you stating you have already begun acquiring products before you have an outlet for sales. My question is this: will those be "in-demand" products when you go to market? In today's economy, will there even be a market?

We have all been where you now are. Of course I know that I sort of have the best of both worlds because I still work fulltime with a husband who has been working from home fulltime since 2003 building websites and doing Internet marketing. We also do limited sales offline, but that's mostly our book.

Have you thought about an eBay Store supported by a blog? I think eBay is less than $20 per month, and you can get a free blog. That's just a thought since I have no idea what you're selling.
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby lagoertz on Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:39 am

I have thought about an e-bay store...I have visited the forums on e-bay & it almost seems that people there discourage having a store in leiu of the auctions. My concern with e-bay is that your store items don't show up when people search...only auctions item's do, so you could do a combination of the two...but I just think it would be almost as easy to have my own site & then I don't have to give e-bay a cut on everything I sell. E-bay is what I will do in the mean time until I can get a site up & running. I appreciate everyones help!

Thanks!
LeeAnn
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby Susanne on Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:06 am

If I might point out - $100 a month for those shopping cart options seems a bit high. For less than 4 months of their hosting, you can pay Freshnets to not only get you all set up, but you'll also have a real live, knowledgeable person to talk to. Although the upfront cost is a little higher, once you're up and running the costs will be less than $30 a month or so with hosting and shopping cart. In the long run it will be less expensive and you'll have gained the knowledge you need to keep building your business. There is a steep learning curve to getting a web store started I'm all for using the best help available.
Have you done any market research or keyword research to see if your products are something that are being searched for?
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby lagoertz on Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:41 am

Thanks Sue! That's what I need to hear! I need experienced moms to keep me grounded, I have a tendancy to get excited & become blind to the obvious sometimes. After talking things over with my husband lastnight he definatley wants me to keep things on the cheap side...I was thinking $1000 to get our site up & running was not too big of a deal, but he wants it kept around $500 or so. He is Definately concerned about how people are going to find our site & we have checked out the competition & definately think we have something unique that will set us apart. How exactly do I go about researching what "keywords" people are using when searching? And based on what keywords are most popular...I guess those are the words I want to use on my homepage to describe my business??

LeeAnn
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby Susanne on Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:31 pm

"Keywords" is the term we use to describe the phrases people enter into a search engine when they're looking for something. There are several free online services you can use to find out if the product you are selling is being searched for.

Come up with a couple of 2-4 word phrases people might use to look for your product. Let's say you sell jewelry imported from Africa. You might think of phrases like - African jewelry, African tribal jewelry, handmade African jewelry, fair trade jewelry, etc.

Go to either http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ or https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and enter your phrase into the appropriate box, hit the button and you'll get a page of results. These will show you how many people actually used that phrase you entered, within the past month. More importantly it will show you some related keywords. This gives you a really good idea of what words people are putting into Google when they are looking for a product similar to what you're selling.

Keep trying your keyword phrases until you get something with at least 1-2 thousand searches. Look over the results and pick 3 or 4 that have good search volume of over 2000 searches. Avoid any keywords with millions of searches, that means mega competition!

Write those keyword phrases down and then go to Google.com to test them. Type this in the search box: allintitle: XXX with XXX being one of your new keywords (and be sure to run the words allintitle together like I did.) This will bring up all the sites that use that exact keyword term somewhere on their site. Now you'll know who your competition is and how much there is.

Keep trying different keywords in the adwords tool and testing them in Google using the allintitle trick until you find terms that have less than 10,000 or so competing sites. Although 10000 sounds like a lot of competition, you're going to do something extra, which will help you rank higher than most of those sites.

Next step is to incorporate those keywords into your site. Since you don't know how to build a site yet (but you will eventually, I know you can do this) :wink: you might write this part down for future reference - put the keywords into your site meta data, title, navigation buttons, in the footer and in the text on your pages. You won't want to over-stuff your site with the keywords, but you'll want to sprinkle them throughout it.

Here's the something extra: One of the tricks to getting your site ranked high in the search engines so people will find you, is to have back links, which are links from other sites to yours.

Some of the ways you can get back links are:
- submit articles to article directories with a link to your site (put keywords throughout your articles)
- submit links to your site in social bookmarking sites like digg or del.i.cious
- start a blog about your topic and comment on others blogs related to your topic/product, including your site URL in your signature.

That's the short version, and I know it's overwhelming. Don't despair, take it one step at a time; do that keyword research, talk with Kelly and her team and Freshnets and keep asking questions.

Sue
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby lagoertz on Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:06 pm

Thanks! I have some homework to do. I appreciate all the tips. Thanks for the support & I will be asking for more :wink:


LeeAnn
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Re: Where do I begin? Website help?

Postby LorettaOliver on Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:18 am

I just wanted to pop in here and say this thread has been fantastic going through every thing step by step and figuring out the best options.
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