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Old 12th March 2008, 01:53 PM   #1
SophieP
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Default What's The Best Way To Create A Website?

I know this may sound like a silly question, but what is the best way to get a website started? It's something the technically proficient take for granted, but old folks like me don't even have the foggiest idea how to start one. Do I need to purchase expensive software like Dreamweaver or is there a better way? (I guess I could just ask the teenage kids in my neighborhood!)

Thanks,
Sophie

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Old 12th March 2008, 04:53 PM   #2
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What kind of website? Makes a big difference.

Do you want to sell stuff, like an online store?

Do you want a blog so you can complain about the elections?

Do you want to start advertising real estate for sale?

There are many different uses of websites, many of which have specially designed point and click kind of software.

I've been online since 2001 and never owned dreamweaver or used front page. or anything else "everybody" will tell you you need.

Forget "everybody". You heard it here first.

What do you want to end up with?
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Old 12th March 2008, 07:31 PM   #3
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No you do not need Dreamweaver. Although it is VERY nice, there are open source programs that you can use. But you need to answer Petes questions first...

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Old 12th March 2008, 08:49 PM   #4
SophieP
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Hello Pete,

Thanks for responding. It would be an online store for some kind of niche market. I am still working on what product line. Doing keyword research to determine demand.

And here's part 2 of my question, how do you find your source(s) for your products? How do you know if they are reputable vendors?

And now part 3, is it better to drop ship products to customers or warehouse them and ship them myself?

(I'm new to forums so I'm not quite sure the protocol. Not sure if I should have asked these questions as separate threads.)

Thanks,
Rookie Sophie

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Old 14th March 2008, 10:08 AM   #5
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If you're really new to this, you have a couple of choices in setting up an online store.

You can go with something like Yahoo Stores, where it's pretty much all point and click. There are a number of other hosts, such as GoDaddy and 1&1 and others, which also offer "easy set up" stores that don't require you to know much of anything about HTML or programming. It's just a matter of checking them out and picking the one you feel most comfortable with.

The advantages to this are: you can get going quickly, it's relatively easy to get started and you'll have relatively few expenses out-of-pocket up front beyond the basic hosting account. The main disadvantages are: it's probably going to be more expensive over the long run (the hosting companies usually charge extra per month for store accounts versus basic hosting accounts) and -- depending on the store -- it may be tricky to migrate your data to another store platform should you one day outgrow the one you're on, and (depending on which one you select) you may be somewhat limited in your design choices (at least until you learn HTML and CSS enough to code a custom template, assuming the store allows custom templates).

You can hire somebody to set up a store for you. This will definitely be more expensive up-front and will take more time than using one of those "be online by tonight" point-and-click services I mentioned above. But on the other hand, you can get your store totally customized to your specifications and your monthly outlay going forward may be somewhat less.

Of course, you could always teach yourself and try to DIY, but unless you already have a bit of background in HTML, web design and (potentially) programming and/or server administration, I wouldn't necessarily advise that for someone just starting out with e-commerce. Not to say that it can't be done, or that you couldn't pull it off very well, but you are facing a significant learning curve. If you have the time and the desire, it's certainly a viable option.

As to knowing whether vendors are reliable or not, you can try searching for the vendor's name plus words like "sucks" or "complaint", and see what comes up in the results. Keep in mind, almost any vendor will have a complaint or two, so I wouldn't panic over a small number of negative entries. But if you see entire websites devoted to how terrible the vendor is, with post after post from all sorts of different people, that would be a huge red flag.

Of course, it's possible the vendor is new and hasn't had a chance to build up an online reputation yet. Best advice I know of is to start small, build up gradually and always always always have a backup plan (and if you're as paranoid as I am, a backup of the backup ).

As to drop shipping versus stocking, that's a business decision that will vary from one person to the next. There is no one "best" answer that fits all.

From the standpoint of warehousing and shipping yourself: do you have enough space to warehouse these products? Will you be available every day to ship out orders, or will your customers be willing to accept a few days' delay on shipping if you're away on vacation or ill, or will you have employee(s) who can take over shipping duties when you're not available?

On the drop shipping side, are you comfortable with the quality of the products and the packing/shipping by your drop shipper, such that you're okay with them sending products directly to your customers? Are you confident they'll ship on a timely basis? Do you trust them to not "poach" your customers?

If you can price the products enough to cover a small additional cost and still give you sufficient profit, a compromise might be to use a fulfillment house. They warehouse and ship the products on your behalf, so you don't have to be around all the time, but they're not a manufacturer or distributor on their own, so there's less worry about them making use of your customer list to sell their own products directly.

Hope this helps!

--Torka

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Old 14th March 2008, 12:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieP View Post
Hello Pete,

Thanks for responding. It would be an online store for some kind of niche market. I am still working on what product line. Doing keyword research to determine demand.

You can research yourself to death. Some is good, but there are prospects out there for everything. I usually suggest picking a couple of products you are comfortable with and giving them a try.

And here's part 2 of my question, how do you find your source(s) for your products? How do you know if they are reputable vendors?

You can find thousands of sources, and maybe some good product ideas, by clicking the bottom link in my signature.

And now part 3, is it better to drop ship products to customers or warehouse them and ship them myself?

As Torka says, this can vary depending on your circumstances. I have sold way over a quarter of a million dollars in dropshipped goods. Just today I have one order for $1137 being dropshipped. It's something I believe in, but finding a reliable, Tier One dropshipper is imperative.

By Tier One I mean a company which owns it's own inventory, not just a place that takes your order and then has it dropshipped by the real source. You must be extremely careful with this. The Internet is overrun with so-called dropshippers who are only "order gatherers".

In addition a Tier One dropshipper will ship one piece at a time, with no extra cost (unless it is a low value - many wholesalers have a "small order fee" for any order less than $ xx).

They will also "ship blind" which means your name and address is all the customer will ever see. They will not include any of their own literature and will have all paperwork and labels in your name. Further, they will not later contact your customer in any way.


(I'm new to forums so I'm not quite sure the protocol. Not sure if I should have asked these questions as separate threads.)

Thanks,
Rookie Sophie
There is only so much protocol, don't worry, it's all about getting started. I can also help you with an online store if you decide to go that way.

And unlike Yahoo Stores and such, I will answer your concerns on a one on one basis. In English, even!
.
.

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Old 14th March 2008, 01:59 PM   #7
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Oops! Pete, I should have mentioned your services in my response. Sorry!!!

I can only plead insanity and throw myself on the mercy of the court...

--Torka

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Old 14th March 2008, 03:10 PM   #8
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No problem. My wife has trained me to acept being overlooked wit dignity.
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Old 15th March 2008, 09:46 AM   #9
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FYI, you can use web sites like elance.com to contact and employer web designers. The rates can be extremely reasonable.

The last time I did this (and it's been several months) I got probably a dozen bids for prices that were basically $200 to $300.

You can peek at one of the web sites listed in my sig to see what economical web design costs.

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Old 1st April 2008, 07:59 AM   #10
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If you are serious about your business, i would suggest you get a professional web development company.

As a minimum, the company you choose should develop your site to work in a content managemen system so that you can easily edit it without having to go back to them each time you get it done.

The clients that i deal with every day always complain that they wish they had used a professional website developer from the beginning, because:
* the web designer will commonly go overseas ad you cant make changes to your site
* They will charge you $150/hr to make small text changes
* it can take them weeks to make any changes you want.

It doesnt have to be expensive either.

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