Inexpensive options for creating a website

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 28, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    I'm looking for advice on creating a website for a fashion brand. I don't need a huge website just enough pages to show off 15-20 items with the required order pages and the small details like photos, zoom, etc...

    Not even sure where to start or what websites might offer services like this. Ideally I'd like to keep this to less than $5000... but I'm not even sure if I using too high or low a price figure.

    Any help would be appreciated!
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    Mar 28, 2012 8:14 PM GMT
    there are a lot of people out there who will sell you their services, whether you need them or not. Before you start talking to people be clear what you need: do you want to find customers from search engines or are you relying on ads or some other channel to get people to the site. This will tell you how much SEO you need and how good they need to be. Are you wanting to sell through the site?

    Beware people who just sell you something pretty but have no understanding of digital marketing or how users read sites. Also be aware that a lot of people make their money from the upkeep of the site. so look at the ongoing costs as well as the initial costs
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 28, 2012 8:55 PM GMT
    If you have a Mac, I'd recommend iWeb. It's very easy to use and you can build an entire website very quickly without knowing any code.
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    Mar 28, 2012 9:26 PM GMT
    GonzoTheGreat saidthere are a lot of people out there who will sell you their services, whether you need them or not. Before you start talking to people be clear what you need: do you want to find customers from search engines or are you relying on ads or some other channel to get people to the site. This will tell you how much SEO you need and how good they need to be. Are you wanting to sell through the site?

    Beware people who just sell you something pretty but have no understanding of digital marketing or how users read sites. Also be aware that a lot of people make their money from the upkeep of the site. so look at the ongoing costs as well as the initial costs


    I would rely on other channels than a search engine to start. I don't need to be a top option on a google search.

    I've found webs.com which seems to be recommended for building a site myself where lunar pages has lists of recommended developing services.

    Only sad thing I've learned is the domain name I want is taken under all iterations no matter which .ending I use.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Mar 28, 2012 10:36 PM GMT
    I'm only familiar with creating sites with Wordpress, and I do know that there are ecommerce themes available.

    If you're going to go the Wordpress route, just pick a domain registrar to register a domain with, like BlueHost or Host Gator. Once registration is complete, you can install Wordpress, which is free.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 28, 2012 11:08 PM GMT
    Two suggestions:
    If you have some time to do it yourself, take a look at SquareSpace.com - they have a free trial.
    If at all possible, choose a domain name with a .com TLD.
  • bishop65

    Posts: 226

    Mar 29, 2012 12:09 AM GMT
    I recommend using Wordpress. It is a inexpensive option for building a website. You'll just need a web host for your site, though.
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    Mar 29, 2012 1:58 AM GMT
    ATC84 saidI'm looking for advice on creating a website for a fashion brand. I don't need a huge website just enough pages to show off 15-20 items with the required order pages and the small details like photos, zoom, etc...

    Not even sure where to start or what websites might offer services like this. Ideally I'd like to keep this to less than $5000... but I'm not even sure if I using too high or low a price figure.

    Any help would be appreciated!
    As others have said, you can go with Wordpress and install a shopping cart plug-in. But from my experience/observations, WP is always a prime target for hacking. And it's quite horrible for high traffic sites. But if you want something simple and easily customizable, WP isn't a bad choice. You can probably find a web designer to set all this up for you for less than $5000, depending how in depth you to want to customize/brand your site.

    My recommendation is to go with a turn-key hosted solution. BigCartel and Shopify are a couple of ecommerce services that cater to small businesses. Easy startup and low costs. It's a good way to get your feet wet in ecommerce.

    Any other questions, please feel free to ask.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:12 AM GMT
    Wordpress is good in some situations, but it was designed for blogging. If you are going to be taking orders, you need software that will be secure. I would go with a shopping cart such as Zen Cart or osCommerce. osCommerce is the more popular one. But, you will either have to hire someone to customize or learn to do it yourself.

    I have a blog site using WordPress and I have a genealogy site using php code. But, my bread and butter is a retail site using osCommerce that I customized myself.

    Also keep in mind that if you are taking orders online, you will need a payment gateway of some sort such as PayPal or a merchant account. If you use a merchant account, you will also need an SSL certificate.

    I use iPower.com for my hosting service. I have all my sites with them. My retail site did tens of thousands last year and the entire site cost me about $107 per year plus $59 per year for the SSL certificate. I uploaded my own software but they have WordPress, osCommerce (and some other carts) that are easily installed just using an install button, more or less... then you just customize them or hire someone to do it.

    There are numerous hosts out there. Some are very inexpensive, but you pay for additional services. For example, if you get one too cheap, you may be limited to 1 to 5 email addresses and only one database. Or you may pay a little more per year and have 25 databases and unlimited email accounts. Shop around.

    I would also stay away from hosting sites that force you to use there domain as part of your domain name. I can't think of any at the moment. My mind is drawing a blank, but for the sake of example, say I had a choice of a free or cheap site with iPower, but my domain would be www.mydomain.ipower.com, instead of www.mydomain.com.

    If you have any questions, or need help, I'll do what I can, just PM me.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:24 AM GMT
    I've seen tools at the Hosting Site in the control panel to make a website that way.

    Personally I've always done everything with Dreamweaver mostly by code. But that's the nitty gritty way for masochists like me.

    $5000 seems like MORE than enough to get someone to put together a site like that.

    I've never used this Wordpress, can't say for or against.

    There was this site I saw a couple years ago that was like a big Freelance computer programming, design, technical work collective. You could post work you wanted done, and it would show you a bunch of people who are willing to do it and their prices/experience/qualifications. I think it had something to do with SourceForge. But the cheapest ones were surely to be low-quality beginners. Dang it closed.
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:28 AM GMT
    Thanks for the advice!

    I looked at some of the suggestions and Wix seems to be something I could easily use. Website customization, domain name hosting, and a shopping paypal link. Looks like it costs $19.95 per month to allow shopping off your site and a startup fee of about $80 to secure the domain for a couple years.

    Sound reasonable?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:58 AM GMT
    Wow domains sure went up in the past few years! They used to be $10 a year!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 4:26 AM GMT
    http://www.weebly.com
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 4:40 AM GMT
    ATC84 saidInexpensive options for creating a website
    notepad.exe
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 5:14 AM GMT
    Contact me
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 10:35 AM GMT
    You can use Wix which is quite simple to use, but if you want something looking a bit more professional, get in touch with Glimpse Media, I think you can join them on their website: http://glimpsemedia.co.uk/ - they have done the 3 versions of my websites, my business cards, my logo etc ... The graphic designer is a friend of mine, he is really talented and he would be able to give you some advice, just get in touch with him even if you don't want him to create your website, he will happily help you.
    I know you have the possibility to use WordPress so you can update your website whenever you want without paying another service from a graphic designer.
    My friend will explain you everything if you ask, I know that I paid less than $1500 for my website with eveything included in (name of the website, design, creation, link on Google etc...). If you get in touch with my Friend, just say in the message that you come from "Josh", I am sure he will give you a discount ;)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 10:45 AM GMT
    Here's another off-the-wall thought. If you are ready to start your business - go to your local college web-design program and see if you can get a student majoring in web-design to either do an internship to design your site - or maybe just help you design the site as a way of building his/her portfolio.

    You may be surprised. Many have good skills.

    Just make sure they clue you in on how to maintain the web-site after it's up.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 10:53 AM GMT
    onaquest saidHere's another off-the-wall thought. If you are ready to start your business - go to your local college web-design program and see if you can get a student majoring in web-design to either do an internship to design your site - or maybe just help you design the site as a way of building his/her portfolio.

    You may be surprised. Many have good skills.

    Just make sure they clue you in on how to maintain the web-site after it's up.


    Interesting idea, but most wouldn't do it unless you're willing to pay them or you represent a real company with real profits.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 11:00 AM GMT
    It depends. If you know someone in the department and you are in the process of starting your business with funding or if you know a student....

    Realize, paying a student intern would be a lot cheaper than hiring a real firm.

    I've seen it work before. Of course, I live in a really small town - with small businesses.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 12:15 PM GMT
    Alright! Now I know this too... what to do with a website of my own?
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    Mar 29, 2012 12:19 PM GMT
    I use BigCommerce.

    They have a fantastic site builder - you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly and you can direct code html if you want to... or not.

    You get access to SEO tools, customer management and inventory tools, integrated applications (like one that allows customers to shop from your site directly from you Facebook page), etc and they're all included in the $24.95/mth hosting price tag. The first month is a FREE trial. They'll link to a host of other apps at minimal cost (I haven't needed any of them). They'll also register your domain very cheaply ($10/year I think).

    I pay the minimum fee of $24.95 and my site enables people to sign up for a newsletter, purchase gift vouchers, create an account, pay through paypal and form wishlists of products - to name a few features. Which of course I can use to direct market. I can even raise credits against accounts and view abandoned orders, etc.

    I find their help pages really well... helpful... and they have youtube videos with loads of easy to follow training sessions. They'll show you how to list products on Google and perform a Google crawl over your site to maximise priority listing in websearches. Option for customisation are graded from easy to expert so you can make a judgement call as to how skilled you are before you attempt something new.

    Plus they're owned by an Aussie and an American so they have offices and customer service in both countries via email, live chat and phone which means they're open almost 24 hours a day. If you're like me it'll be a godsend cause I work on the ite pretty late at night (which is of course daytime in the US!).

    If you want more details or to have a look at my site (I don't think we're allowed to shamelessly plug our businesses in the public forums) as an example then shoot me a message.

    Good luck!
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    Mar 29, 2012 1:01 PM GMT
    Another question: Flash or not to flash...

    I notice I have choices and I'm kind of leaning against flash just because I see it often stated some people hate flash sites. I also noticed some of the popular sites on a another thread like pistolpete are very basic and no fancy changing images.
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    Mar 29, 2012 1:02 PM GMT
    Try .www.bluevoda.com
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    Mar 29, 2012 1:39 PM GMT
    paulflexes said
    ATC84 saidInexpensive options for creating a website
    notepad.exe


    My man just answered it right!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:17 PM GMT
    ATC84 saidAnother question: Flash or not to flash...

    I notice I have choices and I'm kind of leaning against flash just because I see it often stated some people hate flash sites. I also noticed some of the popular sites on a another thread like pistolpete are very basic and no fancy changing images.


    Definitely not Flash. Flash is not friendly, flash doesn't work on iPhone or iPad. Don't go for flash. HTML+CSS+AJAX is the way to go.