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Web system recommendation


#1

Hello,

I have been thinking of moving my web site off of Etsy for a number
of reasons and instead of writing a complete website for my self
from scratch, I wondered if anyone had systems/software, a contract
with a service for this, or anything else that they would recommend?
So far, the ones I have seen, have been too cookie cutter to handle
what I would really like to have. Obviously, most of the work would
be cookie- cutter, but some of it would have to be flexible enough to
handle special requests as well as my work, which does not exactly
fit inside this box.

Thank you in advance,
Jaynemarie


#2

Have you looked at iWEB for MAC? Check out our 2 sites MLCE.net and
ctmandalas.com. These were both done with iWEB by Cynthia. Took her
about 4-5 hours to do the ctmandalas site, which was the very first
site she had ever “made”. She has done a bit more to it over the last
year+ but it is basically what she started with. MLCE.net has a
different history of development, but what you see now is again a few
hours of work using iWEB.

John Dach


#3

I HIGHLY recommend buyitsellit.com

I Love it!
Suzanna


#4

Depends on what you’d like to be able to do.

if you are after a shopping cart - and i’d point you towards
cubecart If you’re just looking at more of a gallery then prehaps
something like wordpress (although I have seen this used as a
shopping cart too, I just haven’t tried that myself)

What level of experience in the world of websites do you have? Enough
to to a pretty major customisation, or are you looking for something
that will be able to add on the bits you want?

Lots of the ‘cookie cutters’ out there have a huge range of ‘add-ons’
(free and paid for) that can help create exactly want you want.

Regards,
Alison


#5

1 and 1. If you go with them i can send you a discounted link ( i
use them, it would be mutually beneficial). They are cheap, i have
never had any problems in 5 years with them, the customization is
easy the cart reliable (and you can add multiple checkout methods/
carts) it is integrated with paypal and you can link to amazon. com
(and whatever affiliations you like). If you do hit a problem they
will walk you through the process to fix it in person over the
phone, or you can grant one time access and they take virtual
control of our machine and fix it for you. All in all i have not a
complaint. Just have a good file of your own photos and text ready
and you can set it up in a couple of hours and refine it over a
period of time if it needs tweaking. I HIGHLY recommend getting a
subscription to “Internet retailer” magazine ( free to business
people) I have always found great about improving your
site from the periodical. organic webssite creation to marketing and
supply chain management for building your sales channels and
basically anything you could possibly want to know about improving
your site. no, i don’t work for them just find it essential for
e-business. Feel free to contact me off list if you want to know more
about any of this or just want the discount link. rer


#6

Here are 3 that I’ve tested:

bigcartel: very quick setup. Not very flexible design-wise, but I’ve
seen pple create some very nice looking shops. Limit of 100 items,
which is why I never ended up using it. Not sure how flexible it is
with payment systems (ie paypal, amazon, etc). Pretty inexpensive.
Not a lot of bells and whistles. If you’re just selling through ETsy
using paypal, then this is a great way to spread out. Quick and easy
to set up, inexpensive, and you can see first hand how you like
running your own site. This is the one I always suggest to pple with
less than 100 items in their shop.

pappashop: nice pple, nice setup. Not very flexible design-wise. The
best thing I can say about their design templates is “BUSY”! It’s
been a while since I tested it, but they seemed to have a fair number
of bells-and-whistles. Very reasonably priced. If the like their
templates designs, then this is a good option.

shopify: Very flexible design-wise… but you really need to know
how to program with html and css to get the design you want. As far
as ‘bells-and-whistles’ are concerned, they have more than bigcartel,
and less that pappashop. Rather pricey.

There are lots more than that… google ‘shopify’ and 'bigcartel’
and you’ll find discussions about a number of other places where you
can create a shop. You can also just use something like zen-cart and
put a shop together based on that.

Personally I have a shop on Etsy and Dawanda, as well as a shopify
shop. Having your own shop is like taking on a whole 'nother job…
ie marketing that shop. Which is why I’ll be shutting down my
shopify shop for now. It’s just the wrong time in the growth of my
business for me to be worrying about marketing my own site. Too many
things in flux. (Though I’ll be starting it up again in the future.)


#7

Hi Jaynemarie, I had the same problem. I used a relatively user
friendly program Web Studio 5.0 and found it easy to do what I
wanted. You can contact me off line and I would be happy to give you
the pro’s and con’s of doing it ;your self.

Rchard Langbert


#8

There are many choices in hosting and it also depends on your level
of programming skills or how much time you want to spend on
development. My background is in technology so I was able to create
my website myself but didn’t want to spend the time coding a shopping
cart. For me yahoo merchant has been a solution that works and gives
me most of the flexibility I need. They have alot of features and
there are choices for payment methods such as the free paypal as you
are probably using with etsy and a paid paypal I ended up going with.
Just off the top of my head for customization you can use a contact
form for the request or have a page, or pages, for items that can be
customized with dropdown menus as I use for color and size selection.
There can be many solutions to that.

I do understand you don’t want a cookie cutter website but unless you
find someone to create a custom website, which can be expensive, you
may have to go with templates which are customizable, how much
probably depends on the template and options offered by the hosting
company. I have seen some web design firms that will do a site
inexpensively maybe starting at several hundred, I know that may be
expensive as it’s relative, but those use templates anyway so if you
are comfortable enough doing it yourself and find a template you like
I would say go for it. And then you have control over any future
changes and can continue to customize and change it to your hearts
content without incurring lots of additional cost. I would say spend
some time researching and look at hosting companies that offer
e-commerce solutions, yahoo is only one of them, and look through the
templates and their options and see if something will work for you.

Best of luck finding a solution,
Sheila


#9

I think Web Studio 4.0 is great and very easy to use. 5.0 is now out
but I haven’t looked at it yet. Putting PayPal cart on items is built
in.

Justine


#10

I used Web Studio for my website (which is sadly neglected and in
disrepair–not the fault of Web Studio but my fault). I do not know
HTML, nor did I know anything about constructing a web site and I
found Web Studio 4.0 to be wonderful and very intuitive. I have just
purchased Web Studio5 and installed it. I have to say that I find the
appearance of it a little daunting and complicated looking. They DO
send a comprehensive manual after purchase and it seems to be
well-written. I haven’t had time to explore the new version and
suspect that all the old features that were in 4.0 that made it so
easy to use will still be there but the working screen is VERY dark
and gloomy looking. Must be a trend in program design because I also
purchased the new version of Photoshop Elements (8) and had to call
in desperation because the screen was so black that I’m finding it
almost useless. The technical help gave me some direction but it
really hasn’t helped much with Elements. I will press on with Web
Studio 5 because I liked working with Version 4 so much. They DO
caution you to be sure and save your files for WS4 because once you
pull them over into version 5, you can’t go back.

Ann Lacava
www.puresilverstudio.com


#11
In addition to my jewelry, I also edit a community online magazine
and design, install, and maintain several websites (themes) for
(friends and colleagues) artists, small businesses and
organizations locally and occasionally teach classes. 

My recommendation:

If you want something easy to maintain and to keep up to date that
you can add lots of features to then the best thing out there and
the least expensive (free)(once you pay for your hosting) is
WordPress.org…not the WordPress.com that is available with no
customization…I will be happy to talk to you about it in more
detail. It is stable, well-supported with plenty of open-source
features and add-ons and is a rich environment for artists. I use
Wordpress for the studio site my husband and myself and used it for
small resorts (fishing) massage therapist, church, charitable
organization, and more. The advantage of having a system that easily
supports a blog page (but not on the front page) and that can also
contain all the business (including shopping carts) options that you
should need is that it is flexible and easy to update anytime things
change.

best regards
Onedia


#12
I found Web Studio 4.0 to be wonderful and very intuitive. I have
just purchased Web Studio5 and installed it. 

Since you were so happy with 4, why did you decide to buy 5? Why not
just use the program you liked?

Do you want to sell me your copy of 4?

Noel


#13

I have helped a few jewelers do their own website using the site I
use. (I don’t help or do, just sent them their).

http://www.coachgenie.com

About $250 a year. Shopping cart, great website, email accounts,
collect money.

All very simple, you own it, control it. Works with a Microsoft Word
kind of interface. easy.

I did my own site JewelerProfit.com

David Geller


#14

Check out flyingcart.com They have a very, very user friendly setup.
I am no computer whiz but was able to set up my own website using
their site. They will even give you space to present five (5)
products at no charge (free) just to let you see what it is like to
operate on their system…so there’s no money up front until you know
if this is what you want to do.

They are excellent in the area of customer service. Very fast
responses via email and a phone number with a real person at the
other end who can communicate well without losing you in computer
jargon. Now, I need to get inspired and get all of my new creations
on my site…sites do need to be maintained and promoted.

Pat Klein
Just a satisfied customer


#15

I am also looking to redo the catalog section of our website.

It is all done currently in HTML and works but it is not easily
searchable and does not reorganize itself if someone wants to see
only one stone type for example.

Someone suggested Wordpress.org as a good thing for a site but I am
not seeing where that works for making a catalog in database form
that is searchable which is what I want. If there is some way that
is not super complicated that we could do this ourselves we would
prefer it. However, although our HTML capabilities are decent now we
know nothing about what is required to set up what we want.

This is what our current catalog looks like
http://www.johndyergems.com/onlinecatalogpg1.html

and I would like something similar looking but searchable and that
would reorganize itself based upon user input. So that the customer
could define the size, color, shape, material type, etc.

There is no need currently for a shopping cart feature since each
order must be approved by me to check on whether or not they are
actually a jewelry maker or in the jewelry business so hopefully
that will simplify matters.

I do not like the sites that return just a few results per page, I
would want to have a relatively large number per page as I do now and
also something that is fairly easy to add or subtract pieces from
since each is individual and when one sells it has to come off the
site.

We don’t want to have to learn a lot of code etc., so if we are to
do it ourselves we need a little easier solution than learning a
coding language and writing it all from scratch (a tiny bit of code
when necessary might be OK, just not a pure code solution).

Any suggestions?

If there is no decent way to do this ourselves then I will probably
bid it out but even so I need to know what is required so I can
describe it correctly and get the right person to do it for me.

Thanks to you all for being such a great resource!

John Dyer

(I know this is not necessarily a jewelry making question but this
is one of the few forums I participate in and I suspect a lot of you
have used or are going to need something similar to what I am
talking about for your own work.)


#16

Hi John,

You might want to talk with Thomas Roethling at incom.ca

Wayne Emery
www.thelittlecameras.com


#17
There is no need currently for a shopping cart feature since each
order must be approved by me to check on whether or not they are
actually a jewelry maker or in the jewelry business so hopefully
that will simplify matters. 

A couple of thoughts:

1/ A shopping cart is a catalog with a “buy-now” feature. So if you
deactivate the buying part of a cart solution, you will still have
the catalog part: organising, describing, searching etc. Also,
oftentimes the buy-feature of a shopping could be redefined into a
price-inquiry feature, something that may be useful.

2/ You could rename “catalog” into “gallery” when looking for
software. If all you want to do today is show-casing your products,
then a photo-gallery solution will probably do as well. There are
gallery plugins for all blog and cms software that I am aware of, as
well as standalone programs just made for.

3/ There is are (at least) two shopping cart solutions that can be
integrated into existing websites.

I am mentioning this, because I know there are people, who are very
happy with their existing gallery-type websites, and just wish to
add a buy-functionality on top of that, without having to, or
wanting to, build a parallel web-store.

One solution is hosted elsewhere, and you just add small pieces of
html-code into your product pages: ecwid.com

The other solution is hosted on your own webserver: www.avactis.com -
It is not obvious from their site that you can use Avactis as
cart-plugin into existing websites, but it is there.

Best,
Andreas


#18

I recommended Wordpress. I am not certain about a specific catalogue
application…but I know that there are plenty of plugins…
including one or more shopping carts (I put one on my site but it is
not out there yet as our studios are not in full swing and what we
sell online will be more for custom orders ) and it works with sql
databases… I would suggest taking a look at the apps offered by
your host…I use bluehost.com. please email me if you like.

Onedia Hayes Sylvest
Fiery Heart Designs


#19

Hi,

One thought is to use OSCommerce, an Open-Source alternative to the
whole proprietary pay-for thing. I have set up and used the
CRELoaded.com version for years with the other products and websites
I have helped with. It is fairly easy to set up, is supported by most
hosting companies, and uses the open-source database MySQL (usually
also supported by the hosting agency). I helped set up my mom and
dad’s store (http://www.dreammakershop.com) which uses the CRE
Loaded version of OS Commerce, as an example. I found it to be very
easy.

http://www.creloaded.com will also host for a very minimal charge. I
like the fact that it has many modules you can add, reports to run,
is PCI compliant, connects with most banks and credit card services,
has a very nice and detailed admin interface to do both front-end
and back-end maintenance, and… as the years go by you can backup
the database and restore the entire contents into any upgrade without
loosing anything! It has been fantastic for me over the last 8
years. If you buy the product or use their hosting their support
services are outstanding. They go the extra mile.

Some of the cool modules you can add…there are thousands!
(http://www.oscommerce.com/community)…include iPhone and PoS
integration such that an item sold in ‘the field’, at ‘the store’,
etc, will deduct the quantity on hand/in stock from the website. In
fact, if someone is buying the last piece while another tries to buy
via the other channel the first to select the item will get it,
avoiding selling more than your last item in stock (in case
one-of-a-kind, etc.). The behavior is customizable, too.

There is a huge community using the product, so there are great
forums for help and further ideas.

I hope that helps add some further ideas.

Cheers!
Christopher


#20

The open source idea is very good… open source is almost always
my preferred way… which is part of the reason I use Wordpress it
is open source.