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Website development suggestion


#1

Hi

Sorry if this post is redundant. I had thought there were
discussions on it, but, when I searched the archives, nothing came
up.

I would like to, over the next few months, develop a nice
wholesale/retail website which I can maintain and update on my own,
anytime I want. I am not a technical person, but am willing to
learn. I tried a short trial period on GoDaddy.com. It’s called
website tonight. “Pay a small fee this morning, and have your
website up and running tonight…it’s that easy”…no it’s not, not
for me.

Can someone recommend a provider. I would like to have a basic
website. I can take my own pictures, convert them to the correct
size and shape. Ideally I would like to just click and drag
pictures, graphics, my logo, and etc into the site. Is this possible
without having to go back to college to get a computer science
degree?

I’m getting terribly frustrated. I don’t have a big budget. I tried
to barter with someone, quid pro quo…but I’m not a patient person
and I readily admit that I am picky on quality. I need to do this
myself or at least understand how it works before I pay anyone to
maintain it for me.

There has to be at least one person out there who is running into
the same kind of problems as me?

Kim Starbard
http://www.kimstarbarddesigns.com


#2

Yes, as you discovered, it’s harder than you would think. I suggest
you choose your web software (such as GoLive, or whatever they are
calling it now) and take a class in it with a real person.

Even if you want to maintain it yourself, there are benefits to
paying someone else (a professional) to set it up for you the first
time.

Elaine


#3

Kim-Check out Network Solutions (www.networksolutions.com) They
provide templates, easy ways to change things like colors, fonts,
etc., and to edit your pages. Best of all, they have an excellent
support system -they are easy to reach, and they have an enormous
amount of patience with even the dumbest questions. The downside, for
me, is you don’t have the freedom to place pictures, wherever you
want. I would like more freedom to be able to design the page itself.
However it’s always tradeoff when you are not creating the page from
scratch yourself. It’s also relatively inexpensive, depending on the
level of service you select. They work best for a PC. I have a Mac
and so far, can only edit my pages on Mozilla, but they tell me they
are working on their connection to Firefox. They have periodically
improved the basic patterns, and have been changing things from time
to time, like adding colors, ease of moving things around.

Let me know if you would like any more detail.
Sincerely
Sandra
http://www.elegantinsects.com


#4

Hi, Kim. Since our DSL service is tied to Yahoo - our provider does
the hardware, but they contracted Yahoo to do the software - we went
there for our web hosting. There are, as you know, thousands of
people hosting sites - about half of them are resellers. Look heRe:
webhosting.yahoo.com/cp/create for the tools Yahoo provides. It’s
pretty simple, looks like. I’d suggest that you get a book about web
sites, though, even if it’s Dreamweaver or something - I’m sure there
are “How to make a web site” books out there. Just to get a handle on
how things are handled, how the server thing works, uploading files,
linking, index.html, etc. It’s really not that complicated. That is,
the framework isn’t complicated. I’ll say again as I’ve said here
before, that Dreamweaver isn’t really all that hard to learn, and it
does just what you ask once you get the hang of it. If you make a
hyperlink or a picture, you just select it, and then down below where
it says Link, you just drag the arrow over to the page you want to
link, and it goes Bang, and links it. Stuff like that. Here’s the
framework, though: Your home page is always called index.html or
index.htm. You make twelve other pages (say). One is called
aboutme.html, one is gallery.html, one is links.html, etc. You make a
menu on index.html with buttons for hyperlinks. Then you assign the
About Me button to link to aboutme.html, and maybe there’s a button
on that page for My Artwork. You make a page that’s myartwork.html,
and assign the button to link to THAT page, and on and on. And make
sure that every page has a Home button that links to index.html. On
the Links page, if you put a reference to Ganoksin, then you link
that reference (make the text a hyperlink) to www.ganoksin.com, and
when someone clicks it, bang, they go to www.ganoksin.com. That’s
really all there is to it. The complexity is in gathering and
arranging your content, and making sure everything is linked properly
and all. Dreamweaver and others no doubt has a link checker that
looks for orphan links and pages - stuff like that.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#5

Kim -

Before I got my current site going, I used a company called
http://fineartstudioonline.com/ and I was well pleased with them -
it was something like $21 per month, and you could do a lot of
customization, etc.

Ivy


#6

The graphics part of it can be done simply with a program like Front
Page but to get the sales part of it going takes some programming.
There are many sites (and GoDaddy has them as well) that are ready to
go store models. The question is cost. You’re looking at anywhere
from a minimum of $20 or so to several hundred dollars a month. You
can do it yourself for no extra cost with a little programming and
the free PayPal shopping cart system (which even lets you accept
credit cards and eChecks without having to get a merchant account of
your own) but you’ll have to get into raw code (or pay someone to set
it up the first and teach you to maintain it.) Depending on how fancy
you want to get that will run anywhere from a few hundred to
thousands of dollars.

If you would like me to take a look at what you’re needing contact
me offlist

I’m no hotshot programmer but I’ve done a few things myself and feel
fairly comfortable with it.

Diane Merriam


#7

Kim,

I have been working on my website and have been extremely happy with
my developer. His name is Tyler Hannigan and he was a potter and
stained glass artist himself. I got him through Cindy Eid. He also
maintains a website for “craftsmen” and links you through them.

Like I said I am extremely happy with Ty. Everyone I send to my
website, likes what they see.

Contact offline for his email address:

jennifer friedman
http://www.jenniferfriedmanstudio.com


#8

Hi All,

Since I do website development as a part time business I’m going to
offer my services here to anyone who may want to have a custom site
developed. I may not be the cheapest, but I am good and I make
things so you can maintain the site yourself after it’s setup.

I believe in ‘branded’ websites which means your site doesn’t look
like it came out of a template shop and you changed the banner text.

I’m not going to list all my sites but here are three of my current
projects -

iwascreated.com
rib.uscourts.gov/newhome (will remove the ‘newhome’ once it’s done)
golflonger.com

I also setup shopping carts (however customizing the ‘skin’ costs
extra). For this you need a hosting provider that provides ASP and
access databases. I don’t use the PHP versions (oscommerce, zen
cart, etc) because the support isn’t very good and they aren’t
updated often enough.

Anyway, if interested you all know where to find me.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com
(which I will be updating as well)


#9

I would suggest going to brinkster.com I have a developers account
there that host my sites as well as my friends sites

For a beginner they have a shopping cart system and commerce options
I will be investigating for my own site.

You can pay as little as 10 a month for hosting. THey have a website
builder but your own code is always better than templates. In my
opinion. I can help you as well.

Pre-brain injury I was an internet consultant I helped auctioneers
learn how to get a wb presence and I checked security of sites for
the govt.

I remember how to do a bit and still have all the major geek
programs lol macromedia etc so I can help too

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#10

May I suggest that you start simply and work piece by piece. It is
not overwhelming and when you get into it, you will find it is fairly
simple. When you see a site that has hundreds of pages, it has been
developed over a period of time. It is easy to let the site take over
your creative time and get in the way of your jewelry making.

The look of the site is largely a matter your own vision of the
image you want to portray, your jewelry and your customer base. The
key is to make the site showcase your jewelry, not overpower it.

Either Dreamweaver or FrontPage (if you are using a PC) will work
well for the HTML editor. That is the easier part. As time passes,
you will probably add features and technical knowledg as you need it.
Though about 35% of the visitors still have a slow internet
connection and you really can’t afford to lose those potential
customers by having a razzle dazzle site that doesen’t load well.
Site maintainence and updates are a challenge and critical to
success. You will rarely see a purchase on the first visit, so you
need repeat visitors and they will need some reason to return.

There are many options for hosting. I have used the same one since
1996 and really like them, but I am sure that others will have
recommendations.

You only have one chance to make that first impression, so there is
no giant rush to get the site up and when it does go up, even if it
is 3 pages, those pages need to be ready for “prime time”.

Louise
http://www.jewelryspectrum.com


#11

I used www.oscommerce.com to build my online store, it’s an open
source project so the program is free for download, unfortunately it
might prove rather difficult for a coding novice (like myself) to set
up, on the other hand it’s endlessly customisable and works like a
charm. I had a web developer do most of the work on it, I can
recommend his name offline if you are interested, he’s talented,
friendly and great at setting up and building oscommerce stores.

Isabella Pasche
Arlisa Bijoux
Switzerland
http://www.arlisa-bijoux.com


#12

Hi Kim,

I have a suggestion and I am using it myself right now and it is
very easy! No affiliation. I just like the ease of use for a
"non-techie" and the price!

Check out www.networksolutions.com

They have a free 30-day trial so you can actually “try before you
buy”. I am almost done with mine, adding photo’s etc., and that is
after only 3 hours of work.

Please feel free to email me off list if you have any questions,
even while you build a test site and I will help in any way I can.

Just a note, I have one site already up and running that is a
professional retail site for manufactured and art jewelry. The one I
am working on now is my own artists site and is not posted yet.

Regards,
Lynn


#13

Hi Kim,

I built my website by myself with very little help but it did take
me about 3 months of study to learn html codes. I first used the
wysng(sp?) editor that netscape had, this was in the days when
Netscape was king so I don’t know if it is still available or not.
Anyway, at that time, about 14 years ago, there was all kinds of free
help on the web and I think I read it all. Now I think the best
editor to use is Dreamweaver if you can afford it because it lets you
look at either the html codes or the actual “what it looks like” or
both at once and once you learn it is very simple to use. I’m a
visual person so I like to look at what I’m doing as I go. An editor
that is free is Note Tab - it lets you do the code work and then
check it to see what it looks like. You do have to learn how to build
tables to contain your images and dialog, etc. That is how you place
things on the page. John Donavan gave some excellent advice on the
building of the whole site. It helped me to think of it as an
organizational site.

About adding the shopping cart, I looked around and found a server
who includes the cart with the cost of hosting which is about $20.00
a month. He sets all that up so you don’t have to learn to do all of
that and as someone said, I think it was John, you can use Paypal
which has no set up fees. Only a percentage which amounts to less
than the monthly fee a merchant account charges. About half of my
customers use Paypal and I’ve toyed with cancelling my merchant
acct. and just going with it. BTW my server is www.clockwatchers.com.
The tech person is very prompt to answer any questions I have and
quite patient with me, although sometimes its hard for him to come
down to my level of understanding. I just play dumb (which I am) and
ask again if I don’t get it. Clockwatchers also has a website builder
but I haven’t used it so don’t know how good it is.

Good luck with your site and remember, if this ole grandma can do it
anyone can.

Jan
www.designjewel.com


#14

I don’t want to high-jack this thread. I have a professional website
that a wonderful friend does, I pay him, he keeps it up.

But, I would like a personal website where I can put random
pictures, silly jokes, post interesting info, for friends and family.
It would have nothing to do with my professional life.

Are there places out there that allow you to “do” your own website?

Carla
www.carlamfox.com


#15
I built my website by myself with very little help but it did take
me about 3 months of study to learn html codes. 

Although professional site builders still use HTML now and then, and
certainly understand it, for those of us amateurs just building our
own creaky sites, the days of code are over, by and large. I don’t
want to start a meaningless argument, I want the newbies, like Kim,
to not feel like they need to learn code, because they don’t. The
more you know, the better off you’ll be, though. I put a guest book
on my site, and that required pasting code, and I had to know how
and where to do that properly. (I understand various codes - C++ -
but I don’t write them, with all the syntax and all). To make your
own basic site on any of the hosting services mentioned with their
utilities, or even Dreamweaver or anything else, you do not have to
understand a bit of HTML. To be a good designer or into being a pro,
then you’ll need to pick it up or get fluent in it. Why would a web
designer sit there and figure out and type out

Click Here To View Our Policies Regarding Credit Cards, Etc.

When they can just drag out a table in 10 seconds with a mouse click
and type in the message? The answer is that they don’t anymore. You
CAN sit down with Notepad and design a whiz-bang site simply by
typing HTML text - when it loads it will be a web site. But it will
take months to do, and you can do the same work with a wysiwyg
program of any kind (Dreamweaver) in one week. Now, again,
professional designers DO use code when it’s appropriate, or for
truly original content. But newbies or casual designers can get by
quite well without knowing all the nuts and bolts behind the
machine. If you get into Flash, you’ll have to use actionscript,
though - it’s part of the deal…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#16

John,

Under what browsers have you chosen to view your website. I’m a MAC
user using Safari. Your entire navigation bar does not load
completely. We Mac users might constitute a small percentage of the
market, but enough so that it is important that our website works on
any platform and in any browser.

If you want a l page only, sure, Dreamweaver is great
and I have seen some great websites using it.

Ex: http://www.jennifermank.com

No flashy bits, just solid

Here is a good site. Clean, simple, perfect for an artists. This
one was done using code.

http://www.borisbally.com

Websites are only as useful as your ability to update them. It
doesn’t need to be fancy, but it certainly needs to be useful.

I have a friend who creates exceptional work, who spent the time
creating a beautiful brochure and business card, but fell down
completely when it came to his website. The quality in his printed
brochure didn’t match the website. When he submitted his brochure to
clients, they went to the website for more and stopped
cold. What does your website say about the quality of the work you
do? EVERYTHING. A website is your piece of visual communication.

When I was on the Board of SNAG, my job was to work on content on
their website. However, at that time, I cataloged over 65 broken
links, pages that didn’t correspond to any relevant and
no way to update any content unless I submitted it to a member who
was too busy with her own job. It was large and picturesque, but was
not very useful. They went back to the drawing board and started
over. It was better, but not as useful as it could have been.

Now, http://www.snagmetalsmith.org looks pretty spiffy and USEFUL to
both its members and to visitors. High five praises to them.

I agonize over my own website all the time. I want it to be useful,
and much of this means that I have to write fresh content and update
our pages too. You will see a revamp and fresh content, but the
style will remain the same. The content might be old, but it is fast
loading, easy to navigate and I have had people call me up for
articles and TV spots because they were looking at "metalsmithing"
sites and ours was easy to find.

My suggestion is that anyone wanting to know more about the nuts and
bolts of good website design should attend the Clasp Conference in
September. You owe it to your business.
http://www.claspconvergence.com

-k

M E T A L W E R X
School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854
www.metalwerx.com


#17

Hi Carla (& everyone else),

"Are there places out there that allow you to "do" your own
website? " 

LOTS! if you don’t mind the adds there are free places like:

www.geocities.com
www.bravehost.com

sorry - that’s just the first two off the top of my head - google
’free hosting’ and you’ll be bombarded - most of which come with
their own point and click site builders, but you can also get in
there with a bit of html if you want (great way to learn the basics
of html is to make minor alterations to something already done (ie.
you see a spelling error on your page, rather than taking the easy
way, switch to html view and fix it in there)

there’s also things like


which are both ‘networking’ sites - but do allow for really easy
uploads, no html and you can get running in about 10 minutes (you
can’t do anything really fancy without being a bit of a graphics
wizz, but that’s ok) and are great for a personal site with lots of
photos (you can restrict who can view your site and/or certain photo
albums)

Most hosts offer some sort of shopping cart (I think you can even
get one directly from paypal now), photo gallerys, guest books etc

On the shopping cart query - I’m a fan of cube cart www.cubecart.com

  • but like the others, not so easy to customise the graphics and the
    layout, but very easy to upload stock, change text etc (and they’ve
    got a great forum full of people used to begginers questions… sort
    of like orchid really! lol)

Ali


#18

Jim, you’re correct in that using frontpage, dreamweaver, etc you
can build a site. A good designer will create a site that captivates
someone who visits; an amateur will build an amateur site that the
visitor will notice. Most will not purchase from an amateur site
because they are worried about being ‘taken’. Heck, there is still a
large body who will not shop on the internet (or only the 'majors’
like amazon, etc).

So while I agree it is very easy to create a table, throw some
pictures in it and put a banner across the top is fairly easy, if you
want to sell anything then you probably won’t. The competition is
stiff on the internet no matter how ‘unique’ you think your design
is…

Also, about code, it again goes to a canned setup or custom. If your
site is not unique or well designed AND your goal is sell then my
advice is to learn to do it yourself professionally or hire someone.

One more thing, some parts of web design are easy, but it overall is
NOT an easy field. Its like saying grabbing some jewelry tools will
make it so you are a jewelry fabricator/designer which we all know
isn’t really true.

I’m not going to post on this anymore because I don’t want to seem
self-serving. Some of what you say is true, but some is not and is
even misleading in my opinion.

Peace.

Craig


#19
Although professional site builders still use HTML now and then,
and certainly understand it, for those of us amateurs just building
our own creaky sites, the days of code are over, by and large. 

I couldn’t disagree more. There is a huge difference between a
static site where you only show pictures but where there is no
customer-seller online interaction (which indeed can be built through
Dreamweaver or similar programs) and a dynamic online store which is
what I believe Kim wants. By dynamic site I mean a virtual store
where customers choose and pay for the product online by entering
credit card and shipping Unfortunately this can’t be
achieved without thorough coding knowledge, and not only HTML, but
also, and especially PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, JavaScript, CSS.

For anyone wanting to build that kind of site, I strongly suggest
hiring the help of a professional, or, if you have time, patience and
aren’t in a hurry, to slowly learn as you go, there are free forums
around full of precious explanations and people willing to help and
share hints.

Isabella Pasche
Arlisa Bijoux
Switzerland
http://www.arlisa-bijoux.com


#20
But, I would like a personal website where I can put random
pictures, silly jokes, post interesting info, for friends and
family. It would have nothing to do with my professional life. 

For photo sharing, there are lots of photo sharing websites.

Most of what you want to do could be done in a blog, that might be
the easiest way.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com