1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Web Site Options for a New Retail Business?

Discussion in 'Web Design & Development' started by Sandycane, Jan 26, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. Sandycane

    Sandycane Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Hi,
    I've recently opened a small retail business and want to have a web site for my customers, prospective and current.
    I don't want to sell over the Internet but, post things like new items, sale items, catalog, images, email and two-way chatting or, some other form of communication, maybe PayPal for deposits on special orders.
    I used to have a web site with Register.com but, it left me little room for creativity.

    Someone on another forum mentioned SeaMonkey to help build the site but, I am unfamiliar with it.
    What about getting my domain name - where is the best place to get this?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.... books, web sites or articles with information would be great too.
    Thanks!
    Sandy

    PS: Funds are limited so, I'm looking for quality and frugality. lol
     
  2. ehymel

    ehymel

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    696
    I'm a huge fan of playing around with web programming for leisure and learning, but this does not extend to the public face of your business and livelihood.

    Because this is for your business, there is no doubt you should hire a pro. The small cost will pay for itself quickly, if for no other reason than an amateur site will have a negative impact on your business. Also, the things you want to do will take you months and months to learn how to do them halfway, while a pro can do those things in a few hours and it will look right from the start. In the meantime, you get to focus on your business. This is one place where frugality will come back to bite you.
     
  3. Sandycane

    Sandycane Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Thank you for the advice...I think you may be right.
    Even though I'm confidant I can do it and I hate to pay someone else to do something I can do, it would take me much longer to do it than it would a professional... and you are right, my time is already pretty well consumed with other aspects of running the business.
    Thank you for showing me another option.

    Can you offer advice on what to look for and what questions to ask when shopping for a web designer and what features I might need?

    Sandy
     
  4. ehymel

    ehymel

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    696
    Great question, but I have no answer aside from the obvious (easy to work with, responsive to your needs, etc.).

    Hopefully lordsmurf (a regular in these forums) will see this thread and weigh in. He's a pro and may be able to offer some insight.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Sandycane

    Sandycane Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Thanks...patiently awaiting the arrival of Lordsmurf.(y)
     
  6. DrP

    DrP

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    739
    Is there is a local small business forum near you? My wife does the networking for our business and goes to those events. As well as us, there's usually a couple of web designers/developers there, and even if there aren't it usually pays to go to these things somewhere down the line.

    I'd also recommend having an idea of your budget and meeting with the people face-to-face and go with the one feel is more interested in the needs of your business, rather than the one with prettiest portfolio!
     
  7. Sandycane

    Sandycane Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    More good advice.(y)
    Eeww, 'networking' another aspect of running a retail business that is new to me but, I'm learning. lol
    I used to get an email newsletter from a printing company at my last job that was fantastic - lots of marketing tips - so I looked him up and emailed him. He forwarded it on to a web designer in the area and I just got off the phone with him. I feel very good about it... just not looking forward to what the cost will be but, if it is done well and does the job of getting me new customers and keeping the current customers informed, it will be worth it.

    He asked plenty of questions and I could hear him taking notes so, I think I've got the right guy for the job.

    I'll keep in touch and post it if/when I go for it.
    Thanks,
    Sandy
     
  8. lordsmurf

    lordsmurf

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,156
    Where to start... :)

    What strange advice! (Therein lies the pitfalls of asking advice on forums populated with often-anonymous and often-unqualified individuals.) SeaMonkey is a web browser, like Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari -- not a web dev program. It can so some basic added tasks, but it's about as useless as MS Word (as a web dev tool).

    Absolutely correct. This is always what I tell my own clients, as well as potential client -- focus YOUR energy on YOUR business, and let somebody else (me, in those conversations) handle this. You should no more build your own website than you should build your own office building or car. Use the tools other professionals have built, rather than waste your time with this. Real businesses use other businesses to further their business -- they don't fiddle with the DIY approach.

    Well, maybe more like a few days for understanding the business, a few more to built the tech, and then the last couple of days for the design. Anybody that promises a site in a few hours should never be used under any condition. I'm reminded of a rather vulgar saying, that I have heard in baseball dugouts -- "pump her and dump her". That's essentially what's happening to you. You have become a "one night stand" for some website hack.

    As per above, but was worth re-quoting.

    To quote Mighty Mouse: "Here I come to save the day!" (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

    I would suggest against using this resource. In my experience, this is where the clueless gather to seek advice from fellow clueless. All that really happens here is people trade really bad ideas and advice. There is also something to be said for group-think -- where a bunch of people who don't know what they're doing drown out the often-single voice of sanity. I don't even my time attending those events anymore.

    In 2011, this isn't really sound advice anymore. Many of the best independent/freelance web developers are only available online. If you happen to live in a certain city where one of these folks lives, and they can make time to meet face to face -- great! But it's not likely. Not to mention most of the successful developers want documentation for the entire project, which means written emails -- not phone conversations or "face to face" meetings that have to be remembered or translated from quickly-written notes. Many of us don't have formal offices, we don't blow huge sums of funds on strip-mall office space, etc. -- it's completely unnecessary to communicate with clients effectively AND perform the high quality work that's expected. The only people who want "face to face" to tend be fossils (in how they think business-wise, not necessarily their age) of the last century. This isn't 1991 or even 2001. If you want to have an online business presence, you need to live in 2011 with your business decisions.

    I don't necessarily agree here, either. The best sites are organized well, and not simply an orgy of Flash and "pretty graphics". And as such, you can generally surmise that these well-put-together sites are truly reflective of the business, and in helping it to further the business needs of the company, organization or individual client.

    Going back to the project specs...

    So no e-commerce / shopping cart.

    All pages, and/or db-driven content from a good CMS.

    This is where the price goes 4-digit on you.
    (1) Chat apps are server intensive, and probably minimally useful anyway. The alternative is to pay for "Live Chat" which you'll find to be a time vampire. I advise against it.
    (2) Forums are great for two-way comm, but take a lot of time on YOUR part to admin, and are time vampires due to spammers, non-serious question askers, etc. Unless you plan to have multi people staff a forum, you'll be buried quickly. And a good forum costs quite a bit of funds to setup, theme, and host. (Novices will suggest a crappy forum software like phpBB because it's "free", but there are hidden costs that these folks never consider. You'll also find many of these folks have never actually run a forum successfully.)

    This is just another page.


    ~~~~~~~~

    As far as "who to use" well ... yeah. (I'm probably not allowed to advertise for myself --- and know that I visit this forum mostly to help others). All I'll say is, to give a price idea, that I do sites like this all the time, and some of them can be as low as $250-500 range, while others can easily be $,$$$+, so keep that in mind.

    The big difference in a "local guy" and those of us who have to live online is that we're forcing ourselves to run purely on the tech we build. This means looking at important non-design aspects of what goes into a site, such as SEO (real SEO, not the BS you may read online), and online interactions (social media, viral campaigns, etc). That's something you should consider before looking in a phone book, or "asking around".

    There's also something to be said for discerning between people who "seem" or "sound like" they knowing what they're doing -- and those of us who really do.

    I hope this all helps you. :)
     
  9. rotarysteve

    rotarysteve Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Messages:
    496
    Unsure what size that your community is, but maybe get involved with a local social club, like Kiwanis, Lions... Sometimes the networking can be very valuable depending upon the contacts that you have made. I have another club to mention, but.... lol

    Get involved with your community, maybe $10-20 per month for a membership, the networking by word of mouth may reap great results without depending upon marketing over the web. With this idea, there may be some sweat equity involved, but can be very worth it.

    Just an idea of course.
     
  10. Sandycane

    Sandycane Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Yeah, 'community involvement', it's on my list of things to do. Lol
    Thanks, Steve
     
  11. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/977096

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice