Monday, October 29, 2007

Help starting a website...cheap!

Are you looking to have your own website but you don't want to spend lots of money (like I did at first)? I'm not the best computer person in the world & I've signed up for so many different things & spend lots of money. I'm sure there are other ways to have your own website that might be better than what I'm about to tell you, but so far I like this the best. Let me give you a quick history....I started selling on ebay & got so sick of all the fees so I *thought* if I started my own website I could sell my stuff & not have to pay ebay so much. Well, I found out that wasn't working like I had hoped. I paid $90 for the year to get web hosting & the domain for a year with PowWeb. The templates they give are horrible & make the site look so cheap. Your site will never come up in searches so you would need to pay extra for that through google or yahoo. I used Google Adwords & had my fee at $10 a month (which is pretty low). In the end I was still making most of my sales through ebay & was paying all that money for nothing. I then found Etsy. Since their fees are so low & I wasn't doing that great with a website, I cancelled both my ebay shop & my website. Now that I gave a quick history let me tell you what I do & know....
Domain...First thing to do is go to Go Daddy & sign up for a domain name(yourname.com). This is totally optional but it's $6.99-$9.99 a year & you can have it forward to any page you want & your customers will always find you. It's good if you have business cards or pens printed with a URL & you decide to change your homepage, you can point "yourpage.com" anywhere you want. I learned the hard way--I have a bunch of pens that have my ebay shop's URL & I don't have an ebay store anymore, so the pens are useless. Go Daddy also give you an email account free with the domain like "Jen@JTstitches.com" that you can forward to your regular email address (yahoo, aol, gmail...). Again, you can change it at any times to forward to any email address you want in case you don't have Verizon or Comcast anymore & your pens have your no longer working email address (again, learned the hard way).
Web hosting...One free site web hosting site is Geocities. I have been using Geocities for a while but I don't exactly love the huge yahoo ads that are along the side (My geocities site) pushing my page over. Since it does have those ads my web page comes up in Yahoo/Google searches which is a very good thing. You need to have a yahoo account to sign up for geocities which is also free. Another site I just signed up for Free Webs, another free web hosting site. I like this site because you don't see any ads on the page. The bad part is--since there aren't any ads, the site doesn't come up in searches either (My FreeWebs Page). Go Daddy gives you one free "Starter/Parked Page" but you can't use your own HTML code, you need to use their templates, and you only get one page. You could ask Go Daddy's customer service about using your own HTML but the person I spoke to said no.
HTML...All the sites I've mentioned have templates for you to use & are as easy as following directions like "add picture here, browse computer to upload picture" "enter text here"& you don't need to have any knowledge of HLML stuff...but I personally don't like the way they look. If you already have a HTML code (like I did) & have *basic* knowledge of HTML you can just put it in yourself. One site I found that have many different graphic designers is at Merchant Moms. Merchant Moms is a web hosting service but they have many graphic designers listed. I personally have never used them but you can see their work. Most of them have premade templates that are very reasonably priced & look really good. If you look through their sites you can find really cute premade web designs priced as low as $25. I believe most of the designers have the templates set up to only use with Merchant Moms hosting so you would need to ask that specific web designer. I will most likely use one of them at some point when I'm looking to give my site a new look. What you do is get the HTML code (from who ever you decide to use) & add links, pictures...to it--like I said, you need to have basic HTML knowledge to do this. If you have the time to learn this there is a ton of information on the web, google "Learn HTML". Learn the basic, open notepad to save information & codes, and practice using a geocities page--but this is an entire different topic & maybe I'll talk about it when I learn it good enough myself.
Shopping Carts... I've never used any other shopping carts besides Paypal so I can't comment on anything else. Paypal Carts are extremely easy to use--you fill in the information "Item Name", "Price", "Currency", "Shipping", you get the idea, and choose your button. Paypal will then give you an HTML code for you to copy & paste to your site. You just continue the same steps for each item (when you get better you can just paste the code to Notepad & change the item name & price if needed). I did a test on each of my 3 pages from Freewebs and then again on Geocities. On my Freewebs page, the buttons didn't work because it's a free account (that's what it said when I added it). It did work on the Geocities pages. What I did was I added different carts on each page (different item names with different prices). I started on the 1st page & added the item to my cart, clicked to go to my info/policies page & added that item to my cart...and did the same on the banner page. At the end my cart had all 3 items together so it does work. I only did this as a test so if you plan on doing this on your own site, check for yourself. I have just read that the free geocities account doesn't allow shopping carts. If you want to have the paypal shopping cart you're going to have to pay for monthly hosting.
What I do is have both sites--I have the geocites site so it come up in Yahoo/Google searches & the FreeWebs site that my domain (JTstitches.com) from Go Daddy points to. And I pay less than $10 a year! For now I don't sell directly from my website, it has links to my- etsy shops, pictures, blog, myspace & a few other things. I'm doing it like this for now that way if/when I do start my own website business, my website will be out there on business cards, pens & word of mouth.
If you have anything to add or something is confusing, please let me know. I've written this from experience only & not from what I heard. If you have any questions please comment & if I know the answer I will add it. Good luck & I hope this helped someone!!

5 comments:

Donna said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with these different services. It can be hard to know what to do about all this!

viv said...

cool blog!
You can surely add my blog to your links!
:D

Simply Wired Custom Jewelry said...

Helpful post. Thanks so much for sharing!

Simply Wired Custom Jewelry said...

Hi Jen! Sure, you can add my blog to your links, and I'll do the same!

Chelsea

Anonymous said...

ok that's fine, i just added up a lot of fresh emo backgrounds 2 my blog
http://www.emo-backgrounds.info