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Thread: Website Designer/do it yourself ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    143

    Default Website Designer/do it yourself ?

    Hi,

    we used to have a site but was very dissapointed with its results so we got rid of it. i would like to have another one now, but i am unsure whether to pay to have one designed or make one myself (struggling for time with all the stock i am making for our show season).

    I would like to ask if i make one myself does anyone have any advice on which software to use to build a good ecommerce site.

    Regards

    Stuart

  2. #2

    Default

    I have just finished my site (not the one in my signiture but another one) in Wordpress. It is so simple, you can be as creative as you like...I really would recommend it. By the way it's also free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Bath
    Posts
    881

    Default

    Bear in mind though that Wordpress is primarily blogging software.

    For eCommerce solutions (if that is what you are after) I would look at something that is Web Standards compliant, such as CubeCart (CubeCart - Free & Commercial Online Shopping Cart Solutions). This will help you with your SEO if your Website code is standards compliant and sematically correct.

    I would say though the success of a web site is not just to do with the design and build quality. Promotion and driving people to your site are the bulk of the work to make it a success, so I would seriously recommend you consider reading up on SEO and include is as a large part of building and maintaining your site.
    Lucinda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    warlingham, surrey
    Posts
    32

    Default

    I use Actinic. It is fairly easy to use- the hardest bit being importing your own logos etc and it has a fully integradted shopping cart and payment gateways that are dead easy to set up. Images of stock etc are easy and quick to upload as they dont use ftp so it is just a couple of clicks to do. The written instructions you get with the software is pretty basic and doesnt answer that many questions but you get a couple of weeks telephone help and there is a user forum to answer most things. Costs about 400 but well worth it as you can upgrade seamlessly to more advanced versions if you open a chain of shops and want to do all their stock control etc. It is used by a lot of businesses of all sizes.
    Nick R

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Southampton, UK
    Posts
    128

    Default

    I use zen cart for my website. It has pros and cons. Firstly, it's free (always useful!) and there is a friendly and helpful support forum and set of FAQs. There is also a well priced ebook that you can buy that takes you through how to make the basic template your own, and you can download free templates that people have written too. This includes lots of screen prints, which I find essential.
    On the other hand, you have to make the changes yourself and although the front of shop looks great, the admin side of the site is definitely not the prettiest I've seen, not easy to find your way around at first. You also need an ftp to be able to upload additional photos for your products.
    Having said all that, I would still recommend it.
    Jo
    Daisychain Jewellery - Handcrafted sterling silver jewellery and jewellery tuition
    www.daisychainjewellery.co.uk
    www.daisychaindesignsjewellery.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South West France, near a little village called Moncrabeau
    Posts
    27

    Default

    Hi, I used Homestead.com. It costs $14.99 a month to run but that includes getting you a web address that you choose. Building the web site is really easy - just drag and drop words/pictures etc. from a library of templates - like using word. They were quick to help when I got stuck. Once you're up and running, they support with marketing, collecting payments etc. All round, a good experience and certainly cheaper than getting someone else to build a site for me.

    Caroline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Bath
    Posts
    881

    Default

    I've done quite a bit of work customising Zen Cart, and I meant to say in my original post to avoid it! It can look good and it does work, but it doesn't conform to any standards, the HTML is not sematically correct and it's huge, the code is messy and IMO more heavyweight than it needs to be. The admin side is pretty unfriendly as well.
    Last edited by agent_44; 22-02-2010 at 11:56 AM.
    Lucinda

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Market Deeping
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    I use OSCommerce - free software with good forums
    I've found it very easy to maintain, the back end is quite friendly, it integrates with paypal (amongst others)
    only drawback is the basic "out of the box" format is a bit bland you can customise it.
    Here's my shop site if you want to look as OSCommerce front end
    MuranoSilver.com
    Nic x
    Monthly FREE entry giveaways on Blogs!
    Shop Blog: http://muranosilver.blogspot.com/
    Silver Clay Blog: http://pmctips.blogspot.com/
    View images of my work on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/muranosilver

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    143

    Default

    Thank you everyone for your advice. I am going to try a few of these different programs out and see which one i get along with best. I have tried zencart previously and was not a massive fan but im a novice and it takes so long to learn how to use these programs too their full potential.

    thanks again.

    Stuart

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Zencart is over complicated and bulky, so if you wnat to try it on your own try opencart, its free like zencart & oscommerce but its lightweight with only the essentials built in, for extra stuff you can add modules and plugins

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