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Starting a selling website? Anybody want to help me?

(26 Posts)
JennyPenny22 Thu 20-Aug-09 20:12:00

Hi ya. I am hoping to get a website up and running in a couple of weeks selling some stuff online. I have starting sourcing the stuff but want to work out where to start with getting the website up and running.

I want something cheap but also simple! If anybody can help I would be really grateful! I don't know what I am doing! lol

tinytalker Thu 20-Aug-09 20:28:53

There are a few website packages where you can design and make your own e-commerce site using pre set templates and incorporating PayPal. The sites are basic but do the job, you can buy the package for around £25-£30 pounds as opposed to paying a web designer £100's - £1000's.
It's a good way of testing your business idea without a massive outlay, if things go well you can always invest in a web designer later.
One package I have experience of is Mr Site. It was easy enough to use and I managed to build my own site despite being a complete IT idiot!!!!!!!

bettythebuilder Thu 20-Aug-09 21:08:50

Yes, I've heard of Mr Site, too, and a few people I know use ekmpowershop for ecommerce sites.

JennyPenny22 Thu 20-Aug-09 22:31:25

I am on MrSite now - but I can't find prices anywhere?

Thanks for the help!

pooproblem Thu 20-Aug-09 22:38:10

I use www.wahmcart.co.uk/ - not only do you get a store but they have a free support forum full of other working mums (and dads) and also a parenting forum. If that's your target market then it's essentially free advertising.

JennyPenny22 Thu 20-Aug-09 22:57:18

I bought the Mrsite one.

Pooproblem - I saw your messge too late! That looks cheaper too! Argh! Thanks anyway! Looks good!

Anewor Fri 21-Aug-09 13:12:24

I was gonna suggest www.wahmcart.co.uk as thats who I got my store from and they are fab!

DarkStarBaby Fri 21-Aug-09 17:02:58

Another vote for www.wahmcart.co.uk, been really good in my experience.

NetworkGuy Fri 21-Aug-09 17:09:46

For JennyPenny...

Would say how best to proceed depends on

a) what sort of monthly turnover you expect -

There are going to be some costs for processing payments but some methods are easy to set up (and perhaps pay for a slick e-commerce webdesign later when you know you have good, regular income)...

For example, though PayPal would cost around 4% in fees, that can be incorporated into your pricing, and you get the cash into your account {but beware there have been negative stories about PP}

WorldPay sometimes holds onto funds for 4 weeks, which is no good for your cash flow, and needing to buy more stock...

b) re website design -

There are sites with low cost or free templates that can be used

There are hosting firms (eg Heart Internet) which include design software and example templates

There are others (iPower.com) which have complete online site design tools, at no cost over the monthly fee for web hosting (and you may also find promotions where they give you a $50 credit towards using Google AdWords to help promote your site - you have to register with Google AdWords, but once you've used up the credit, you can suspend your advertising campaign until you feel you have plenty of cash coming in to support advertising, rather than find you are spending on ads and sinking into debt)

Of course you don't need to use the 'shop site' tools (from a hosting firm) if you have say 100+ products and they limit you to 25 (or charge more than you can afford initially)... Just use their free web design tools and add PayPal 'add to cart' buttons, with a 'check out' button on the bottom of each page...

PayPal is secure and the 'check out' will give the buyer a check list of products they are buying without you having to worry about it as part of your website design...

If you want to be a little bit crafty, you could create a 'dummy' domain and host that on the web hosting service with design tools you like to use, and then copy the pages and host them on some other service, with your PayPal/other shopping cart items added on

NetworkGuy Fri 21-Aug-09 17:32:45

Ah missed the post about having paid for Mr Site. Still, some aspects might be to your benefit...

Also remember that the amount of traffic depends on how popular your site is... you may need to go to a higher package before the year is out if you do get lots of hits (even if they don't buy much).

2 GB is quite low - a friend with a site about the Roman Walls in Chester runs to 8 to 10 GB a month (and not clear if that 2 GB is per month or per year). Make sure you take a copy of all the web pages, in case you want to host somewhere else - some firms charge $10 a year with more generous levels for traffic... but it is cheaper in USA than UK... so maybe that's the reason.

JennyPenny22 Sat 22-Aug-09 08:45:33

Thank you all.

Network guy - to be honest I don't understand all the 2g stuff blush. What is that for?

MrAnchovy Sat 22-Aug-09 12:07:05

Forget about Mr Site standard and its 2G limit, if you want proper PayPal integration you are going to need MrSite Pro anyway, which is unlimited.

I wonder why NG recommends Heart Internet? I don't think they are particularly good. I have been using and recommending these people for years and they have never let me down, although the wahmcart offering looks OK.

JennyPenny22 Sat 22-Aug-09 15:00:55

MrAnchovy - What do you suggest I do then? I already purchased the standard MrSite. I am sure it said it did the paypal thing? Bit confused with it all! I dont want to waste all my money! sad

tinytalker Sat 22-Aug-09 15:34:52

Hey Jenny, don't worry you haven't wasted your money. I have a MR.Site webshop with Paypal which was more than easy to incorporate. I am running a shop and taking orders every day and have never had any problems with the basic package. Unless your site is going to be the next Amazon I'm sure what you've got will be fine as a starting point!
My site is alwaysreadthelabel.info

JennyPenny22 Sat 22-Aug-09 19:37:08

Great thanks tinytalker! grin

MrAnchovy Sun 23-Aug-09 01:29:48

Oops sorry, MrSite seem to have upgraded their 'standard' package since I last looked: the 'pro' package does offer 'advanced paypal integration', but I am not sure what that means - I am sure you will have enough to get you started with what you have already paid for.

£35 for a year's hosting with some site building tools is so cheap you can hardly say you have wasted it - after 6 months if your site really takes off and you are finding you are getting anywhere near the monthly limit (I presume they tell you how much bandwidth you are using) you will have enough revenue to pay for something bigger!

JennyPenny22 Sun 23-Aug-09 01:53:49

When I said about wasting it, I was more refering to it was no good at all which is what I thought when I read your first message.

I am now just looking for some spare time to actually do it all in! lol.

WebDude Mon 24-Aug-09 14:51:21

One thing I'd recommend is to add a primary address like paypal@<your domain> if you choose to use PayPal, so that can be displayed when someone is ready to pay.

(I think it is optional as to whether to show e-mail address, but it looks slightly more professional than having ISP mail address, IMO)

For Mr Anchovy... if 35 pounds is cheap, I'm very lucky as I have a web hosting reseller account costing a pound a month, which includes site building software via control panel and 600+ templates to choose from.

One word of warning is to check small print for hidden fees, and that the headline prices include VAT. Have seen some hosting firms quote some nice low fee (but charge a whole year, plus a setup fee, when billing you).

Worst shock I had was when "1 and 1" billed first year a month after the order, but billed for second year 11 months after the order (ie 1 month before the anniversary) which didn't allow me to cancel in time to switch to someone else. Also they lied about me using a PO Box address, claiming Nominet did not allow it for domain registration (which was wrong - Nominet had no problem with a PO Box address).

MrAnchovy Mon 24-Aug-09 20:16:07

@WebDude

I am glad you think that you are lucky. In my experience you need a lot of luck when you are dealing at the bargain basement end of the hosting market - and so do your clients.

Personally, I don't trust in luck, I trust in a long-term relationship with a supplier that has never let me down. My main hosting service costs me £300 a year which, in the context of any kind of professional operation, is peanuts.

JennyPenny22 Tue 25-Aug-09 15:57:08

MrAnchovy - glad to hear you have enough money to think £300 is peanuts!

tinytalker Tue 25-Aug-09 18:24:09

My thoughts exactly!!!!
These comments are often made by people in the web building/design business anyway.

WebDude Tue 25-Aug-09 21:13:58

OK, different viewpoints.

In my experience, whether you are paying 10 pounds or many times that, then downtime of the server still means your website is unavailable, long-term relationship or not! (and can be the result of a digger breaking a fibre connection, before you come back and say that cheaper hosting is more likely to be down - whole data centres are sometimes 'unavailable' for hours in the event of a fibre problem).

I used a UK based hosting firm for some 10 years until recently when my annual hosting cost doubled (without warning during the previous months) because of a takeover.

They still run with the same name, but instead of having servers in Canada, USA and UK - which allowed me to have an account on a USA server to host more domains for the same cost a UK-based account (with a quarter the number of domains allowed).

I had used US and UK servers for clients to provide extra mail servers, which few hosting firms offer (unfortunately) and the hosting firm decided (without warning) to stop using USA and Canadian data centres, and didn't think to tell customers.

I understand that when a firm is "on the market" their users are the last to know, because part of the sale price depends on X,000 customers, but I assume the closure was after the takeover.

I'm just giving that example as a "long-term relationship" may count for nothing. I didn't use that firm exclusively, so had alternative hosting accounts and could cancel when I found they had decided to stop their cheaper US-based hosting options.

Not sure that spending more is much of a guarantee of better or more reliable service, and these days, with firms going bust, I would hesitate at any (high) annual payments in advance, because they could have vanished in 3 months, even if they have been going for 5+ years.

For anyone new to hosting, there's a recommendation that 2 mail servers are used, and for reliability, they should be on different parts of the internet. Most hosting services offer shared hosting for your domain, and only the one mail server.

For my clients, I've always used hosting from different companies so even if one has planned maintenance (sometimes at night in the USA so early in our day in the UK) then the other server will handle incoming mail.

If e-mail is really important, then they would have a mail server at their office, but in case there is a problem (eg power cut/ problems with internet link/ dead mail server), there's still at least one backup server on the internet from one of the hosting services I use (and costing a lot more than a pound a month, since I'm charging a client a moderate fee for this server (under 30 year though, given it may never be needed).

WebDude Tue 25-Aug-09 22:30:50

Should add that some big hosting firms (like "1 and 1") will have multiple mail servers, but invariably, they are in a server farm so have a number of IP addresses from a pool at that location.

If there are network problems it will affect all the IP addresses in a block, and therefore no matter that there are 20 mail servers sitting there, no data might be getting through to any of them, 'cos they are all in the same building.

MrAnchovy Wed 26-Aug-09 14:43:59

Sorry Jenny and tiny, this thread has got a little off track and I was responding to WebDude in the context of a web design/hosting business where many hundreds of hours of design and support work costing many thousands of pounds goes into a client's web site, and there may be a dozen clients running on the same web host.

I agree that £300 is not peanuts for an individual or small business, and that package would not be appropriate for them anyway.

120cms Sun 04-Oct-09 11:58:00

hi, I've just done this in the last couple of months using 1 and 1. Its been a pretty interesting experience!

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