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  #1  
Old January 25th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Default Website start up

This is a very broad question for the community...are there any recommendations for starting up a website from scratch - i.e. security for purchasing over the web, who should host the domain name, using a template vs. building and branding on my own. As most anything in this world, the opportunities seem endless (and daunting). I consider myself somewhat technologically savvy but website building is a brand new ball game.

Any thoughts or considerations are certainly appreciated!
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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:08 AM
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rhale. First question were is New Enterprize Pa.? Now for an answer to your question. We had a third party do our web site .Rather time consuming unless you are REALLY computer savy(I'm not).

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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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Jim, New Enterprise is in northern Bedford County, about 20-30 minutes south of Altoona. Understandable to have someone else host and operate your website. My thoughts were if I can do it myself, I could save some extra greenbacks. I've been doing research and it seems as though there are places out there that are super user friendly so I'm hoping with more time and understanding I could be doing the work myself.
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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Default website

Jim my wife and I are considering building a website. Can you tell me what the approximate costs are? thanks!
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Old January 25th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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Hello RHale,

I do some freelance web development (html, css, php) as one of my streams of income. I've primarily hand coded, but have also dabbled in shopping cart sites such as Zencart and Wordpress.

I've used domain.com for registering domain names for a few years and have not experienced any issues. A webhost is a bit more difficult. I've recommended companies in the past (such as Hostgator), and while great at the time, their services no longer merit a recommendation, at least not without a disclosure of one type or another. On the other hand, there are companies that I would absolutely NOT recommend. In any case, I would try to find a host that uses cpanel for the admin panel - it will make your life much easier.

Before even considering the above, or before I could offer you further advice, you'd have to tell us what exactly you are wanting the website to do for you? A blog? A place for folks to buy your products? An informational "brochure" type site that will rarely be updated? I should be able to steer you in the right direction if you can provide a bit more information. :)

SH
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Old January 25th, 2014, 02:45 PM
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Default Website content

I think this is a very important discussion. Beyond the hosting aspect, is the quality of the website itself. Exploring various maple-related websites, we see many really poor sites and only a few that I would say are very good. This morning, we were looking for maple recipes. One syrup vendor’s site was full of spelling mistakes and even had a recipe for maple spare ribs under the title, “Oatmeal Maple Cookies”.
These are some important qualities:
• Viewable on all different platforms
• Very easy to navigate
• A good story of how you make your syrup, complete with good quality, well lit pictures
• Easy to find contact information
provide an email option
a map to your location if you do farm gate sales
• Maple recipes available (but don’t provide alternate ingredients for the maple i.e. brown sugar or corn syrup. You do want them to use your maple syrup don’t you?)
• Online sales options (Wordpress and 3D Cart are two of many companies that provide templates and built in security for this process)
• Regular updates (Twitter provides an easy way to do this from a Smartphone. You can link your Twitter feed to your website so every tweet is displayed on the website. As you work in your bush or sugar house, take photos with the phone, send them through Twitter and tweet about the photos. Each tweet is immediately displayed on your website and also sent to your followers maintaining interest in your product.)
If you are even a little computer savvy, you can build your own site using online templates.
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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHale View Post
security for purchasing over the web, who should host the domain name, using a template vs. building and branding on my own.
Security is the same as any Internert purchase. a secure cart is good but don't do it by email.

Domain name hosting only matters on price because it's all guaranteed by a big dollar bond from the provider. There are no service issues here.

A free template altered to suit your business is the fastest and cheapest way of getting online with a unique website. Custom designed can be big bucks ranging from $750 to $1500 for a 5 page website.

- Bryan
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Old January 26th, 2014, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernharmony View Post
Hello RHale,


Before even considering the above, or before I could offer you further advice, you'd have to tell us what exactly you are wanting the website to do for you? A blog? A place for folks to buy your products? An informational "brochure" type site that will rarely be updated? I should be able to steer you in the right direction if you can provide a bit more information. :)

SH
Thanks for the replies and good information. My thoughts were to have a website that consumers could purchase products and also act as a brochure like you mentioned. I would like the freedom to update information as needed but the overall website would not need to be overhauled on a regular basis. I would expect to update pictures, general information, things like that.

Meaford - I agree with all your bullet points. I think a website that is simple to navigate, clear and concise, and is uncluttered are important details. Trying to peruse a website that is cluttered with information is frustrating. I think having a lot of transparency on how the products are created and produced is also good. It helps generate trust between the producer and the consumer if they can see the whole process with their own eyes. High quality, informative pictures and blurbs about each can accomplish in my opinion.

Bryan - You said a secure cart is good but don't do it by email - can you explain what you mean by that? Unfortunately I'm not aware of what that means!

Thanks for all the good information and responses!
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Old January 26th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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That was in reference to "security for purchasing over the web". If you are going to offer online purchases make sure it runs through a secure shopping cart program rather than take payment info by email. Most hosting accounts offer a selection of shopping cart systems to plug into your website. Email is just way too easy to intercept and leaves copies around with plain text billing information available.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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Bryan - thanks for the clarification. I would certainly want a guaranteed safe and secure purchasing method for potential customers. I would like to have the option of paying via paypal as well. I try to make all web purchases using paypal vs. a credit card so I would like that option as well. Is this an "add-on" that host sites have or would I have to go directly through paypal to use their service?
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