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building your own e-commerce website without basic knowledge of html etc is a bit like jumping in at the deep end with concrete boots on.
e-commerce websites are sort of the most complicated to build - you need to know a great deal more than just HTML.
rather than give up on the idea, employ someone to build your ecommerce site for you. you can write the content and specify the design etc. it might only cost a few hundred £s or $s but it'll get you trading sooner rather than later and it'll save you tearing your hair out in frustration.
meanwhile, you can do something like build a personal website so that you can learn HTML, server side scripting, search engine optimisation etc etc etc. when you're confident that you can do certain things, you can implement them on your e-commerce site - you can update it by changing prices or adding new products etc etc etc.
be prepared for several months of learning .... spend a lot of time here reading through new and old threads ... the more you read, the more you learn ....
I would also try to get some links from other websites to your site, I wouldnt worry about paying for inclusion to any search engines, they usually find you if you get some links.
As for selling beauty products, i havent a clue! If you are only getting a small number of people to your site I would make sure your phone number and opening hours are clear, alot of people still like to talk to someone before they buy!
However...I was speaking to a self-employed guy the other day, keen to start up a website for his computer company. He showed me his URL and 'lo and behold a nice WYSIWYG production, you could tell he was a beginner the way replaced tables, divs and the likes. My suggestion to him was to save his life and get someone who knows how to do it, to do it - instead of him spending the 6 months to a year he would need to get the site up to scratch.
He wanted it to be dynamic too, shopping cart and all...
IMO, if you really really think this is what you want to do, as Nick said, you will not find a better place to get yourself up, running, and on the up than this place.
apols. if this post looks out of place, had the box open a bit and the thread is moving swift ;)
[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 10:59 am (utc) on Mar. 18, 2003]
Nick I use paypal shopping cart to process payments but I have never actually tested it myself. I might venture into something else if beauty products are not delivering the goods but I want to get the website development confusion out of the way first.
Work on converting your existing visitors and analysing your stats.
How are people finding your site? What pages are they visiting? How long are they staying for? What pages are they leaving from?
Even the most basic stats package (which should be provided by your host) should give you this information.
Work on advertising your products internally - pick the most common entry pages and add nice graphics and links for your best products.
Then take your most common exit pages and add additional links and navigation to try and stop people leaving as quickly.
Your main barrier to sales may be the lack of forms or shopping cart - i doubt many people will email orders in for beauty products.
How are you creating your pages? Hand code HTML or an HTML editor such as MS Frontpage or Macromedia Dreamweaver?
HTML editors have wizards that can help you create more advanced features on your site without much technical knowledge. They also let you focus on the design aspect more if hand coding isn't your thing! ;)
Also read about here for tips on optmising your site for search engines.
The main factor is getting people to link to you.
Start of with the ODP (www.dmoz.org) - submit your site to the appropriate category. Then find other directories and sites that you can request a link from.
Basically any site that is related to yours and has a links section are good targets - just email the webmaster or contact and ask them to add a link.
When people link to you, your site will eventually be included in the index of most the major search engines, so you don't need to pay for inclusion.
I would also recommend avoiding paying for anything (ie adwords) until you get your sales conversion rate up - it's wasted money otherwise and there are plenty of free ways to market your site.
You also need to have plenty of content on your site, as this is what most of the search engines will rank you on (there are other factors too, but content is the basis).
Think along the lines of:
>A beauty treatment schedule that uses the products you sell.
>Background info on your products - ie, not tested on animals, contain <insert random herb>, etc
>Alternative or natural remedies and products, etc
Practice makes perfect! You will find as you build your site (and other sites) that your skills will develop over time.
I set up my first site 9 months ago. Looking back at it (even after a redesign) - it sucks.
But I now have 4 sites of my own and I run 5 full time at work, and i have 3 more sites on the way. Basically what Im saying is that it does get easier! :)
Good luck (and welcome to WW!)!
In that case Missy, here's the best advice I can offer (other have said it also)
You're suffering from an extremely common misconception: Webdesign = Easy.
I don't want to discourage you, far from it, I think you'll do well if you have the drive to succeed and you really knuckle down here but, the best advice is to hire someone that does this stuff 24/7
And, whilst you're raking in the $$$'s ;) - Learn to do it yourself aswell...
Before I can crawl I want to walk. I wanted to start another website as an on-line travel agency, after reading for a week or so I started seeing all sorts of codes in my head and got a headache before I even started. I have put that on hold now. Much more involved than simply selling beauty products. Most host agencies asking for $495.. but that is another topic. I can't imagine many people travelling with war about to start.
Chance are you wont really be concerned with each and every visitors IP. You are after trends, by country, entry page, exit page etc.
You perhaps need to upgrade you stats program to something a little more detailed.
>>I am getting free webhosting for my site
You may need to stump up a few quid to get a host that allows much more than you currently have. Free hosts are free for a reason, they provide limited resources.
Get busy with the site search to look for things you are currently looking into
I am getting free webhosting for my site
hehe, I like the irony missy. Just make sure after you get something practical gets done after the theory ;)
I see threads where people have spent days doign a task that a computer could have done in minutes. There are other tasks (more marketing type ones) that's probably better off done by a person (maybe with a degree in that respective area). This is why I say hire someone......
I would never "give up", just make the "right decision" :) I'm sure you will have a feel for what you want to come out of this and what course you have to take.
>renamed your pages
if you choose to go for a non-free account, may I suggest going on to an Apache setup, and using .htaccess. They are popular choices and people will more likely be able to help - being familiar with the setup. All those pages/visitors that are hitting an empty void can be redirected easily with a few lines of code. The "pro's" over the the website tech and perl/php forum find this stuff second nature.
Good luck with it all the same :)
A commercial website is like a catalogue and a retail store in one.
How many catalogues do you get in the mail that get tossed out without being opened? And the next time you're out for a drive, take notice of how many retail stores there really are in your neighborhood.
The web is 1000 times more crowded.
If you build a site, they won't come. Unless you drive traffic to it, and create your site in such a way that 1)people will trust that you will deliver and 2)people will trust what you will deliver.
Just like a retail store won't survive on YellowPage advertising alone, a commercial website won't survive on Google alone. YOU have to market it and promote it and drive people to it. Google is just gravy.
French cosmetics? I would bet there are at least 100 sites which sell the same products.
Honestly, you might be better off selling your stuff on eBay without worrying about hosting and designing a website.
I don't mean to burst a bubble, but website design is not easy, and selling stuff over the web is even more difficult.
But it is fun to learn, and after a year you will be very fluent. I would recommend that you start with Dreamweaver - take the tutorials, read the forums, find help sites, etc. That is if you still want to make it yourself.....
..feel like giving up...
I feel that way myself sometimes - but then I remind myself that this business is all about learning - it never stops - which is what makes it fun as well as maddening at times.
I wonder myself (what they are visiting my site for). I think they are reading all the free beauty and make-up tips that are on there. Big mistake.
Not necessarily. Read more here [webmasterworld.com].
My links with google are no longer valid anyway. I renamed most of my pages and whenever I click on my search results with google it says: Not found or something like that.
Simple issue to fix providing you know the old file name and are willing to get frustrated again by a crash course on regex and what we call mod_rewrite. Learn more here [webmasterworld.com].
BTW - welcome to WebmasterWorld and congrats on you're new career as a webmaster. :)
Quite the contrary! That may have been your smartest move. Free information will attract many visitors and eventually someone will buy. I takes a while to make that first sale but once you get over that hump, you'll feel alot better about your abilities. DO NOT GIVE UP!
Any hosting which makes you put up banners, popups and so forth isnt work with for doing business. If its free and it doesnt do any of those annoying things then cool thats not a worry, but if it is find someone to do the hosting for cheap.
Paying for clicks is great and all but are you taking advantage of the free clicks you could receive from higher search engine placement by using many of the techniques and strategies discussed within this forum?
Make sure shipping is well noted also and you don't gouge people on shipping. Think if they had their cart full of 10 items then they goto shipping and they're paying shipping for each piece. I just had someone order something from me, they got a lot -- their comments were 'you better be flying this to me personally for how much you charged for shipping'.... i refunded him the excess shipping cost and can only imagine how many other people i've turned away. For the one two item guys its not noticable but for big orders, you know where you make the most money its bad :D set shipping for weight or for price bracket in the paypal shopping cart if you havent done so already.
How I do my shipping on my site is the shipping price is passed as a variable from US and International. You choose International and the shipping price for that item has increased, the downside to this is like i explained with my last post, it adds up and not fair with larger orders.