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Thread: Do you have a retail web site? How...?

  1. #1

    Do you have a retail web site? How...?

    I have been asked so many times at craft shows, "Can I order on your web site?" that I really need to consider it. The problem is that I have no idea where to start. I see lots of ads for web site design and for hosting, but I wouldn't know a good designer/host from a bad one. Prices are all over the place, and they all speak a language I don't speak.

    I make pens, bottle stoppers, key chains, weed pots, tea lights, etc., mostly small stuff. I would want the customer to be able to read about me and the production process, see pictures (that I can post/remove easily), prices, ordering info, payment info, etc. I take credit cards, so any credit information would need to be encrypted.

    Do any of you have a web site you use to sell your product? If so, how did you go about it? Are you satisfied? What would you do differently next time? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Wanna buy a pen?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    No experience with website sales, but I can commiserate with you on the number of choices available. (I've been wanting to add sales options to my website for some time.) Both Google and PayPal have fairly simple mechanisms for adding "Buy Now" buttons to your site -- that's probably the route I'll take, since it takes a lot of the security and complexity issues out of the equation.

    I'll be curious to see what other folks suggest.

    Wanna buy a bowl?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Melbourne, FL


    Not sure if I can post the link so I will say look under my ID.

    I have a couple of websites. One for my pens and another for the laser stuff.

    These are crude sites by todays standards but they are cheap and easy to work with.

    Hosting - No need to spend more than $60 - $80 per year.

    Domain Name $7 - $15 per year.

    Keep it real simple like mine $0

    Very fancy $x,xxx and up.

    Photos - They are not great but every picture on these sites was taken with a sub $100 camera. No need to have 10 Megapixels when you will cut it down to 72 dpi to display on the web. I will admit getting a nice picture of a pen is more difficult for me than making the pen.

    My sites are simple but work well. In the last year or so I have sold to 7 or 8 different countries.

    I do not sell alot but it is interesting to find an email for something special that someone wants.

    PM me if I can help any more.
    Last edited by Pete Simmons; 09-05-2008 at 02:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Beaverton, Oregon
    We use, the charge $80 per month unless you complain then they lower it to $50 but what you get is a very profession site tailored to your business. They get you a domain, email address (multiple), 800 number, shopping cart and for the first 30 days unlimited help. They interview you and upload the first several pictures. After that you can edit the site yourself (without knowing anything about HTML or even how to spell it). You select a page format you like and then fill in the text for new pages (they are automatically connected to the rest of your site). If you don't like the look of the whole site you can change it to 1 of 300 others in seconds.

    The setup is free as is the first few months service, if after a few quarters if you decide you no longer want or need their help they will sell you the domain for $99. Every month they will provide 30 minutes of free support after the first.

    Am I glad we did it, absolutely, it got my wifes business on-line and orginized now in her second year she has a second site up an running and it is getting more hits they the one they created (we have another company doing Google marketing for it) and we be moving over to it as our primary site sometime before the end of the year. The second site is $25 a month but is much more difficult to edit and has no e-commererce but she now does that herself.

    If you want to check it out go to

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    Something to consider is contacting your local Community Colleges' Computer Science Division. All of them hava a Web Design area with stuident that are usually willng to ply their new skills. The instructors can have students do a website for a mid-term or final. Good Luck!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Jim Burr's suggestion is great. Just don't expect a good designer, even a student, to work for free. You wouldn't why should they?

    You might also consider taking web design classes at the local CC. Even if someone designs it, you might need to know how to maintain it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    I'm not particularly computer literate, even though I've worked on them since 1974.. more as just doing entry work than any programming, but I did my own web site using a tool I found on Yahoo... they offer Sitebuilder, which will sell you the domain name for a reasonable price and host the site of about $10 +/- per month. Their how to do it help will walk you through every step.

    If you already know about paypal's buy it now buttons, look at their merchant services and you can set up a shopping cart through paypal that will take credit cards, allow for multiple purchases, etc... it's simple and they do the html programing for you.
    Tellico Plains, TN
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Joe, Pete is right, no need to spend a lot of money to get setup with a cart and site. A simple way to get started is to simply get a ebay store or one off of PayPal. If you want your own domain, you can register one for about $8 (I use and simply point it to your ebay/paypal store.

    You might even try out, which is specifically for hand made products.

    The suggestion of checking around with the local schools or if you have a family member that can do it, let them, but make sure they can work with you and train you to make updates.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Check my website for a link to IX Webhosting. I pay $96 for two years of hosting -- domain registration is free. I've never had a problem with them and they are based in the USA. They have a lot of templates you can use to help set up a website. Customer service is good. I don't sell from my site -- not yet, anyway -- but provision for e-commerce is available whenever I want it.

    My site isn't very fancy, but it gets the point across. I started building websites years ago using a text editor and learning HTML coding. I've used a couple of different editors over the years and have been using Frontpage for the past couple of years.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  10. #10
    I always enjoyed build ing website with Microsoft FrontPage, but I did have a lot of problems finding hosting servers to take that kind of format. So I went with Site Builder from Yahoo as another person suggested. I love it, and while I know a bit about computers,I am no programmer by any means.

    My website has actually gotten pretty big over the years, but my sales from it have been very pathetic. I build custom wooden models so that is a real problem. Long build times, long distance and fragile shipping, etc.

    One guy wanted a wooden model for a Christmas present about a week before Christmas (impossible) and another kind of baited me. He was looking for a wooden model for his father-in-law, or so I thought saying his woodworking skills were not good enough to build one. Actually he had the talent he just had no vision.

    For a week or two we exchanged emails and he was up in the air if he wanted a machine with a set of tires (grader) or a tracked machine (bulldozer). What he was really doing was wanting close up shots of my models so he could see how I built the various parts, like the tracks, and some of the details I put into these models. Now I try to take semi-crappy pictures so people don't copy my methods.

    I guess in some ways its silly. I have nothing really to protect, but I just think people should craft their models without stealing construction methods and styles from other people, especially on the guise of "wanting a model" when really they were just trying to copy what you you already built.

    I guess its a catch 22. If you post pictures and sell them on the internet, you open yourself up to copy-cats, but if you don't sell them on the internet, you lose sales.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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