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  • FIRST POST
    ainternational
    New business website/e-commerce recommendations?
    • #1
    • 6th Oct 10, 5:32 PM
    New business website/e-commerce recommendations? 6th Oct 10 at 5:32 PM
    I want to set up a new online business and am unsure as to which way to go.

    Have had meeting with a very talented designer who would be able to provide a beautiful-looking site with e-commerce, blog, email, mailing list collection, etc etc, that I could then update and manage: he has quoted 700 for design and around 800 for the e-commerce content plus 25pm hosting - this includes all set-up/training etc, and looks to be a quality job (and not unreasonable, though a bit much for me right now). Whilst I'm in no doubt that I'd end up with a really classy site, I'm undecided as to the wisdom of shelling out so much at start-up, especially as I've since spoken to a friend who has an established online business, who's recommended using Zen Cart.

    Having read posts on this forum, I see Zen Cart are maybe not the greatest: I certainly don't rate the look of my friend's site, but can see the sense in keeping things simple/cheap to start with.

    My site will consist of three interlinked sections: a shop selling vintage items, an online consultancy service, and a blog that both acts as link to the two businesses and as a resource for the sphere of business I'm in. As I'm selling vintage items, the listings will change regularly - no two alike - and I want to keep the old listings archived as part of the resource.

    Any advice from either those with online businesses, or designers, would be much-appreciated.
Page 1
  • debbie42
    • #2
    • 6th Oct 10, 5:47 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Oct 10, 5:47 PM
    What are you getting for the 25 p.m. hosting? It seems like a lot!

    There have been a fair few recent posts, and some, erm, animated discussions on here, though you've probably noted, given your cart reference?
    Debbie
  • ainternational
    • #3
    • 6th Oct 10, 11:18 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Oct 10, 11:18 PM
    Yes, read a couple - would appreciate it if you can point me to any others (or posts by users I should read).

    The 25pm includes the following:

    E-mail support during business hours
    Site hosting in 24/7 controlled environment
    24/7 Support and help desk facility in order to fix any critical software problem
    Guaranteed 99.99% uptime
    Renting of SQL Server Database and Content Management Environment
    Firewall protected site
    Remote back-up facility
    Up to 3.5 GB of database capacity

    I'm leaning towards spending the money - I want the site to look good, work well, and not having much knowledge beyond very basic html, I'd like to be able to get help if I have problems.... I think the design quote will be worth the money, but not sure that I'm getting value with the company that are doing the nuts and bolts construction & hosting (sorry, that's not exactly the tech terminology!).
  • debbie42
    • #4
    • 7th Oct 10, 9:05 AM
    • #4
    • 7th Oct 10, 9:05 AM
    Yes, read a couple - would appreciate it if you can point me to any others (or posts by users I should read).

    The 25pm includes the following:

    E-mail support during business hours
    Originally posted by ainternational
    What does this exactly consist of? The rest is standard stuff you can buy at any decent host for a few pounds a month. I'll dig out the recent posts and send you a pm.
    Debbie
  • chalkie99
    • #5
    • 7th Oct 10, 10:44 AM
    • #5
    • 7th Oct 10, 10:44 AM
    25 a month seems a lot.

    I use Vidahost which costs only 17 for a YEAR (or 34 for 3 years).

    They are a UK company based in Bath and their service and support is beyond belief.

    As to the web design quote it is hard to comment but make sure you have seen the designers portfolio and are satisfied it is actually their own work.
  • krustylicious
    • #6
    • 7th Oct 10, 11:13 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Oct 10, 11:13 AM
    Our 26.99pm package offers 30gb of space in comparison.

    So yes its slightly over priced ... if you need to 3 to 5 gigs of storage 5 to 10pm a month is more than enough to get that ..


    *note this isn't spam as I am comparing our package to Op's quote and not mentioning our website thus isn't spam
  • krustylicious
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 10, 11:28 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 10, 11:28 AM
    he has quoted 700 for design and around 800 for the e-commerce content .
    Originally posted by ainternational
    I am confused by this statement are you saying max 800 or 700 plus 800 = 1500 ?

    Then 325 per year hosting ?

    Having read posts on this forum, I see Zen Cart are maybe not the greatest: I certainly don't rate the look of my friend's site, but can see the sense in keeping things simple/cheap to start with.
    Zen Cart isn't the greatest - I would say oscommerce would be better if you were starting out that said osc 2.2rc2a is in dire need of updating.

    Magneto is there but any designer will charge you alot more for it simply you have to invest a fair bit of time (as a webdesigner) geting to grips with it .


    If you went with zen cart /osc then I suggest probably ... that for the e-commerce side. Wordpress for the bloging and cross link "new items" in the blog and then archive when u need to .. And something like modx for the static stuff which mean - ecommmerce + blog + cms .

    800 to 1100 would be more to what most would expect with that software. And 100 ish per year for hosting.
  • gamma
    • #8
    • 7th Oct 10, 10:01 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Oct 10, 10:01 PM
    As a designer and webdeveloper myself I think you're getting a bargain. What software will you get for the cms and for the cart?

    The 25 per month isn't unreasonable either because you are getting support from the actual developer, yes you can get hosting for any site cheaper elsewhere, heck you can even get it free from the likes of the Devil that is 1and1, but would I recommend it ? No..

    Shopping cart software is more than just out of the box... I've dealt with them all, have my favourites (depending on the payment processor) however most of them will require some knowledge of development to get going.

    Remember people buy from either a name they can trust or a site that looks professional.
  • ainternational
    • #9
    • 7th Oct 10, 10:57 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Oct 10, 10:57 PM
    As a designer and webdeveloper myself I think you're getting a bargain. What software will you get for the cms and for the cart?

    The 25 per month isn't unreasonable either because you are getting support from the actual developer, yes you can get hosting for any site cheaper elsewhere, heck you can even get it free from the likes of the Devil that is 1and1, but would I recommend it ? No..

    Shopping cart software is more than just out of the box... I've dealt with them all, have my favourites (depending on the payment processor) however most of them will require some knowledge of development to get going.

    Remember people buy from either a name they can trust or a site that looks professional.
    Originally posted by gamma
    Thanks, it's good to get a positive opinion on this: my instinct is that sometimes you get what you pay for. I want my online business to look good, to work well, and if I have a problem, I want to be able to get help to deal with it swiftly. My friend who has a good deal of experience with zen cart and online businesses has offered to help me if I go down that route, but I can't help feeling that I'd end up with a site that looks/feels dated...
    • patman99
    • By patman99 7th Oct 10, 11:20 PM
    • 6,800 Posts
    • 7,389 Thanks
    patman99
    Do make sure that you write a contract stating that YOU will own the finished site and its code, otherwise you could end-up with problems in the future.

    It is possible to adapt Wordpress to become a full-on ecommerce system (there was an article on this in 'PCPro').
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  • wonka
    I don't think the web design costs you quote are excessive, but you probably could get cheaper.

    e.g., if you're just starting up in business, you could get cheaper hosting than that. I run a website that costs around 25 per year to host (Compila). I also got a local web designer to create it (IK Solutions), and they were cheaper than your quote.

    I think you need to do a bit more research. Ideally get a recommendation, or ask people on web designer / small business forums.
    Of course, I may just be talking b****cks!
  • secretservice
    They costs seem excessive although you only get what you pay for when it comes to websites. When i started up my business i like wonka used a local designer (http://www.24hourpixels.co.uk/). I started off with a 3 page site and developed it from there, with free hosting.

    Good luck
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  • ainternational
    Thanks for all the replies: some food for thought there.

    I'm impressed by some of the Wordpress sites: they have a slick design and feel that's a world away from the clunky and ugly zencart.
    I'll look into how difficult it is to do myself - can webdesigners work within Wordpress or do they prefer other methods?

    In a nutshell, it would appear that the quote I've had isn't too extortionate, though I could possibly save on hosting - the service offered to me does include email support, which may be important if things go wrong... I'd like to do something cheaper on the construction side, if that's possible without compromising functionality and efficiency, but I'm keen to use the designer for the overall look as I really like what he does.
  • debbie42
    I'll look into how difficult it is to do myself - can webdesigners work within Wordpress or do they prefer other methods?
    Originally posted by ainternational
    It's not an either/or scenario: you can use wordpress within sites, and/or you can build websites within wordpress. It's easy to extend, too. Web designers will use a variety of tools and techniques according to experience and requirements.

    If you want to get a feel for Wordpress, it's very easy as a start to set up a wordpress.com account, and site, within their system. It's more restricted than an own install, but is a great way to investigate the capabiliities without needing to worry about hosting + installation.
    Debbie
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