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New business website/e-commerce recommendations?
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# 1
ainternational
Old 06-10-2010, 5:32 PM
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Default New business website/e-commerce recommendations?

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.
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# 2
debbie42
Old 06-10-2010, 5:47 PM
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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?
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# 3
ainternational
Old 06-10-2010, 11:18 PM
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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!).
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# 4
debbie42
Old 07-10-2010, 9:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ainternational View Post
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
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.
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# 5
chalkie99
Old 07-10-2010, 10:44 AM
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£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.
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# 6
krustylicious
Old 07-10-2010, 11:13 AM
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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
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# 7
krustylicious
Old 07-10-2010, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ainternational View Post
he has quoted £700 for design and around £800 for the e-commerce content .
I am confused by this statement are you saying max £800 or 700 plus 800 = 1500 ?

Then £325 per year hosting ?

Quote:
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.
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# 8
gamma
Old 07-10-2010, 10:01 PM
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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.
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# 9
ainternational
Old 07-10-2010, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamma View Post
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.
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...
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# 10
patman99
Old 07-10-2010, 11:20 PM
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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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# 11
wonka
Old 07-10-2010, 11:44 PM
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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!
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# 12
secretservice
Old 08-10-2010, 8:00 AM
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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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# 13
ainternational
Old 09-10-2010, 1:36 PM
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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.
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# 14
debbie42
Old 09-10-2010, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ainternational View Post
I'll look into how difficult it is to do myself - can webdesigners work within Wordpress or do they prefer other methods?
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.
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