Quick Website Question. Need Advice

Business By yamber82 Updated 11 Aug 2009 , 4:56am by yamber82

yamber82 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 5:51pm
post #1 of 24

i seriously need to get a website made up, but don't want to spend a lot on it so i am going to do my own. i have NO clue how to go about this. i mean, i am pretty computer literate and good at figuring things out but where do i start? do i need to purchase the domain name first or can i just go to one of those do-it-yourself site-builder things? if any of you guys have used one of those, can you just point me in a direction please icon_smile.gif i would really appreciate it. something simple and easy, maybe even a blog style site. i don't have a lot of time to sit here at the computer, but people keep asking me to see a website and i hate making them go on myspace or facebook to see pix. i need something a bit more professional.

thanks in advance!!!!

23 replies
jillmakescakes Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 6:19pm
post #2 of 24

Many of the build it yourself tools will have the option to buy the domain name, so you can do that first, or when you use the builder tool. I bought mine first and then found my webhosting site (I use Yahoo Sitebuilder)

It will take you a while to build it on your own, so be prepared. I probably logged over 100 hours in building my site over 9 months.

You can start with a very basic photo gallery page while you are working on additional pages. If it seems that is what most people are looking for, this might be helpful.

Spend time making notes on what you do and don't like from other sites. Trust me, this will save you a TON of time. Look at how things are laid out, how the nagivation bars are set up, what is on the navigation bars, and how easy it is to find what you are looking for.

As long as you aren't copying word for word, you can borrow elements from other sites. I actually borrowed the code for my photo gallery (yes, I checked, it was legal to do this)

Spend a little time reading articles on peoples web surfing habits. This will help you learn things that will help in your site building. For example, I read somewhere that if a person cannot find what they are looking for within three clicks, they will leave your site.

Whatever tool you use to build your site, read the help section to learn how to effectively program your keywods and meta tags. Also check this section to review the different logs and statistics that are offered. You want to be able to etermine how many people are visiting your site, how they are getting there, what keywords they are using and how long they are staying on your site. All of these stats will help you to keep your site up to date.

And I saved this for last on purpose, but you should spend some time determining how you want things worded. I put this last because the greatest wording in the world doesn't do any good if people can't find your site or navigate around it!

Hope this helps!

edited to correct spelling and apologize for this being so long!!

leah_s Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 6:20pm
post #3 of 24

You have to do both. You need to buy a name, ten you need o buy a hosting package. Think of the domain name (url) as the address and the hosting program as the house. The hosting program has templates (blueprints, just to keep the analogy going) that help you build the website.

I currently use GoDaddy for one of my businesses and Web.com for the other business. Both are fine. GoDaddy is cheaper, but doesn't have al the bells and whistles.

Whatever you do, it is best to get a real domain. It will look like www.yourbizname.com and NOT www.freewebsite.com/yourbizname. Too much for customers to remember.

yamber82 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 6:39pm
post #4 of 24

thanks for all you guys' help icon_smile.gif

i have been browsing other people's sites for a while now actually. i have a friend who was going to make the site for me. she did our business site wholemotheringcenter.com but i keep waiting and waiting and she hasn't started anything so i am just going to assume she doesn't have the time and do it myself. shame though, cuz she does really good work.

and about the domain name, i really wanted to stay away fromt he freewebsite.com/etc etc i made a website in high school with geocities,lol. it wasn't too bad but i would rather be able to say, cakesbyamber.com or something instead of spelling it out for the people. i don't want to spend a lot though cuz i don't make a lot of profit yet. would you mind telling me how much godaddy costs? and where do i go to buy a name?

indydebi Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:32pm
post #5 of 24

Don't worry about not knowing how to do it. I had NO experience with websites. I went thru Respond.com ($4.95 for 5 pages .... I now have $14.95 for 20 pages) and had my first version up and running, with narratives and photos in under 2 hours. The templates are very easy to work with.

There are lots of options, but don't be nervous about doing it. Agree with leahs that it should be a stand-alone name (no "freewebs.com" thing). Write some of your narrative ahead of time until you're comfortable with it, then you can probably cut-n-paste most of it into place.

yamber82 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:43pm
post #6 of 24

i am currently working on my list of flavors. there are lots i want to add but am waiting to try them out first. i think half the fun is coming up with fancy names and descriptions, lol icon_smile.gif i was just reading on the gourmet flavors thread

i still need to figure out a name too. the whole reason i got into it is cuz i had a kid and wanted to stay at home so i was thinking something to do with "mom" or something

i was also wondering if it's considered plagery (sp) to use a quote on the site?

oh and one more thing, i have an order form i made up on microsoft works which is great but i can't email it to people and them fill it out that way and send it back. it is kinda frustrating. do you guys know what format to do them under where they will work that way?

leah_s Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 8:34pm
post #7 of 24

GoDaddy's site has all the price options listed. If you sign up for a year's worth of hosting (a 5 page site is something like $7/mo) you get a free domain name

VERY few people use MS Works.
To exchange a form, you need to use a pdf file.

yamber82 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 8:39pm
post #8 of 24

oh that sounds simple. so if i go to godaddy and get the package with the free domain name do i have to do anything else or is that all inclusive? i was under the impression i had to go get a domain name, then go somewhere else and get the hosting, then go somewhere else for the site builder. it all sounded confusing. my cousin has a phtotography site and she pays like 400 a year i think. i thought that was avoidable.

and thanks so much for you help icon_smile.gif

elliespartycake Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:58am
post #9 of 24

I did my site with GoDaddy and it was super simple. I chose my domain name and used their "website tonight" feature to create a 5 page site and it came with an email account. Cheap, easy, and it looks good! icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:14am
post #10 of 24

What ellie said. you can get everything from GoDaddy. In fact you should get everything from one place. It makes things much easier in the future when you get really good at all the interweb stuff.

I also used WebSite Tonight. It took more than one night, but the site I built at GoDaddy is www.theGalleryHouse.com

yamber82 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:24am
post #11 of 24

thanks guys!!!!

so glad i asked icon_smile.gif i am going to go ahead with the godaddy thing. might try to get to it tonight if i have the time. i still have a lot to think about, but mainly for now i just need to get a gallery up and running. is it easy to go in and change stuff?

i will post a link when i get it together

and leah, i looked at the site and it looks really professional. btw i have a friend that live there, lol icon_wink.gif small world.

thanks again icon_smile.gif

veronica720 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 3:15am
post #12 of 24

For those of you with a website, Do you accept payments online?

I have been searching on many sites like yahoo bus. and vistaprint and they have it so you can add paypal. But my question is: How does this work? Since the cakes are not set in price like retail stuff, how can a customer pay for their cake online.

indydebi Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 3:23am
post #13 of 24
Originally Posted by veronica720

For those of you with a website, Do you accept payments online?

I have been searching on many sites like yahoo bus. and vistaprint and they have it so you can add paypal. But my question is: How does this work? Since the cakes are not set in price like retail stuff, how can a customer pay for their cake online.

Could you set it up so they PLACE their order online, then you figure the price, send them an invoice and THEN they can pay online (via Paypal or whatever system you decide).

yamber82 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 4:18am
post #14 of 24

i always tell them to send paypal payment to my email and that works pretty good. you can upgrade your email account to accomodate lots of recieved payments like a business

and on the site, i just made a godaddy one. still working on it but i really wanted to do something cute for a name but can't think of anything icon_sad.gif

leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 11:39am
post #15 of 24

I accept paypal, in fact I practically require it for the final payment. But the customer always has an invoice first.

DefyGravity Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:34pm
post #16 of 24

If possible, find out someone you know who builds sites and bribe them with cake to do yours icon_wink.gif

A new cake place opened up in the next town over, and it had quite possibly the worst website ever. It was brand new, but looked totally outdated, the framing was off, spelling errors galore, the gallery was a big mess... I couldn't find the information I wanted easily, so I gave up. If I was a bride looking to get a cake from them, I would clicked off after seeing the main page. Beyond that, I'd put money on it that not all the pictures in the gallery were theirs.

Stick to tranquil, pleasing colors (not giant bright purple font throughout) and opt for simplicity in your writing instead of long paragraphs. If you ever want another pair of eyes, I'd be more than happy to look it over and let you know what I think icon_smile.gif

Good luck! Its going to be a great way to get your business out there! My husbsnd saw a coupon for 30% off GoDaddy, I'll see if I can find it and send it your way!

yamber82 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 2:16pm
post #17 of 24

awesome thanks icon_smile.gif

i am working on it right now. i purchased a year of hosting from godaddy but the site builder is giving me problems icon_sad.gif i guess there is a default pic on the layout of these 2 random people and i can't figure out how to get rid of it. and then i click on a layout and click ok, the one it changes the page to doesn't look like the one in the pic. frustrating

yamber82 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 2:30pm
post #18 of 24

oh and i can't figure out how to add pix.

sorry to bother you guys with all my dumb questions. i should eventually be able to figure it all out on my own. i just don't have a lot of time to sit here lately

CakeForte Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 2:40pm
post #19 of 24

If you want to put something up in super duper fast, use Gmail / google sites. It's free and you can also host images for free through Picasa. You can also point a domain name towards it, like yourcakesarepretty.com.

This will buy you some time to research hosting packages and create the web site that you really want.

leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 3:27pm
post #20 of 24

I didn't want to mess up m page by trying to replace an image, but after you launch the page designer, you click insert/image and a new screen will pop up for your image gallery. At that point you will either upload an image into your gallery or choose an image from your gallery. Then if I remember correctly, it asks what image you want to replace. The program will auto size it.

yamber82 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 3:33pm
post #21 of 24

i did figure out how to upload images which is what i am currently doing. i selected one of the premade designs and deleted the image and am trying to replace it with one of mine. i hope it works. i am just sooo tired my brain isn't functioning 100%. hopefully my one yr old will let me take a nap soon before i fall asleep at the computer, lol.

another thing though is my pics arn't really professional looking. some of the newer ones i have edited the background out but the older ones arn't that great photography wise. i have done just about all i can to them. i would like to put htem all on there, but am thinking maybe i should just do a few of the good ones? opinions? ihave only been doing this for a couple of months really, so obviously i am still learning. i can see a big difference in the newer ones, but do you note that in the gallery?

grandmom Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 4:01pm
post #22 of 24

This CC thing is just the best. As a sporadic hobbyist decorator, I've gotten great advice on new projects and untried techniques. But even better, I hope to get licensed and sell cakes from my home when I retire in a few years - and all this type of information is just so helpful!! I'm saving screen clippings like a mad woman.

CakeForte Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 4:12pm
post #23 of 24

yes! My google docs files are INSANE with clips/tips/helpful hints.

yamber82 Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 4:56am
post #24 of 24

ok i just finished it. i would like to add a flash intro but i will do that later. i was really imrpessed actually while i was in the process of designing it i got a call from godaddy tech support to help me out with anything. the guy had already looked at my site and was offering advice. that was kinda cool.

i was trying to come up with a cute name and decided on "cake me away" which was available. i thought i had bought the domain name with the package but aparently not because by the time i was finished designing the whole site around that name i tried again and it was taken icon_sad.gif the tech support dude walked me through it though and helped me pick a new one. i really didnt care at the moment what it was as long as it was cute and easy to remember so i went with myprettypastryshoppe.com

i am about to post a new thread asking for critiques but wanted to thank all of you for your tips and advice icon_smile.gif definately made it easier on me so thanks again icon_smile.gif

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