Can You Have A Website If You're Not An 'official' Business?

Baking By TracyLH Updated 28 Jul 2008 , 10:43am by Iloveweddings

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TracyLH Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:23pm
post #1 of 23

I am in a quandry and I am hoping someone might have words of advice. First of all, I am not an official business. I make cookies for family and friends, but I am finding that I am starting to be known a bit for my cookies around the neighborhood. If people ask about them, I send them a pdf file, but it is getting too big and dividing it into 3 -4 e-mails is ridiculous. Time after time, people ask me if I have a website.

So the question is... can you have a web-site if you are not an 'official' business. I did PM one cookie person here on CC who has a fab web-site with a 'name' and all, but she is not an 'official' business. She did research on CC and felt that as long as you don't have any prices shown, you can have a web-site with a 'name' and be fine. She doesn't say she sells them, nothing about ordering, just pics and info about flavors. That way she can tell people who ask about her work to visit the website and if they are interested, they can contact her.

I trust all she tells me, but as I am really nervous I thought I'd check if anyone had any thoughts and I can't find anything in the forums.

A lot of people have web-sites here, but are they all businesses? I have a name picked out that I love, so if I tell people I am not a 'real' business, am I okay? I am not at all trying to get orders via the web or get my name 'out there', but just have a site with my photos that isn't connected to another site that people who ask me about my cookies can vist. My husband already has found out how to do the website, but I needed to ask you all first.

Thanks so much for any thoughts you can give me!

22 replies
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gottabakenow Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:27pm
post #2 of 23

Definitely no prices, especially if you're not licensed. It's perfectly fine to have a website to showcase pictures. icon_smile.gif

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MichelleM77 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:32pm
post #3 of 23

Yep, I was gonna say what gottabakenow said. icon_smile.gif No prices, no "selling" words, just a showcase of your work so your friends and family can see what you have been up to.

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deanwithana Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:40pm
post #4 of 23 can have a website to showcase your portfolio, flavors, not list any prices............

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vagostino Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:42pm
post #5 of 23

I guess you can have a photo gallery website kind of like Flikr or even a picasa web album with just your pictures. Now if you want a website with info about you, flavors etc...that is more like a "business " website. I don't know if Virginia allows home bakeries, but if you only want to showcase your cookies i would say to create a gallery online, and you can even use your name as the title.

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TracyLH Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:43pm
post #6 of 23

Okay, so pic with no prices. What about a cute name? (I am dying to do a cute name!)

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KHalstead Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:44pm
post #7 of 23

Just do a series of galleries for the different types of cakes and a section for flavors. There are millions of hobbyists with their own websites! Doesn't mean you are "in business" because you have a website. Trust me it will make things soooooooooooo much easier too when people ask to see examples of your work! Does anyone even have a portfolio anymore?? I've thought about printing one out for the last year but now it seems silly when I can add 20 photos in a matter of seconds to my website!

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Mike1394 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 2:53pm
post #8 of 23

You can do whatever you want. You can have a website, you can advertise.


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-K8memphis Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:00pm
post #9 of 23

I am not licensed, I do not take orders, I have a following, I have a website. There's no rhyme or reason to it but there it is.

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Lesia Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:10pm
post #10 of 23

I USED to be licensed, but opted to keep my website after I closed the shop. Mainly because my cakes still need a "home". I don't list any "selling" type info - just pics for friends/family/coworkers/cakebuddies to see. Go for it! thumbs_up.gif

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lutie Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:14pm
post #11 of 23

Anyone can have a website with pictures... that is what is so great about the internet... it is all, not some.

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TracyLH Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:16pm
post #12 of 23

So it sounds like it is fine as long as there aren't any prices. Does anyone see a problem with using a 'cute name' for the website, for example (although that is not the one I am thinking of)?

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vagostino Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:25pm
post #13 of 23

A cute name would be great, it will tie the whole thing together and give the people that enter the website a preview of what is it about!

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MichelleM77 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:36pm
post #14 of 23

I have a few pics available in a little mini album so that people I run into in the store or whatever can see what I do. A lady at church, actually our Pastor, could not envision what a decorated cookie favor was. You should have seen her face when I told her about edible images. LOL!

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DoniB Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:44pm
post #15 of 23

I keep a small 'portfolio' in my purse, but I have several different places I show my cakes: myspace (but I also have personal pics there); I post them on my LiveJournal for my friends to see; picturetrail, which is kind of my catch-all for all my pics, and flickr. I highly recommend flickr. They have communities for pics... my chess cake is in one, and my baby shower cake is in another. It's quick and easy to upload, and free. icon_smile.gif

Like someone else said, you can use your 'name' as your sign-in, if you want to be able to switch it over later on for use as a business. icon_smile.gif Mine is donicakes at flickr. icon_smile.gif

Good luck, and post your website when you get it up and running! icon_smile.gif

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Pama2d Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 3:49pm
post #16 of 23

Tracy... What I did was set up a myspace page just to showcase my pictures. I was doing the same thing as you with having to e-mail multiple files of pictures when someone wanted to see my work. What a PITA that was. With the myspace page you can enter blurbs about you and your work... without the mention of pricing or selling. It's fairly simple to set up... I'm still in the process of doing mine... but the majority of the pictures are uploaded. I didn't want to invest a lot of money into a website so I figured this was just as good for the time being. Hope that helps. If you wanted to check it out just to see how it looks/works...

Edited to add: The only downfall to the myspace page is that it seems that viewers have to have a sign in as well... not their own page, but they have to register with myspace to view.

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JenWhitlock Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 1:18am
post #17 of 23

my site has photos and it has been so great for people to go look at at their home (women in my "moms group" call me saying that their kids has spent tons to time on my site picking out their favorites, LOL) I don't have prices, and I don't place my flavors or anything other than my gallery very prominently on the page.
(I have this issue though, people call for a cake and they haven't even thought about what flavor that they want, icon_confused.gif hence the flavors listing page - this is even for family at family functions)

I started with a FREE freewebs page. I think that this or flickr or shutterfly (which I use for my kids website) are also great.

I also keep a 'brag book' in my purse. ($1.99 at Target and I replace the slide in cover with my own icon_lol.gif ) it's the best thing ever!

also, I do have all my stuff "branded" with the name that I want for my -sigh, wishful thinking - future shop. my thought is that I want people to start associating a name so that when I am able to become a business people will recognize it!

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TracyLH Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:15pm
post #18 of 23

I cannot even begin to thank all of you for your very valued help! I feel now I can move forward knowing the parameters and am very excited! Thankyou again for your time and your comments! It is so wonderful to have a network of others like myself to bounce questions/ideas off of. You really have no idea what a help you all have been!

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millicente Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 10:40pm
post #19 of 23 is a great place to get your domain name and set up a wabsite.

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TracyLH Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 12:11am
post #20 of 23

Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou! You all have been most helpful! Now if I can just figure out how to do a website... icon_biggrin.gif

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Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 6:15am
post #21 of 23

I wanted a website for sharing pics of my cakes and to organize inspirational pics of other people's cakes that I like and wanted to share with my fellow cakers.

I found creating a website to be intimidating, so instead, I set up a blog using, which is a FREE Google product.

And before a flaming thread begins acusing me of stealing photos, I want to point out that I have made it very clear to the viewer which images are my creations and which ones are not, giving credit to the original creator. I have also stated that if anyone has a problem with me displaying their photo, they can request that it be removed. No problem. I also apologize if I have not featured your cakes. Please don't take it personally as I have not taken it personally that no one has stolen any of my cakes pics. I have actually had more than one person email me thanking me for showcasing their work and actually giving them credit for it and providing a link back to their website. In fact, you may not know this, but having your website link appear on other Internet sites, such as within people's blogs, actually helps increase your website's ranking in search results.

Since each post is assigned its own URL, I use them as web pages, which means I can still organize cakes and cookies by theme, etc. with links to them. I can also list links to other websites that I enjoy browsing or am otherwise interested in or think others may be interested in. It's a great way to create an organized, online "look book" that you and your friends can refer to. And best of all, it's FREE!

I don't have a lot of time to create posts, but I do try to include all of my creations.

You can check it out at If you're interested in using it to create your own blog and run into any difficulties, feel free to send me a PM with your questions.

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TracyLH Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 12:27pm
post #22 of 23

Hi Kim - Thanks for the blog idea! I am thinking to buy my domain name (thanks for the suggestion millicente!) with the hopes of someday having a website, but in the interim need a place to put photos. A blog is a great idea and JenWhitlock has been most helpful, also suggesting to look at Shutterfly or Flickr as well. I just need to put down my icing bags and do some research to understand the process as I admittedly am clueless to all of this.

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Iloveweddings Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 10:43am
post #23 of 23

Anyone can have a website!

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