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Chase
10-03-2013, 10:43 AM
I've just started a new business selling hand-made jewellery and bags and I'm looking for some advice please. It was really my friends that made me think about starting a business as I made things for myself, friends or as presents. Everyone kept telling me that I could set up a little business and get paid for doing what I love. So, since then I've been doing research and have finally decided to take the plunge. I figured that the first thing I'd need is a website but I haven't got a clue how to go about it. I've found this company, 1&1, but wanted to see if somebody could advise me, as it's always good to hear from people who are experienced in this. So, if you've got some suggestions, feel free to share them with me! Thanks!

Wozcreative
10-03-2013, 02:23 PM
For a business such as yours I'd recommend shopify.com, ebay, etsy and amazon. All of these have fees associated with them, but they won't have you put down a large sum of money (10K - 50K) on a custom online store.

Etsy has a one time fee of $50 and I think they take $ based off of transactions. Ebay and Amazon charge based on sales. You are also going to be charged per transaction with paypal or any other merchant you decide to use. Often times this is determined based on a percentage.

If you want to be successful at it, I suggest selling on all avenues.

• Invest in a graphic designer to come up with the perfect brand package for you.

• You will also have to contact your local shipping company and see what type of deals and costs you will incur for shipping.

• Invest in some packing materials.

• Letterheads for packing slips, business cards, product tags, flyers, setup a domain and proper email address.

• Create an emotional history/story about your brand/company that is unique to your brand only so you aren't producing the same thing your competitors are.

• You'll need to invest in photography for each product.

• Get licensed, hire an accountant to teach you what you need to look out for, how to charge, paying taxes etc.

• Invest in some trade shows, buy some "prop stands" for your products so they are presented. Get some signage etc.

• You may also consider protecting yourself if someone purchases your products and is allergic to the metals/fibres

• Create a refund/warranty policy

• When shipping things, you must have a PO BOX or legal address showcasing on your website/store. A PO box is usually $20 a month I think?

ASAPchange
10-03-2013, 07:59 PM
Regarding selling online, you can do it either using that shop systems Wozcreative mentioned (Ebay, Shopify, ...) maybe on FB, too, and you can have your website and do sales on it. If you deside for website, well, that solutions "create website by yourself" usualy is not so great solution, since you can't make good quality neither good and original website with that. The best way is to hire webdesigner first, who will make you website design, and then hire web developer to code the site for you. Of course that could be a bit more expensive way, I don't know what your budget is. If it's lower, then solutions with online stores could be the best maybe.

Patrysha
10-04-2013, 01:37 AM
I agree with wozcreative in many ways...except in the cost of a competent website to suit your needs. There are few home manufacturing and merchandizing type businesses that will require a high cost web page. It really depends on where you want to go and be...sure if you want to be doing a million a year in sales, spending 50,000 on web development makes sense...for most craft type businesses - spending anything more than $1500 in the initial development is overkill and you can likely do what you need for $500 if you're willing to spend a little time learning instead of outsourcing.

I would highly suggest you follow Crissy Heron of Indie Biz Tips. She recently launched a kindle book called How To Market Your Craft Biz (Without Going Broke) - I haven't read it myself, but I've known Crissy for many years and know her quality is always top notch...

Chase
10-04-2013, 05:57 AM
Brilliant advice everybody, thanks. I'll have a look for Crissy's book too.

Wozcreative
10-04-2013, 11:47 AM
$1500 in the initial development is overkill and you can likely do what you need for $500 if you're willing to spend a little time learning instead of outsourcing.

If you do it yourself using shopify, then yes, its possible. But hiring someone that is reputable to do it, it would cost you more than a measly $1500 for an e-commerce store. And I mean reputable designer. To learn how to do it yourself.. you will also need TONS of learning, but the sites I mentioned will make the avenue easier if you're not making it yourself, but just "setting it up" with their services.

Also if yo do make your own website.. you need to know design to look reputable.

Patrysha
10-04-2013, 06:16 PM
Woz...are you insinuating that those of us who do offer solutions to our clients for under $1500 are somehow less reputable?

Wozcreative
10-05-2013, 12:19 AM
Woz...are you insinuating that those of us who do offer solutions to our clients for under $1500 are somehow less reputable?

Yes. With that price for an e-commerce website design and development, you are not going to get much quality work. Something is going to suffer. You get what you pay for. I spend 40 - 80 hours on a website.. based on your ecommerce price thats about $37 an hour.. which is good for someone starting out... but not someone seasoned, and someone that charges based on results. No way is someone going to spend a lot of time on that project when they only get $1500. Logos cost 2/3 of that price.. how are you going to fit in a website in that amount? Crazy!

Ecommerce has SO much more involved, chances are if they are doing $1500... then they are just reselling some stock site they have and slapping something together.

Patrysha
10-05-2013, 06:53 PM
That's an elitest attitude that would put most work at home moms and small town small business owners completely out of the website market. Those of us who do not charge what you do are not without ability or talent, we've chosen a different market. The clients we serve don't have the same starting point or goals, but that doesn't mean we're scammers or charlatans simply because we do not charge the same. We're not providing the same work. The end results are not equal. But that doesn't mean our work is **** just because you can provide better.

Wozcreative
10-05-2013, 09:16 PM
I feel you're putting words in my mouth. In no way did I say the work is "****". I am trying to explain that it can't be up to professional standards. You said it yourself.. the results will not be equal if you hire someone for $1500 vs hiring someone who will spend 40 - 80 hours on the site.

You're missing the point when you say "That's an elitest attitude that would put most work at home moms and small town small business owners completely out of the website market." Moms should not be investing $1500 in a customized e-commerce website. They need MUCH MUCH MORE than that. They can go to shopify, or ebay, or etsy etc.. if they want an e-commerce. If they want a basic stand alone site.. $1500 is reasonable and well within the limits for a few pages. But NOT for a reputable looking e-commerce website.

It's not about me "providing better".. its more about how many hours it ACTUALLY takes to do a proper customized, designed, branded, e-commerce website. If you hired someone to build a house, one guy who made one in 10 hours, and another guy who made one spending 50 hours... which house would be safest, most reliable to live in? Surely you would go with the one that hasn't been rushed and slapped together with superglue so it dries fast and gets out the door? Or worse yet.. falls appart before the job is even completed because the builder realizes their in over their head with what they're charging! Their best bet is not going custom is what I am saying. They'll get a better bang for their buck by buying something that was already built. Why re-invent the wheel when you don't have the capital, and you're just going to throw money down the drain trying to get something glued together?

And hey maybe I am wrong, maybe I am one slow designer. But I find it extremely impossible. I just spent 3 - 4 months building a heavily customized e-commerce website with a complex shipping option. No WAY would I be able to fit that in $1500. Can you IMAGINE how many websites I'd have to build to pay my bills?

This is why so many people think they can start a business without any $ or time invested. NO ONE is putting anyone out of business by charging real prices for something their business needs in the first place. Instead these moms are just having unrealistic expectations of what a business costs them.

billbenson
10-07-2013, 02:40 PM
Woz, you are assuming that a lousy website can't make money. That's simply not true. I have what I consider to be a horrible website and it makes a lot of money. I think I will do better with a professional website which is why I have Steve building me a site, but I have no urgency because my site as it exists keeps my partner and myself quoting and making orders all day long.

Web marketing is a different issue. I place in the top 3 in G for my best search terms. That's where the money is (or by getting prospects by means other than G).

Wozcreative
10-07-2013, 03:38 PM
Lousy websites do make money if it is in the right industry. Not if you are selling jewellery. Unless you can show me a website that is poo poo and sells things that are supposed to look fashionable, on trend, geared towards women with specific tastes. Not impossible.. but very very difficult.

When you're slapping things together quickly to get it through the door, you are sacrificing a few things. Design, The functionality, Maybe even the call to action, maybe the content, maybe you haven't thought bout UI, or what about thinking about mobile? Just syaing its easier to not try to beat the horse with a stick and get a mechanical horse instead from shopify if you can't afford the real deal. Whats wrong with that?

Harold Mansfield
10-07-2013, 04:38 PM
I have to stick up for Woz here. It's impossible to know if $1500 is a fair amount without knowing how many products we are talking about and what marketing materials they already have.

If the client already has professional product images, sales copy, a logo and other graphics and marketing materials, and already have their prices, shipping, taxes, and payment gateway situation figured out..and it's not a 50+ product website with a ton of ordering options...you may find someone willing to do it using a pre-designed template and out of the box eCommerce solution.

However, in my experience, most people just starting out have NONE of that and it takes a lot of time to get them there before you can even start construction on the website. Actually, most have have NOTHING about their eCommerce business figured out at all.

So I have to agree, in the case of someone who has nothing and needs help with all of it, and probably also has specific needs or things that they want ( Gift Certificates, Newsletter, Wish List functionality, Inventory management, Facebook integration, Analytics, SEO, Responsive for mobile devices, and so on) I probably wouldn't be interested at $1500 either.

Even the "I just want something simple" eCommerce sites can get pretty involved and time consuming when people start listing things that they want just like other eCommerce sites. People see all of that stuff on Amazon.com, or Macy's.com and just think that you just push a button and "viola!". "It should be easy".

And if I was to do one that cheap, they would have to do all of the non technical work, account set ups, and copy. But that means waiting days and even weeks for them to get it together and send it over to you because they have other crap to do during the day...further making the $1500 not worth it because it slowly becomes a 3 month+ project or longer, instead of a quick one worthy of the money.

So either way you cut it, $1500 for an eCommerce site is a little on the low side ( IMO), especially if you have to do all of the work and guide them through everything.

billbenson
10-07-2013, 09:38 PM
I was speaking more in general terms. I feel that far to often, web designers feel that you have to have that perfect site to make money. That's simply not true. I bet there are thousands of WP sites out there that make money done by people with very little knowledge.

Would they make more money if they were done by a professional? Maybe. But maybe the designer makes a pretty site that doesn't sell. Product knowledge is very important. Web designers don't know everything about everything. Nobody does. That's why an armature can make a site that sells. Product knowledge! And studying some web marketing doesn't hurt either.

Wozcreative
10-07-2013, 10:15 PM
No no... you are strictly talking about "design". You are also not taking into account how LONG it took those people to get to the point of actually being a sucessful site to sell products. They must have learned or had someone who spent countless hours working on it.. hours = $$$$. There is no way you can slap something together quickly and make money.. especially ecommerce. It's not about pretty.. thats what you keep mentioning and this is what business people think they are buying... "pretty"... which is NOT supposed to be the case. It's about having a functioning website that SELLS. And that's not easy to do, nor is it quick. Yes product knowledge is VERY important, thus a designer/developer also must learn that too.. and spend hours with the client learning about it!

When you spend money on a website you are buying TIME TO:

• Educate the client about who you are and what you can offer to their business
• Client educating you about their business and offering existing content, research, marketing material
• You doing outside research on your own
• Presenting that research to the client
• Coming together to write/suggest/create some type of content workflow of what is most imporant and what needs to be highlighted
• Taking what you've talked about and then doing research for the best design practices for that field taking into account the existing brand, competitors, and target audience
• Then taking and creating 1 - 2 concepts based on what you've talked bout with the client
• You have to collect and wait for all existing content and new content coming in.. and question/ask/read what they've submitted or tell them that it needs to be revised/doesnt make sense
• You have to collect all the product information, the photos, make sure they are all high res enough
• You have to collect all social media, contact info, google analytics, hook up any SSL, Private IP hostings, possibly move any old sites to the new server temporarily if your moving servers
• You have to then spend an few weeks developing the site after you've spent a few weeks talking and designing for the client
• Once the development is done then you have to go through all the slew of content the client sent you and start implementing it designing iet and making it readable
• Then you have to send it to the client so he approves/makes changes
• That takes a bunch of more back and firths
• Then you have a few weeks in between of testing
• Browser testing /mobile testing
• Talking to their merchant accounts, payment gateway integration and shipping integration
• You have will have to customize the taxes, the shipping destinations, zip/postal codes and packing sizes
• You will have to figure out all confirmation emails that go to the customer and to the client
• Figure out how you are going to tackle tracking numbers
• Teach the client how to use the system whcih also takes a few hours
• Allow the client to ask some questions along the way as they are using it for the next few months, you may have to tweek things

---- so with that said.. WHERE does it say that building "expensive" websites = pretty designs? I'm shocked that someone who plans to build their own site doesn't understand the amount of work that is involved. It's definitely NOT about pretty little things on a website. It;s about calculated decisions, planning, organizing, research, development, testing, teaching.

Anyone who's ever been hired by someone to just install an existing wordpress site and customize it for their client knows even THAT is a huge headache and involves so much hand holding.


That's why an armature can make a site that sells. Product knowledge!

And again.. how do you get product knowledge? Countless hours of work research and knowing how to present it!! You think we do this for free? The dudes that promise beans for a website won't care about product knowledge. They want the $ and buh bye!

Also as a side note, regarding pricing.. designers who charge above and beyond the amount of time it takes them know HOW to sell. They know they are selling Results, and not their timesheet or a ticket out to the next project. I'd run from someone who charges $1500 for a customized ecommerce website that really would take months to do.

billbenson
10-07-2013, 11:45 PM
You are getting moody on me Woz :p.

I'm saying revision 1 of a website can be done by the site owner. Actually I am saying rev 1 probably should be done by the site owner. How else is he going to learn how to manage his / her website and designer / developer.

Dan and I traded a couple of posts a while back. I said for copywriting I would write the copy and give it to a good copywriter like Dan for cleaning it up, making it good web copy etc. Dan said that he loves it when someone does that.

This is completely analogous particularly with a technical website.

Harold Mansfield
10-08-2013, 12:00 AM
I was speaking more in general terms. I feel that far to often, web designers feel that you have to have that perfect site to make money. That's simply not true.
Generally we work with what people ask for. Most small business clients without much knowledge want Amazon.com, but don't have that kind of budget. It's rare that someone comes along with a realistic understanding of what is possible based on the budget that they have,



I bet there are thousands of WP sites out there that make money done by people with very little knowledge. I'd be willing to bet that there aren't. From my experience "Make money" and "not much knowledge" never go together.



Would they make more money if they were done by a professional? Maybe. But maybe the designer makes a pretty site that doesn't sell. Product knowledge is very important. Web designers don't know everything about everything. Nobody does. That's why an armature can make a site that sells. Product knowledge! And studying some web marketing doesn't hurt either.
Well, I agree with some of that, but more along the lines that there are a lot of different ways to sell a product online. What I do for one client is not the best solution or design for another. It is my job to know the difference and not try and put everyone in the same mold, and that comes from learning as much as you can about the industry and their target demographic.

But there is one thing that is true for every business and every website....a good presentation is going to help you succeed. There's always going to be some story about some exception to the rule, but for the most part if you want to run with the big dogs, you have to piss in the high grass. Again, what is your industry and target demographic. If you are a local realtor in big market, you aren't going to get a lot of leads with a website that's substandard visually and functionally to what your competition has.

Sure, if you are the only game in town or selling a completely original product that has demand, you may make sales on a paper bag. However most people are not in that situation and they do have competitors, and never mind what I think they need....they come to us with wants. "I want this, and this and this and I want it to do this and I want this thing like this website has". Well...putting all of that together takes time and money.

I'm not going to over sell someone on something they don't need anymore than I'm going to counsel them to just do enough to get by and expect a miracle.
My job is to give people what they need based on what they asked for and what they want to accomplish. It's not up to me to tell them how to run their company. They tell me.

So here's the wrap up, there are certain budgets I won't work with for a full website build. Period. If you are a DIY'er and just need sometime to help with a few technical things like installation, and set up...I can work with that as a support issue. But I will not build and put together everything that a new business needs online, for scraps. It's far more work than just the hands on time building the website.

People who don't build websites are constantly telling people who do, how easy something should be.

billbenson
10-08-2013, 01:10 AM
Harold, I think both you and Woz have good points. However, the one thing you aren't doing is looking at it from the site owners point of view. Both you and Woz have dealt with a lot of website based business owners. I've only dealt with one. Me. It took me about 5 years of studying web design and marketing to start making money. But my back was to a wall and today, even though my web design seo etc is outdated, I'm sure I could put together a site that makes money. As we all know, websites take a period of time to make money, usually years.

Also, I'm not the only person on this forum who has picked up web design and marketing for their particular businesses.

What really annoys me about threads like this is the you can't do it on your own; you need to hire a professional attitude. That's a crock of basura (no that's not a dirty word). The assumption that the only way a newbe can write a site is with a site generator.

In Woz's post above she detailed everything she would need to do to make a site for a technical product she wasn't familiar with. Wouldn't it be faster for clients to learn web design, put up a lousy but technically accurate site, and give it to a designer / developer at some point to get a decent site.

The other thing about an educated customer is they can bounce ideas back and forth with you. I'm not a programmer, but I've been writing php since 2000. I can come up with ideas on how to use server side programming that would never come up if I never built a web site. I can have you make a better product for me!

I haven't gone back through this entire thread, so it's probable that I have misstated something.

But don't tell a newbe you can't do it. Tell them what it takes to build a website from scratch. Actually that should be a sticky here. Both in code or with a CMS. What you need to learn! A few will learn and most will fail. But most small businesses fail anyway.

Wozcreative
10-08-2013, 07:51 AM
You are getting moody on me Woz :p.


You're right.. I'm putting too much emphasis on trying to explain myself (Im not the greatest that that either). I just am passionate about my work is all.




In Woz's post above she detailed everything she would need to do to make a site for a technical product she wasn't familiar with. Wouldn't it be faster for clients to learn web design, put up a lousy but technically accurate site, and give it to a designer / developer at some point to get a decent site.


In each and every project you need to learn about the company. It's not only for a "technical product". You need to learn bout how the company works, functions, who their competitors are etc.

It wouldn't be faster if the client learned web design, BUT it would be much BETTER for them! They would spend countless hours, but if they cared enough they could do a decent job. My point is, like Harold mentioned, it's not feasable to design and develop a customized e-commerce website for nothing. Whats the problem with using an existing service like shopify for a small business to make them look more reliable?

If you were going to a business meeting, but couldn't afford a custom made tailored suit... whats the problem with going to some low end company like Walmart (or whererver), to buy one that is readily made to look your best? Thats all I'm sayin. Lets not make things harder for people if it's not in their budget. You can't expect any quality if you spend beans on custom design/development. Why not take those beans and not re-invent the wheel and put together a proper looking business with the tools that are already out there?

Harold Mansfield
10-08-2013, 01:14 PM
Harold, I think both you and Woz have good points. However, the one thing you aren't doing is looking at it from the site owners point of view.
That is the only way we look at it. From their point of view. They tell us what they want, and what they want to do and we tell them the best way to accomplish that or just simply build what they asked for. Most times we do what they want in conflict with our suggestion that they not do it that way. It's their site.

It's not about us. It's about them.



Both you and Woz have dealt with a lot of website based business owners. I've only dealt with one. Me. It took me about 5 years of studying web design and marketing to start making money. But my back was to a wall and today, even though my web design seo etc is outdated, I'm sure I could put together a site that makes money. As we all know, websites take a period of time to make money, usually years.

Also, I'm not the only person on this forum who has picked up web design and marketing for their particular businesses.

What really annoys me about threads like this is the you can't do it on your own; you need to hire a professional attitude. That's a crock of basura (no that's not a dirty word). The assumption that the only way a newbe can write a site is with a site generator.

That's not true either. Anyone can certainly do it on their own. I learned by doing it on my own. You can do anything on your own if you are willing to put the time in to learn it.

My target market isn't DIY people. It's people who want someone else to do it. So my responses are based on that.


In Woz's post above she detailed everything she would need to do to make a site for a technical product she wasn't familiar with. Wouldn't it be faster for clients to learn web design, put up a lousy but technically accurate site, and give it to a designer / developer at some point to get a decent site.

If that's easier for you, then do it that way. Neither of us are saying that if you don't hire us then you are wrong and won't have any success. My position is that when you need a professional...call me and I'm going to give you full access to my experience and build the site that you want and need that makes you happy and best represents your company.

If you call me and say, "You know. I think I'm going to do it myself". Great! Mozel Tov. Let me know how it turns out. But no one calls me who wants to do it themselves. Why would they?


The other thing about an educated customer is they can bounce ideas back and forth with you. I'm not a programmer, but I've been writing php since 2000. I can come up with ideas on how to use server side programming that would never come up if I never built a web site. I can have you make a better product for me!

An educated customer is the best customer. To a point. I welcome customers that have taken the time to learn something before they contacted me. And I've worked with plenty of people that have skills in other areas ( Marketing, Programming, Advertising, Sales and so on) that were very helpful in building their own sites. And you should be helpful in the building of your website and the representation of your company online. The worst customers are the ones that have no input and just expect everything to materialize out of thin air.

And then there's the customer who learned a few things 5 years ago, and keeps trying to tell you that the success of their SEO is dependent on whether or not they update their site from a desktop as opposed to a laptop. And are insistent that they are correct and that you don't know what you're talking about.



But don't tell a newbe you can't do it. Tell them what it takes to build a website from scratch. Actually that should be a sticky here. Both in code or with a CMS. What you need to learn! A few will learn and most will fail. But most small businesses fail anyway.

Look, the reality is that most people can't do it. Not because they lack the intellect, but because they lack the patience and will give up. I know that. You know that. We all know that. But I'd never tell them they can't do it. Of course they can. You can do anything you put your mind to.

But if you need a website with specific features and functions up in 3 weeks and you've never touched a line of HTML, PHP or CSS in your life...then I'm going to be realistic and tell you that there is no way you can learn what you need to, and do it in that time. Even if your plan is to customize a predesigned template. No sense in sending you on a fools errand and telling you "you'll be fine", cause you won't. At some point you need to be realistic.

Can you learn to do it yourself? Of course.
Am I going to walk you through it for free? Absolutely not.

Harold Mansfield
10-08-2013, 01:34 PM
Lets not make things harder for people if it's not in their budget. You can't expect any quality if you spend beans on custom design/development. Why not take those beans and not re-invent the wheel and put together a proper looking business with the tools that are already out there?

That's all I'm saying too. There's nothing wrong with working with what you can afford. That's how we ALL started. But you can't get a full featured, custom built, ecommerce site with all of the tools and integrations for peanuts. There are plenty of options out there for people of all budgets. But like everything else, most people want the kind of sites that they see and shop on, and expect to get that look and functionality for $1500. It may happen soon, but it's not happening today.