I feel like I'm so far behind! I haven't done much with web pages in three or four years. Someone recommended this site on another message board and I've been reading posts for four or five hours now. I would like to set up a small 4-5 page website for about 30 similar collectable items. I would be happy to get a couple orders a week so this will not be a high volume site at all. I would like to implement a shopping cart system that does not cost much or anything at all, and looks professional. I am going to spend some time on this to make it look really well done.
I already registered the .com name and went with hosting from 1and1.com. I would like to create this page using Frontpage 2000 or 2002 since I am familiar with those and could make changes easily. I'm looking for a fast and easy setup. I would also like to have the site integrated with USPS Shipping Assistant and Froogle although it's not completely necessary. As far as payment methods go I am mainly relying on Paypal. I do not have a merchant account and since much of my business would coming from my Ebay customers they will likely have a Paypal account. I would like to give them the option to pay with a money order although that's not necessary either. I need to get a direct merchant account! The best thing I've found so far is from thetemplatestore.com. I wouldn't be surprized if some of the regulars on here have similar if not better templates done up. Email me if you have something available.
After this project is done I have about three more I would like to do. If I could use the same software I purchased for this one it would be a bonus. I would really like to learn all the secrets of this trade. I'm and self-employed with one partner and all we do is sell online. I find everything about the online marketing process very interesting. There seems to be enough competition in the hosting, designing, advertising, and registering business. I like the idea of marketing my own in hand goods implementing everything I know about selling online. I'll admit I probably know far less than most of the users on this forum.
Who should I go to for a template or store design?
What kind of ecommerce software would work best under my circumstances?
Theres many pre-packaged shopping cart solutions which will meet your requirements.
The one we use and support most is osCommerce (free). There are many others that are used by other hosting companies (ie Miva and Angora). All are good solutions and each have their advantages.
I cant speak for the others (as Im not that familiar with them), but osCommerce has all the capabilities you mentioned above (as well as many more). You may not need to buy a template - most hosts offer a free site builder with their hosting packages (though, Im not certain if 1&1 has this offering)
I am sure (well almost sure) you can run osCommerce on 1&1's free offering. I hear their support isnt great (but dont have any first hand experience of this), so you may need to install this yourself - though I would recommend contacting them to find out if they will help you install.