Some important questions about starting an online store site
Hi all. I always search for answers to questions that i have , but i cant understand the terminology here.
So I want to open an online store selling performance auto parts for bmw's. I have experience building websites in html, flash and dreamweaver, but that was a few years ago, and i have never done a webstore. I need to have the following in an all-in-one package to buy and/or pay monthly for:
1) Attractive, stylish and useful templates (html/dreamweaver)
2) Customizeable menus and organization of products (many parts for many types of cars)
3) Backend software where i can easily upload images, product info, etc
4) A secure shopping cart
5) I want the website software place customer orders with my suppliers, without my input.
6) Bells and whistles like shipping cost calculator, upselling sidebar, etc
7) Product search function
I would like to use one company to do all of this, so i can keep it simple. I need about 1+gig of space and alot of bandwidth. and price? Im thinking $30/month with an initial purchase for the templates/software? ($100?)
I'm the first one to comment to this thread so here goes.
Your $30 budget seems very reasonable for 1gig space and "loads of bandwidth". I presume your site wouldn't use too much bandwidth though so I would recommend you probably should go along with 1gig space and 5gigs bandwidth which I am sure you will probably be able to get for around $5 from a non-overselling host.
As per your templates/software, from what you have listed I think your $100 budget is way too low. Most designers charge $100 for a five page template in my experience plus you also need databases included which are not simple to do and will definitely cost you.
I think for what you are asking, you may need to up your designing budget to around $400-$500 for the full works.
Actually, i wanted to purchase a template, so that i could add all of my products to it myself. I was hoping to find templates with all those features i mentioned, but the work would be done myself. Just wondering if it is available. Price is not as important as the features.
I doubt you will find a template with features as you mentioned in them. Most templates (even the expensive ones) are just simply coded in html/flash/php/asp but that is all they are; templates. You have to add your own text, images, logos etc for a basic template.
What you are after from reading your opening thread is a full blown shopping site which would need a shopping cart, ordering service database, product image uploader etc etc. These are all databases and you won't get these as standard on any template.
Your best bet would be to have a browse through the Templates Offers on this forum as there are loads of custom designers there who could give you a price guide. I definitely think you need a custom designer for this job.
Darn, i was hoping to find something already made for this type of online store. How about these sites i have seen, that have demos of their administrative software? I have seen them come with image upload options (im not sure about any of the other features)...
To be truthful, if you have the time and patience to get things done right, you could have a go at setting up some of the features stated in your original post yourself. For instance, there are loads of free scripts available which enable you to set up simple things like image uploaders, calendars yourself but to implement these into your full site would require a hell of a load of work.
If you want a professional layout and to save you time, I would definitely pay the buck and get someone to custom build your site. There are many designers who just want to build their portfolio and will offer a lower price than some of the established custom designers around. Since you have a low budget, I recommend you search through the Templates Offers and find a designer looking to build their portfolio. You could get a good deal if you offer to put a link to their design services at the foot of your homepage once completed.
Alternatively, if you want to spend the money you could get an established custom designer to build your site plus you will have the benefit of knowing that they will probably do it right first time round as they have the experience.
I know what you mean about taking the time to learn the skills to do this myself. I have spent many hours in the past, self-teaching myself programming skills in flash and dreamweaver. However, today i have no intrest in that. I need to use my time to manage this online store business.
This specific one is offering point and click setup to upload products, specifications, do site administration work, etc. I think this would save me alot of time, and the cost that it would take for somebody to do it for me. This is how it appears, but i have never used one before, so maybe somebody here has some more insight on this. Thanks.
There are loads of 'open source' ready-made templates on the net but I have to say I hate them. You have to stick to their format/style plus you never get all the features you want/need.
I just checked Monstercommerce that you mentioned and the pricing is $499 per year just for the basic commerce template. With this you will get limited features and loads of stuff you probably would never use.
In my opinion, wouldn't it be better to ask someone to build you exactly what you want (calendars/uploader/shopping cart etc) rather than pay for stuff you never would use.
I understand it may cost you around $400-$500 to build a site, but this would be a one-off payment which would suit your exact needs and would be designed to coincide with what you want per style and viewing.
In my experience, I would never use something like Monstercommerce because of the long term costs and the features which you may well never use. It is just too restricted for me to be honest.
I've just PM'd you as well. I don't know if you will receive it because of your low post count but if you do, please read it.