Ok, I know, before you say anything I'll say it first- this is a web HOSTING forum. I know. If you can give me the website of a forum which is more related to this particular question, please give it to me....but I used this forum to decide what web space provider to use (signed up with Ventures Online, eventually) and it's the only forum I have posted to throughout this entire horrible experience which has actually resulted in any intelligent responses which have ANYTHING to do with my question.
So, with that out of the way, here's the problem. And again, if there's a better place for this please tell me- I'm just not very good with the web, and I couldn't find a more appropriate forum for it.
I finished up a website using Frontpage 2000 some time ago- as in, around 6 months- and signed on with Ventures Online, at which point I figured I was all ready to go and start taking orders. Wrong. Duh. I had to deal with security issues first. I had thought that all I needed to move information over the internet securely was SSL- but no. Because, as I have come to learn, the information which is being transmitted from your website has to go through the following spots:
Customer's computer -> Web server -> E-mail server or something like that -> your computer.
...and SSL only takes care of the first two.
I know, most people would just say get a third party whatchamacallit to take credit card numbers and process them for you, but I can't do that. To put things in a simple way, I own a company which is part of a smaller company and for my company to work I need to send all the orders and credit card numbers up to the larger company. Get it? Just trust me on this one, you don't want to have to hear the whole explanation.
So I need to actually have the credit card numbers and personal information in front of me at some point in time so that I can call them in to the company.
So I was told about public and private GnuPG keys, which I have a very modest understanding of right now (read: I don't understand but can guess my way through it if I'm lucky). So my plan at that point was that I would try to make an order form for all of my products which was just on one big page. I am selling herbal remedies (this is for a good cause, proceeds go to buy back the rainforest!), and each product has 1-3 sizes and 1 or 2 different types you could buy it in....so this would be a large form.
But then I couldn't figure out where to send the results of the form, and I couldn't figure out how to get the form to have a working confirmation page, blah blah blah blah blah (can you guess I do NOT know HTML?), and I had no one around to help me or explain anything to me and I had nowhere to turn, so for months I continuously labored over my computer trying to make heads or tails of things. And I eventually found out about the magic of "shopping carts".
So I installed Agora. This is where I am now. But I don't really understand what's going on now, and I'm completely in over my internet literacy rate right now trying to figure out how to configure my shopping cart. Now obviously no one here can help me with the Agora stuff (or they can, but it's completley off topic), but what I am hoping is that someone can explain to me the fundamental idea that web pages and shopping carts are working on. I just don't understand. And what's worse, I don't really know what it is I don't understand.
But what I WANT to have is a web site where there are a bunch of different product pages (one for each product, with a description and maybe a little image) that each have a little menu at the bottom which is kind of like an order form for that particular product. Then, if you decide to order something, you will be taken to a menu that shows everything you have so far ordered, and has a check out button or a button to go back and shop more....am I making ANY SENSE??? It seems like EVERYONE can do this, I see it on web sites ALL THE TIME, how is EVERYONE but ME doing this??? Yes, I am going insane. I have been trying to figure this out for 6 long months. I just want to finish this thing- I am so bloody close!! I am in a serious rut, and I need to be able to at least earn back my principle from this. Please help me, or steer me in the direction of someone who can!!!!!!
In case anyone is interested, my mostly-finished website (which still needs minor renovations, mind you, and keep in mind that the links do NOT at this moment bring you to a secure site if you try to order from my un-working scraped order form) is located at www.amazondefenders.com. Thanks for reading this! And if you're mad at me for posting here, please feel free to leave me a " :p " face.
It seems like you're really in over your head, no offense intended. Why don't you hire an internet programmer to finish your project? Your requirements don't sound overly onerous, but one can only know for sure after taking a few hours to delve through your environment and to REALLY understand your business requirements.
No offense taken- I AM in over my head. Which is what is frustrating me so much- I'm completely lost, because there are no directions here, there's no instruction manual, it's all guess and check work. I read through the agora manual, and to a regular human being it just doesn't make any sense- I have a lot of experience in computers, but my experience is primarily in hardware and in software which is not internet related. So I feel pretty defeated at the moment.
I would hire someone like that, the problem is I don't have any money. And if you take the money that it took to get this all of the ground and look at how much I've made so far ($0) and how much more it might cost to get some expert to help me out, then take into account the fact that I'm completely broke...well, it doesn't look good
Which is why I'm posting on forums now, because I need to either get this done for free or for very little money, or bag the entire thing (and I think I would shoot myself at that point, considering the fact that I've spent 2 years working on this business and the internet thing was going to be my big breakthrough