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MY FIRST WEBSITE

    • 183 posts
    April 7, 2006 12:07 AM EDT

    As a web consultant I`d have to give a word of warning about places that are really cheap and say they are `business` oriented.  Many of the hosting companies out there are designed to just host webpages and perhaps some basic php forums and that`s it.  If you ever want to get e-mail marketing or grow a small business into a large business you`d have to do some searching for a hosting provider that will work for you.  Netfirms is a prime example of the hosting companies to stay away from if you want to get a business up and runing.

    The godaddy`s and other Hosting companies of the world that advertise heavily in the main stream media may not always have what you need and may not work with you to make your business successful.  Examples again would be e-mail marketing (not spam), load balancing, numerous data bases (over 15) and e-mail accounts.

    These types of hosting companies are off the beaten path and aren`t always too easy to find.

    Two examples of hosting companies like this would be IX Web Hosting and Dreamhost.

     

    sddreamweavers2006-4-7 5:8:50

    ---
    Aaron Wood
    CEO
    San Diego Dream Weavers
    http://www.sddreamweavers.com
    awood@sddreamweavers.com

    New and improved! Now with blogging goodness!
    http://www.sddreamweavers.com/san-diego-seo-marketing-blog/

    • 12 posts
    April 1, 2006 12:22 PM EST
    Hello Jo.

    I would love to help you get a website up and running. I have
    to disagree when it comes to using Yahoo though, very pricey
    for what you get in my opinion. Depending on your business
    and what you`re looking for in a site I am sure you can get a first
    class site up and running for very little money. Please e-mail
    me if you are interested in me helping you get started. I ran a
    photography business off the web for a couple of years before I
    got a job transfer and truth be told I miss the programming and
    design.

    Good Luck.

    bobbyhume@yahoo.com
    • 31 posts
    April 7, 2006 8:30 AM EDT

    i`ve been following this thread and think you guys are doing an awesome job providing information. 

    I have a question though... I am also thinking of starting a site of my own.  Before i spend any money on putting a site together, do I need to incorporate first?  Should the money spent building the site come from me personally, or from the business I intend on starting?

    Thanks for your input.

    ---
    calvin1214@hotmail.com

    • 31 posts
    April 7, 2006 8:57 AM EDT

    calvin-

    thanks for being part of our exciting GROWING community. regarding your question about the order in which to do things, we`ve tried to set up a holistic, step-by-step approach to starting up. our 10 Steps to Open for Business would argue that you definitely put your business structure together before going live with your website. even if you want to stay as a sole proprietor, just make sure you`ve covered your bases and really thought this through. there are all sorts of tax and liability-related matters as well as future financing- and personnel-related matters that come into play.

    Thanks for the advice Rich.  It`s amazing that I`ve been listening to your show for so long and now you are replying to my question!!!  FYI... I just bought the StatupNation book and I`m hoping to learn lots from you guys.

     

    ---
    calvin1214@hotmail.com

    • 1 posts
    April 5, 2006 4:06 PM EDT

    I just started my first one also. After playing around with Front Page and a couple of other web programs I did the smart thing and hired someone to help me out. After doing some research I chose KTwebdesign and I think it was a good decision. Janet walked me through the process and explained everything to me without any condecension. She will help you with the server and all the other million things you will need to keep in mind. I had her make me a fairly basic site for just under $500 and it was well worth the price! Unless you are a graphic designer and really know the web building program I strongly advise you to find a pro, it will be worth it in the long (and not so long) run.

    Her address is:janet@ktwebdesigns.com. Just tell her the guy from Dynamic Learning Systems sent you!

    Ps: Since she built my site I have had the time to learn the basics of Front Page and can now tweak or even redesign my site myself and she is always there to help me out. Great company.

    • 2 posts
    April 5, 2006 10:13 AM EDT

    To preface my response, i want to say that i do not work for any of the companies listed below, nor do i have any ties with them.  My reply is purely as a consumer and entrepreneur.

    I`ve used many web hosting sites and many DNS hosting servers. In my humble opinion they all offer very much the same services.  I`ve been happy with only two of them, network solutions and Godaddy.  I`ve hired several website consultants and have been generally happy, but the website I use currently is one that i built using a program called WEbeasy.  It cost $50, i bought it at compusa.  the site is www.id-hp.com if you want to take a look at it.  It`s not perfect, but it only took me two days to build.  I`m continually improving it, and may hire someone new to provide more functionality and graphics.

    Right now, Godaddy is hosting my site and i pay $5 per month.  They`re very responsive and any questions I`ve had they`ve answered in under 10 minutes.

    If you`re starting out, go with the cheapest provider you can (unless money is not an option).  Most hosting companies are interchangeable and you can swap your sites from one host to another with very little work, usually just a phone call.  If you do it over the weekend you will have very little, if any at all, downtime.

    Later, as your bandwidth and traffic increases think about switching to a more permanent provider.

    There are many online merchant solutions and none of them are completely safe.  There`s always an element of risk when you do these kinds of transactions.  I`ve come to like paypal, but there are many more out there.

    Hope that helps, feel free to e-mail me with more questions.

    Good luck.

    Craig

    IDHP

    • 2 posts
    April 6, 2006 11:22 AM EDT

    KAren had a smart response in that I find it helps to know exaclty what you want on the site before you design it.

    I thought i knew what i needed until i sat down and wrote it all out.  Then i thought of a few extra things, and i`m now moving stuff around to fit everything i want.

    If I`m not too badly mistaken, i believe the Small Business Administration has a great document on their site that can guide you through some of the things you should think about when designing your site from information to include to the beginnings of a marketing plan.

    good luck,

     

    craig

    www.id-hp.com

     

    • 205 posts
    April 3, 2006 2:13 AM EDT
    Can anyone out there help me start up my first website. I know I need one but I don`t have a clue how to start  it up.  I bought a book on it but actually I don`t have the time it takes to learn all about web language and all the other essential stuff.


    Hi Jo - I know I`ve seen this mentioned amongst a lot of other great advice so far, but the most important question in my mind is the one about what kind of business you`re in?

    That`s going to dictate much of what happens with your website decisions.  If you`re simply looking to have an online presence that provides information about your business, your website needs are going to be very different from someone looking to run a full-fledged e-commerce website.  Bottom line: websites are never a one size fits all proposition, and please avoid anyone who tells you that they are.

    So let us all know what type of business you run, and I`m sure we can all help you out in this area (and hopefully provide some great information that everyone reading this can use!).

    ---
    chuck fuller

    • 205 posts
    April 4, 2006 6:42 AM EDT
    Hey Jo - thanks for the detailed response about your business, certainly sounds like an interesting venture.  I think we all have a much better idea of what type of business you`re starting.  As I read through your list, it doesn`t look like you`re interested in building out a huge amount of expensive functionality (others may not agree).  I`d classify them as follows:

    • Content: services, rates, benefits, history, FAQ, testimonials
    • Functionality: an online form of some sort, message board, email list management system

    As far as the wireless device question, Blackberry and similar devices just pick up emails the way any other system does, so there`s nothing special or unique about configuring that.

    My initial take is that you could get a functional site up without investing a lot.  Can you provide us with some idea of what you`re budgeting for the website?

    ---
    chuck fuller

    • 1 posts
    April 5, 2006 3:25 PM EDT

    I have a website domain with GoDaddy and have not set anything up yet.  I have been getting ready for some EBay sellling, and also don`t know where to begin to get a website up and running.  GoDaddy can assist with the design for a simple site, but is that enough???

    • 11 posts
    September 14, 2011 10:39 PM EDT

    I heard Yahoo offers three different solutions for an online merchant. In your case I would recommend that you take a look at the Starter Solution. :)


    How To Look Good In Photos




    • 7 posts
    April 7, 2006 2:02 PM EDT
    That`s a lot of great advice!  Hopefully, I can add something useful to it. 

    In my prior incarnation I worked as an IT manager/consultant in brokerage.  I managed teams that built corporate websites both for internal and customer use.  The #1 biggest problem we encountered was departments who really did not thoroughly think through what they wanted on their sites.  This was always the budget buster.  So, some things to check off before you set out:
    • What should your site accomplish? (sales, inquiries, etc...)
    • What look and feel reflects your business?  (remember, a website is like walking into a store, showroom or professional office and should convey that same experience)
    • What subject matter do you want covered and what information do you want to communicate?
    • Compose as much of the text up front as possible.  Have your business name, address, phone number and email address in place before the web design. 
    These few things will go a long way, since most designers will charge by the hour, although some will give you a flat rate.  The more changes you make, the higher the cost.  An experienced designer will take your "specs" and give you a time estimate.  It should include at least one round of changes or "fixes" and a few tweaks.  (An experienced designer should also tell you what`s missing from your specs.)

    Having the same designer do your concept, logo, brochures, business cards and website is a great way to save (I did) but keep in mind that not all web designers are good graphic artists and vice versa.  The only part of my website not done by the web designer is the little mascot you see here on my sig, which was hand drawn by an artist. 

    Oh, and be sure to see samples of someone`s work before hiring them.  A web designer should be happy to provide you with samples of their work, as should an artist or graphic desinger who specializes in logos and corporate image.  There are many small entrepreneurs out there who do fantastic work.  You can often get great results on a budget by hiring them.  It looks like there are some right here!

    If anyone needs help getting their specs together, I`ll be happy to lend some advice. 



    ---
    Karen
    Patriot Tours, Inc.
    www.patriottoursnyc.com

    • 87 posts
    April 1, 2006 7:53 AM EST
          Can anyone out there help me start up my first website. I know I need one but I don`t have a clue how to start  it up.  I bought a book on it but actually I don`t have the time it takes to learn all about web language and all the other essential stuff.

     I just need something to get my business out there for now, nothing too expensive would be wonderful too.

    Also information on web servers would be helpful too.
    Need some good advice here please.
    Thanks !!!

    Jo

    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 87 posts
    April 3, 2006 12:08 PM EDT
    Thanks to all who replied to me on help for my first website.  I have tried to answer everyone`s questions below.
    Web Hosting Provider?
              No - not yet - there are so many ads out there for web hosts, I havent done any comparisions yet at all.
    Domain Name?
              Probably would be the Tomsriverconcierge.com - simple and descriptive
    (my town and services both) both words would make good search words for
    my area. My own company name is Ocean County Support Center for Home
    and Business and that wouldnt work for a domain name.
    Method of Payment I would accept?
           Probably seniors would be paying cash or checks and two-income families
    would use credit cards. I have gotten a lot of credit card applications from
    vendors and will have to choose someone.
    My Location
            I am in Ocean County, NJ (the jersey shore).  Mostly everything is done but I have to finish composing my legal contracts (my attorney has the final
    say though) and order the rest of my company apparel .  If I had to outsource these startup costs it would be unaffordable since I don`t like to borrow money. I am waiting on some things like stationary, a logo (to be designed) and brochures.
    What type of business do I have now?
           This is a business that I hope to have up and running very shortly, it is taking a long time I think because I am doing everything 100% but I don`t want
    to start up wrong I want it to start out right.  There is no competition out there now and there are thousands of seniors in this area, enough for plenty of competition I would think. Since this is a first of its kind business, I can`t get information on rates or any data at all so I`m out here on a limb, so to speak.
    There is a business in Beacon Hill, Mass that has a similar business and they
    are very very successful. They charge $1500 daily for consultations and they are getting requests from all over the country.
     Types of services are many, but mainly shopping services, concierge services,
    errands, organizational, help with medicare, social security, doctor claims, consumer advocate, computer search, helping seniors stay safe at at home and
    help with identity theft information,coordinatiang handyman/contractor repairs + more. This is to help seniors live at home. Two income couples could also use some of these services plus more such as waiting for home deliveries, gift shopping, appmt scheduling & holiday reminders, faxing documents to a secured fax machine instead of faxing to a public office fax, copying & scanning services + more. I know it sounds like a lot of work and it is but I do have people in the wings to help when I am ready.
    What type of financial resources do I have to start my business?
              To be perfectly honest, I am financing myself because I don`t like to borrow but the well will be running dry shortly.  Thank goodness, all the equipment I already have.  I probably should think about an 800# though instead of my own home number.
    Are you considering designing this site yourself?
           I originally thought that I could so I bought a book and was reading it. Then
    nothing else was getting done so I stopped reading it and was going to wait on the website but I know that I need one. I would like my website to be imprinted on my cards and stationary and on my car sign.
    How long have I considered this venture?
           About 3 years ago I guess, its not a spur of the moment thought.  I talked to many people about it, family, friends, seniors. Everyone thinks its a great idea esp in this area, no negative comments at all.  I really do this now for people I know and family but I want to offer it to the senior population. As baby boomers are getting up in age, they will be needing services like I will be offering and I believe other companies will be forming to service these people.  I have 8  years experience in this field (for my father) who was able to live at home only because of me and my sister taking care of him. I already had a few meetings with S.C.O.R.E. and the man that was working with me was enthusastic about it for this area.  I also have met with some directors at a senior community and they were positive about this type of business in this community as well.
    I havent heard any negatives.
    Do I have a mentor? 
              No
    Do I have a team?
              No team
    I think it would be nice to have a website that would list my services & rates,
    benefits from using my company, some history on me and the company, Q and A, testimonials, email capability will be needed for people to send to me a list of services they will be needing, and a message board so people can comment and rate the business. I also would like to send out a monthly newsletter reminding
    people things that have to be done seasonally (things that everyone forgets to do or they dont want to do them)  I also will be needing a wireless device so that people can contact me on the road for emergency requests - i want to be responsive as much as I can. Does anyone know if someone sent me an email on my website if I could retrieve it on a  blackberry?
    ---------------------
    Well I finally got to the end, hope I didn`t put anyone to sleep
    thank you all so much!
    jo in toms river


                      


     
       




    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 87 posts
    April 5, 2006 10:36 AM EDT
    So glad MeLissa, that I am not the only one - feel like I`m on a raft in the middle of the big big ocean. I finally signed up yesterday with startlogic.com (host provider).
    It was recommended by bobbyhume here on startup - and now they are calling me on the phone and want to design my site. Right now I am up to their $799  package and they arent explaining too well what I get for it. So confused here -  just faxed me his contract (which I am not signing at this moment). All I want is a basic site, so I will post all feedback on this forum for you and all others who are interested and  maybe we can get other feedback (oh yes please).....
    jo in nj


    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 87 posts
    April 5, 2006 11:03 AM EDT
    Thanks Craig for the post,
    I just signed up yesterday for webhosting on startlogic.com. I took their
    lowest plan for $4.99 a month. They have been calling me today to design
    a site for me. Sounded great but so far it will cost me $799 for what I thought
    I would like. I dont want to go that high yet ..maybe later but not yet. I am
    going to look at the software you mentioned. If you works for you why it will
    probably work for me too - just the basics is fine.
    Thanks
    jo

    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 87 posts
    April 5, 2006 4:22 PM EDT
    Thanks Chollie so much for the help on a website.  You know it can really
    stress you out  trying to design  your own site or looking for the right
    designer then a  host provider.  There are so many elements I am finding out
    now. I am in the process of looking at other sites and seeing what features they
    have that I like.  But I know  in the beginning I will just get what I need and
    change it down the road. The more information I get the better I feel.
    Thanks again
    jo

    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 87 posts
    April 6, 2006 11:33 AM EDT
    I know - I have her questionnaire, I am going to look it over later today.
    I do have some features which I would like on the site which will be helpful to me later on when the business starts catching on.
    Everyone here is so helpful, its really a great site. I`m finding it hard
    to stay off it - everything is so interesting to me, even if it doesn`t apply to me at
    the moment
    thanks!
    jo

    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 87 posts
    April 6, 2006 11:38 AM EDT
    I signed up the other day with startlogic for webhost. It was highly recommended
    here by bobbyhume so I am covered on that. Just have to sit down and see what
    I need on the site for it to work.
    Thanks for your help
    jo

    ---
    Jo
    NJ

    • 65 posts
    April 5, 2006 10:24 AM EDT

    I hope Watergal doesn`t mind that I`m jumping in on her discussion, but she asked a question similar to mine (and why have multiple discussions about the same topic, I say!). 

    I, too, am looking to have a website created.  I kind of am in need of a full graphics package, though - website, logo, and brochures.  I`d love it if someone/ various individuals could email me with help!  :)  To facilitate this process, I will answer all the questions that dear watergirl answered below:

    Web Hosting Provider?
    No, I have some recommendations, but I`d like a little more professional input on this.  The recommendations I`ve received so far are:  www.ipowerweb.com, www.webhost4life.com, www.godaddy.com, www.powweb.com

    Domain Name?
    Yes - I have registered www.winsomeevents.com through ipowerweb for $2.95 with privacy protection!  Woo hoo, eh?

    Method of Payment I would accept?
    For the moment, checks and possibly credit cards...maybe through paypal?  I don`t really need e-commerce for a wedding and event consulting business...unless I decide to offer invitations or favors to the general public over the web, but I`m not sure I am interested in that headache.

    My Location
    I`m in the San Francisco Bay Area for now...I may be moving in late 2007 to Colorado.       

    What type of business do I have now?
    I currently am employed, but hope to move full-time to wedding and event consulting by July 2006.  I will offer full-service, partial, and cutomized wedding planning and coordination packages and hourly consultations for weddings and events (such as birthday parties, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.).

    What type of financial resources do I have to start my business?
    I have been saving like mad and probably have around $5K (total) for everything I need to get up and running.  I have a nice little nest egg for us to live on as well (also due to the saving like mad thing) and can possibly tap into additional student loans for living expenses (my husband is in doctoral school), but I`d like to continue down the road of minimizing student loan debt.         

    Are you considering designing this site yourself?
    No.  I want something that is done right and looks professional.  I have enough HTML knowledge to be dangerous, but I don`t believe that I can design the site that I`m dreaming of.  I do think I should be able to handle most site maintenance once it is up and running. 

    How long have I considered this venture?
    I have dreamt about it for a couple of years, but I didn`t seriously decide it was for me until Oct. 2006.  I have been taking courses to ensure that I can provide my clients with superior service.  I am a domestic diva of sorts as well as a CPA/MBA so I have all the skills and know-how to make things fly.        

    Do I have a mentor?  
    I recently became a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants and they have an apprenticeship program which I am planning to look into.  I also have contacts currently in the wedding planning business.  And, then, there`s always Martha Stewart - whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit she knows how to plan an event and make a business work!    

    Do I have a team?
    My husband and a friend are excited for my venture and are already doing what they can to help me succeed.  I plan to meet with various vendors and create a "team" of preferred vendors who will refer clients to me....

    As for my vision of what my website will do for me, I am looking for something charming, romantic, sophisticated and fun to attract potential clients and then get them to contact me so that I can convert them into paying clients.  In general, my site will be more along the informative side of things, giving detail regarding my service offerings, the vendors I work with, who I am, etc.  I`d also like to have an outlet to have a little newsletter or something.  I`ve set up a blogger blog where I`m sort of feeling this idea out...

    If you have any more questions for me, please feel free to email me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

    And, watergirl, thanks so much for letting me intrude on your post!  :) 

    • 65 posts
    April 5, 2006 11:25 AM EDT

    I second tomasz....if you don`t feel completely comfortable with a company and what they`re telling you, they haven`t earned your business.  Your customers will use the same criteria with you!

    And, I appreciated knowing there was somebody in a similar position as me, too.  I guess that`s the benefit of this new community!  :)

    • 65 posts
    April 5, 2006 11:55 AM EDT

    Karen,

    I`d love to have a copy of your form.  :)

     

    • 45 posts
    April 5, 2006 6:34 PM EDT

    To all of you who helped Jo out.....YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How cool is it that so much great information is made available by people who care about helping others realize their startup dreams.

    I am just thrilled.....

    Jeff

    • 10 posts
    December 2, 2011 12:44 AM EST

    For a new online business like yours I would recommend that you take a look at Yahoo Merchant Solutions. Yahoo offers three different soultions for an online merchant.

    ---
    How to Lay a Patio

    • 4 posts
    April 5, 2006 8:55 AM EDT

    Welcome to the world of the startup business !

    Its very exciting to be your own boss and start your business.

    I would suggest the following:  Do your homework and research the market or product you are interested in, get to know your competition. I found having a Web Developer to help is important, especially if you are not an expert in HTML and JAVA code writing. They will know how to do the design, but you need to be the guide on what you want, like most things, you get about 70-80% of what you would like to start, unless you have an unlimited budget. Web Development can be very expensive, I found that I start with something I can work with, within my budget. It also seemed to take a while to get things going and this is a factor of how busy your designer team is, so its important to get a rough timeline, although they seem to be missed on a regular basis ( murphys law), so plan for some buffer time for your expected launch ( I found at least an extra month was a good buffer). You also need a good marketing plan ( Google and Yahoo can be fairly expensive, but necessary in startup mode), so you will want to plan for at least 25-30% marketing expense early on, maybe more. You can estimate how much you will make in your business as it launches, but plan to be flexible, I found I need to expect slightly less than I am wishing for and budget accordingly, also you might want to understand your expected "break even" point... it takes time to become profitable in a startup, usually at least 6 months, maybe a year depending on your business. It can be eye opening, and everything is expensive... boxes, shipping, inventory, office space... all are important considerations. Best of luck, I am sure you will get much more in the way of feedback... Have fun, being your own boss is a great thing, planning is a big factor in making things a success and driving customers to your site.

    ---
    Tim McLaughlin
    PetsStock
    http://www.petsstock.com
    Where your Pets Buy Stuff !
    Internet Supplier of Quality Pet Supplies for Dogs and Cats