DIY my own website

Hi - I have yet another non-paper question, but since I keep getting such good information here -

I want to create my own website but have no idea how to do it. I am proficient in basic Office products. I have already registered the domain name, but I get overwhelmed when I do a search on "website templates". I thought about doing the Google or MS web things for small businesses, but couldn't quite figure them out. I don't need anything fancy - just something that looks really nice and has the 4 basic tabs - Home, Contact Us, Buy, etc.

I would not mind purchasing a nice template from a reputable site (as long as filling in and changing the template is intuitive) but I do not want to buy software.

Am I dreaming? It seems like most anyone can do this these days, not sure why I'm so challenged.....

Thanks!!!

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blog?

try www.blogger.com it's free. I know this is a blog, but it gives you the same outcome, i guess. I am not very techie and I have set up a family blog using this product! :)

I was spammed as I am not

I was spammed as I am not logged in... anyway, take a look at blogger dot com...

Sorry - I should have been more specific

I need to do a small business website. It's for my dad's business. Only sells one product, so don't worry, I won't advertise here!

More details, please

What kind of product ?
Do you plan to build and maintain the pages ?
Is it just for advertising o do you plan to do business thru the site ?
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Details

I do plan to build and maintain the pages. It's for an organic fertilizer. I plan to do business through the site - there are a group of people who buy it regularly and I would like for them to be able to buy it through the site so it can direct-ship from the manufacturer. Eventually I would like to advertise it and up the purchasers, but for now, just get it up and running.

More details to consider: commercial web-host and PayPal

Have you picked a web-host ?
You cannot run the site from home unless you have a commercial ISP connection.
Most ISP's will chop you off at the ankles if you try to run a business on a residential connection.

As far as financing, unless you plan to do a serious volume of business, your most economical way of handling transactions is with PayPal.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I have not -

No, I have not picked a web host. I started down the google and microsoft live small business paths yesterday but was disappointed with the templates. I definitely want to take Paypal, and per your suggestion, perhaps only Paypal. Do you have a suggestion for a host?

The simplest stores I found

The simplest stores I found to setup are ProStores (http://www.prostores.com) which is an ebay company (so PayPal is also integrated).

One I haven't tried is Yahoo! e-commerce, which seems just as easy to setup. The more technically difficult to setup and manage is using the e-commerce from a ISP like 1&1 (http://www.1and1.com). I use their ISP service but haven't tried e-commerce.

Ken

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I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
--Groucho Marx

I use...

http://www.netfirms.com for a web site for my neighborhood association.
They have a nice, basic package for $5 per month
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

They have a nice, basic

They have a nice, basic package for $5 per month

Yes, but the e-commerce is $14.95/mo, while ProStores is $9.95/mo. Just to compare apples to apples.

Another option is to get the basic package and add a PayPal shopping cart.

Ken
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I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
--Groucho Marx

Yes, I meant Basic + PayPal

eCommerce is too costly for a low volume business. I looked into it for the purpose of my neighborhood association's assessment fees. PayPal's service fee was way cheaper than it costs to set up and maintain eCommerce.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

This looks good

I think I can handle this. Looks like I need the $9.95 package for a small business, that's fine, and then I'll need to wait for the Fusion CD to arrive. I haven't looked at the other, but will. Thanks!

Another easy option, and you don't need to learn HTML . . .

You may want to explore Homestead websites (http://www.homestead.com) - they're owned by Intuit, and that is what I used to build our real estate website. (You can see it at http://www.thecarrolls.biz) Our site doesn't have a store (wouldn't that be great - put a house in your shopping cart, and pay for it with paypal - oh, the possibilities!).

Homestead, however, does allow you to add a store, with shopping cart, paypal, and the whole nine yards. While it isn't the least expensive option, the learning curve is very short, and for a simple small business, the solution is rather elegant and affordable, in my opinion. I think they even pay a small referral when someone you refer decides to sign up (not huge, but it may help to defray some of your costs). They'll even walk you through getting a domain name - it really is a great option for the non-programmer. OK, here's the shameless plug: if you decide you want to sign up, you may want to mention our site (TheCarrolls.biz), so they credit us for finding another happy user. Interesting model, but I don't think it is really a pyramid scheme, or even anything approaching that.

It took me a while to learn how to build our pages, because I tried several property mapping applications, before I discovered a wonderful widget from another company to take care of that function (and I fiddled endlessly with my pages, figuring out how things worked, and what I wanted) . You will find, there are quite a few helpful little items, known as widgets, you can add to your site rather easily, which will streamline the process of building the site. There is even a separate, non-affiliated helper site (started by some folks who are enthusiasts, and who have written a book on how to use homestead, even to how to start a business building sites for others). If you go with a homestead site, this group is most helpful, and if you register as you build your site, they will very kindly answer your newbie questions in their forum. You can find them at http://homesteadconnection.com. OK, that's about it for now, I'll check back if I think of anything else. Have fun with your project! Vicki

Try QuickBooks...

If you get QuickBooks Pro you can integrate a website (they have templates and they host the site) with QuickBooks. That is, a partner of theirs does, and works closely with them. Also, their merchant service integrates with QuickBooks. This would simplify your life considerably.

I've had clients who used the Yahoo e-commerce solutions and they were happy with it but they were expert at dealing with it--they worked on their businesses full time.

It sounds like you will be doing this as a sideline so you should get something that will make your life easier. After you get over the learning curve of QuickBooks you'll find it's helpful.

Get a certified professional advisor to help you set it up--preferably a CPA. You want to start off doing things right and not find out later that you've omitted doing some crucial step. I had a client who innocently did something wrong and it cost him money and annoyance in dealing with the IRS for five years. After a couple of IRS letters, you'd do almost anything to make them go away. This is definitely a case of spending the money up front to save more money later down the road.

Also, keep your paper trail on every transaction.

If you get this going it could really be a good thing. Maybe add some additional products after you get everything set up. Put up some web pages about your product--just one page discussing organic fertilizers with a link to your site will come up high on the Google search engines. Put up a couple of other pages about other aspects of organic gardening or farming with links to your site and they will also come up high on the search engine and they will drive business to you. I have a client who does this and it works well.