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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Still a newbie and going bonkers reading about all the different web hosts, shopping cards, merchant gateways, SSL's etc etc.

I've posted questions and read some threads - seems the more I read, the more questions I have ! Hmmm...I think someone said that'd happen here ! LOL

Ok .... so here's what I'm throwing out there - cuz you guys and gals don't have any ulterior motives ! I know lunarpages has been suggested ... and Rodney likes Pair (note: Pairlite seems a bit too lite for my needs)

Speaking of needs ... anyone have similar features w/ a package they like ?

* Number of products (currently) = 6 consisting of
mostly womens shirts, 1 mens and dog sweatshirt
Will grow but have to start off small
* Market is dog owners (mainly female)

I'd like:

* Simple design
* Not too expensive but not cheap
* SSL (Obviously but everything seems xtra!)
* Web monitoring - I'm doing all the grunt work (Shippping and handling) so don't have time to monitor my site to make sure it's up
* I want a No requirement to register check out (saw the thread about getting the customer to the check out asap)
* Capability of having customers download photos of their pets
* Good, trustworthy gateway that's not going to gobble up my profit - again, more xtra fees !

I am clueless when it comes to all the programing - do I want a site that allows me to host multiple domaine names ? I've been told the more I have, the better as it provides more "doors" for customers to enter my site.

Then ... are there costs to get your site to come up in a google search ?!?! I notice some hosts give "credits" ? Do those go in a blink of an eye ?!

Well - I think I've exhausted my thread for now - sorry this is so lengthy but I'm finding myself just going in circles !

Oh yeah - the designer who did my logo said she'd charge me $399 for 10 pages ... now, she has to check w/ her programer (so I'm assuming the $399 is for her artistic abilities and the programmer's gonna put it all together ?) Not sure what he'll charge.

Another guy will charge $50 / hour to make a site for me. He already has a t-shirt biz w/ Netfirm and a shopping cart w/ shopify - good / bad / ugly !?

If I had a choice, I'd use printmojo since part of their company's local (Sacramento) but can't afford a fulfillment co. at this time - sorry Rodney !

If you've read this far - THANK YOU VERY MUCH !
Phew ~
Colleen :)

P.S. My (one) domaine name's registered w/ hostmysite.com ... not sure about using them either!
 

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Hi Colleen, I'd love to help you out more, but I'm not exactly sure what your question is above?

Can you highlight your actual questions for me :)
 

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*sigh* yeah .. sounds more like I'm venting ! LOL


I already have a t-shirt manufacturer that I like (Bella).
I've spoken to a local printer that's working with me - i.e. flexible w/ prices and quantities.

Now - I'm at the point where I need to get a web site set up. I have the domaine name secured ... and I'm just confused as to who to choose to host it ... who to use for the shopping cart ... who should I go w/ for payment gateway .... I'm trying to fit my "needs" (kinda outlined above) into a program. Since I don't understand all the programing features some of the host sites offer, I'm oblivious to what's good.

Sooo .... back to "what's my question" !
Based on the features I want and low amount of merchandise I can currently offer - should I just jump in and go w/ lunarpages ? or spend more and go w/ pair ? I know it's not the end of the world if I make a mistake, but before I do, I'm trying to be educated about it ! ha ha!

Thanks Rodney !
 

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and I'm just confused as to who to choose to host it
Looks like you already have some good choices. At this point, it's up to you to just pick one :)

We can't make the decision for you, we can only keep giving you recommendations.

Now's the time where you just have to jump in and learn. Try things. Adjust. Try something else. Just keep moving forward.

Nothing wrong with lunarpages, they have good recommendations (I recommend them also myself to plenty of people). It's up to you to take the next step.

who to use for the shopping cart
Again, all we can do is keep giving you recommendations :)

You've got to do the research and process it all to make the next decision.

What exactly is stopping you from moving forward at this point from what you've read?

Or I should say, what could we actually say that would clarify things for you more than what you've already read?

who should I go w/ for payment gateway
Do you want full fledged merchant account (which comes with monthly fees, but looks more professional), or are you just looking to start slowly and grow?

I'm trying to fit my "needs" (kinda outlined above) into a program.
It probably won't all fit into "one" program.

It could fit into "one" program., but you might be paying more monthly than you need to. The all in one (hosting, shopping cart, payment processor) options include places like volusion, yahoo merchant store, monstercommerce, etc.

More "light" options where you do less would be places like shopify and bigcartel which provide the hosting and shopping cart, and you just add your products.

The way I personally was describing it was having it all on your own site like this:

The basic outline:


1) You'll need to pick a webhost. (like lunarpages)

2) Pick a shopping cart. (like zen cart, cubecart, oscommerce)

3) Install a shopping cart. (or hire someone. With lunarpages, they have a control panel where you can do the install yourself with a couple clicks of your mouse)

4) Get a merchant account (or use PayPal).

4a) If using a merchant account you'll need a SSL Certificate for processing secure transactions. (your host can provide this)

5) Customize your shopping cart (or hire someone)

6) Add your products.

7) Market your site.

Based on the features I want and low amount of merchandise I can currently offer - should I just jump in and go w/ lunarpages ? or spend more and go w/ pair ?
Here's the thing. We could name 5 different GREAT webhosts and they all would be essentially equal. It wouldn't matter if you picked host A, host B, host C, host D, or host E. They all would fit what you need. They are just the "web host".

Based on what you describe your needs are, it sounds like lunarpages would be a better fit than pair.

If you're looking at having someone do the work for you, then this is a good place for you to flesh out exactly what your needs are.

You really don't need "programmers" and fancy stuff.

Your shopping cart (like zencart, cubecart, oscommerce) can power your whole website so you wouldn't need to pay $399 for 10 pages because your shopping cart can create unlimited pages.

So you can do Step 1, 2, 3, and 4 yourself before you even talk to a web designer.

Then when you get to step 5, you can find a freelance web designer to create a cool site layout that will match your brand. You can find a freelancer in places like elance, guru, 99designs, or even the support forums for the shopping cart you pick.

You can hire the designer to just create the overall "layout" template or you can find someone specific to the shopping cart you pick and have them create the layout AND implement it into your already installed shopping cart.

Then you just move on to 6 and 7. With 6, you just read the instrucions that come with the shopping cart program.

If you have any questions with any of those steps, just ask :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks sooo much Rodney - I think I'll print your reply and paste it on my fridge ! And my forehead! LOL

One of these days, I'll post my site on the forum for feedback !

Cheers ~
Colleen :)
 

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Colleen,

Not sure if you are still watching this thread or not and I don't mean to add to your questions, but another thing you need to take in to consideration as a merchant online or otherwise (well if your in the US) is compliance with PCI DSS requirements.

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. It defines standards that anyone who deals with credit card data needs to adhere to. These standards have been in place for years but for the most part the card associations (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex) have been focusing on the huge merchants like Amazon, Walmart etc.. to ensure they are compliant. If they have a breach in security there is a much larger potential for credit cards to be compromised. Unfortunately the card associations have set a deadline of October 1, 2008 as the date that everyone else will not be expected to be compliant. This means merchant banks will most likely start cracking down on their merchants to ensure compliance.

The easiest way to work towards compliance is to not store credit card data at all because this significantly reduces the number of requirements you have to meet as a merchant. Also using payment services like Google Checkout checkout.google.com, PayPal www.paypal.com etc... will also go along way towards making it easier for you to meet the requirements.

If you would like more information about PCI you can check out the PCI Security Council's website at Home - PCI Security Standards Council. This site provides very good information as to what the actual standards are and how merchants can work towards meeting them.

This post was not intended to scare you but I thought you might want to read up on PCI. I would hate to see you get your business started and have issues down the road.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you very much Bob ! No scares, great info. I actually read a thread about the Life Is Good company - how they are now "audited" because they weren't keeping customers data secure. Anyway - one person replied that they used a third party (PayJunction to be exact) to protect customer data.

I recently had my own bank reissue my debit/credit card because somewhere, something was breached. As such, I certainly wouldn't want to be the one mailing notifications to MY customers ! Thanks again and I'll be sure to check out the site you mention. :)

Colleen
 

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Hi Colleen. You will find most of the shopping carts out there, have provision for incorporating most of the mainstream payment processors. With identity theft such a global problem nowadays, even the big players on the net now offer alternative payment gateways, in addition to their own card processing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Will - that's good to know. Curious - do you have any merchant favorites?
The guy that's going to help me w/ my site said he uses Shopify because he's only charged when he sells something (wait - maybe Shopify is just the cart ? and not the merchant?)

I'm considering PayPal but if someone's NOT signed up - I knows it's an extra step for them ... extra step = possibly abandonment ? .. PayJunction's fees are higher too (monthly fees etc) but they include capabilities to take CC's if I decide to do a craft show. Running the card from my lap top (via internet) and thru a CP. Attractive. :)

Thanks again!
Colleen
 

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Hi Colleen. I use PayPal on all my sites, as its universally accepted and people no longer need to open an account with PayPal, to be able to use it to pay for goods.

Many people have PayPal accounts from dealing on EBay, so it's very well known.
 

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I can only suggest what packages I have to you. I have a hosting account with Blue Host they have been excellent over the 5 years I've hosted with them. They allow multiple domain names. They also installed my security needs for me and have always been fast to answer any really dumb questions I've had. :) I then found a shopping cart tht I like that works on their server, they have it as an option to install from their control panel. I got a company that specializes in 'skins' for that shopping cart program and they did the work for under $200. So all in all my website only cost about $500 with all the security features and shopping cart and custom design. The shopping cart is really easy for me to update, you just fill out forms and upload your photos directly into the cart. Easy peasy! I love it. I'm...not sure if we can post our websites here and don't want to get my post wiped out for doing so but just take my username and put a .com behind it and you'll find my site if you want to take a look at what I have. I can give you more names and stuff if you want to use the same people I did.
 

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I've been using Lunarpages for almost 3 years now with pretty much no problems. I'm running 2 different OSCommerce shopping carts and one Commerce-CGI shopping cart that are all tied to the same merchant account. I use Payment Resources as my merchant account since they also gave me a way to process credit cards through my Palm 700/755. I can process credit cards pretty much anywhere I can get a cell signal and data connection from Verizon.

I started with the Commerce-CGI cart because I also didn't want people to have to register to be able to complete a purchase. I ended up having to code a gateway file to get it to work with my merchant account... took me about 2 weeks but at least I learned basic CGI... It's cumbersome to add new garments and products but that may also be a function of how I have things structured.

The OSCommerce carts were much easier to configure the gateway to the merchant account. At the same time, it was a lot harder for me to get my option files set up and my various garments and designs configured. There are a lot of add-on user contributions available but they pretty much require you to know how to install and configure things - not easy if you are not a unix/computer type person.

Bottom line, there doesn't appear to be any cheap 'easy button' for people who are ecommerce-challenged.... That's why there are a lot of people out there who making money coding this stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks much craftmouse - I've been considering blue host too, so nice to have the feedback. And I did check out your site ... very nice! I've been purusing the threads where people throw out their address for feedback - one gets a lot of info that way ... good and bad (but in a nice way).

Also thanks to Ted - yet another feature (not having to "register" to make a purchase) that I'm interested in.

I really appreciate all the feedback !
 

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Oh yeah - the designer who did my logo said she'd charge me $399 for 10 pages ... now, she has to check w/ her programer (so I'm assuming the $399 is for her artistic abilities and the programmer's gonna put it all together ?) Not sure what he'll charge.

that's a great deal

Another guy will charge $50 / hour to make a site for me. He already has a t-shirt biz w/ Netfirm and a shopping cart w/ shopify - good / bad / ugly !?

If I had a choice, I'd use printmojo since part of their company's local (Sacramento) but can't afford a fulfillment co. at this time - sorry Rodney !

If you've read this far - THANK YOU VERY MUCH !
Phew ~
Colleen :)

P.S. My (one) domaine name's registered w/ hostmysite.com ... not sure about using them either!
I personally charge at least $50/hour for web fees too.
 
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