I haven't introduced myself on the board so a formal introduction first, am 22 from India with some flair for Crafts and Arts related to paper (Which happens to be a side addiction apart from my full time job).
If you need any help, please reply to the post as i have subscribed to the thread, i'll try to answer your queries
What would be the advantages of having your own website?
-No more monthly fees
-No more fees on sales
-No fees for adding those extra images
-Something Unique and not you.wxyz.com
Please note that, am focusing on building a store using your own domain name and not a blogger or wordpress blog (Sorry i personally don't like the fashion of setting up a website under a subdomain
) Lets proceed
Things we'll need
-A Domain Name
-A Hosting Account
-Script for your Store
-Theme for the scriptDomain Name
I personally prefer registering domains with namecheap.com, however you may choose godaddy.com too (Its on you, however i strongly recommend namecheap). You may find coupons with a quick googling :p.
When looking for a domain name, look for something catchy & easy to remember, avoid dashes, imagine typing montsa007-sells-crafts-online.com against montsacrafts.com (Just an example, i have seen people type my name as monSTa lol), please avoid .info extensions as it looks too cheap
. Americans may want to choose a .us extension, people in the UK may go with .co.uk (minimum 2 year registration). There are plenty of extensions to choose from, here is a list of all domain extensions availablehttp://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/topleveldomains/countrycodeA-E.asp
Costs depend on the extension you choose, please remember to choose a generic extension and not something bizzare
. Once you've registered the domain name, you'll need a hosting account which would hold your website, lets have a look at it.Hosting
(The most crucial part, hence am going a bit deep)
There are 2 types of hosts
1 - Free
2 - Paid
The free can be subdivided into,
1a - Ad Based (Ads Shown on your website, no good
1b - Non Ad Based (Doesn't show any ads, reliability?)
1c - Post count Based (You need to do certain posts every month to maintain your hosting account)
I'd recommend Smokyhosts or Mainvista (They've been online for 3-4 years, when i started surfing online, just do a google for their URL's, they do need posts to be made per month)
And here is a forum that will show you free hosts available - http://www.freewebspace.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?32-Free-hosting-offers&s=2c9a18c1a9ab1b6a65187b70873e9249
Please, please i repeat please stay away from free hosts unless you have no other option!, It'd turn me off if i spent 5 days making a website on a free hosting forum and the host runs away! (Yeh they do, coz servers cost money!!), so again no free hosts unless its the only option
Moving to paid hosts, Never choose godaddy (I'm being honest here, had nightmares with godaddy host, just do a google for it), I wouldn't recommend Hostgator either ($3-5 a month is a bit pinchy for me + 2 year contracts if you want $3 month, else its $6 a month which comes to $72 a year)
Please stay away from $1 a month unlimited hosts (scammers
), from my experience you may want to host with Hawkhost.com (They are priced economically and they have a coupon available on their web page if you pay yearly, i paid $23 for the first year, after a 40% off which would be covered if i made any sales[please note that i dont have a craft website, mine is a tech forum, am just giving an example to calculate costs]).
Once your account with them is activated, you'll need to login into your namecheap account and point your nameservers to the ones HawkHost provided you (Do a google for a video as in how to do that), once the step is done your domain is linked to your hosting account and now begins the construction of the website (which is the most fun part!). Also create an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org
(if your name is Stacy), individual preference.Choosing script
This is also a crucial part in the whole process, i've been playing with loads of scripts however here are my recommendations (Google for their URLs)
-Tomato Cart (Never tried it, but its similar to open cart)
If you're not into complicated stuff's here is an alternative solution - http://www.fatfreecart.com/
You could create a simple code for html (I haven't used this but i find it simple)
I would recommend the fat cart if you have loads of stuff with a minimal product range, lets say 4 kinds of flowers and 100 quantities of each of those. Its a bit hard to control the stock in this setup
, for that you may move over to the other 3 alternatives i suggested.
Here is a sample of the shop themes for wordpress - http://www.thedesignwork.com/15-high-quality-wordpress-shop-themes/
(yeah its self promotion, lol kidding, a random link i found)
Wordpress has loads and loads of themes available, however its a blog script which CAN be converted into a shop with stock controls etc.,
Opencart is a shop script and has few themes available compared to Wordpress but has stock control etc., this is the most beautiful theme i saw (Cartmania)
Tomato Cart - I've never used it personally, but its very similar to Opencart as i said earlier, however its themes costed a bomb (somewhat)
Once you have the script selected, you'll have to install that and start adding your goodies, set up the payment options etc., Again, choosing the script is a personal decision, if i were to rank Opencart & Wordpress, I'd vote for wordpress and then opencart.
Some additional Tips to keep it smooth
-Keep your stocks up to date (Some scripts automatically do that for you)
-If you're into selling same kind of products over an over again, consider adding a video apart from images!
-Customer testimonials on the shop act like an icing on the cake!
-Make sure to add proper categories and add correct items in those (I'd be turned off to see a candle being sold under paper crafts category
-You may want to make business cards as well, there are plenty of photoshop templates available online which can be edited as per your liking
-Sales (Clearout) work good or maybe a combination of items at a discount
-Make sure to keep your contact us/me page up to date and check your emails frequently
I hope this tut helps everyone, if you have any doubts, or if you are stuck somewhere, feel free to message me or reply to this thread I'd try my best to answer your queries
Good Luck to my Crafty Fellas!!,