Saturday, February 03, 2007

My First Steps in Developing

Acquiring I realized was the easy part in e-commerce, creating the actual website was another story. It was both me and my husband’s decision to develop the website on our own. I know that the most logical thing to do was to hire someone else to make the website for us but because our background in programming (my husband Samuel is still a .NET programmer and I only make programs when the need arises) we decided to develop it on our own.

When choosing a web hosting provider there are certain thing one has to consider. First of course is the budget, how much could you afford for the packaged monthly hosting of your site? What platform will it be hosted on Linux or Windows? What are the hosting features and additional value added services does the package will have? Will it include free website templates, ready-made e-commerce templates and other website management systems? When we chose the advance hosting plan from they don’t have Windows platform plans yet then, but I really liked their hosting plans. So even though we don’t really make programs in PHP we still pushed through with the purchase and viewed developing it as a learning experience.

Our first step in developing the website was choosing the template for the site, since my package includes free template I first chose one and started filling in the information I want to place in the site. Once we started I realized that the template does not reflect the overall theme and look I want for the site, so we started looking for free templates in the Internet. Our first attempt in developing the site was filled with confusion, excitement and anxiety on my part and annoyance and pressure on the part of my husband because I can't seem to make up my mind on the final design. After all he bore the weight of developing the website, I was there to tell him what I want the site to look and we have a time frame of 24hrs for the site to be up.

To spare you all the gory details here are tips I want to share in designing your own website. You might decide to hire someone else to make them for you but you still have to design you site. And if you do it right you can have your site in a day or two, we made ours in 24 hours.

  • Decide what is the overall theme/look your site would have. Will it be formal, light or refreshing to look at? It must reflect the image of the company you want to project
  • Decide what you will put on your site. Audio, pictures texts, write up and images Prepare all pictures and other accents like icons you want to have. (You can also request your programmer to make icons for you) I realized when we were developing the website that I can’t just get pictures and icons from other sites, you must keep copyright in mind)
  • Decide what are the sections your site will have and prepare the contents or text write up it will contain.Make information like about your company, products, your contact information and office location readily available
  • Take special attention to your Product details provide images, description, pricing, specifications, weight and measurements
  • Include shipping/delivery rates and details

One of the most important tip I can share that once you are already decided in venturing out in e-commerce is joining groups like Club and reading on the subject of e-commerce will help prepare you in this endeavour.

I hope my tips help you in your own journey in this crazy but exciting world of e-commerce. Remember it is only the beginning.

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