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james91

Need help. 1st time asked to design a website..

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Okay i have been asked from a friend to help design them a website and find a host for there business there going into, I dont know all the details yet but there looking at importing and selling items.

 

I have never designed a site before so i need help with what program or sites are easy to use to build a site.

 

i will update when i know more about what i will need to have.

 

but for now i need to know a good place to start a design.

will have to include a shopping cart and a way for checkout payment options paypal, credit card/debit card etc etc.

 

i really dont know much about web design at all but i am pretty quick at picking things up.

 

any and all help to push me into the right direction will be greatly appreciated..

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Tell them to hire a professional. You should not be undertaking a project for a business when you have zero experience. You have to worry about HCI, security, artwork, reliability, design, and actually knowing how to make a product.

 

Learn first, get clients later.

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I would agree with Cyb3rGlitch, a professional is going to give you a quality product with less headaches, not to mention the time saved on getting it up and running.

 

But... if you are going to do it anyway here are some tips/direction.

 

You can easily get started with pre-installed or quickly install shopping carts usually right from your hosting back-end (ie. Cpanel, etc) or you can download and install many shopping carts quite easily. Most are usually PHP driven - such as OSCommerce, CubeCart, etc. Some are free, some you pay for a licence to use (sometimes earlier versions are free). Go with a popular shopping cart as you will find a lot more tutorials on modifying it on the web, plus if you get stuck you can hire somebody to assist you. Sometimes your hosting company may push a particular shopping cart, which may not be as popular as some, but at least you know where to get help quickly (for extra $$$ of course).

 

The other thing that might determine which shopping cart you go for is if supports your payment gateway, though you can always hire somebody to integrate it. If you don't have a payment gateway yet I would suggest talking to the banks to get some direction. Most shopping carts will support PayPal out of the box. So keep all this in mind for future planning.

 

Buy an SSL certificate and make sure your payment pages are only accessed from a secure connection (ie. HTTPS not HTTP). There is no point buying an SSL and not using it properly.

 

Don't use any 'site builders', web-based editors/builders etc, just don't waste your time.

 

Of course there are an endless amount of variables in this, and you have been very vague. You might not even need a shopping cart, you could possibly use a basic 'static' website with PayPal buy-it-now buttons. You could also go along the lines of using a CMS like Drupal or Joomla and integrating a shopping cart module (particularly if your site will need a lot of other functionality other than just a shopping cart). There are endless possibilities. FIRST, determine what the requirements are, then build the website/infrastructure to suit NOT the other way round - otherwise you could end up being very limited in what you can do and are only asking for trouble.

 

FYI, a great resource for learning website design, programming and tutorials covering the major languages, CMSes, etc try Lynda.com. Heaps of video tutorial with optional exercise files (all paid for), or just try YouTube and Google.

 

Do you want this to be a learning exercise or want a product done quickly, professional? If you don't care about the learning side then hire somebody. If the budget is tight, then maybe consider paying somebody for the initial design work, then make additional changes yourself.

 

Let us know some more details then maybe we can help guide you a lot better.... ;-)

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I would agree with Cyb3rGlitch, a professional is going to give you a quality product with less headaches, not to mention the time saved on getting it up and running.

 

But... if you are going to do it anyway here are some tips/direction.

 

You can easily get started with pre-installed or quickly install shopping carts usually right from your hosting back-end (ie. Cpanel, etc) or you can download and install many shopping carts quite easily. Most are usually PHP driven - such as OSCommerce, CubeCart, etc. Some are free, some you pay for a licence to use (sometimes earlier versions are free). Go with a popular shopping cart as you will find a lot more tutorials on modifying it on the web, plus if you get stuck you can hire somebody to assist you. Sometimes your hosting company may push a particular shopping cart, which may not be as popular as some, but at least you know where to get help quickly (for extra $$$ of course).

 

The other thing that might determine which shopping cart you go for is if supports your payment gateway, though you can always hire somebody to integrate it. If you don't have a payment gateway yet I would suggest talking to the banks to get some direction. Most shopping carts will support PayPal out of the box. So keep all this in mind for future planning.

 

Buy an SSL certificate and make sure your payment pages are only accessed from a secure connection (ie. HTTPS not HTTP). There is no point buying an SSL and not using it properly.

 

Don't use any 'site builders', web-based editors/builders etc, just don't waste your time.

 

Of course there are an endless amount of variables in this, and you have been very vague. You might not even need a shopping cart, you could possibly use a basic 'static' website with PayPal buy-it-now buttons. You could also go along the lines of using a CMS like Drupal or Joomla and integrating a shopping cart module (particularly if your site will need a lot of other functionality other than just a shopping cart). There are endless possibilities. FIRST, determine what the requirements are, then build the website/infrastructure to suit NOT the other way round - otherwise you could end up being very limited in what you can do and are only asking for trouble.

 

FYI, a great resource for learning website design, programming and tutorials covering the major languages, CMSes, etc try Lynda.com. Heaps of video tutorial with optional exercise files (all paid for), or just try YouTube and Google.

 

Do you want this to be a learning exercise or want a product done quickly, professional? If you don't care about the learning side then hire somebody. If the budget is tight, then maybe consider paying somebody for the initial design work, then make additional changes yourself.

 

Let us know some more details then maybe we can help guide you a lot better.... ;-)

 

Thank you for the reply. i finally had a talk with them today but decided to pass on the job and learn more about it all before i take on such a big task.

i would rather they have the proper help then me do a half-assed job and them get no where with it.

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If you don't have a payment gateway yet I would suggest talking to the banks to get some direction.

FWIW Braintree are launching soon and are the only payment gateway you should look at integrating with (unless you are running a ~high risk~ site, in which case your options are between a number of absolutely awful gateways) because they're amazingly nice to deal with.

 

Buy an SSL certificate and make sure your payment pages are only accessed from a secure connection (ie. HTTPS not HTTP). There is no point buying an SSL and not using it properly.

Generally speaking, unless you are POSTing the credit card information to your own site (you shouldn't be) the SSL is mostly to make your customers feel better. What's actually important is that wherever the information is going to is an SSL endpoint. Edited by superfireydave

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FWIW Braintree are launching soon and are the only payment gateway you should look at integrating with (unless you are running a ~high risk~ site, in which case your options are between a number of absolutely awful gateways) because they're amazingly nice to deal with.

Pricing is a bit steep at 2.9% + $0.30, that's more than PayPal. Why are they the "only" payment gateway to go with?

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FWIW Braintree are launching soon and are the only payment gateway you should look at integrating with (unless you are running a ~high risk~ site, in which case your options are between a number of absolutely awful gateways) because they're amazingly nice to deal with.

Pricing is a bit steep at 2.9% + $0.30, that's more than PayPal. Why are they the "only" payment gateway to go with?

 

There are a number of reasons, but you can do the research yourself and see which you prefer. To be fair nicest payment gateway to use is actually Stripe, but that's not available in AU and I doubt it will be for some time (Australian banks present ridiculous barriers to entry for these services).

 

However, the main reason, is Braintree are actually a good company. They have nice documentation, they don't freeze funds or stop processing payments in the same way PayPal does, and they actually care about security (i.e. they favour a transparent redirect, whereas Paypal discourages you and prefers you to use their hosted page [which is secure~] or post to your own web server [which opens up another security hole).

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