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  1. #1
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    Web Design Program

    I've had an ecommerce website created by a web design company before, but I want to do a new one on my own.

    I have a domain, I have a host, I have a logo, I have a supplier, I know how to list an edit products, I know how to market, I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO DESIGN A WEBSITE.

    I know that's the biggest part, so I'm just wondering what is the best way to design an ecommerce website for a beginner.

  2. #2
    Is Still Alive silver trophybronze trophy RetroNetro's Avatar
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    Welcome to Sitepoint.

    An ecommerce website might be a bit tricky for a beginner, but, start with learning HTML/CSS , then depending on what server side language you want to use/learn try that, but first start with the building blocks.

    Oh, and ask questions here in the forums, there are lots of helpful and knowledgeable people around here.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Welcome to SitePoint Forums!

    There is no program that will do this for you if you don't know anything about web design, I'm afraid. Sure, there are point-and-click programs like Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web, but they produce pure rubbish unless you know what you're doing.

    If you want to do this yourself, you need to learn HTML, CSS and some JavaScript. You'll also need to understand about accessibility, copywriting and graphic design, plus a bit about typography. Expect at least a year of learning before you can produce a quality site.

    And if we're talking about an ecommerce site, you'll need to know at least one server-side programming language, SQL and a fair bit about SSL and web security. That's at least one more year.

    I'm not trying to dissuade you in any way. I'm just being honest about what it takes, so that you can make an informed decision about this. Web design and development is a lot of fun, but it's a profession like any other and it takes quite a bit of hard work to become good at it.

    Unless you're willing to learn all this, you are better off paying someone else to do it. A poor-quality website won't attract customers any more than a poorly built house will attract tenants.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. I was doing some research and found something called "Site build it", does anyone have any experience or opinons on that?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    I don't know anything about the program, but its Web site markets the program like it's a set of Ginsu knives or a Ronco slice and dicer. So unless you want to make a Web site that can turn out perfect Julienne fries as well as slice through metal cans, you might want to run, not walk, the other way from that program....

    Caveat: it could be a perfectly good program. But I can tell you, no program is going to turn you from "a newbie into a Jedi overnight!!!!" as this one claims.

  6. #6
    Function Curry'er JimmyP's Avatar
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    By "Site Build It" do you mean this: http://www.sitesell.com/

    If so, please DON'T USE IT! ... The best advice for you right now is either to learn it (take the advice of Tommy and Ben) or hire someone else to do it.
    James Padolsey
    末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末
    Awesome JavaScript Zoomer (demo here)
    'Ajaxy' - Ajax integration solution (demo here)

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast trishacupra's Avatar
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    An eCommerce site is about the trickiest thing you can try to do as a beginner. Save yourself the major headache and hire a designer and programmer to do it properly with something like X-Cart, and then learn how to use it so that you can add products and change descriptions and product images yourself.

    The only reason for a beginner to create an eCommerce site is if you want to do it for a living. It's like learning plumbing for years just to unblock your kitchen sink. It's far better to hire the plumber and get it over with quick.
    Trisha Cupra, Web Design Watchdog
    Protecting website owners from the most painful online mistakes

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict Evan2all's Avatar
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    hello i dont know which e commerce script you are using. But if it is something like OS COMMERCE then it is definitely using template ri8?

    all the advisors are ri8. please try to learn some design technics first. its little time consuming thing but you are not willing to pay extra money to designers. and if you need some good design you have to know it well.

    please go through some tutorials of photoshop and design.

    good luck
    Shajed Zaman
    Web 2.0 holic, Small Business Website Designer, Pro Blogger
    SME DEVELOPERS, creative design solution|
    I AM WEBSITE DEVELOPER|Twitt Me

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan2all View Post
    ri8
    It took me almost a minute to figure out "ri8" means "right." I almost Googled it. Somebody get me a bib, I'm getting old....

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast ck88's Avatar
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    AutisticCuckoo laid it out clear and simple. I went through similar phases, only it took me a lot longer to learn.. and still leraning. Simply, there are no magic program or book will enable you to learn all needed aspects in a shorter time of period, unless you are a super human.
    ck
    Creative Kitten | Free Web Graphics, Icons and Photos

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot RogueOnTheNet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesportsjungle View Post
    I've had an ecommerce website created by a web design company before, but I want to do a new one on my own.

    I have a domain, I have a host, I have a logo, I have a supplier, I know how to list an edit products, I know how to market, I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO DESIGN A WEBSITE.

    I know that's the biggest part, so I'm just wondering what is the best way to design an ecommerce website for a beginner.

    Well, firstly, I would suggest you define "ecommerce site" a bit and then determine what it is exactly you're after...what you mean by "do a new one on my own."

    An ecommerce site can be a website with some simple PayPal buttons on it, or it can at the other end involve a myriad complex transactions, data types, and services. Now, if you're wanting to keep it simple...web pages, a product list, and a way to sell those products, then here is my suggestion.

    Start by using a template, which is precoded HTML. Either purchase one from a designer, or search the web to find one. Use a search engine to help you track down what you need. I Googled "open source html templates" and the first result was:

    http://www.oswd.org/

    It's chock full of themes free for use but that require you to leave the designer's link in the code in the footer area usually. Now, use this as your learning springboard. If you know a little about HTML and CSS, you can modify the template. Play around with it and learn what changes you can do with the code to modify it to suit your needs. You can change the graphics, resize widths, and so forth...

    Now, my next suggestion is to use your template and integrate it into a CMS (content management system). OS Commerce, which someone else mentioned is a great out of the box CMS designed specifically for ecommerce. However, it may have a steep learning curve if you're not familiar with HTML and CSS already (though, it has a default template already in place). There are other options....MODx CMS and FoxyCart is a good lite solution.

    Or, you can just use your HTML template and integrate various shopping carts into them. Check out http://www.hotscripts.com/ for a peek at some. Or, Google "shopping cart applications" and start researching. A great site to try some out is OpenSource CMS: http://www.opensourcecms.com/

    The PayPal site offers some easy solutions for example, that you can just plug into your web page code, add your products and be up and running with basic ecommerce functionality. It is a good solution for a first timer working on an ecommerce site...

    https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/we...erview-outside


    There's also a handy list of PayPal compatible shopping carts for developers... https://www.paypal.com/IntegrationCe...c_pdnHome.html

    Anyway, that's my thought on it. Don't reinvent the wheel if you're learning....get you a wheel and learn what makes one...take it apart and reassemble it, see how you can change it to suit your needs, and most importantly--"stand on the shoulder of giants" as the saying goes. Which means make use of what is available to make your learning easier. I'm all for jumping into the thick of things and damn the consequences (I'm a former infantryman...) but when it comes to ecommerce, doing so can mean jumping into debt and hemorrhaging money as a result.

    Good luck with it. Have fun, and don't let it stress you out as you embark on your adventure!


    Sean
    Connectionary
    Sustainable eBusiness, Economic Development, Communications
    http://www.connectionary.com/
    http://twitter.com/Connectionary

  12. #12
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    My advice to you is this:

    - Open notepad
    - Copy and paste this code into it

    Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
        "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
      <head>
        <title>
          My Website
        </title>
      </head>
      <body>
        Website Text
      </body>
    </html>
    Then save it as .html

    Once you've saved the document, you can double click on its icon (from wherever you saved it to) and it will load in your browser as a web page.

    That's the most basic explanation of how to create a web page. That's how I started about ten years ago. I read a very similar explanation while browsing the admin area of the 5MB web space my ISP gave me.

    Just knowing the above was enough information to get me excited about building web pages. I thought -- is that all there is to it? Then I started searching around the Internet for more information on HTML, JavaScript, CSS, clipart, image editing programs etc. It all started out as a hobby. Now I am a web developer with a lot of experience working for various companies -- and have been for years.

    Once you know the absolute basics -- like how to create a simple web page and how to make spaces between paragraphs and text and how to make a hyperlink, etc -- it's fairly easy to learn more from there.

    Also, I am not suggesting you use notepad for creating web pages. I just wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to make a web page. I use HTML-Kit, and I have used it for years. It's a very good program. It's kind of like notepad, except you have more options

    http://www.chami.com/html-kit/

    I also recommend the following websites for learning HTML:

    http://www.lissaexplains.com/
    http://24hourhtmlcafe.com/

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot tjyobazee's Avatar
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    MrLeN. thanks for the complete resource

  14. #14
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    I accept PayPal -- do you want to pay one lump sum or set up a subscription?


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