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Website software

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Wendy

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Can anybody recommend a cheap, yet still decent, software for creating and maintaining websites? A free program would be even better.

A link to a good on-line tutorial would be welcome too.

One of my friend shapes boards and would like to be able to offer and sell boards on-line. He is a fine shaper, but a total loss on computers. He asked me to help. I've never done a website, but how hard can it be?

Thanks!


PS - Mods ---> I know this is not directly appraisal related. However, I put this here instead of the watercooler as it could just as easily be for an appraisal site.
 

David Beasley

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Loaded question really. Does your friend "really" want to sell boards online? If so, best to hire a professional web developer so that they can setup a shopping cart and credit card processing gateway that is integrated into the site.

If it is going to be an informational site, with contact numbers, an email contact, and maybe some photos of your friend's work, then most anything like has been mentioned will work. I personally use PHP content managers when setting up websites...They can be configured to do pretty much anything, even have a message forum just like this. (vBulletin, this forum's software, is written in PHP). Most all of these scripts are free and 99% of all web hosts have the most current version of PHP and MySQL or mSQL installed so the website software can use them.

My favorite versions (all free) are PHP Nuke and PHP Website. Note: When these load, you *are looking at* the software in question as each site uses its own PHP scripts as the base to their homepage.

You need administrator access to the web host to install these packages, and I think you still have to manually create the underlying databases, but not populate them, just "create" them and tell the installers that come with these what their names are. They will create and populate the necessary tables as a part of the automated install. The "website" then runs itself, and an "admin" can go in (log in) and customize the look and layout with little or no "programming" experience or aptitude.

From download of the PHP scripts to having a website up and running in bare bones form should take less than 1 hour. I can usually have one running inside of 20 minutes. Add-ons are easy (also self install most times)...most people add a calendar, a poll function, and as I mentioned, a forum much like this one.
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I recommend starting with WordPress and eBay.

You can have a professional looking site up in a few minutes. The "blog" style works well because it will look complete and professional from the first day. Moonlight Glassing (your friend knows who they are) has a nice looking blog-based site at

http://moonlightglassing.blogspot.com/

The best thing about it - it looks great even when they don't get around to updates for a couple of months. Other sites with outdated inventory and "Under Construction" pages give me the creeps.

Setting up a complete storefront is a huge undertaking and it is likely to look incomplete and half-assed for a long time (unless you are really making a go of this by investing as much for your online shop as you would for a real ("bricks and mortar") surf shop.

I know you flinched when I said eBay, but establishing your own eBay store gives you all the bells and whistles for a fairly small fee. And, again, you can have a professional presence and good exposure even if you only have five or ten items for sale. A full-fledged online store looks funky when you only have a few items and one of every size. I really like store-front sites that tell some stories about their products (www.competitivecyclist.com is great at this).

A friend (of a friend) has an eBay store at
http://stores.ebay.com/NONSTOP-CICLISMO

and they are still hesitant to switch from eBay, even though they are doing thousands of dollars a day.

Basically, WordPress with eBay and you're up and running at no cost and in about two hours. Setting up your own storefront is likely to be excruciatingly frustrating and unfulfilling, and you probably will resist making changes because of the huge time investment.

The guys at swaylocks.com are also certain to have some good advice. Keep us posted!
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
One other thing that might be interesting to you. I just bought two longboards (and my brother a third) that were shipped UPS for only $30/2nd Day Air from two states away. I always used to think that shortboards cost at least $100 shipping and that longboards were prohibitively expensive, but it looks like things are changing. (I rarely even ride a longboard, but I love a bargain!)
 

Wendy

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Thank you everyone for the input. The talents of the forum never fail to amaze me!

Once I get something together, I'll post a link. (Just don't expect it soon - looks like I've got a bit of a learning curve to master!)
 
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