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Tech Helproom

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website build help/advice)


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Hi, my wife is wanting to build a website, money is obviously an issue so we are looking for some ideas/free software/names of companies who can help. (We have registered the domain name with 123-reg) We must be able to sell off it and have high resoloution pictures uploaded to it.We are fairly novice to this area of computing so it must be user friendly. We have been looking at Wix/Wordpress so far?? Thanks in advance for your ideas/help.

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I can't say that it would have been "obvious" had you not mentioned it. It's a pity because, as new startups (both online and offline) are often told, you cannot do it on the cheap and expect results.

Firstly, Wordpress: I have seen some (perhaps less than optimal) e-commerce websites that were built on Wordpress at a pinch by people who knew what they were doing, but I cannot recommend it. If you want a CMS for e-com - and you really do - use Drupal or MODx or opt for some good e-com software auch as Actinic.

You really need to work with a professional. I am bound to write that, but it's my honest opinion. I hope that you are not underestimating the complexity of this topic.

Hosting: you will need PHP5, MySQL, fairly generous bandwidth allowances, and no minimum package contract in case you need to upgrade. Heart Internet's mid-range Home Professional will suit you.

Payment handling: figure out what you want to use from the many options, each of which have pros and cons. Too much to go into here.

High-res pics: that will eat bandwidth and annoy visitors, so go easy on that idea.

Legal: e-com means knowing the relevant laws and abiding by them. You need to know the SSGCR, DSR, etc. (all the common retail/consumer law regulations) and the site must meet minimum accessibility standards (because it is providing a product or service and must not deny disabled access to that).

Search engine optimisation/marketing and offline marketing: Cannot under state the importance of that. You will need to market at least as hard and as smart as your competitors already do.

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As mentioned by Kemistry, Content Management Systems (CMS) are your best bet. I suggest you read up on Drupal and Joomla. Templates are available for these CMSs and you may find one suitable for your application. Expect a fairly steep learning curve whichever way you go.

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