Hey all :) Questions about setting up shopping cart/directory and hosting

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by JCrackers, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. JCrackers macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    #1
    Help me get my store back up and running?

    I make jewelry, so every item is one of a kind. Up till now, I've just been doing all the coding in straight and simple html, with like items grouped together on pages, clicking on the pictures opening new windows, and then within that window having forms for people to contact me to order each item.

    Obviously, this is very very tedious and restrictive since the items are grouped and locked to their pages (earrings, necklaces, etc.), so there is no way to cross-reference items. For example, no way to search for different types of items with similar characteristics, such as: stone type, metal type, color, price categories, etc. And although having each item ordered separately from it's own form may be good for me since I can check to make sure it's still in stock before sending an invoice and accepting payment, I'm sure I am missing out on add-on sales. Customers may not want to fill out more than one form, and probably aren't reading my instructions that I don't need anything other than a name or email address when they are adding to their initial order. I know that not having everything gathered together on one page before pressing send can be a big problem for some people.

    I'm really wanting to build some type of directory where I can add the items, limit the availability to one each, have them all searchable, and have some type of a shopping cart system that they can be added to, but I still want to keep the basic feel of my own website layout.

    So, I'm not quite sure what programs, plugins, or coding I need to get started (does it involve cookies? SSL? I've never done anything other than basic html, and don't know where to start), but I know I want some type of shopping cart/directory system that is extremely customizable, maybe something that provides sections of code that I can just add to my own pages (or the opposite) where I need it... Is that even possible?

    On top of this, I really need recommendations of a good hosting service for small businesses. I was with a company called Avid Hosting for years, but several months ago they had some major troubles and were down for a long time and I couldn't contact anyone to find out what was going on (all my calls went unanswered). I just looked over there and they sort of seem to be at least partially back up, but I'm not interested in going with them again. I've done lots of searches, but there are so many companies out there that I'm having trouble even sorting through them. Plus, I'm really worried about getting into another situation like I did with Avid Hosting. It's taken me this long to find the free time to get my site rewritten and running again, so I really need someone reliable enough that once it's up, I can just make my jewelry, fill my orders, and not have to worry about unexplained outages that last for weeks or months.

    Hopefully once I know what I need as far as setting up the shopping cart & directory goes the choices will be narrowed down a little, but any suggestions or recommendations would be great!
     
  2. Definity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #2
  3. twomiracles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #3
    Can I see the site you have? Have you thought of just having a cart skinned to match your site?
     
  4. Definity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    Yeah, netart's mall portal should allow for that easily.

    Easy to skin. Excellent support.
     
  5. twomiracles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #5
    Just curious, why that one over an open source cart like ZenCart or OSCommerce?
     
  6. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #6
    He seems like a spammer. Matter of fact, this whole thread seems suspect.
     
  7. twomiracles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #7
    Hmmm...never thought of that, but now that I look at the posts (except mine, of course), I think you're right. Moving on...
     
  8. Definity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    LOL.

    Os Commerce is vastly inferior and it's horrible to work and template to your needs.

    I've never used zen cart simply because it's atrocious to work with. It lacks a lot of simple functionality. The netart portal is vastly better because it's got an inbuilt CMS too. It works seamlessly with their other products, so it gives room to expand.


    Spammer I am not.
     
  9. MojoWill macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
  10. Definity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
  11. JCrackers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    #11
    I almost choked when I clicked that link :eek:... Is that really $690, or am I missing a button somewhere that says "Click here if you're broke" :confused:

    Sorry, I really should have specified in my post that the only budget I have for this project is just enough to cover the cheapest hosting I can find that still covers all my needs... maybe around $10 a month. Which is why I'm hoping to find some kind of shopping cart system either free or included with the hosting that I can customize myself.



    I don't have anything up right now to show you. It's been completely down since AvidHosting had their problems, and since I'm doing some redesigning before I sign up with someone else and go back online, I thought this would be an opportune time to add some more functionality, and make sure whoever I pick can support everything I might need.

    How would I go about having a cart skinned? I'm assuming it's different than having a cat skinned ;)


    BTW, I received your private message a couple days ago but haven't had time to respond. I can't afford your service either.



    Checking it out now :D
     
  12. twomiracles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #12
    LOL, yep, just a little. I do ZenCart customization, but that may not be what you need...but to get any cart and have it made to match your site graphics-wise (or skinned) shouldn't be difficult if you hire a developer that is familiar with the system you choose.
     
  13. JCrackers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    #13
    Ohhh...That type of skinning :eek: I swear my brain must have an off button I keep hitting accidently!

    From what I've been reading, I've pretty much got the cart choice narrowed down to between ZenCart and Magento. Any others (free) that haven't been mentioned yet that I should consider?

    I'm leaning towards ZenCart, since it seems to have less extra "stuff" for me to turn off... My layouts have always been very very simple, header/image at the top of the page, categories in a narrow column on the left, wider column on the right for product listings or text, and I'd like to keep it that way as much as possible.

    Whichever I choose, I'm downloading this now, so hopefully it won't be too hard to get set up so I can test out some PHP on my computer.

    As for hiring a developer, it's just little old me, myself, and I. Really, the only budget I have is just enough for a hosting service. It's looking like if I find a host who handles PHP, MySQL, and Apache I'll be good to go. Anything else I should look for? Can you recommend anyone who works well with ZenCart?

    And thank you so much for your comments! You wouldn't believe how much it helped just to have some software names to google :D
     
  14. twomiracles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #14
    So sorry, I forgot all about this thread over here! I have a great host, but I'm not sure if I can give hosting recs here. If you still want info, though, drop me a PM and I'll send you some info.
     

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