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Business Web Development


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Nathan2508

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 09:29 AM

My boss is on me because he runs a small business and would like to have a website. He keeps talking about the services quickbooks offers but I've heard very negative things about it. Does anybody have any recommendations on small business web development? I'm what I would call "literate" at this stuff but in no way am I an expert.


Nathan

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 11:37 AM

Did you maybe have specific questions? Your question is a bit hard to answer, and is sort of analogous to "Do you have any recommendations on aeronautics"? :thumbsup: Web development covers everything from applications like Facebook, Genetic Engineering portals (which also includes things like databases, design patterns), use cases, specifications, and user experience, to simple static web pages. The only Quickbooks with which I am familiar is the application by Intuit, which is a stand alone app.

#3 Nathan2508

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 03:02 PM

Well I read somewhere that when using Intuit's Homestead Web Developer you don't actually own your domain name:

http://www.searchengineguide.com/miriam-el...-with-strin.php

"As it turned out, neither of these clients owned the domain names that they had purchased through Homestead.com. Unless the client was willing to use Homestead's templates or Homestead's 'professional' designers, they were not allowed to use the domain and hosting they had purchased."

I'm looking to buy a domain name and use some type of developer with a WYSIWYG interface so that it is easiER for my boss to handle than just basic html. I just need a static web page as a way of advertising and getting people into the store as well as contact info etc.

I was just hoping to get some advice as how to go about all this from square one. I wouldn't be very concerned but this isn't going to be my website so I'd like to make sure I do it right.


Nathan

#4 groovicus

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 03:28 PM

You can buy a domain from GoDaddy, or any other number of domain registrars. Which ever host you choose will be responsible for resolving the domain name to their servers. And technically, nobody 'owns' a domain name. It is licensed for a yearly fee. :thumbsup:

At any rate, there are a ton of free HTML editors. There is a sticky at the top of the page that lists some of them. I use Expression Web personally, but that is a commercial app, and so probably not what you want. On the other hand, for about $500, you could hire a developer to create some simple web pages for you. There is a bit of science to designing a web page; layout, color schemes, accessibility, coding standards, etc. that only come from experience. A poorly designed web page will hurt more than it will help. Unless of course you happen to be in the business of design, then you would likely be familiar with some of these concepts.

If you have a local university, you might be able to find a student that will put together a page for you inexpensively.

#5 Nathan2508

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 07:41 AM

Well it just so happens that I am an Industrial Engineering student and would probably have access to a lot of students with these kinds of skills.

My concern would be once this website is created, how hard/expensive would it be to edit after somebody else created it and then stepped out of the picture?


Nathan

#6 groovicus

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:16 AM

The short answer is that it depends. What sort of information is going to need to be updated? Here is a really simple web page I did for a client this spring. All he needs to update is the news items from time to time. If you right click on the page, and then select 'view source', you can see that changing the text is just a matter of, well, changing the text. Once the the text is changed, then it is just a matter of saving the changes to the server. A properly designed web page will have the stylistic information in an external stylesheet so that any stylistic changes should be easy also.

If there is text that needs extensive editing, like a price list, then it may be better to use .ASP or .PHP to include those types of information as plain text. Then the only changes that need to be made are too a text file, and no HTML needs to be touched at all. That makes development take a little longer, but only marginally. All in all though, HTML is so basic that it shouldn't ever be a problem finding someone to do updates.

EDIT: Incidentally, since you are a student in the US, you have access to Expression Web for free (as well as some other free software) through Microsoft's Dreamspark program. If you can find someone that wants to take it on, you can mention that they can get the software for free.

#7 Nathan2508

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 12:21 PM

I saw an add on Craigslist in the free section from a teacher that is offering free web site design from her students so that they can create a portfolio. I sent an e-mail and this was the response I got. What do you think?

"IF YOU WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR FREE DESIGN PROGRAM YOU MUST TELL ME ABOUT IT WITHIN 3 DAYS.

Hello, thank you for your email. I am Jennie Grayson of Headwebmaster design studios. I am supervising our advanced web site design students as they begin the final stage of education. This includes building a web site portfolio that the students will use to show future clients and employers a sampling of they're web design skills. They posted a few free ads offering a free web site design and I will accept 5 new web sites (per student) for free site design.

Whenever we run this program it usually fills up fast. It sounds like your project may be within our limitations. Take a look at the limitations below as we had to set some limits on how big a site can be.

Site must be no more than 10 pages in size.

(Example: home, about us, contact, services, products, )

We will build you up to ten pages and if you want or need more you can add as many as you wish once we are finished. (We will show you how)

We build you a custom text logo or you can use a logo that you already have.

We can add a blog, forum, guestbook, and shopping cart to your website.

We build custom link bars so your users can navigate your web site.

We build contact forms that your sites visitors can submit the form to you. (Results come via email)

We will add your text (which you must author) to your web pages and we will also add pictures (or add ones that you provide)

We optimize your site for the search engines for best ranking.

You can choose from over 300 background styles to give your site a clean professional look.

(We can change colors on any of them)

Yes we will build it for free during this project.

There are no catches no hidden costs or other design expenses. The only expense for owning a site is the cost of web hosting for the site to keep it live and on the internet. This is $10 to $14 a month and that includes a free domain name registration. (of any available domain name) Email services are included with web hosting and so is your site visitor statistics and many more useful free extras. Web hosting has no hidden fees either. You can check out the hosting packages at headwebmaster.com/hosting.html

THERE ARE PRICES ON OUR WEBSITE. IGNORE THEM PLEASE. YOUR DESIGN IS FREE IF WE ACCEPT YOUR PROJECT.

To get started with our free web design program you must do 3 things.

#1 Pick out an available domain name (or we can use one you already own).

You can search for an available domain name at headwebmaster.com

#2 Pick out a background style # for your new website.

We have over 300 background styles on display at headwebmaster.com

(on the left menu click on the background to view larger sizes.)

#3 Email me back with your domain name selection and your background style # so we can get it started.

Then we will get started building your website getting the domain name and backgrounds online.

You will be asked to complete a form with all the details of your new site; which includes # of pages and names / themes of those pages. On this form you will tell us if you want shopping carts, blogs, logo selections, color changes to your background and more.

You will then submit any text or pics that you wish to have on your new website.

And you will then get a phone call or email from your designer telling you of its completion and offer to make any changes that you require.

The whole process takes 5-7 days to complete. And your new site will be on the Internet.

Iím sure you will enjoy your new professional web site. You will be able to enjoy all of the benefits of having your own business online. Feel free to email me back with any questions I am always available via email. Or you can call my assistant, Ronnie, Monday thru Friday 10 AM to 4 PM. My contact information is below.

Jennie Grayson
Headwebmaster
540 E Horatio Ave
Maitland FL 32751"

I removed her phone number for obvious reasons. My thinking is that I might as well try this and as long as I don't give out any sensitive information I should be fine. I just need to find out if it's ok with them that I use another hosting service.


Nathan

#8 groovicus

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 01:44 PM

I think that their only intent is to get you to host with them; that is what they are marketing, so I rather doubt that they are going to allow it to be hosted elsewhere. I am always skeptical of ads like that. If it really is a teacher trying to get her students experience, then who cares where it is hosted?

From a critical standpoint, there are numerous grammatical errors throughout their website. The graphic is amateurish, and the page is flat. Not someone that I would consider for making me a web page. Compare what you see there with these.

It's up to you, but I don't see anything there that is particularly attractive. Might want to check this also:
http://www.sellersbay.com/directory/details~id~368.asp
http://www.webhostingstuff.com/review/isphostorg.html <----------

#9 KamakaZ

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 05:57 PM

i agree with groovicus, if their website is anything to go by, it's very boring and seems to have scroll bars through-out the page... Doesn't really flow from one section to the other, it's just kinda bam here you go.

I think you'd be better off with the suggestion groovicus made with the students in your local area. Failing that i know a company in australia that i host through which offers pretty cheap web design and/or hosting.

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#10 Nathan2508

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:03 AM

Yea she said they can't offer their services unless I host with them.

I said oh so you don't want to help your "students" unless you're getting something out of it. No response to that one haha.

Yea I'll look locally and let you guys know what I find out.


Nathan




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