taking the plunge

  drdeath 23:33 09 Feb 2004

ok ive decided to develop my own website ,but its a daunting prospect for a beginner like me, im not to computer literate and really need to find something user friendly,ive left messages on this forum before regarding this subject and have been pleased by the helpful responses (thank you taran) but im still reluctant to buy a web design program as im not confident i can do anything without any guidance, ive purchased trials of netobjects fusion and found it totally un user friendly and complex.... I want to do a basic website from scratch selling DVDS PLEASE HELP AGAIN regards

  Camille 23:47 09 Feb 2004

When you say basic from scratch, do you mean writing the html yourself? or do you mean putting the site together with the minimum of fuss? I used freewebs.com which gave me web space and also provided a foolproof sitebuilder. I found it incredibly easy to use, although perhaps it might be too easy for you?

If you want to see an example, my site is at http:/click here

  barryoneoff.co.uk 00:21 10 Feb 2004

I must disagree with you about NOF. I used it when I knew absolutely nothing about site building, and still use it now. I find it very user friendly, and does a good job with the least effort.

  Forum Editor 07:16 10 Feb 2004

complex and unfriendly you are in for a very steep learning curve - NOF is one of the easiest programmes there is for beginners in web design.

Designing and setting up an e-commerce operation is not something that you'll be able to do without previous experience, unless you do use something like NOF - which has a built-in facility for setting up an online shop using PayPal as a payment processor.

My advice is that you settle down with NOF and work through a basic site using one of the excellent templates. Publish the site to your host and tweak it, then think about the e-commerce side of it. Come back to this thread for help and advice as and when you need it. We have a number of forum members like barryoneoff.co.uk who used NOF to build their first web site, and they'll give you the benefit of their experiences with it.

  Taran 08:48 10 Feb 2004

The only alternative I can think of for you, which is far more complicated than learning to use NetObjects, is to buy a book from Wrox:

PHP MySQL Website programming - Problem Design Solution, by Chris Lea, Mike Buzzard, Jessey White-Cinis and Dilip Thomas.

It walks you through learning to program PHP and how to set up MySQL and the whole book is devoted to setting up an e-commerce site selling DVDs.

This is not an ideal solution since MySQL and PHP are not for the feint hearted and together combine to make a far higher learning curve than a program like NetObjects. The only real advantage is that the book is subject relevant to your needs.

All I can really suggest is that you spend some time taking small bites out of NetObjects and make sure you understand one aspect before moving on to another. NetObjects comes with some excellent PDF getting started guides which walk you through the stages and tools required for generating your site.

A quick search in Google for

"netobjects"+tutorial+how to

will return loads of helpful sites and articles and there are a couple of introductory books available for it as well.

There is a very basic introduction to NetObjects click here that I did for another forum member. All it does is show you the rundamentals of making a new web, adding pages and inserting text and images, but those are the building blocks that everything else is made from so it may help. It has screengrabs of what you should be doing and where, and I tried to keep things as simple as possible.

Beyond that all I can say is stick with it and don't get too disheartened. Everything is easy once you know how it's done. Until you reach that stage though, it can feel like it's you against the world and we've all been through that before.

Good luck with it and if you need specific help on certain aspects feel free to ask in here.


  Taran 13:12 13 Feb 2004

Email to me read as follows:


Hi Taran, hope you dont mine me e mailing you i need your advice, i need someone to develop a DvD website for me, which i have complete control over could you help? how much am i expecting to pay?? any other advice as always would be grateful, kind regards


My reply:

In haste - I have an appointment to attend:

Selling DVDs may not be a reasonable gamble for an online venture; you have Play.com and Amazon to compete with and you may never manage to get high search rankings simply because there are so many places already doing it and they are already established and known.

You have two real options: an ASP or PHP site with either an Access or Microsoft SQL underlying database for the ASP option or a MySQL database for the PHP option.

PHP/MySQL runs on Apache web servers and they come free with most Linux/Unix hosted business accounts.

ASP requires Windows IIS web hosting with MDE [Microsoft Database Engine] installed to properly support your database.

You would also require secure payment authentication using any one of a number of possible methods, a suitable merchant account to process payments and a very healthy list of available DVD titles at seriously low proces to stand any chance at all of success.

I am not prepared to offer a quote myself - no offense intended. When I first entered into the PCA forums I made my mind up straight away that I would never quote on a job or consider taking one on via the forum. I will offer help as much as I can but I think it is poor form and not strictly ethical to take advantage of the forum and that's how I would view it. I'm an old fashioned soul at heart.

I have seen some people quote as little as five or six hundred pounds for a dynamic e-commerce site but I can tell you without giving out a firm figure that I would not even consider powering up my computer[s] for that sort of money and I stongly suspect that those figures would get you a standardised site with a different colour scheme to everyone else who buys into it. I'd suggest that it would be an "all things to all men[or women]" kind of site which may or may not meet any or even some of your specific requirememts.

Some hosting companies offer their own e-commerce and e-store shops. 1&1 have user controlled admin panels for their shopfronts where you can sell up to a limited number of products depending on the package you buy. You upload text details and an image of your products, set up your payment options for taking transactions and sit back.

For a bespoke system from a good designer who actually takes your requirements into account when developing for you instead of shorhorning your business into a off-the-peg solution and cobbling it to fit, you would probably be talking in the region of several thousand pounds and up. For cost reasons alone I would suggest that you consider one of the e-shops from the likes of 1&1 to get your feet on the first rungs of the ladder and check out your payment options for handling transactions.

There is no easy answer here and no off the peg solution that I know of that I'd be entirely happy about recommending.

The book I mentioned in your thread walks you through building your own DVD site using PHP and MySQL and includes secure payment, membership system where buyers can post comments on titles they have purchased, an admin control panel for stocking the underlying database and all kinds of other nice things. You can also download the sample code for the entire book and the complete project may be seen online at click here

If you want more information feel free to ask, but I would suggest that in future you keep your questions to the forum where possible so that others can see and hopefully benefit from any responses you get. I am posting a copy of this in the forum as well as sending it by email.



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