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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Choosing My Poison

Prologue

My reason for being here, at least initially, was to learn about woodworking in support of my mission to launch a board game company. My thinking here is that most board games are temporary - they are made of cardboard and plastic.

Why not build quality, original permanent games?

This also finesses one of the problems that board game developers have today - they need to produce a large number of copies to get economies of scale for print production.

With a good wooden game, I can charge more and produce copies as I need them to sell. If things take off, I can hire others to help with fabrication and I will be designing the games so that the can be "built to skill" - as I get better with crafting games (woodworking, painting, finishing, etc.), the games I can/will make will be more elaborate as necessary.

So far, I'll be doing this as a "second job". I am a consultant which means I alternate between feast and famine in my work… and my postings here.

Onward.

That Darn Website.

I have been very active in online business - I have several web sites (secureplay.com) and a fairly popular blog (playnoevil.com) in my consulting niche. However, I've focused mostly on content and let others worry about form and such.

I want a web site that will work for me as a business tool and showcase, but also a tool to link me to my customers.

I had been thinking about a standard website and was looking at web site building tools and had just asked Sheila what she was using…but then earlier this week I visited a small game company web site asked about a mail list and they pointed me to link to their RSS feed for the latest news.

This was a half-right answer.

I need a blog.

(or a Content Management System - shudder)

But one that supports mail lists, static pages, and commerce (though initially I'm going to be pure PayPal).

I can get a lot of nice templates so I don't have to fiddle with look and feel and the bigger ones have a lot of adjunct tools.

Based on my previous experience with web sites, I'm going to have one site, not several - having a blog with a different URL simply diffuses my marketing. If you are hitting different vertical markets, it SOMETIMES makes sense to have several sites, but you are increasing your work for little benefit except, potentially, some initial additional traffic.

My current blog tool, Serendipity, is nice, but since it is a niche tool, there is just not enough of a community for it to give me lots of tools and features… and contractors to hire if I need help.

The search begins for a good enough tool.

I'm starting with research on Wordpress - any thoughts out there?

My scary fall back is Django, but I really don't want to go that way - my goal is NOT to spend a lot of time on the site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Outsourcing? A Hosted E-Commerce Service or Not

I'm going to cover this briefly… the idea of using a hosted e-commerce service. These sites provide a full store with templates, integration with QuickBooks, customer relationship management software (CRM), etc.

In the "old" days, the big player in this space was Yahoo's Yahoo Stores which is still out there. When I discussed my thoughts leaning towards WordPress, a good friend recommended that I consider Volution - this is an interesting option as you can basically get a "store in a box" and be up and running very quickly. They'll also handle a lot of payment options, take care of being PCI certified (important if you are going to take payments online), etc. The basic fees are pretty low, especially if you are starting from scratch - $29 per month (they are giving a $10 discount for the first month), for a store with 100 products with higher level options scaling pretty nicely.

I may be falling into a trap here, but given that I have some IT/web skills as well as a dedicated web server and a bit of knowledge of e-commerce and such, I don't think I'm going to go this way. If you are coming into this cold, I would seriously suggest you consider one of these hosted e-commerce service options, however.

Please note, you will still likely be paying both credit card fees and a premium for the e-commerce service handling your transactions.

NOTE: Given that we are "working in wood" a lot of our customers are not Internet savvy, so you will also likely need a merchant account to handle direct phone/faxed orders.

If you do custom work and don't sell pre-defined products, your web site is more of a marketing platform and a capabilities tool, then I think you are better off going in a direction closer to my blog model as you are not going to be taking payments online..

But, given my homework, I'm leaning towards the WordPress option - more details to follow.

as always, your mileage may vary.
 

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Outsourcing? A Hosted E-Commerce Service or Not

I'm going to cover this briefly… the idea of using a hosted e-commerce service. These sites provide a full store with templates, integration with QuickBooks, customer relationship management software (CRM), etc.

In the "old" days, the big player in this space was Yahoo's Yahoo Stores which is still out there. When I discussed my thoughts leaning towards WordPress, a good friend recommended that I consider Volution - this is an interesting option as you can basically get a "store in a box" and be up and running very quickly. They'll also handle a lot of payment options, take care of being PCI certified (important if you are going to take payments online), etc. The basic fees are pretty low, especially if you are starting from scratch - $29 per month (they are giving a $10 discount for the first month), for a store with 100 products with higher level options scaling pretty nicely.

I may be falling into a trap here, but given that I have some IT/web skills as well as a dedicated web server and a bit of knowledge of e-commerce and such, I don't think I'm going to go this way. If you are coming into this cold, I would seriously suggest you consider one of these hosted e-commerce service options, however.

Please note, you will still likely be paying both credit card fees and a premium for the e-commerce service handling your transactions.

NOTE: Given that we are "working in wood" a lot of our customers are not Internet savvy, so you will also likely need a merchant account to handle direct phone/faxed orders.

If you do custom work and don't sell pre-defined products, your web site is more of a marketing platform and a capabilities tool, then I think you are better off going in a direction closer to my blog model as you are not going to be taking payments online..

But, given my homework, I'm leaning towards the WordPress option - more details to follow.

as always, your mileage may vary.
I use Wordpress and I also use Pagebuzz for the ecommerce side … only $9.99 per month and has all the shopping cart etc preloaded…just my 2 cents worth…
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Outsourcing? A Hosted E-Commerce Service or Not

I'm going to cover this briefly… the idea of using a hosted e-commerce service. These sites provide a full store with templates, integration with QuickBooks, customer relationship management software (CRM), etc.

In the "old" days, the big player in this space was Yahoo's Yahoo Stores which is still out there. When I discussed my thoughts leaning towards WordPress, a good friend recommended that I consider Volution - this is an interesting option as you can basically get a "store in a box" and be up and running very quickly. They'll also handle a lot of payment options, take care of being PCI certified (important if you are going to take payments online), etc. The basic fees are pretty low, especially if you are starting from scratch - $29 per month (they are giving a $10 discount for the first month), for a store with 100 products with higher level options scaling pretty nicely.

I may be falling into a trap here, but given that I have some IT/web skills as well as a dedicated web server and a bit of knowledge of e-commerce and such, I don't think I'm going to go this way. If you are coming into this cold, I would seriously suggest you consider one of these hosted e-commerce service options, however.

Please note, you will still likely be paying both credit card fees and a premium for the e-commerce service handling your transactions.

NOTE: Given that we are "working in wood" a lot of our customers are not Internet savvy, so you will also likely need a merchant account to handle direct phone/faxed orders.

If you do custom work and don't sell pre-defined products, your web site is more of a marketing platform and a capabilities tool, then I think you are better off going in a direction closer to my blog model as you are not going to be taking payments online..

But, given my homework, I'm leaning towards the WordPress option - more details to follow.

as always, your mileage may vary.
degoose -

Thanks! Do you have 2 sites? I see your Wordpress site (http://larrysworkshop.wordpress.com/), how about the Pagebuzz one (is it http://lazylarrywoodworks.com.au/)?
 
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