Creating an Internet Storefront on a Shoestring Budget

My brother Pete recently asked me an interesting question and I thought I’d share some info about running a cheap Internet Storefront. The email thread went like this:

Pete: I have decided to start a new web site – I have people that have referred to me on their web sites and I don’t have one  – I need suggestions on an easy web site starter tool – what do u think is the best and easiest to learn – I am multi tasking these days and doing so many things – I started working for FretBaby.com here is Austin, part time – if u Google guitar repair in Buretsa, that site comes up on top – he also makes and sells guitar repair tools on eBay – I built a small starter shop and am dismantling a larger shop to reassemble so I’ll have lots of shop space to play in – thanks and have a nice evening :O)

Me: I purchased a domain name and have been using Microsoft FrontPage for years but they don’t make it anymore. I need find a new web site editor too. I just haven’t done the research yet. So many projects, so little time.

imageUncle Max: I have the same question.  Let me know what you find out.  If you’re ever in the big city, stop by.  I’ve got about 9 guitars that need work!  See attachment.  I’d do it myself, but who has the time to learn a new skill at my age.

Brother Randy: Start here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_hosting_service. As mentioned, many hosted sites come with a content management system.  If you use the MSFT service, chances are Jim Jr. will be familiar with the WCMS and can help you with that.  If you want to spend the time (which it sounds like you don’t), you can teach yourself Ruby on Rails.  Then if the guitar gig doesn’t work out you can pull down $100K/yr as a hotshot web programmer.

I believe dad also helps with his homeowners association website (and mom is apparently running a spam server on hers, but I wouldn’t recommend that <smile>). My son Crew wants to run his own Mindcraft (game) server but I won’t let him do it from within our network because I don’t want to punch a hole in our firewall for people who know much more about networking than me to take advantage of.  🙂

My son Aaron: As another Web builder I thought it would be helpful to add my two cents. I may repeat some of what you know but never-the-less here it is:

1) Hosting: Choose a company to host your website. They can also register your domain name (FreddyMacGuitars.com) for you so this will all be one step. You have your choice between a wide variety of great companies such as discountasp.net, godaddy, hostgator, or bluehost. I use all of these for different web sites I run and they are all good with discountasp.net being the only one that is higher quality and more expensive.

2) Website: Once you buy your web space usually the hosting service  comes with tools to build and maintain your website. Or you can buy a software that you can learn to use which will upload your website files to your website (Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expressions, Web Studio, WebPlus X).

Building a website is very similar to fixing a car. There are easy parts (changing the oil) and hard parts (brakes) and your ability to handle it all will depend on the time you put into it over the course of your life. It is also similar in that if you fall behind the technology you will have to work significantly more to catch up.

That’s all I have. I hope it’s helpful. Like most things in life, if you want to learn to do it you should start by doing it.

My finally response: I’ve been reading and asking around and here is the cheapest, bestest answer I can find for a hobbyist who wants it cheap and fast.

1. Use the free WordPress service that is usually used for blogging. It can be used to create a site like this: http://stohrermusic.com/

2. Use a free editor like Live Writer from Microsoft. http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-other-programs?T1=t5

3. There is a plethora of free and low cost widgets to add really cool functionality to your site.

4. You can get a custom name that looks like you own a domain without paying the yearly domain fees.

5. Total cost == FREE, if you don’t consider your time. You might note, I use WordPress on my blog. It’s falling off the wall easy.

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in FAQ, Guitar, Internet, WordPress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Creating an Internet Storefront on a Shoestring Budget

  1. Bertie says:

    Interesting post, Jim. I think it will help Peter.

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