Help me, technology has eaten my brain :(

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Chickenpoopshoes

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Not soap related 100% although if I ever do manage to sort out my soaps then I would like to be able to sell them and will probably sue a website at that point... Anyway, I have been doing some research for the past couple of days on how to start a website. My sister and a long-time friend are trying to set up a blog/community in order to provide support, budgeting, parenting... that sort of thing. I have described it very poorly but between the three of us we have a good skillset to lend to uplifting people and sharing some skills. HOWEVER, it turns out that using technology is definitely not in my skillset. I have just been on wordpress to try and build an experimental free site of my own and have given up in total confusion within minutes. Youtube tutorials have not helped. I think I would literally need someone peering over my shoulder telling me which button to press in order for it to work. Very depressing...
So how have you guys set up your websites? any tips? Is anyone else a technologically inept neanderthal like myself? I need to figure this out!!!
 

lsg

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Have you taken a look at WIX? It is supposed to be free and features "Drag and Drop."
 

TheGecko

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I have a degree in Web Design and Development and still don't have my site set up. LOL

Unless you have a Degree or solid knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc, I would recommend a 'site builder' that has premade templates you can choose from and modify. A lot of these come with a free trial period so you can play around with them. Cost usually includes hosting and domain name for a year.

If you are wanting to sell your soap, you want to make sure they come with a "shopping cart". Sites like WordPress, Wix and Weebly are fairly offer this for an additional price. Make sure you research your payment methods though...you'll want to be able to process debit/credit cards, maybe even take PayPal. And don't forget to look at the costs of those options. You'll also want to look at the cost of the shopping cart itself since they are often based on the number of products you will be selling. You might want to instead, look at an all encompassing site like Shopify or similar sites.

But first...put your website on paper. Start with your Home page; what do you want it to look like...this is the first thing folks will see. You'll want a Contact page for inquiries, an About page if folks want to know more about you or your company and of course, at least one Product page. If all you are wanting to sell is soap, you can have a single page that has all your soaps listed. You can then have an individual page for each soap for more detail...or not; you can set up it that folks just order from the main Product page. If you are wanting to sell more than just soap, then you can have more Product pages like Bath Time or Foot Care or Lotions & Potions or Candles.

If you need more detailed help, you can always send me a message.
 

amd

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I have just been on wordpress to try and build an experimental free site of my own and have given up in total confusion within minutes. Youtube tutorials have not helped. I think I would literally need someone peering over my shoulder telling me which button to press in order for it to work.
You, my dear, are not the only one. I tried WordPress, and could not for the life of me figure it out! Everyone says how easy it is but I was unable to do anything with it. I also tried SquareSpace, Wix, and .... something else that I no longer remember the name of, before I settled on Weebly.

I already had Weebly experience as that is what my PT job uses for their website (and I now run their website), and I found it to be the easiest and most intuitive to use for the tech challenged. Plus, Weebly has some really affordable plans. For my biz I use the personal plan, which is $5/mo if you pay 2 years in advance, otherwise I think it runs $6/mo - these were the prices last September when I renewed my plan, so things may have changed. The price and the easy use made it a no brainer for me. My second choice would be Wix, and I can't remember if I liked SquareSpace or not, I seem to remember I struggled with it.
 

peleco

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I was on Weebly and it was slow but very user-friendly in my opinion. I actually just decided to switch over to Etsy pattern. Most of my sales are local or on Etsy and it was a real pain to keep my inventory in sync. Also, Etsy pattern is $15 instead of the $45 @ Weebly. I take online and offline payments so my package was a bit higher but Etsy also has an offline payment system so I'm giving this a try for now. The only difficult part might be connecting the domain to pattern if you don't know how but I was able to follow instructions and have it done within an hour or so. I may hate it or love it, its too early to tell yet.
 

amd

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I'm not sure Etsy Pattern will work for what the OP is currently researching for. "Anyway, I have been doing some research for the past couple of days on how to start a website. My sister and a long-time friend are trying to set up a blog/community in order to provide support, budgeting, parenting... that sort of thing. I have described it very poorly but between the three of us we have a good skillset to lend to uplifting people and sharing some skills. "

And you can sell on Weebly for way less than $45/mo. It depends on your product line - you can sell on the $9 plan (I think is what it was) but you're limited to 15 items. So if you have less than 15 items you can sell that way. I currently run on the cheapest paid plan, and then redirect my "store" page to the free Square store, so I can run as many items as I want and only pay the cc fee + 30cents per sale. If I hadn't already had my Weebly site before the new Square site rolled out in March, I would just use the Square site for the same price. Although if Covid continues, and my online sales continue to be as steady as they have been since March, I may upgrade my Weebly to the $9 plan, and figure out how to combine items so that I can use Weebly's online store features. (For example: I have 7 or 8 different coconut milk soaps in different fragrances, if I can create one Coconut Milk Soap listing with the option to pick one of the 7 or 8 fragrances, that is one listing rather than 7 or 8.)
 

peleco

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Yes there are cheaper packages but I bought the performance and the marketing bundle. It wasn't really worth it and I found it very slow to load so when it did load I had to keep re-entering my details. Etsy offers a blog with Pattern, I haven't started to use it yet. I don't feel like Etsy does a good job of allowing you to have multiple variations of a product for listings, or I could just be bad at setting it up but Weebly does a decent job of letting you to add "Modifiers" in the listing but I didn't really leverage this to see how well it works.

The problems I had with wordpress (I use to be a web designer and developer) is that a lot of plugins go out of date, people who develop them don't always keep them updated with the latest version of wordpress. There is almost no security, I've been hacked so many times, and I just can't stand the extra work. Even if you use a wordpress builder its still a huge pain. My advice would be to do the easiest thing that supports your plan. This site was really helpful Best Website Builder 2020: I've Reviewed the 14 Best (& Worst).

In terms of building communities, I would recommend Facebook pages & groups as well as Pinterest boards. I'm still learning about these but so far it's been working for me.

All the best to you!
 

Chickenpoopshoes

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Thanks for the advice, guys. Most interestingly all the advice goes exactly against what I have already researched! Bleh.... I’m going to stick to formulating my recipes for now and cross the website bridge when I come to it. I have 6kg leaf lard in the fridge waiting to be processed... sheesh...
 

amd

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Most interestingly all the advice goes exactly against what I have already researched!
Will you share the conflicting advice? Maybe there's an aspect we haven't considered, or an aspect that your research hasn't taken into account. Not that I'm a website professional by any means, but I do think those who have replied on this thread have given good advice for starting out with a website builder. There's a few cons to using the builders, but for the non-tech saavy, and small startups, it's easy and cost efficient.
 

Chickenpoopshoes

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I had really only spent time on Youtube and a few associated blogs but they all unanimously declared Wordpress the best website building platform and more or less dismissed the likes of Wix and Squarespace for being less good... somehow... It's just interesting to see that in real life that hasn't been the experience of people here.
 
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