Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Starting a Website

I recently purchased rights to the domain name, Crafterdays, and bought a hosting plan from godaddy.com. I was excited to start a commercial website where I can sell my hand-spun yarn and craft DVD's. I would eventually like to open a craft school, but for now, while I'm teaching in a public school, there's no time or money for that. I'm going to try producing the craft DVD's as instructional programs that people can purchase for a relatively low price and will be able to use again and again.
I had another website in the recent past with yahoo, but really didn't have the time to devote to developing it, so let it expire. In this economy, any venture like this is a risk, so I looked around and felt the prices for godaddy were probably the best.
Well, I was always told that you get what you pay for. Why is my hindsight always sharper? I dove in with both feet. I signed up for the domain, crafterdays.com, .net, and .org. I felt smug that I'd purchased these three domains and could corner the market on this name. I found out later that instead of selling me these rights for a year, they'd sold me crafterdays.com for two years. They kindly offered to sell me the other two, .net and .org, for an extra forty dollars plus. I said no thank you. I was told it might have been a shopping cart malfunction, but there was nothing they could do to change this. If I actually get traffic flowing on the site, maybe I'll break down and purchase these as well. They do have the lowest prices on domain names, but right now, I'd almost rather pay someone else a little more. Who knows, the "shopping cart" may malfunction again and I'll end up signing over both cats and my husband for a ten-year plan.
I will say the telephone operators are very friendly. When I first signed up for my hosting site, I accidentally signed up for the one where I would create the entire site from scratch with html. Okay, I can struggle through some html, and have taken courses on website creation, but it is a chore. The nice man on the phone graciously switched me to the Website Tonight which has templates. The selection is limited, but I found one I can live with. As I explained to him, their website is quite "complicated." I could do with a little more direct information and a lot less commercial gobbledygook and Danica what's-her-name commercials. I guess that pulls in the fifteen- to eighteen-year-olds.
I'm slowly learning to navigate around the site and have added pages, extra text boxes and can upload very small bits of video. The video upload on blogger is much faster. Neither lets you upload much memory at a time, but the playback on blogger is also much better.
The shopping cart I mentioned before is not free. I do know enough to install pay pal buttons on my site for shoppers. This I can do for free, not so the shopping cart feature.
I also am on my own for promoting my website. This is also an added feature for hire from godaddy. In comparing godaddy and yahoo, I give this round to yahoo websites. They do have a built-in feature that sends your website out to the web engines for free. I'm not sure if this was ever effective, but at least they weren't holding their hand out to receive payment for this service. As I explained to the last cheerful employee on the phone, I feel like I'm being nickled and dimed to death to get a decent setup.
Would I do this again? Ask me again in one year when my contract is up for renewal. If any money has been generated and I don't feel this has taken too much time from my writing, I might, although I'll take much more time to look around at the different sites before deciding.

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