Monday, January 17, 2011

Website: Buy a Template, Do Your Own, Hire it Out?

So I was reading this book this other day (The Ugly Truth About Small Business by Ruth King) as one of the books I was chugging with my latte  to gain insight from others on start-up costs and need-to have things when starting a new business. It said two things: If there is something that requires either time or money- use your time. Minimize your start-up costs. Basically if you can do it on your own but it would take longer than hiring someone- then spend the time, not the money. Later it said- you need to be fast so don't waste time on tasks that are not core to your business- hire out tasks that would take up a lot of time. Thanks.... that was helpful. I've been going from one end of the spectrum to the other on my website design. Sure I have some limited HTML skills and knowledge-- but it's not the most enjoyable task for me. Also- I don't really want to spend a lot of time on it but I need it to be fantastic. I also have very limited funds I want to allocate towards things that are really secondary at this point. So do I design it myself or hire it out? I guess I wanted the book to just give me the decision I need to make on my own- wouldn't that be convienent?

I've worked with several visual editors and some straight HTML editors that are free like Sea Monkey for Mac. I've also got an old copy of Adobe Dreamweaver MX and the visual tool that came with my Mac called iWeb. I hesitate to provide a review on that-- but it's very obviously a tool for family websites or personal photo chronicles. You can get a decent looking website up in a few minutes but you can't access the HTML code very easily- like most Mac applications, the results are encoded somewhere deep in my drive and if I edited the base- it would be overwritten the next time I did a site update. Dreamweaver looks like it has promise but my license is for such an old version- I'm worried about current compatibility. I really need a web developer to do all of those things like metadata, tags, and other traffic drivers. I have hated all of those pre-doen template things that you are supposed to be able to just basically change the title on the top and be ready to go? Yuck- it looks like you do that! I also need a cart developed for the website when the products go live. Right now I'm testing out Coffee Cup's Shop Designer software. It's been intuitive but it crashes every time I try to upload the sample services cart I created. I'll let you know if it works out before my trial ends. Maybe I screwed up a server setting.

Verdict: I'll hire a web developer to take over later. For now- my business plan shows kicking off the first few products on my Etsy shop (Just Off Normal) to see what sells and what ends up not doing as well- it's my sandbox to figure out what works and what doesn't. Anyway- it helps becuase I don't have to get all of that stuff loaded, working, and drawing traffic just yet. One step at a time!

I'm upgrading my Corel Draw (sorry Adobe- it works better with the engraver) that I run on VMWare-Windows on my Mac to X5 and it comes with a web site tool- I think I'll switch over to whatever that is when it comes in. No matter what- it has to be better than iWeb. You will be the first to know when I go live for real (for now- I'm sandboxing live) According to one book, that's dangerous. According to me- I can get all of these associates links, blog accounts, and other media accounts set up and verified. I doubt much traffic will get there unless on accident anyway- so I'll let it go. Any tips, questions?

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