View Full Version : ecommerce storefront

01-30-2008, 04:36 AM
Hi to all,

I am a newbie in regard to designing an ecommerce site/storefront..etc.
Hardly know how to phrase the question so that it will make some sense.
Here goes...
I have a site where I will be marketing a variety of gift products ,but I am not sure how to go about creating the layout for the pages.
Do I just place images of products in a gallery with details below it? Or is there a program I can use to create the layout. I have my index in the works. I understand the fundementals of the PayPal shopping cart. Read in another forum that Quckbooks Pro is a good program to use in order to keep track of your inventory.

Thanks for any help

01-30-2008, 04:41 AM
How many product do you have for online sales?

01-30-2008, 05:29 AM
Not sure at this point in time. I have the source for a variety of products. I'm "guestomating" abt. 150 products to start with. I'll be adding products as I grow. Still working on the index page. I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row before seriously marketing my site.

01-30-2008, 01:00 PM
For that number of products I suggest you use one of our shopping carts..click the below.....


01-30-2008, 08:43 PM
I intended to use PayPay, will that be ok? I don't know for sure how many products I will have to start off with.
I'm using BV.

01-30-2008, 09:45 PM
I intended to use PayPay, will that be ok? I don't know for sure how many products I will have to start off with.
I'm using BV.You can use PayPal to handle your transactions in any of the eCommerce "cart" solutions available as a VodaHost customer as well as as part of your Blue Voda created pages ....... it is by far the simplest means to handle transactions.

General VodaHost is correct in suggesting Soholaunch as a secure foundation, as it is the easiest to use cart and website builder combination overall, and is the most logical evolution you should seriously consider: doing business online nowadays pretty much demands a secure foundation for customer assurance, and adding a SSL cert to a real all-in-one cart system is almost a prerequisite.

But, since you already know how to effectively create web pages using Blue Voda, and you only have 150 or so products you wish to showcase (at this time), you might be just fine sticking with BV and using PayPal interfacing to accomplish the exact look-and-feel of your website design as you imagined. The average number of products displayed on a single page is 10 (because of a lot of reasons), which allows most of them to be "above the fold" for customer motivation: think of a newspaper, and how the most important part of the front page is the top half, hence "above the fold" --- similarly, it is desireable to have your most important Content on your web pages above 650 pixels, which keeps the majority visible to most visitors using any browser.

> Point is, with only 150 products, at most you are talking about 15 pages to lay out and properly link --- not a big task whatsoever! However you design your navigation heirarchy will predicate your eventual page layout, and having more pages with fewer items per page actually helps to organize your categories and sub-categories for real navigation and SEO values. http://www.vodahost.com/vodatalk/images/icons/icon12.gif

If you have more than 200 products, or absolutely need to use a sophisticated cart system which has a more structured search and product organization aspect which you can add a SSL cert status to, then you will need to move to either Soholaunch, osCommerce, ZEN, or another of the eCommerce solutions VodaHost offers free to customers via Fantastico!

PS: QuickBooks works with only the cart systems mentioned above (especially osCommerce, the more complicated system to learn and use, wouldn't you know!), and can be used on your end when dealing with PayPal, but you need to import the data manually...

01-30-2008, 10:45 PM
And, do you ever intend to add a merchant account? If so, even if you want to start out with Paypal now, you would want to have a shopping cart that can grow to that possibility. In that case I would recommend you look at Mal's E or CartManager - Mal's has a free version - and you can use either with Paypal now - then later, if you wanted to add a merchant account, you wouldn't have to change all your shopping cart buy buttons, just change it in your cart itself.

01-31-2008, 02:10 AM
"If you have more than 200 products, or absolutely need to use a sophisticated cart system which has a more structured search and product organization aspect which you can add a SSL cert status to, then you will need to move to either Soholaunch, osCommerce, ZEN, or another of the eCommerce solutions VodaHost offers free to customers via Fantastico!"

Hi Bethers,
Thanks a million for your excellent advice. I have spent most of the day reading about osCommerce, and it seems like it could be very complicated for a beginner.
Think SoHo will be the best way to go when my business gets that that level.
I didn't know I could switch from BV to Soho. If I do switch to Soho, can I keep what I have created in BV?

01-31-2008, 05:42 AM
Oh.....right......"your welcome" I suppose!

Like I mentioned, Soholaunch would be your easiest and most productive evolution beyond BV+PayPal.........it's obvious you are at the beginning level of business, and not needing more sophisticated and costly functionality that a conventional Merchant Account and Business Banking status would provide.

01-31-2008, 05:47 AM
You don't want to build and switch, so you want to pick which one will be best for you now and in the future.

I won't say a # of products will make one better than the other. I have well over 200 products and am using BV with CartManager.

However, loading the products will be much easier on Soho. Designwise, you can do more if you are willing to build yourself.

BUT - no matter which way you go - you need to think it through and then not be planning to move it later. Moving a store from BV to Soho would required rebuilding it - no you couldn't just move it over.

That said - one of Vasil's famous lines in this forum "plan your work and work your plan" is of utmost importance here - you MUST think this through first.

01-31-2008, 05:58 AM
You can see the beginnings of Jewel's site here (http://www.vodahost.com/vodatalk/customer-website-reviews-your-testing-ground/31414-im-feeling-brave-please-check-my-new-site-give-your-opinons-new-post.html), Beth, which makes me feel somewhat relieved to hear you mention how important planning is.....as it is now, it looks like much has yet to be "designed" even before such a decision is made..... http://www.vodahost.com/vodatalk/images/icons/icon11.gif

You might also wish to comment on the last post made there, to suggest a further explanation or details glossed over....

01-31-2008, 06:19 AM
I agree with both of you....but, when you don't know anything about creating a business online store, then it is hard to really plan ahead. I'm kinda at the plan as you go for right now. I know what I want for the end results, but doing it is the challenge. I'm trying to find the best way to accomplish what I want. From what I have read on hear, Soho is better if you don't know how to build product pages and how to build the layout for one.
I'm asking questions in order to make the right descision. I only have the index page published, and it is not finished by a long shot.
I have tried to establish the fact that I'm a newbie at web design and especially ecommerce. But, I'm learning, thanks to the forum!
Oh, I did a paper layout plan when I started, but not knowing anything about flash or other elements, I have learned as I go. Glad I'm not in a hurry to get this up and running. I want it RIGHT before I do advertising.
The main issue for me is to figure out how to do product pages,uploading product images from manufactures and keeping inventory. I'm not happy with any of the templates I have seen.

I just came from the Soho forum, and found out that a person can create their own template if you know html. Now, my question is, why can't I just copy and paste my html page code from my index page to the custom made template in Soho?

Appreciate all of your help for the dummy newbie..lol

02-01-2008, 12:54 AM
Because they are entirely different builders. And you will NOT be able to easily make a template for Soho - if you are a beginner, you'll be totally lost even trying that.

02-01-2008, 01:46 AM
Thanks Beth,

I've been reading and viewing some of the tutorials about Soho, and I'm kinda at a loss on what to do for now. Think I will just step back and continue research for the time being. Think I am getting discouraged. I know something will break for me and then I will be able to go on.
I sure thank you and others for all the help,advice and support.
I'm still here, but back to research for now.

Karen Mac
02-01-2008, 03:22 AM
Soho templates.. or any catalogue templates require additional files to be attatched and also have to contain coding to embed php elements and includes to operate correctly. Thats why you cant just copy and paste the html from one to the other exactly the same way.

With that said.. If you go to the soho thread ive written several times HOW to customize a template, and where to find the info. They also recently bought out kickass templates and most of them have been converted to use with soho, and around 400 of them are free! Go to the www.addons.soholaunch.com (http://www.addons.soholaunch.com) (might be without an s) and see for yourself if you might not find something you can use.


02-01-2008, 04:31 AM
Thank you, Karen,
I will do that.