Instructor Notes for Access eCommerce Session 2: Planning Your Website Updated March 2007 – Rae Montgomery, University of Minnesota Extension Service, firstname.lastname@example.org Workshop Time: 2-3 hours (including a break and hands-on activities). Less time is needed for small groups of 10 or fewer. Ahead of time: Print handouts of the PowerPoint presentation for the participants. Objectives: Participants will: Determine options for a web presence Assess the cost of a web presence Identify website development options Understand what makes a good domain name and where to obtain one Be aware of website accessibility Decide on participating in affiliate programs Identify tools for website statistics Explore podcasts Identify website development & diagnostic tools Identify options for hosting websites Hints: Move through the slides fairly quickly. Address the main points, but keep each slide to about 2 minutes or the suggested time. The hands-on activities should be given priority if time is an issue. Take a break every hour, regardless of where the suggested break falls.
Auction Sites Niche malls or coops are communities of interest sites by geography, topic, etc. Online Storefronts Blogs (discussed in the Exploring E-Commerce workshop) Wiki Traditional Dot Com Website Very low cost ways to have a web presence include online auctions (like e-bay), niche malls or coops. Online storefronts are easy to set up and can be affordable. Bottom line: lots of options for using the internet to build business – and it could be easier and cheaper than you think!
Online auctions are very popular. You can find just about everything on them. This is a wedding dress for sale on eBAY by an ex-husband who is modeling the dress. The dress sold for $3850. eBay is the most popular site for consumers who want to buy or sell their ‘slightly used’ goods. It’s the world’s largest garage sale. Question for audience: Who has bought something on eBay? Sold something? Want to tell us about it?
Online auctions are also very popular with small businesses who want to sell online cheaply. In some cases, online auctions are used instead of having a website or even a physical store. An example is antique dealers. There are many that sell (and buy) online without a website. Bright Ranch Cowhide Creations sells western decor items in their eBay store, including cowhide toilet seats. http://stores.ebay.com/Bright-Ranch-Cowhide-Creations_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfclZ4QQfsubZ0QQftidZ2QQtZkm
How much does it cost to sell an individual item on eBay? That depends. You can list an item for as little as 20 cents. eBay will keep at least 5.25% of the final cost it sells for. Optional features such as setting a minimum price you’ll accept (called reserve price), adding additional pictures, having your listing highlighted or offering an opportunity for people to bypass the auction and “buy it now” are additional costs. The complete list of fees is at: http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/fees.html
PayPal is a very popular way for individuals and businesses to accept payments. PayPal’s commission is $0.30 + 2.9% of the total sales amount.
Here are 2 examples of an item that is listed on eBay for a starting price of .01 and sold for $20.00. Depending on the features chosen for the eBay listing, the total eBay fees start at 1.25 or can run $2.55 (or much higher). Accepting PayPal payment adds 2.9% of the final price plus 30 cents. Suddenly what looks like a $20 profit is much less. Many sellers try to recover their eBay selling fees by increasing the amount they will charge to ship items. Buyer beware!
eBay’s Seller Central is a good starting point for learning how to sell on eBay. See eBay’s Merchant eCommerce Solutions for using how your business can sell on eBay. eBay offers research tools for a fee.
Niche malls or coops are a way to for groups of sellers to market their products without having their own individual website . Buyers like niche malls because one website directs them to many options. A niche mall can be regional or topical community of interest. LocalHarvest.org is an example of a niche mall; maintaining a nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Their online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area.
An Online Storefront lets you have a storefront in someone else’s store. Yahoo!, Amazon and eBay, all have stores. An eBay Store is an eBay seller's online storefront where sellers can showcase all of their eBay listings. Items do not have to be placed on auction. The seller can set a fixed price. YAHOO! STORES Yahoo Stores! Is probably the most popular of the online stores. You can establish a web presence and accept transactions online. Even larger businesses take advantage of Yahoo’s e-commerce capability: For example, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream uses a Yahoo shop for the part of their website that sells online. Ben and Jerry’s has a website, and a nice one at that. They choose to use a Yahoo store for the ecommerce transaction part of their site only – the part that sells the ice cream and takes the money. They don’t have to deal with having to have their own secure server that way. Saves a lot of time, money and headaches. Most small businesses should look at outsourcing the transaction portion.
Cost for a Yahoo Store: $ 39.95 per month for hosting plus 1.5% transaction fee. $50 one-time setup fee. You can accept payment with PayPal or Yahoo offers a merchant account - Paymentech - monthly service fee of $22.95. The discount percentage for MasterCard/Visa is 2.69% plus a $0.20 transaction fee. http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/merchant ebay Stores start at $15.95/month for a Basic store. $49.95/month for a Featured store that gets rotated through the home page. Insertion fees are .02 and sellers are charged a Final Value fee of 8% of the closing price. http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/storefees.html
Hands-on 10 minutes. Explore some geographical or topical niche malls. Etsy.com is a mall to buy or sell all things handmade.
Wikis are collaborative websites. Most allow ANYONE to edit the content on the site with simple editing tools. Wiki means “quick” in Hawaiian. Although anyone can edit a page at Wikipedia, encourage participants to find the sandbox to experiment in. Click on Edit Page and scroll down to the sandbox.
Website development stages. Some stages may not be needed in a given situation. Everyone needs to figure out their budget. Everyone should create a paper plan first. Draw a storyboard of what your website should look like. Or use one post-it note for each page of your website. Lay them all out and figure out how they should link to each other. Some people will need to select a web designer. Most people will need to select a web host, be it a listing service, mall, or full-service web host.
Domain names are cheap and easy to obtain, and there are many advantages to ownership: Shows you are serious about conducting business on the Internet. Promotes your brand, product, trademark or company name. Search engines are more likely to index your pages. You may want a domain name even if you are using a template-based web host or a virtual storefront. Many hosts will give you the option of using your own web address instead of theirs if you have one. How much does a domain name cost? Depends on who you buy it through. $8-$35/year Use sites like betterwhois.com to see if a name is available. What can you do if name is taken? (1) Register a variation, (2) buy it outright, or (3) wait for the current registration to expire. www.Betterwhois.com will show you who owns the name. (DEMONSTRATE BETTERWHOIS.COM. The complete info doesn’t always automatically appear. Near the bottom of the screen of the results of typing a web address in, look for: To view complete domain information for this domain, please click here . This will give you complete results. Sometimes you are asked to type in a number that appears on the screen) You can work through your ISP or web hosting service to register a domain Or you can register your own domain name, but you may want to make sure you are dealing with an accredited registrar. www.icann.org, (The Internet Corporation or Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for accrediting domain name registrars in the United States. ( Demonstrate ICANN www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html )
Activity 10 minutes. Have participants choose available domain names, or find out who owns a particular one. The most common domain name extensions that businesses can register are: .com .org .net .biz and .info are newer and can be purchased. The only downside is many people still expect to see a .com.
If a business wants to develop its own website, they can use templates (some say you can design your website in 10 minutes!), or design their own, or hire a designer to do it for them. Many businesses use several different methods for their web presence to attract as many different audiences as possible.
Your business is probably not web design. You probably want to spend your time on your business, not your website. Pro : Professional web development experience, access to working web applications, understands audience needs Con : Lack of small business knowledge; wide variation in price, experience, quality of work Cost : Depends on the company: basic costs start at a few thousand dollars. Price is a very poor indicator of quality. Be sure to talk to customers. Look for a developer who has created sites for businesses like yours. Recommendation : A good web developer can save you time and money. What are some things to look for in a web site developer? Why hire a developer when your 12-year old nephew knows how to make web pages? How can you tell if they are doing a good job? What should you pay? Interview customers : Was the site done on time? Was it consistent with current branding? Any hidden costs? Surprises? Was it easy to communicate? Evaluate web sites: Use a web site inspector for a general idea of workmanship. Get an outside opinion from a professional . Use what you learn from this class! Compare services : For example, some web site developers include registering your site with the search engines. If the developer you are considering does not know what that means, run, run like hell in the other direction! Site Maintenance: How will the site be updated? Will they train you to do this or will they charge you? Or do they put the site up and leave you stranded?
Templates can be an easy way to quickly put a site together. Most vendors who offer templates will also host your site. Pro : Sites have professional look and feel, database-driven so instantly updated, relatively low-cost solution, easy to implement, shortest production time Con : Limited range of design options, more organization then user-focused designs, limited web application modules Cost : Usually a set-up or licensing fee and monthly hosting fee. Some set prices according to population, others according to modules selected. Recommendation : A good starting point but may not keep up with the trends in eCommerce. Many web hosts will also offer web design templates to help you put a site up. This is an example of a templates offered by NetworkSolutions. Network Solutions offers website hosting starting at $6.25/month. for a brochure site to $50/month for an e-commerce site with real-time credit card processing.
Hands-on 10 minutes. Have participants choose one or more sites to explore the templates. Most companies that offer website development templates expect you to host your web page with them. But you can explore the templates each one has available and get a feel for the features they offer. www.NetSol.com Test Drive BigStep at: http://go.bigstep.com/tour/tour.htm Yahoo Site Builder http://webhosting.yahoo.com/ps/sb Has over 300 web site templates. Explore the Template Gallery or take the Tour Google began offering free websites in Feb 2006. You must have a google email account (free) and sign up at pages.google.com. They will email you when your account is created. In March 06, in took 2-3 weeks before Google was notifying people.
Costs to develop a basic website are all across the board. Costs for websites that require secure transactions might have higher web hosting fees and additional fees. Don’t forget about ongoing costs. Few designers will list their costs on their website. An exception is www.webshackdesign.com. These are their prices.
A merchant account is necessary if you are going to accept credit card transactions. You can get a merchant account through your bank or through some web hosting services. You will pay a monthly fee for the account ($15-50) plus a per transaction fee (.15 - .30) and a percent of the transaction amount (2-5%). Some web hosts also charge a small online fee for each transaction (.05) Some small businesses are choosing to use PayPal’s merchant account (www.paypal.com) as an alternative to getting their own merchant account. PayPal does not charge a monthly fee. Costs to the business are 2.9% of the transaction plus 30 cents. When you’re researching the cost doing business online, be sure to include transaction fees. Source: Access eCommerce (www.ecommerce.umn.edu)
Ján (pronounced &quot;Yon&quot;) Gadzo, his wife, Jean and their son, Andrej have a passion for potica (pronounced poe-tee-suh ) , the walnut-filled pastry with European beginnings has become an ethnic favorite among the northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. Andrej’s European Pastry cranks out Potica and sells it to home-shoppers via the Internet. Ján uses the Internet is to collect orders from customers but he doesn’t accept payment on his website. Ján says: “Customers email me, I ship the Poticas, and put the invoice in the box. This way I eliminate chasing the order down if they didn’t receive it.” People wonder how Ján can stay in business without getting payment up front, he says it is easy to trust your customers and added that no one has taken advantage of him yet, and his customers keep coming back for more Potica.
Help visitors find your physical location. Add a map to your website with MapQuest or Yahoo or Google.
Web application mashups combine two or more services, often a mapping application and a data source, to create unique maps with overlaid location-based information. Maps are popping up that track favorite restaurants and hotels, drink prices, parking spaces and recommended walking tours of various cities. Blogs are appearing that are devoted entirely to tracking the maps that are being created. Mashups are in their infancy and many are trying to figure out creative uses for them. Fresh logic Atlas is an interface to Windows Live Local. Good built-in business search. HousingMaps , a hack that combines craigslist real estate listings with city maps from Google Maps. It lets users pinpoint locations, along with one-click access to photos and descriptions, of dozens of available apartments in more than 20 North American cities. Zillow combines several data sources to map home values. Weatherbonk overlays current weather information on maps. Platial provides a home for people who love quirky geographical information or just want to mark the locations that have meaning to them. Sign up for a free account, and you can start building and sharing personalized maps, complete with place markers, tags and descriptions of each spot. Collaborate on them with your buddies, or keep them to yourself. Google, Yahoo! and MSN have released mapping application program interfaces (APIs) for programmers to develop their own mashups.
Accessibility is a legal requirement for federal government websites. It is also a &quot;best practice&quot; for any website. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires Federal agencies to purchase electronic and information technology that is accessible to employees with disabilities. If the agency provides information to the public via a website, that information must be accessible by persons with disabilities. Although accessibility initiatives are aimed at serving people with disabilities, the results can be enjoyed by all users. A lot of the accessibility guidelines are based on common sense. Provide text equivalents for all non-text items: images, audio, video. Provide clear navigation mechanisms and support keyboard-only navigation. Don't use color as the only way to convey important information. Avoid anything that causes severe screen flicker. Provide a text only page when necessary.
Demo or just discuss. Test a website for accessibility with WebAim www.webaim.org/resources.
A Podcast is: An audio file you create in .mp3 format... Which contains your own radio show or any audio you wish others to have... That you upload along with an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) file to a server (your website for instance)... That your intended listeners download using one of several programs that have been created to retrieve your audio file automatically... So they can listen to it at their convenience on their own iPod or .mp3 player.
You’ll need speakers for this.
Youtube.com has 100 million videos. A social networking website where people upload and share videos. Some assembly required? Think “go to the Internet to watch the assembly video” Other social networking websites are things like myspace.com, a user-submitted network of blogs , profiles, groups, photos, MP3s, and videos. American teenagers today are utilizing the interactive capabilities of the internet as they create and share their own media creations. Fully half of all teens and 57% of teens who use the internet could be considered Content Creators. They have created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations. Pew Internet 11/2/05
Everything you need to get started Podcasting is available for $5/month at AudioBlog.com, an audio, video, and podcast publishing service. For the basic $5 service you'll get 5 gb of bandwidth per month. Other, unmetered plans are available. Create your own using your computer and microphone and free software tools: Blogger, Audacity, Internet Archive, CC Publisher, Feedburner. Instructions: digitalpodcast.com “ More than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts from the Web so that they could listen to audio files at a time of their choosing. That amounts to more than 6 million adults who have tried this new feature that allows internet “broadcasts” to be downloaded onto their portable listening device.” Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/154/report_display.asp 4/3/2005
Activity: 5 minutes. Have participants look at some of the site tools. Have them enter their own web site or their competition’s website. Test for usability of layout and design, content, browser compatibility, server performance. Validate all of the pages with an HTML checker. Try your pages with different computers and browsers. Ask volunteers to visit your site while you observe their actions and reactions. Use website inspection tools to check your site. To use NetMechanic: http://www.netmechanic.com/toolbox/html-code.htm Scroll down to: HTML Toolbox Free Sample Enter your URL Click Test Now ( you don’t need to enter an email address to test 1 page.) An alternate site is a link checker: http://validator.w3.org/checklink
If you think you want to create your own website, you’ll have to learn HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) or learn to use of the many commercial authoring software packages.
These free online graphics generators let you create graphics quickly. -3dTextMaker.com: Enables either animated or static banners. Go for the stationary effect. -CoolText.com: Online Graphics Generator is great for text logos on colored backgrounds. Right click to save what you’ve created. -QuickBanner.com: Offers a large number of banner backgrounds. Scroll to bottom and click Continue under the GIF Banner Creator –Free
Be realistic. Don't expect 24/7 service or maximum uptime with a supercheap hosting provider. Consider the source. Researching your options on the Web is always a good idea, but be careful whose advice you take. What seems like an impartial recommendation may in fact be an ad. Another pitfall to look out for is directories owned by the hosts themselves. For example, Webhosting-Directory.com is run by Tawi Del Bosque, the same folks who run FreeHostingWeb, which happens to be the first service recommended in the directory's Budget Hosting section. Ask around. A better source for the inside skinny on hosts is other folks like you. Post questions on forums such as those at the Web Host Directory or WebHosting Talk and check out user reviews at sites such as Web Hosting Ratings and Free- Webhosts.com . Check out the ratings at CNET's hosting guide or simply plug the name of a host into Google Groups and see what newsgroup denizens have to say about it. Beware bogus claims. Any host offering &quot;unlimited&quot; bandwidth or disk space is just using a marketing ploy. &quot;There's no such thing.&quot; Talk to the company. Even when looking for a low-cost host, it pays to call the phone number and talk to a real person to ask questions, clarify offerings, and find out about pricing. After all, if they don't pick up the phone to make a sale, how likely are they to do it when you have a problem? Quiz the host on what each plan offers, ask for references from other customers, and find out where the company is located. This info will come in handy if you have problems later. If you can't reach a live human, move on to your next choice. Start out slow. If the host you like is a start-up with no track record, &quot;don't commit to too long a service contract, especially at the start,&quot; Get assurances. Though there is no universally recognized Good Hostkeeping Seal of Approval, some third parties will intervene on your behalf if you run into snags. For example, nearly half of the 650 companies on FindMyHosting participate in the site's Hosting Assured program, which requires them to agree to a code of ethics and a mediation process for settling disputes. Have a backup plan. No matter which host you choose, you might find, a month down the road, that it's simply not a good match for you or your business. &quot;It's always good to have a plan in place that lets you migrate your site to another host as quickly and painlessly as possible.&quot; If possible, register your domain yourself, so you won't have difficulty transferring it later, and keep a backup copy of your site in case your host pulls a Houdini on you. -Source: CNET - http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6536_7-726629-3.html?tag=arrow
Try typing in web addresses of local businesses to see if their web host is local or around the world.
The next session is on promoting your website and your work.
+ .20 insertion fee + .30 for 3 pictures +1.00 Bold listing +1.05 5.25 % of sell price =$2.55 Total eBay fees + 1.08 PayPal fees (2.9% of sell price) = $3.63 Total 2 examples of an item with a starting price of $.01 and selling price of $20.00