Instructor Notes for Access eCommerce for the Arts! Session 2: Planning Your Website Updated 3/8/04 – Rae Montgomery, University of Minnesota Extension Service. email@example.com Presentation Time: about 2 hours (including a break). Less time is needed for small groups of 10 or fewer. Activity time is about 1 hour 15 minutes. Objectives: Participants will: Decide if they really need a website Identify the stages of website development Understand what makes a good domain name and where to obtain one Identify options for hosting websites Hints: Move through the slides fairly quickly. Address the main points, but keep each slide to about 2 minutes. The hands-on activities should be given priority if time is an issue. There a lot of URL’s in the Activities for this section. You may want to print handouts (6 per page) for the participants so they have a reference later.
Introduce the topic: This session focuses on planning a website, finding the best place to host the website for a particular business situation, registering domain names, costs, tools.
Low cost ways to have a web presence include online auctions (like e-bay), niche malls or coops, or catalogs. For the Arts, we will focus on Malls or Coops. If a business wants its own website, you can use templates (some say you can design your website in 10 minutes!), or you can design your own, or hire a designer to do it for you. Many businesses use several different methods for their web presence to attract as many different audiences as possible. Bottom line: lots of options for using the internet to build business – and it could be easier and cheaper than you think!
Online catalogs: www.catalogs.google.com If your business has a printed catalog, even a small one, Google Catalogs will scan it and list it on its Catalog site for free. This is an example of part of an 16-page catalog from “Old Goats” screen door company. Old Goats: www.screendoors.com Inclusion in Google Catalog Search is currently free for publishers. There is no obligation and nothing you need to do other than provide Google with copies of your catalogs .
Online auctions are very popular with small businesses. You can find just about everything on them. ebay is the most popular site for merchants and consumers 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. ebay pricing: 30 cents to $3.30 to list most items. Plus 5.25% of the value of the item when it sells. Question for audience: Who has bought something on eBay? Sold something? Want to tell us about it?
Online Malls or Cooperatives Online malls are a way to for groups of sellers to market their products. Buyers like niche malls because one website directs them to many options. Malls and coops are one of the most popular ways for artists to have an online presence. A niche mall can be regional or topical. Geezer.com enables individuals over age 50 to use the Internet to markets their crafts and handmade products to thousands of potential Internet shoppers, beyond their rural communities.
An example of a mall that is both regional AND topical. IdahoStuff.com – a marketplace for Idaho Artists, Craftspeople & Home Business.
An example of a listing service only: -www.mnartists.org. No fees.
Activity 30 minutes. Explore several of these sites that participants might be interested in. Catalogs, Auctions: -www.catalogs.google.com -www.ebay.com Malls of interest to the Arts: -www.geezer.com Crafts & handmade products by people over 50. Fees: listing fee $9.95 for up to 10 items plus 8.5% commission + $.50 per transaction. -www.boundlessgallery.com Buy original art direct from artists and galleries. fees: No listing fee. BoundlessGallery.com will retain a commission of 25%. Listings only: -www.mnartists.org. No fees. -www.artcrawl.org Artists coop. fee: $250/year -www.cyberpoet.com. Artists coop. No fees.
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. $10-$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.
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 ecommerce 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: $ 50 per month for hosting plus a listing fee per item and transaction fees. Yahoo has a free 30-day trial that you can use to see what setting up an online store is all about. http://store.yahoo.com/ Amazon , Ebay and PayPal have virtual stores as well: Cost for an Amazon zShop: $ 39.99 per month for listing up to 40,000 items. Plus a closing fee when your item sells. The fee is based on the sales price. ebay Stores cost $9.95/month for a Basic store.
Templates can be an easy way to quickly put a site together. Most vendors who offer templates will also host your site. 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 from $11.50/month for a brochure site to $50/month for an e-commerce site with real-time credit card processing.
Your business is probably not web design. You probably want to spend your time on your business, not your website. 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?
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.
Activity time: 10 minutes 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
When it comes time to select web hosting service, consider the following: Products and services Start up costs vs. ongoing fees Price, billing periods, and payment method Convenience of local hosting vs. national or regional hosting Connection to the Net, redundancy, server reliability Customer service, tutorials, FAQs
It's a math problem. You can estimate by figuring out the file size of your images and multiplying it by the number of images you will have on your site. File space is measured in bytes. Kilobyte (KB) is 1000 bytes. And a megabyte (MB)is 1000 kilobytes. For example, if each of your images is 50 KB (kilobytes) and you have 40 images: 50 KB x 40 = 2,000 KB (or 2 MB - megabytes) If you show smaller thumbnails of the images so people can decide what to enlarge, be sure to include the sizes of those in your total. Let's say the thumbnails are 5KB each: 5 KB x 40 = 200 KB The text on your site probably won't be much -- say 50 KB total. Adding 2000 KB + 200 KB + 50 KB = 2250 KB (2.25 MB (megabytes)) So if a web host offered even 5MB of space that might be enough, depending on how much other space you use up with email or other files. How do you tell how big your files are? Look at the file size in your Windows Explorer directory. If you took your photos with your new digital camera, you'll have some beautiful, but VERY LARGE files. You'll need to use graphics software to resize the image to a size you can use over the Internet. How do you tell how big images are on somebody else's site? Usually (an exception is grafphoto.com) you can right click on an image and choose Properties.
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.
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 2.2% 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)
Activity: 10 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
The next session is on promoting your website and your work.