Web Store

We’ve started the process of building a web store for the business.  To assist in that endeavor my brother, Joseph, will be posting a detailed description of everything he’s doing to get the web store up and running.  It’s basically going to be his project and he’ll be posting regularly.  
Building a web store – Part 1: An Overview
by Joseph Gats
Picture yourself as a cake designer when a friend of yours comes in and asks for a cake.
“What kind of cake would you like,” you ask.
“Oh I don’t know,” he says, “a great cake.”
“Do you want it to be a single layer or double layer,” you ask again grabbing a notepad to jot down some notes hoping for some direction.
Again your friend is less than specific, “Oh, I don’t know, “he says.  “I just want it to be perfect and for everyone who has a slice to think it’s the best cake they have ever had.”
Frustrated you ask for more details.  Equally frustrated they supply only vague notions about what they want.  In the real world no one would expect the cake to turn out exactly the way your friend wants it to if they can’t give you a basic idea of what they want.  But this happens every day.  The friend is disappointed maybe even a little mad that you couldn’t create them the perfect cake and nothing of substance is achieved.
This is similar to creating a web store.  Whether you’re creating it on your own or hiring a designer to do it for you it’s important to figure out exactly what you want before you even start.  Be prepared to sit down and plan.  Your webstore is as important to your business as your product.  This is even more of a truth if you lack a brick and mortar place of business.  If you are selling exclusively online, then your webstore isn’t just your marketplace, it’s you.  It’s how the world will see you and what they will think of you. Can they trust you?  Do you have style?  Only your webstore can answer those questions on first sight.  You have to be prepared to answer with an absolute “yes”.
Building it yourself:
For now, lets assume that you’re going to create the webstore yourself.   Lets go over a few of the basics.  Do you have all the software tools you’ll need to get the job done?  What are those tools?  Lets explore that.
A home computer.
This may seem obvious, but if you’re planning on building your store at the library or on a computer you only have limited access to your going to find yourself frustrated.  Updates need to be made in real time, files need to be saved, you need a space to work and sometimes a public space just isn’t enough.
Image editing software
Pictures drive websites.  Unless your pictures are crisp, clean, and sized properly some visitors to your website will write you off as unprofessional.  Your website will need images of varying sizes and with digital effects added, image editing software is important.  Working on a budget?  Don’t worry there are some low cost and no cost options available that we will explore later.
Digital photography of your products.
It’s important that you are able to capture your products in the most appealing light.  Your customers can’t grab your merchandise in real life so they need to be able to see it on their screen so they can make a decision to buy.
A server host
You are going to need a place to host your files so that people can access your store online.  You can either buy your own equipment or rent storage online from a server who’s already got everything you need.
This is all a lot of information?  Where do I start?  We’ll get into that in the next post.  

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