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View Full Version : Web Site Startup ?'s


dphillips81
4th of August 2007 (Sat), 13:50
I have been doing a lot of landscape and wildlife photography lately and i have come away with some pretty good images. I have had a lot of intrest from people, other than friends and family, in purchasing prints of my images. So here is my idea, i would like to set up a website that i can use to display my images and pricing, and then would like to eventually get it to the point where i can take orders via the website, and take payments. I would also like to get it to the point where it is as fully automated as possible. I would like for the customer to be able to place the order, pay via credita card, have the order sent to the printer, and then shipped directly to the customer. I don't plan on this being my main source of income right away. I also plan to set up some booths at local events and sell prints there as well. I am also working a deal with a local coffee shop to display and sell my work. So here are my questions...

1. Who is the best site hosting serice out there for photographer sites? I am just in the planning stages so i would like to know who is the best, and also what thing i need to be thinking about when picking where i host my site.

2. Do most of you design the site yourself, or do you pay someone else to desing the site? I am pretty comfortable in the basic layout of the site, but would need some help in the more advanced features, shopping cart, credit card processing, and i would like to have a member sign up area so that i can send out emails when i post new collections.

3. When it comes to having the images printed who do you use? I currently use mpix.com, and they are great, but when they ship the prints are in and mpix.com box. Is their a way that i can have the images printed and shipped directly to the customer, and in a box with my business information on the outside? or should i just have several of each image printed and have them on hand and do the shipping myself? the later just doesn't feel like it makes any sense from a time and cost stand point.

4. As far as accepting payments.. is it ok to just use paypal or google checkout, or is it better to go ahead and get a merchant account with visa/mastercard. I don't know how much business i will be doing right away, so i don't know if the added cost of the merchant account would be worth it to start off.

I am still working on pricing of the different sizes of prints, and have not started on a web design yet. This business idea is in the very very beginning stages and i am just trying to gather all the information i can before i get to ahead of myself.

thank you all in advance for any help you may offer.

EricL
4th of August 2007 (Sat), 14:26
Hey Dustin, I was in the same position just a few months ago. I now have a site up and running. I didn't have the computer knowledge to build the site myself so I had Carla at Alaska Web Design here in Anchorage do it for me. I was very pleased with what she did for me. However, I have her making some changes for me now. (Site may be down currently) I have an account set up with Paypal that included the use of credit cards. Carla is going to incorporate this into my site so it all looks like the same site, secure of course. I do all my own shipping and after much research of costs, I have all the supplies needed to ship most anything. I have gotten more involved than I had expected but really enjoy all of it.
The one thing I haven't purchased yet is a shrink wrapper. Come next summer I will be ready for the Saturday market here in town. I received my Alaska business license a few weeks ago. This is a must if you plan on setting up at markets, festivals, state fair, etc. Good Luck!

dphillips81
4th of August 2007 (Sat), 14:38
Hey Dustin, I was in the same position just a few months ago. I now have a site up and running. I didn't have the computer knowledge to build the site myself so I had Carla at Alaska Web Design here in Anchorage do it for me. I was very pleased with what she did for me. However, I have her making some changes for me now. (Site may be down currently) I have an account set up with Paypal that included the use of credit cards. Carla is going to incorporate this into my site so it all looks like the same site, secure of course. I do all my own shipping and after much research of costs, I have all the supplies needed to ship most anything. I have gotten more involved than I had expected but really enjoy all of it.
The one thing I haven't purchased yet is a shrink wrapper. Come next summer I will be ready for the Saturday market here in town. I received my Alaska business license a few weeks ago. This is a must if you plan on setting up at markets, festivals, state fair, etc. Good Luck!

I have an AK business license for Retail sales, is that what you have? or do you need one as a photography business? Is Alaska Web Design very expensive? I will check in to that, maybe i will see you at the market, but i think i will concentrate my effort here in Seward, i think the cruise passengers would buy my prints and other items. Thanks for the information, oh, who do you host your site with?

EricL
5th of August 2007 (Sun), 01:38
Dustin, I had to actually call the state to answer some of my questions as to what code to use for the license. It show code 54, professional, scientific and technical services. I just told them exactly what I wanted to do and this is what she gave me. My site shows as being hosted by Alaska Web Designs LLC. She isn't the cheapest but she is very good. She has done alot of the business's here in town. If you get yours up and running, maybe we can link each other!!

dphillips81
5th of August 2007 (Sun), 19:33
So after doing a little more research it looks like a site like smugmug.com, might be the answer for me. I will do some more reading, i just don't know if i can customize the site to be as unique as i want it to be.

gcobb
5th of August 2007 (Sun), 22:24
I use Exposuremanager.com. They do everything other than upload your images and set your prices. I love it.