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  #1  
Old 10-27-2005, 08:49 PM
EliteImpressions EliteImpressions is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Jersey
Posts: 215
need professional help

This is kind of off topic for this industry but I know there are a lot of website buffs here. I just started a direct mail company to go with my lawn care and would like a web site that is similar printpelican.com. Something where the customer can design, upload, order, and pay for their order. I really like that fact that printpelican.com shows the price changes instantly on the same screen instead of you going to a different page. Does anyone know how to do this and what are they willing to do it for or where should I go to get this designed?

Thanks
Joe

856 371 0034
joseph@paramountadvertising.com
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2005, 08:07 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Whew, yeah that's one of my dream projects, too

To give you some specs, this type of design would likely benefit from dynamic instead of static design. The use of a database might ease things further...

Php-based applications come to mind, perhaps a pre-fab you can configure but be aware this thing consumes resources... If you have a LARGE customer base (say over 500) this MIGHT present a problem on smaller servers but it is also possible you can handle upwards of a thousand visitors/day, I don't know but there IS a limit, php consumes a quantity of essential CPU resources, 'nuff said.

Far as where to find such an animal, I see Nuke sites are very configurable, you MIGHT be able to use something like that... You can get one at (BUT WAIT)
http://phpnuke.org/index.php

Go there and read up some but rather than paying the $10 for the latest version, first try downloading an older version like v.6.0, it's free:
http://phpnuke.org/modules.php?name=...download&cid=6

It will take some work on your part to get it all set, but this is the closest I can think of something that would still be YOUR Web site... The problem with getting someone else to do it for you is in the end it's not really YOUR web site, it would continue to cost everytime you need something, it's almost like hiring one of us LOL.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2005, 11:15 PM
EliteImpressions EliteImpressions is offline
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Topsites, thanks for the link. It looks like Ill have to do a lot more research for what I want. For now I guess I just do something simple like just show the prices nothing else.
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  #4  
Old 10-29-2005, 01:24 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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It is a LOT of work and is one of the areas where the instant gratification factor we normally gain from the use of computers is sorely absent.
Had I known what I know today, I could've saved several hundred dollars in the first year alone as I spent most of THIS time doing what you just realized: research. Even then you will likely waste some money in the end, this appears inevitable but you are correct when you assume the more you know upfront, the better off you will be.

If it helps, you'll need some key elements designing a web site and I'll get to those in my next post because I'm concluding this by agreeing it is best to start out slow, and easy. Complications are the number one reason for this, I used to think building a search engine would be easy... That was before I understood the searchbox alone isn't just a piece of code but it involves SOFTWARE that runs on the server WITH a database that holds the information (wow, right?).
It is no wonder companies like Inktomi charge upwards of 10 thousand dollars a YEAR (it IS ridiculous) to provide search solutions for large corporations but research into the matter got me with smaller places which charge 60 to 90 dollars per year for limited services... Once I got comfortable with the limited services, I eventually found the software I needed for a one-time 40 dollar fee but of course it's DIY and I had to have the background I gained from doing things the easy way so I could make progress.

Another way to say it is: If you start with the easy stuff and you do what is easy for some time, suddenly one day the hard stuff isn't so hard anymore. You'll likely have your dream site before you know it but don't be surprised if it's a few years down the road, I've been planning to build MY lawn site all this year LOL and it will likely be a simple thing in the end just as well.
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  #5  
Old 10-29-2005, 02:05 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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The basic elements a site consists of are this:
They all work together, none are more important than the other so it doesn't really matter how you go about it, I listed them 1.2.3 for sake of simplicity:

1) You need a skeleton, that is what I call it but there are other words. Either way, this is like the frame of a car which will eventually hold everything together... Most often you can find a skeleton in the form of a template OR you can use a cheap (better yet, free) program to design some simple thing which will help you expand later on. Just a quick note please do NOT confuse 'framed' sites or 'site frames' with this should you run into this on your quest, I would advise stay away from this concept as it is more trouble than it's worth. Best route to go is 'templates'
2) You need CONTENT, the more the better. Content is best described as stuff people can USE, SEE, click on, and interact with on your site. Starting with simple stuff, pictures are great content as are articles, links, and a few other things might be an 'about' page and other boring stuff LOL. I find from experience I like to first collect my content over time I take my digicam with me on jobs and sometimes I save helpful articles on the Internet to my computer and in the end I like to have at LEAST 50 pieces of individual content, thou 75-100 is better... You will see a page can eat 10 to 20 pieces of content in a heartbeat and a 5-page site will appear very small thou this will require, as you might figure, 75-100 pieces of content. On this note, it would NOT hurt to have 200 or more pieces of content to begin with, I find from experience at least HALF the content I collect ends up in the disposal and waste management department, heh.
3) You'll want to design either in your mind or on a piece of paper a layout of sorts, the more you know what your site will look like in the end, the better.

Once you've done all this, should you hire someone it will save you tons of money and time and frustration as it will ease the designer's troubles... It's just like when a NEW customer calls you and they lay out everything they want done and they know not only what they want but they KNOW what they're talking about and you can see at once when you go give the estimate these people are not joking or farting around... don't you just wish everybody was like that? Come prepared and you'll likely get if not a better price or a better product, at least an easier transaction all the way through.

Should you decide to design yourself, you'll need a program to put it all together. Some places like Geocities offer online web-based interfaces and it may appear a bit primitive at first but please rest assured when I say Geocities is as good as it gets, even the fanciest interface isn't that much better when in the end you'll end up using the basic functions 90 percent of the time anyhow. Here again I would recommend a simple program, there is free software out there, the 900-dollar programs are NO better than the cheapos other than looks, the integrity of the code being error-free sucks just as bad with a cheap or free program as it does with DreamWeaver Pro because the ONLY way you're going to get 100% great code is by doing things the hard way anyhow, see...
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2005, 02:17 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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Last but not least, some may think simple sites suck but I'm telling you from experience, on this Internet simplicity RULES!! So you may find in the end your gratification from it all has a good chance of being better with a simple site. Getting fancy with my own site in the end did help boost traffic SOME but it didn't double it, it didn't make the world come to my feet, and I'm glad it's the way it is keeping in mind 90% of my site is still static html, only a few sections are php-based and what a nightmare LOL but in the end the challenge of it all was just awesome, an unbeatable mountain climb I wouldn't miss had I to do it all over again.

Design-wise, it's the same as with a real business, stay with the proven designs of those types of sites you tend to visit the most yourself... What I mean is some people think standard is boring but before anyone gets fancy, I remember when Google was nothing but a searchbox and I mean that is ALL it was... They contacted me asking if I could help (it's funny, really) and I pointed this flaw out to them, I thought their site lacked CONTENT and they said to me real fast they are specialists in the search department and that is all they wish to do and they said I should check out how GOOD their search was... I did and thought it wasn't anything better than the next search engine but their non-chalant attitude did it, I figured give the guys a chance because my engine is really just a TINY little thing anyhow so I included a basic search code to their site into my searchbox... I doubt my help alone got them where they are today, it would be ridiculous to think this but even then they stayed 'searchbox ONLY' until they were way in over their head in TRAFFIC before they even THOUGHT of adding all that other stuff they have today. In not so many words, Google had 90% of what Google has today in customer base (for lack of better terms) before they even got fancy. The point is clear: Simplicity Rules!

And no offense but Google is an exception, they're the one out of a million who for some unknown reason make it BIG. They didn't start out this way and likely most of us thought like I did at first: yeah, whatever. I'm still not sure what does it, what the magical ingredient is, but it sure slowed me down over the years as I realized I might just stay at a million hits/month for a long, long time (it may sound like a lot but it's only 25k visitors/month, consider for a minute that BILLIONS of folk use the Internet daily, 25k is hardly a fraction of ONE percent LOL I am a LOOOONG ways from being a 'big' search engine).

Of course, I always wish you the best of luck and if you DO make it big I will digest the same shorts I ate when I saw Google rise in the ranks.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you need further assistance.

Last edited by topsites; 10-29-2005 at 02:23 AM.
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  #7  
Old 10-29-2005, 02:30 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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Location: Richmond Virginia
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For a guy who can help you with your site the way Lawnsite.com helped me with my business (meaning you have to READ-READ-READ and put up with a little bit of spam and filter through a bit but there's really good stuff in there), I highly recommend Richard's site:
http://www.internet-tips.net/
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  #8  
Old 10-30-2005, 10:01 PM
EliteImpressions EliteImpressions is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Jersey
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topsites,

You are an unbelievable wealth of knowledge! Thanks for writing in detail on items to look out for and what steps to take. Also, what is you search engine? I would like to look into advertising on it.

As far as being as big as google...I dont have to become as big as them. I just want to build a business and have people run it and have them make me rich eventually.
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2005, 02:51 PM
EliteImpressions EliteImpressions is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Jersey
Posts: 215
topsites,

Im going out today to get some books on php and mysql. Please check out www.paramountadvertising.com and let me know what you think. I really only have the template done, I didnt think it would take several hours to get something I liked. If anything doesnt look professional please let me know(I havent added keywords or anything like that, its all cosmetic right now.)
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  #10  
Old 11-04-2005, 04:08 PM
EliteImpressions EliteImpressions is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Jersey
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well, I just added phpnuke but saved it to my main site and now phpnuke comes up instead of the site I designed. If anyone has encountered this before, please help. I know why companies spend thousands for their website.
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