What do you want your website to do for you? This is the most critical question to answer when trying to figure out what kind of a site you need. For instance;
- Do you want a website to merely advertise your business or organization?
- Do you need to be able to update it on a regular basis with new articles or information?
- Are you going to sell a product or a whole host of products?
- Is this going to be a personal site?
If you want to just advertise your business, you may want to opt for a static site that rarely changes. These can be built with an easy to use WYSIWYG editor like Expressions Web or Coffee Cup Web Editor.
If you are going to update the site with fresh articles or information, then you may want to consider a blog software like WordPress, or MoveableType. Each of these have strong features that allow for changing the site on the fly. There are also CMS (Content Management Systems) like Joomla that lend themselves very well to multiple users. All of these are editable via a web page and are publicly available (free). They also have different levels of learning to be done to become proficient at using them.
If you are going to sell a single or small product selection, you might want to consider a blog software that will allow you to have static pages and install a PayPal shopping cart. These can be very effective for promoting and selling a small product line. You can also build a static site where you program in the PayPal features you want. These two solutions are very inexpensive and can be set up in a very short time.
If you have hundreds or thousands of products, you definitely want to invest in a shopping cart solution. These can save you a lot of heartache, in billing, shipping, and reporting issues, but do require a significant time investment to start. I have experience with SquirrelCart and a couple of others. I also know a nice lady that does custom shopping cart solutions if you would like a referral.
If you are going to build a personal site to post family or personal events or pictures and/or maintain a log of topics important to you, then I definitely recommend a blog software that costs nothing and can be maintained via a web browser.
Please post questions. I am happy to expound on this subject.
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