Thinking About a Website? This Might Be the Time.
I'm planning to maintain the site, but not to build it, and certainly not to reinvent the wheel if possible. We've started by engaging a qualified web designer, somebody who thinks about these problems full-time -- a luxury we cannot afford with the book and publishing businesses (Rose's Books and Clock & Rose Press).
Like any other software design, you want to spend most of your thinking time at the front end -- thinking and rethinking the overall design -- rather than trying to fix something after it's already been coded. We already had our domain names (www.roses-books.com and www.clockandrose.com) which we've been using for email. If you don't already have a domain name getting one is the first order of business. We also already have digitally designed logos for both our bookselling business and our publishing company.
We want to be able to not only showcase the books we have for sale and those we publish, but we want customers to be able to purchase from our site. Therefore, we need a shopping cart that is able to receive customer credit card information, or, alternatively, we want customers to be able to contact us by telephone or pay by paypal, or by other means.
We are trying not to buy any software or related product for our website which is other than generic and we want to use existing back office processing systems. Tentatively, we are thinking about using Yahoo! stores which is reasonably priced and offers a shopping cart that can be linked to our book database. Although Yahoo! does take a very small commission on sales, we feel that is more than made up by the time related to processing orders and the little-known fact that Yahoo! stores are favored on Yahoo!'s search engine for the obvious reason that Yahoo! is making money on its stores' sales.
We don't want to use any "site-builder" software available from Yahoo! because, well, those sites look like they have been built with that software. We want a site that reflects our uniqueness and our interesting mix of services and rare materials.
Our site is going to consist of five sections: a bookstore home which will enable customers to search for books, browse categories, read detailed descriptions, make inquiries, set up personal accounts, and purchase materials.
There will be a home page for our publishing company that will detail the books we publish, as well as our publishing services.
A personalized services home page will discuss the in-depth searches we do, including bibliography- and library-building, as well as the special programs we offer libraries, which include both selling and publishing their rarest books.