whiptips – craft website design advice

by kath_red on 11/11/2006

in News+Letters

Whiptipscraft advice column for readers to ask questions or offer advice by leaving comments. View the Whiptips archive here. Submit questions to whiptips@gmail.com. Please include photos with your questions!

Lindsey from Linques is asking for website design advice

My question is more technical then crafty, but for a crafty reason. Last year when I wanted to start a website store, I bought all-in-one software that lets me easily upload my items and publish it to my site. It is not, however, very aesthetically pleasing! Now that I’ve grown, I really need a site to showcase my work.

Since then, I’ve been trying to research new software and website designers, without much luck. I would love a designer, but usually they’re too expensive for such a small business. Having looked through the crafty world, I have seen some fabulous sites, so I am pleading for some advice! Does anyone know of either easy to use software or a wonderful designer? How do you get such lovely and easy to navigate sites?? I do have Dreamweaver, but am fuddling through it and do not know much about adding shopping carts! Thanks!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 soozs November 11, 2006 at 10:23 am

If you like my site (www.soozs.com) check out Mr Site, which is a super easy online shop set up and host. It’s very basic, perhaps too basic for what you want, but I have found it pretty helpful.

2 Katherine November 11, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Heh, not to present myself as a wonderful designer, but I’ve done some website design for non-personal use, most notably for Coconut&Lime (http://coconutlime.blogspot.com) This semester is really busy so far, so I might not be able to do anything substantial until the end of December, really, which has put off some referrals that I’ve gotten via the Coconut&Lime site. I did C&L for as a trade in services, and I enjoyed the work, but I think for future sites I’d rather have people buy me stuff of my (long) wishlist of various items for a total of around $50. Let me know if you’re interested!

3 Michele James-Parham November 11, 2006 at 10:48 pm

I understand where you are coming from on this issue. I started about 8 years ago with a website designed by myself using whatever the free program was that came with my web hosting package. In short, it was horrible and I had no idea what I was doing and my site suffered.

Jump ahead several years after I had blagged my way through reverse engineering the HTML on my website and web sites of others that I really liked, found out that switching from Windows to Linux was easy and I found an answer that works for me. NVU is the program. It’s simple, cross-platform (meaning it can be used on Linux, Mac & bleck Windows), Open Source (meaning it’s updated/monitered by a whole army of dedicated programmers and under the Mozilla Public License) and it’s FREE! http://nvu.com/index.php and the short and snappy info on how to get started is here http://nvu.com/websitehelp.php

It allows you the option of coding in HTML yourself or just using the WYSIWYG function…I have actually taught myself HTML by using NVU. It’s worth checking out, because it is easy and you won’t lose money on it, because it’s FREE!!!! My current site using NVU is http://www.naturalattachment.com

4 Lindsey November 12, 2006 at 2:07 am

I am out of town at the moment, but thanks so much for the links! I’m going to check out all the referrals tomorrow when I’m home. If you want an idea of what I’d need, check out my site at http://www.linques.net. I have a lot of product and need a good layout for that! Thanks so much and keep any other ideas coming!

5 Mary November 12, 2006 at 7:20 pm

Why not contact the people whose websites you really love and ask them who did their sites, how they were done, etc.? Once you’ve gathered some info about the sites you really like you may find some crossover in the advice, people who set them up, etc. It’s my experience that people are more than happy to help–especially if you like what they’re doing. Most websites have contact info, just email them and ask. Personally I use a very simple online site with templates, etc. It’s not fancy but I get emails every day telling me how much people like it because it’s easy to navigate and use. I do not have a shop on my site yet–people contact me through email, through my store (on land ;) or through other online venues. I hope this helps a little.

6 sueb November 12, 2006 at 8:36 pm

I’ve done my own website and some for others and found that the easiest software for me to use is Frontpage. I agree with the person who posted before me, an easy to navigate website with clean easy to read pages is the way to go. I’ve been to many websites with fancy moving graphics and busy page layouts that distract from the product that’s being sold.

7 Mary-Lou November 12, 2006 at 10:17 pm

My web-site (http://www.mlqknits.com/ ) is also a build / host from Mr Site (http://www.mrsite.co.uk/ ) – as Sooz says there are some limitations to Mr Site, but so far I’ve been quite pleased with it, and the forums they run have been really helpful in setting it all up

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