Hi graigcarter023, Nice question and a beauty for fellow posters to point form a game plan for your scenario.
This is my first post though I have been an avid follower of sitepoint.com for some time and have learnt a lot.
If you have basic web scripting skills or are comfortable with configuring one of the many free website templates that are strewn across the web then this is the Top 5 steps to selling your Furniture online, otherwise this is the Top 5 steps to take with a $500 budget.
Last things First, search in vain for the perfect domain name for your online presence. You will want something like cartersfuniture.com, failing that try variations on the desired name of your business.
Next you will need some Web Hosting to store your Furniture eShop. Free or Paid? I have been testing out two fully free webhosting portals, 000webhost.com and zymic.com both are slow but are free, no ads. Web hosting is so cheap you will just be better off paying $50 – $80 per year, I spend that much on cigarettes per week, you probably do as well. The best three web hosts that have the coolest logos are iPage.com, Godaddy.com and Hostgator.com. Godaddys Control Panel was a bit primitive but that have changed now.
Step Three. Now you will want to actually construct the website that will be your Furniture eStore. If you have a budget for this online presence I strongly suggest hiring a ‘web designer’ to built the site for say $500 this includes things like photographing your products for sale listings, creating a catalogue system specific to your needs, rigging up one of the many free shopping carts available and rigging up credit card and paypal/payza processing solutions. There will be ongoing site maintenance that will have to be done such as uploading new product, and removing old product. Try to pick a ‘web designer’ you can be friends with. Otherwise you will be on the merry-go-round of ‘IT Guys/Gals’, what this means is you will be literally ‘starting from scratch’ with each new Web Master.
Once your Web Master has your eStore live and running he or she will usually request in some cases demand money for ongoing site maintenance, be sure to pay the Web Master some money from time to time. It may appear that they are just sitting there meandering around but an honest Web Master is really getting things done. You are bright, question the hell out of your Web Master, ask him, ‘what exactly are you doing’, most important try to be friends with your Web Master it will save a lot of money over time.
Step Five. Go about your normal daily routine and Relax. Your Web Master has everything under control.
Please note graigcarter023, these 5 steps will give you an online ‘presence’. After you have found a reliable Web Master you will want an Ad guy/gal for Advertising your online Furniture Store.