Help me build a website

I need a website to sale objects. I have some ideas on how it should look like (pictures, video, flash and text), but I have no idea how to do it. :unamused:

What I would like to, is get somebody to help me build it and teach me how to upgrade it in the future. I would like to use Dreamweaver MX 6.0 to do it. I know, I could get a book and study it by myself, but I’m afraid this will take to much time. So does anybody have experience in using this software and would sacrifice the time to sit down with me until it is done? How would you want me to repay you?

[quote=“mesheel”]I need a website to sale objects. I have some ideas on how it should look like (pictures, video, flash and text), but I have no idea how to do it. :roll:

What I would like to, is get somebody to help me build it and teach me how to upgrade it in the future. I would like to use Dreamweaver MX 6.0 to do it. I know, I could get a book and study it by myself, but I’m afraid this will take to much time. So does anybody have experience in using this software and would sacrifice the time to sit down with me until it is done? How would you want me to repay you?[/quote]
My friend spent a large part of his one-year MA course in website design learning and becoming familiar with Dreamweaver. A substantial investment in time. However, I believe that once somebody is thoroughly familiar with this software, it will still take them many hours to build a website, and generally they would want to be paid for it. Good luck if you can find anyone to help you on an informal basis, but it sounds like a professional job to me.

a good forum for dreamweaver.

First go thru the tutorials that come with the program. They are straightforward and gets you the basics you need to run a website in a hurry especially if you are going to connect it to a database.

She could always go to and get an Indian to offshore it for US$5/hour, payable through PayPal.

That “giant sucking sound” you hear is coming from your ethernet port. :imp:


Would you really need flash and video? Without it, you could pretty much be up and running in a matter of days. You could always get professional video/flash people to add it later, but initially, I’d recommend just getting good photos to be up and running in no time. Want to give us an idea of what it is you’ll be selling?

I used to design web sites professsionally. The problem is, you haven’t really given us enough information about what you want to do to give any meaningful advice.

Are you selling seven or eight products that will change rarely if ever? Then sticks has the right advice - the tutorials are excellent, and while a program like Dreamweaver is overkill for such a simple task, it will work fine.

However, if you are planning, say, to make an English language website to resell an electronics component company’s list of products in America, you are dealing with a very complicated situation. The database will change frequently, the listing of products will need to be very flexible, and while Dreamweaver could make a good frontend for such a site, it would be necessary to do a lot of database work and programming on the back end. I would hire professional help to do this, and you certainly should.

Dreamweaver is also not enough by itself to make a competent web page developer. You need to learn a graphics program (Photoshop), a source editor (Homesite), and hopefully a site validator (CSE looks good).

There are several good open source shopping cart systems - you would need help to install the software on your web server, but once that is set up they are very easy to run. For this kind of site, Dreamweaver is unnecessary. (osCommerce, interchange, ECHO).

Finally, you need to consider credit card processing. Put simply, it’s very expensive, and very difficult. The people who do the processing have to deal with a very high risk of fraud, and they make you pay for it. To get anything resembling a fair deal you will need a substantial U.S. presence. If you plan to only use Paypal, look at this first. Keep in mind that they will consider any Taiwanese business to be a fraud mine until proven otherwise.

Finally, shipping and delivery is tricky. You will need to think very hard about return policies. Shipping from Taiwan to the U.S. will be very expensive, and slow at any reasonable price.

If you seriously plan on doing this you have your work cut out for you - a lot of research and learning to do. Good luck!

Doesn’t sound very comforting… :frowning: I guess I will really need some help.

Well, I was asked by a local art dealer to sell his objects overseas. He does not care how I do it, but will give me a commission on everything I sold. I thought of creating a website similar to this one or this

I want a nice frontpage and then some sites with introductions to the company, the items (pictures and explanation), the conditions…stuff like that.

So what do I do?

Selling art on the Internet is hell. I should know, I did it for a year.

Buying an expensive piece of art on the net based on a smallish picture is very very risky. In Taipei, they have a reputation, they have a store, they have a boss you can beat up if it turns out to be a fake. On the net you have none of that. Christie’s and Sotheby’s have very very solid reputations, and even they have been implicated in scandals. You will find it very very hard to sell anything pricey enough to make the shipping wothwhile with no reputation to speak of.

However, there are additional difficulties. Art is just about the worst possible thing to sell on the net. There is only one copy of any given object (worth buying at least, prints are for fools). That means that every object has to be added to the database separately. A lot of work. And once it is sold it needs to be removed - immediately.

Inventory control is a huge mess. How do you know if the object has already been sold? Just think how pissed off you would be if you went to buy something on a web site (taking a big risk of trust, I might add), only to be told it had already been sold! Would you ever shop there again? I think not.

As an art dealer, you need to meet a very high aesthetic standard. Good enough is simply not good enough. Your photography has to be immaculate - a very tricky proposition for an amateur photographer. You have to be very skilled with lighting. I am not a bad photographer, but working with a very limited budget, in the end I had to admit I was not up to the task. Art objects have very different properties, and photographing a crystal vase, a wood sculpture and a large painting are all very different and difficult propositions.

Finally, shipping, billing, and delivery (fulfillment, in e-commerce lingo) are huge problems, especially where you are contracting with another party. In this situation, you are responsible for their problems. Breaks in transit? Your problem. Turns out to be a fake? Your problem. Shipping turns out to be astoundingly expensive? Your problem (and how can you estimate shipping costs when weights and sizes vary enormously - and packing art objects adds greatly to volume). Ships late? Your problem. Customer doesn’t like the piece when it arrives? Your problem.

In the end, the business I worked with went bankrupt. Essentially everything we sold on the web site was to previous customers of the physical gallery. We were burned again and again on shipping costs.

In short, I would advise against getting into this sinkhole. The only thing I can think of that might work is to contact well known posh dealers of Asian art and seeing if you can sell to them directly. If the material is high enough quality, and you can offer them an attractive enough price, they might be interested.

“What he said.”

I thought about suggesting that you try an EBay Store – not necessarily auctions, you can sell at fixed prices too. However, all of the above problems apply, and on EBay, unless you have a high rating already, people avoid your auctions. In particular, check out the photography on the auctions that do well – the item has to be photographed perfectly.

If you go that route, the standard commission charge (there are “EBay resellers” in the U.S. who take people’s stuff and put it up for auction) is 30%; however, since you are dealing with overseas stuff, you might need to bump that up. I sincerely doubt that the art dealer will want to pay that high a commission, but IMHO you would have to work hard enough to warrant it. If he’s offering you 10%, you should laugh at him – it’s not a trivial undertaking.

BTW, for Asian art, there was a major fraud case in Seattle over the last couple of years. The man running the gallery was (IIRC) a respected professor of economics who taught at UW and in Hong Kong, and to back up his reputation he had certifications done for pieces that could be tested, and so people trusted him – turned out that pretty much everything he sold was fake, the certificates were done by a company he owned, and so on. Last I heard, he’d fled the U.S. for some place with no extradition treaty for nonviolent offenses.

Thanks for your advises.
Well, billing and shipping is not my main problem. These can be solved. As I would act as a broker for a local art gallery I don’t have the storing and inventory problem either.

What is on my mind is, how do I make sure that once I sell an object, the gallery really gives me my commision? How much commision should I ask for? The gallery was talking about 10%. Seems low, but then again, if I sell an object for 2mio NT, I still get quite a lot of money out of it, don’t I?

If I bill the object so as to the customer directly pays me the commision and the rest of the price to the gallery, than I get my commision, but I have most possible to disclose my source to the customer and he would probably want to buy the objects directly from the gallery next time. So I’m basically being used to find overseas customers for the gallery, but then again dumped as soon as I’ve found them. So how do I stay in business?

mesheel, you’re not listening. Inventory is your problem. If you do the work to photograph, post and market a piece on the internet, only to have the store sell the piece, that’s your problem. If somebody orders the piece from you before you know it’s been sold, that’s a big problem. Given that most businesses I’ve seen in Taiwan have atrocious recordkeeping, there may well be a big delay between the owner selling a piece and telling you. In fact he may not think it’s important to tell you at all - at least until you tell him that someone wants to buy the piece.

On Ebay, it’s a violation of the terms of service, and will give you bad reputation at best and at worst will get you banned from Ebay and have your Paypal account ‘frozen’ (money gone, all gone, forever).

Shipping is also your problem as you will recieve any letters of interest. And the first thing they will say is, “I’m interested in piece X, but how much will the shipping be?”. Now, you won’t have a solid order, you can’t just pack it up and weigh it, but you will need to come up with a price IMMEDIATELY - because nobody likes too be kept waiting. And if it turns out to be higher than the quoted price, are you going to risk the sale by saying “Oh, it turns out shipping was a little more than we first thought - actually, a lot more.” No, you won’t. And will the gallary owner be nice and say, “Oh, that’s OK, just a mistake, I’ll take care of the extra shipping.”. No, he won’t. You’ll be the one paying. If you pay, it’s your problem.

And if you don’t do the shipping yourself (it is a lot of work), you will never get a good feel for estimating shipping costs on varied objects. So this will happen to you again and again.

MaPoDurian made good point that the absolute minimum that you should consider is 30%. You can, of course, make this up by marking up the price. You should also have the customers pay you directly. Not just because it protects you but because you will have to deal with any problems, in effect you will be legally responsible, so you’d best have your hands on the money.

10% is a joke. Surely any good customer gets more than a 10% discount.

To be honest on most pieces I would only consider it reasonable on a 100% markup, as you are taking major risks, and on a few pieces the prices might still be attractive to Americans.