November 14, 2010

Creating a Web Site: lessons for the less-than-savvy

So I have spent the last 24 wasted hours trying to set up a better web page than the kinda ugly one that I have through Soopsee.com because my traffic to that web page has been zero % over the last two months, and how can that be good for business?

I searched the Internet.  I read the reviews and I thought I was doing "research" and getting reliable information about which web hosts were the best for setting up a web page, transferring a domain, establishing another e-commerce way to sell my wares, and linking my pre-existing blog.  I took the Internet advice, which said that "Ipage.com was the #1 web hosting service" out there.  I signed up, and here's what happened:

I couldn't set up the page the way I wanted to set it up without a degree in web publishing or paying for someone else through the host to "help" me (not mentioned in the sign-up info.).  When I wanted to cancel my account and get a refund, though, this service suddenly was offered for free.

I couldn't actually have things, like site security for payments made by customers, even using Paypal, without paying an additional fee.

I couldn't back up my site without an additional fee.

I couldn't support e-commerce without an additional fee (not mentioned in the sign-up info.).  The advertisement suggested that e-commerce set-up was part of the sign-up, but it's a la carte.

I couldn't transfer my domain, which I actually already own, without a hidden fee (not mentioned in the sign-up info.) and over 10 hours of exchange by email & chat with a technician--it never did happen in the end because I wasn't about to re-pay for a domain name that I had already purchased for the same prescribed period of ownership.

They wanted me to start from scratch--build a blog, build a web page according to their own prescribed templates (they said "over 1,000 templates available", but I think there were less than 50 available), build an e-commerce site from scratch.  I already have a blog and an Etsy store, though.  Who wants to start from scratch if you have something established?

And after exchanging email, doing live chats, and pulling out my hair, I spent over 30 minutes trying to convince the "helpful customer service agent" that I really did want them to honor their "45-day money-back guarantee" and refund my money.  7 days to refund my money on my credit card, folks.  I think I had better call the credit card company on this one.

So the moral of the story is ... don't believe what you read on the Internet.  I could have paid someone to set it up for me, professionally and effortlessly, for as much as it would have cost me to get, in the end, what I thought I was getting with the sign-up.

So the ugly web page remains, and I continue to search for a better option.  Ugh.

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