How We Built FabricCoffeeSleeve.com
How we went from
code virgins to launch day in 3 weeks
Firstly I want to thank the Reddit Community, especially r/Entreprenuer for all their help and feedback, I wish we would have consulted you earlier, I am sure that you could have saved us a lot of trial and error.
My name is Jordan and I am 50% of The Norman Project LLC. Over the last 3 weeks I have been developing this website to sell our first product; customizable Fabric Coffee Sleeves. I will go into more detail about what we make, and why we do what we do in another post… For now I want to focus on teaching other people how to build an eCommerce solution similar to the one we developed. Remember, 3 weeks ago I had NEVER created anything like this. I didn’t know ANY CSS, and I only knew one html tag… 3 weeks ago I would have killed to have a resource like this, so I hope this helps!
I picked up my domain and hosting account from godaddy.com for pretty cheap. I purchased a 1 year domain registration, and 1 year of Deluxe Hosting. I could have gotten away with Economy Hosting, but I want to buy and host other domains later on, and you can use your Deluxe Hosting account to host as many domains as you want, so I was happy to spend the extra $2/month. I know that there are a lot of services out there that are cheaper, than GoDaddy, but I disagree… Sure some services have a lower purchase price, but the reliability and helpfulness of godaddy’s 24 Hour Customer Support will cut hours out of your process. The fact that I can pick up a phone and get a real live human to answer my questions 24/7 is a lot more valuable than $5 or $10…
If there is one thing you take away from this post, let it be this. Go download the chrome extension “Honey” right now! This lightweight add on adds a small “Honey Button” on to 100′s of website’s checkout page. Click it before you checkout and it will apply several coupon codes and 8/10 times it will save you a ton of money… I have saved over $300 on this project alone! Watch this quick video if you need some examples, but then go to joinhoney.com
There are a few more powerful eCommerce solutions out there, but I settled on WordPress because it is universal, easy to learn, and FREE!! To get started you are going to want to login to your godaddy account and get to your “Hosting Details” page. Then you will need to click the install wordpress button.
Once you have wordpress installed you will need to purchase and install an eCommerce Theme to get the ball rolling. The best way I have found to search for a theme is to sort them by “Highest Number of Sales”… This sounds counter intuitive because you might think it would be better to avoid using a popular theme so that you stand out from other eCommerce Sites, but I quickly found this out to be a false assumption. The more sales a theme has the more updates and resources it usually has as well…
We went with the MayaShop theme because it was clean and easy to customize. We also chose Maya because it was compatible with wooCommerce and we knew that we wanted to use that as our shopping cart solution later on.
wooCommerce is completely FREE shopping cart solution that integrates seamlessly with WordPress to allow you to add products, track inventory, checkout, track user info, and build reports… You won’t believe how well wooCommerce works, and when you realize that all this functionality costs you absolutely nothing, you will kill yourself for not finding it sooner!
I started by installing Launchpad. This handy plugin allows you to set a “Launch Date”, then it allows you to do all of your development in a test environment without anyone being able to see your work in the live environment.
Next I installed Updraft Plus. This plugin automatically backs up my wordpress site to my dropbox every morning. Having a solid backup strategy allowed me to feel much more confident as I tinkered around with MayaShop and wooCommerce.
We wanted to be able to offer a discount schedule for people that purchase in large quantities and “wooCommerce Bulk Discount” was a free plugin that let us do exactly that! It is very easy to configure and is as powerful as most of the paid options out there!
We needed the ability to allow customers to customize the Fabric Coffee Sleeves that they ordered. Now wooCommerce allows you to do a ton of customization already, and here is a quick video explaining how to do that but we needed a little further personalization so we added the nMedia Plugin shown to the left.
Note: There are several options for product customization out there, here is another very popular option wooCommerce Product Add On
One thing we wanted to make sure we had right out of the gate, was a consistent branded feel to the site, and we knew we weren’t going to get this through standard clipart, shortcodes, and stock images… So we made all of our own art. To do this we turned to Gimp! Gimp has almost all the functionality of Photoshop, and it is FREE! You can use Gimp to create and edit photos, text, art, and much more!
Thanks again for everyone that contributed to our Original Thread We have learned SOO MUCH from your comments, and we have already started implimenting many of the changes you suggested…. Be sure to check back with us and let us know how we are doing…