Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your insight and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I am a long time computer jockey, but brand new to WordPress. (Anybody remember BASICA, TurboPascal or written batch files for DOS? My first "laptop" computer only weighed 30 lbs!)
I am developing a web site to sell one (1) product online - a small booklet to track some obscure tax information. (Although it involves an obscure tax area, the money involved can be millions of dollars.)
Because it involves some rather technical tax stuff, the majority of the web site content will be educating the customer and his tax advisor with 20-30 "articles" (i.e. blog posts) describing "Why" you need the booklet and "How To" use the booklet. This is the primary reason why I selected WordPress. It is not really necessary that customers be allowed to comment on the 20-30 articles. Tax stuff is complicated, frequently changes and the purpose of the web site is to sell booklets not to offer tax advice since everybody’s mileage will vary.
The booklet costs $2.95 each or four (4) for $10.00. The booklet is 48 pages and the same size as a check register (6 inches tall by 3 inches wide). Consequently, it is small enough to be mailed in a regular business envelope. 99.9% of the shipping will be within the USA. For the few purchases made by Oklahoma customers, I will be required to collect sales tax.
For starters, it is certainly possible that I could have the customers fax their order, mail a check and then ship the booklets to them.
If for no other reason, this project has been a big plus for our family. My wife is so excited about this project that she has offered to help me maintain the web site. (Her computer experience is limited to word-processing, e-mail, and some industry-specific Windows-based programs that she uses at work.) Our grade-school age kids think it is “so cool” that WE (not just Dad) have a booklet that is copyrighted. They are already thinking about and planning out the books that they want to write, illustrate and publish! Isn’t this a great country!
Eventually, I will probably add another 4 or 5 products, some video tutorials and some Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files available for download. If the volume grows sufficiently to justify the expense, then I certainly would consider going “all-out” on the payment gateway alternatives.
After much searching, I have found a 3-column, left-navigation theme that I would like to use. I would like the home page to be "static."
I am trying to keep my recurring/monthly expenses for hosting, payment gateway fees, etc. reasonable. The book only sells for $2.95 so I have to sell a lot of books to pay somebody’s $100/month charge. Obviously for any start-up company, it may take awhile for the word-of-mouth recommendations to filter through to the potential customer base, but Christmas (April 15th for Uncle Sam) is just around the corner. But, I am prepared to fund it out of my own pocket till it starts rolling along.
In addition, I do not mind paying a couple hundred dollars for something if it will get me started quickly, save me some time babysitting this web site and means that I do not have to dive-in and program some code late at night. (My doctor said I had to give up the Mt. Dew.)
In the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld, "There are things that we know that we know. There are things that we know that we don't know. And, there are things that we don't know that we don't know."
HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS:
1. How can I quickly and easily add e-commerce functionality to this web site?
2. What am I missing? (In others words, what is it that "I don't know that I don't know?")
3..Do you have any other helpful suggestions, interesting observations or funny stories regarding e commerce?
I do apologize for the long post, but I wanted to provide an accurate assessment of the situation.
Thank-you so very much in advance for your help, courtesy and assistance.
I am very excited about this project, and will certainly keep you advised of my progress.