I'm looking to build an online store and didn't know if anyone knew a good template for design. I'm using Dreamweaver.
I know you can do the Paypal checkout and such, but for a database of the variety of products with descriptions, etc., I'm not sure what would be the best way to design the site.
alas this is very similar in scope to somebody saying "i want to open a restaurant - how should i do it?" - in other words, it's really impossible to answer this in a medium like this w/o spending hundreds of words asking all the necessary questions to best figure out how to provide advice... :-/
the short short answer is that you can either use something like a 3rd party payment service like paypal, or you can get your own shopping cart system and install and configure it on your server and take payments that way...
the former is much easier, and paypal has excellent documentation on their site on how to add links on your site to your products that you are selling on paypal. the latter is much more complex, and would involve picking from (literally) a few hundred legit shopping cart systems and setting up all the necessary bits to have an ecommerce site...
i know this sounds flippant, but i'm just being honest with you - if you want to look into the paypal route, here's their developer docs:
hope that helps! if you have any more questions, please give some absolute specifics on what you want to do and we can see what additional help can be offered...
Yes, once I had posted this and read your first lines I realized that it was an extremely broad question.
Basically, I've set up small, basic stores using paypal. It's not the monetary transaction part that I'm worried about. It's the display of products/searching aspect. Probably similar (and I haven't looked into this as I've just thought of it) to the display of a lot of thumbnail pictures with brief descriptions. This combined with the ability to search by product type, function, etc. Much like this.
a place like the shoes.com site has their own database of products and handles all cart functionality on their own site, which allows them to have a search engine for products, as they are just needing to access their own product db to get results...
i don't believe that paypal offers any sort of remote search functionality that would mimic this, unfortunately...but read through their dev documentation as i could easily be wrong...
basically, though, paypal is good for just linking up a few products unless you get a whole store set up on their site that you link to. if, however, you want to have all your products shown on your site with search/browse/etc. functionality then you have to get your own shopping cart system installed and running...
So I guess my question should be about creating a database like this. Are there tutorials/guides that are good for the creation of this? A quick google search came up with a lot of responses that are kind of hard to sift through.
not sure on your development skills, but to create your own shopping cart / db system takes programming - php/jsp/asp/cgi or some sort of scripting language and then mysql or a like rdbms...it's not hard if you know how to program, but it's also not something you pick up in a tutorial... :-/
if you want to host your own shopping cart on your own site and you aren't a programmer (and even if you are, why re-invent the wheel?), it's best to use an off-the-shelf product. there are a _ton_ of those, and at that point it depends on what you want to spend, what sort of system you have (i.e. does your isp allow you to install what is needed for the given cart product to use it?), whether or not you want to do real-time cc processing (requires a merchant account), and a host of other issues...
with all of that i mind, it's impossible to say "you should use product [X]" for your shopping cart, because i just don't know your budget, needs, system config, etc. etc...there are carts that are open source and very low-footprint all the way up to massive ecommerce systems that cost thousands of dollars...but here's a good google query to get you started on the options out there:
hope that helps a bit...
A third option we looked into for a site and didn't quite use, was paypal pro. Paypal pro give you the ease of paypal credit card checkout combined with compatible open source store engines. So, basically, when you set up your qualifying store on your server and configure it, you would choose to use paypal pro as your checkout system.
Installing a store on your site can be a pain if you don't know all about apache, php, whatever. UNLESS you use a company like lunarpages.com to host the site. They have a control panel for installing pre configured free scripts which include blogs, stores, etc. They do all the configuring of the directories, php, etc. Once the store script is installed you'd login as an admin and set up your products, adjust the visual template, and setup the credit card checkout system. For a paypal compatible one, you would choose paypal pro and enter your user info I assume.
We never got that far, but that's what I gathered from the research I did. So... go to paypal and checkout paypal pro. They'll have a list of compatible shopping carts. Go to lunarpages or the host of your choice and see if they have any easy install shopping cart scripts that you like that are listed at Paypal Pro.
Our problem was the same as many others. We didn't like the store designs. We wanted something that easily integrates into an existing site, but without extreme reconfiguring it wasn't going to happen. Most of the carts seemed to be so Amazon like with ratings, reviews, suggested products, and all that. But if you're building a site from that ground up to BE a store, then they're probably great.
It may be called web payments pro or something like that these days.
Have a look at http://www.shopsite.com. They are a good shopping Cart software.
I prefer the ShopSite Pro.