Welcome to the world of web mastering. As you say, this is a very
broad area you are asking about, with several answers and combinations
of answers. I'm going to answer you questions, and then point you to
some people that might also be good resources for you as well.
A 'Name Registrar' is a company that can sell you a website URL name.
The name is used in place of the IP address of the server that is
hosting, or running your website programs. The URL name and IP address
can be thought of like your name and your street address, or phone
number. Even if you move, your name doesn't change, it is simply at a
different address. So it is with your URL name and your server.
Network Solutions and GoDaddy are examples of Name Registrar's.
There are several options for servers, but the most likely in your
case is to get an ISP, or Internet Server Provider. An ISP is a
company that has servers, takes care of them and keeps them running.
You lease space on these servers for your website. This doesn't give
you a website, it just gives you space on a server, that your URL name
points to (the address). You may put any web program on them which
your ISP has the software to run. ISP are sometimes called Hosting
What you want to make sure your ISP or Hosting Provider offers is a)
enough disk space b) enough bandwidth, c) MySQL, d) PHP, e) Perl, f)
email (at least 10 addresses).... some other common services include
Front Page extensions and ASP extensions. These services allow you to
run programs for dynamic and ecommerce software.
I would recommend Hummingbird Hosting to start your website on, and
from there looking around to see what others may offer and at what
price. I don't recommend the hosting that Network Solutions or GoDaddy
offer, though your mileage may vary there. In the past I've always had
problems getting websites setup on those servers, and with databases
both tend to be rather slow.
There are of course many, many other places that can host your
website, which meet all of the criteria, and the costs are about the
same. Hummingbird is the only one I'll recommend to clients when
asked. This doesn't mean they are the only solution.
If you don't want to go with Hummingbird I would recommend getting
someone local to your area to start with, or asking your programmer
who she works with.
2. Design the website, what software or options are available
especially vis a vis, Network Solutions (who I bought the website name
There are a number of software packages out there for selling retail
items on the Internet which are open source, and fairly easy to
install, customize and maintain.
Each of them offer similar functionality, but each is a little
different. The ones I have chosen here all have demo sites that you
can get into and see how they operate and feel. Again, I would use
your programmer to find the best one, and discover what needs
customizing and what doesn't.
3. What do I need to do legally to sell things on the website?
Legally, you need very little. Much depends on whether you are selling
services, taking in donations, selling retail goods, or wholesale
goods to distributors. Even with these however, your legal right to do
so on the web is defined more by your local laws than Internet laws.
For example, if your business is a DBA (doing business as) then you
need the proper business licenses and permits, but these would be more
for satisfying your bank and tax obligations rather than anything to
do specifically for the Internet.
4. How do I receive payments?
From that list I've had my best experience with 2checkout. Never had
any hassles or problems with them. The setup is very simple.
As far as professionals to work with, I have in the past worked with
Armtech We Design, and never had problems with them. They are very
professional, and responsive.
You can also go onto a service such as Guru.com and find several very
good freelancers and small groups.
Good Luck and Happy New Year.