30 Minute Quick Start to Your Website

 

by Jennifer Rapp Peterson

If you invest in 30 minutes, I can show you how to get your site up and running.  Before making final decisions your website's design or navigation, it's best to get some content loaded as soon as possible - even if you plan on changing it.  If you follow this guide, you will have a working website when you're done.  It won't be complete, but you will have a better understanding of the dashboard when you're finished.  It's a good practice to load your content before you make final decisions on theme, colors and fonts to support your brand.

We want you to be successful from the very start.

Yay!  Thanks for joining us.  If you get stuck, please feel free to email support@indiemade.com.

Part 1: Sign In, Set Up and Design

Go to your website

Its first location (you can put it on a custom URL later) is yourname.indiemade.com. You can also get to it by logging in to your main account at http://www.indiemade.com/user and clicking on visit site.

Sign In and Visit the Dashboard

activated site

Add simple settings

The dashboard has two tiers of navigation. On the top tier is: Website, Design, Store, and Content. The second layer appears when you choose a top tier. You can return to your site by clicking on view site, in the upper left hand corner of the dashboard.

dashboard welcome page
 

Select a Theme

Under top tier choose Design. Select the theme, by scrolling, and pushing the radio button next to its name. Any theme will do, you can change it later.  No big deal.  

select theme


 

Don't forget to push Set Theme at the bottom of the page. You can change themes whenever you want -- no content or settings will be lost.

Make Basic Edits

Next visit Design > Basics. Upload a graphical banner if you want, or leave blank.  Do not wait if you don't have a banner; you will be able to add it later, whenever you want, and in the meatime your site's name will be displayed in text at the top.

Then select the fonts you'd like to start with.

basic edit - site banner


 

Choose your colors

Best to keep it simple and neutral.  If you have a banner graphic and product shots loaded, you can use this to inform your final color and font decisions.

My suggestion to everyone: start out with a white background until you are ready to tweak it.  I have made the mistake of adding too many colors so the website's design competes with the products I am trying to sell.  Having done a number of websites, you can't ever go wrong with a white background. At least for now. Again, you can change this later.

fonts and colors


 

Don't forget to save your work by pushing Save configuration at the bottom of this page. To see how your site looks now, just click on View Site.

Feel free to steal my colors.  (By the way, the numbers and letters in the boxes are called "hex codes" for colors. Be sure to add a # before the color if you are copying it from another document.)

Please check out the next article - setting up your store.

Part 2: Set Up Your Store

This is just an overview on how to get started with your store. 

Basic Store Settings

Click on Store in the top tier navigation and then choose Settings from the secondary navigation. You need to provide a physical address.  

If you enter the percentage of sales tax you want to collect, the IndieMade reports with be correct when accounting time rolls around.

store settings


 

Save configuration before moving on.

Set Shipping Rates

Don't let yourself be paralyzed by shipping decisions -- just put something reasonable in there for now. Like every other setting in your IndieMade store, you can change it whenever you like, so keep it simple to start. You can read more about shipping in our handbook.

Product categories are the sections of your store. If you have lots of products in obvious categories -- hats, mittens, and scarves, for example -- then add those categories now.

shipping settings


 

Add a Product

Now that your store basics are set up, you can add your first product. Click on Products from the secondary navigation, then on Add a New Product. You'll give a product title and a product description first. (Don't put your product pictures in the rich text editor for the description; you will be asked for images further down on the form.)

If you have a product image ready, click on Choose File and then locate the picture on your computer. Then add the rest of the product's details. Hold the control key (lower right corner of your keyboard) when selecting multiple categories.

image categories

 


 

Some indies get flustered when they're asked for a SKU. If you don't have SKUs, don't worry -- just make one up! It does help when you are talking to customers for each product to have a unique model number, even if it's as simple as "Blue Hat."  Click Save to add the product to your store. 

 product info


 

Now that you have a product on your site, there will be a link reading "Store" on your site.

(If you have an Etsy shop, you can download your products into a CSV file have each product created automatically. See this FAQ for how to do this.)

Next step...

Part 3: Add a Blog Post

Now let's add a blog post. Click on Content in the top navigation, and you'll see all the content types available to you. Let's just make a quick blog post to start: a tutorial on how to sew a stuffed bunny.

Create a Post

Click on Add a New Blog Post.

add blog post

 

The create blog post form is pretty straightforward: give your post a title, optionally tag it, and then type the body of the post using the rich text editor.

write new post


 

The editor works just like any rich text editor. Type away, using the buttons to bold, headline, center, and so on.

To add a photo to your post, push the button that looks like a painting, and choose the "upload" tab.

upload image


 

Your upload screen looks like this:

send to server
 

Push Choose File and then locate the image on your computer. Push Send it to the Server and it will be uploaded to your website automatically. Then just save your image by pushing "OK."

Next step...just waitin' for ya!

Part 4: Add a Gallery and Images

Adding a Gallery to your site is just like adding anything else: select Content > Gallery from your dashboard.

Add a Gallery

Add an image Gallery to your website by clicking on the link "Add a new Gallery."

add new gallery

 

You should see the Gallery's description page.  Do not add images into the rich text editor; we are only giving the title and gallery description here.  Adding images will come after we save this information. Don't bother with tagging for now.

describe gallery


 

Upload Photos

Find your newly created gallery on your list (you should have only one at this point) and click "Upload Images."

select upload images


 

Now, for each photo you want to upload, push on Choose File and locate the image. Be sure each file is less that 3 MB in size -- but select the highest quality image you have. Your IndieMade site will automatically create different sized thumbnails from it. Read more about sizing photos in our handbook.

upload images

Organize the Gallery

Choose thumbnail for gallery cover, arrange order as desired.

manage gallery images


 

Next and final step in the Quick Start Guide!

Part 5: Working with Pages

When your IndieMade site is first built, it includes a generic "About Us" page for you. In this step we'll change that text, and add a new page.  

Add a Page

Create a new page by clicking on "Add a New Page."

add new page

 

Add a title and description.  The title you give here will be the link title on your navigation.

Don't strive for perfection yet.  Just put 2 sentences in here. Don't forget "save" at the bottom of the screen.

add page content


 

Notice each page can appear in the primary or footer navigation of your website. I'll leave it in the footer; you can always go back to the main pages page and drag the cross symbol in the left-most column to reorder the pages.

That's it for our brief walkthrough. You can probably figure out the rest by trial and error, but you can always refer to the IndieMade handbook. There's a hyperlink to it in the lower right hand corner of your dashboard.

Setting up Payment Information

Are you ready to setup payment for your IndieMade site? If you still have days remaining in your trial, don't worry! You won't be charged until your free trial is over.

 

First, visit your account page. You can click here to visit your account or log in. Next, click the "Payment Information" tab.

This will take you to a page with a list of your sites where you can change plans and set up a payment. You may then add your credit card under the "Credit Card Information" section and then click "Update Credit Card". If you previously had your subscription set up using PayPal and want to switch to credit card, make sure to check the "Use Credit Card as the payment method for this site."

If you wish to use PayPal as the payment method, click the link that says "Pay using PayPal."

If you decided to pay using PayPal, you will be brought to this page. To add your PayPal account, click "Change" underneath your current plan. You will then be redirected to PayPal where you can start the subscription!