Building First Version of a Startup Website


So, I want to start an e-commerce startup. The problem is that I'm a designer (HTML, CSS, a little bit of Javascript, Photshop, Illustrator), not a programmer. So I can build a design from scratch, but I don't know how to bring stuff up from the back-end, like product displays, user profiles, and more. So in this case is there any reason to build static pages from the start?

Or should I find a co-founder with programming skills to work with? Any more tips?

I'm familiar with Wordpress and some e-commerce back-ends like Magento, etc. I think I could build it with these, but I got advice not to do this as it will be hard to scale in the future. Should I listen to them?

Ecommerce Partner Scaling

asked Sep 1 '11 at 06:29
1 point
  • These answers are pretty good. If your pages won't change frequently to start out, then JUST GET THE WEBSITE UP. A hacked together website is better than no website. – Jberger 12 years ago
  • My first startup received funding based on a completely static version of a highly interactive web client. – Sold Out Activist 12 years ago

3 Answers


I think you got bad advice. WordPress can scale very well and if you ever reach a point where you're doing so much business that the hosting platform can't handle it, that's what we call a "good problem to have."

Building any business is going to depend upon a LOT of factors besides the technology. Out of the gate, I recommend that you use a simple, flexible CMS like WordPress to get cash flowing in, prove your concept, perfect your marketing and then worry about scaling.

answered Sep 1 '11 at 07:41
Jon Di Pietro
1,697 points
  • Agreed. There are several good turn-key e-commerce solutions, and it sounds like you're already familiar with some. Like Jon said, scaling isn't really the problem; the problem is getting to the point where you actually need to worry about scaling. Focus on that! – Alex 12 years ago
  • Wordpress powers 45+% of the top 10,000 sites and over 14% of the whole web. Just saying... – Chris Kluis 12 years ago


If you are doing e-commerce I would suggest Magento since you have worked with it. It's an amazing e-commerce platform and stronger then any Wordpress plugin's. You can also find templates available to customize / learn from as you implement your own design. It's PHP/mySql so you can host it pretty much anywhere.

Scaling... I agree with JonDiPietro, and wouldn't take any more advice from that source.
Build it, prove your concept, and if 'scaling' becomes an issue then solve it. But 99.999% of the time no one needs to worry about it and it can be solved with more money thrown at hosting ;)

answered Sep 1 '11 at 08:43
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • I am familiar with using magento, but not expanding the features. So you wanna say if by using magento I want almost anything from the sky I will be possbile to add it with custom programming? – Funguy 12 years ago
  • If you check magentos site out they have a whole area dedicated to plugins and add-ons that people made to build non-core features of all kinds of crazy things. Chances are you'll be able to find what you need. Worst case it's php and open source so you have to write that one or two features you need. Beats writing an entire system! Leverage their hard work first. – Ryan Doom 12 years ago


I'm surprised noone recommended this, but why not just man up and learn to code the tiny bit necessary to "bring up user profiles"? Once you know SQL and basic PHP control structures, that's all you need. The rest is design.

Even if you're not going to code yourself, there's still a ton of value (from a technical standpoint) to having a static site. You can give the programmer the static site and he can just inject it with bits of dtabase calls, etc. in order to make it dynamic. In fact, that's a huge relief as a programmer, since it keeps them from having to really write GUI code, which every programmer hates to do.

So either way, make a static site; but seriously consider reading a basic PHP tutorial and a basic MySQL tutorial to learn how to do "SELECT * FROM users WHERE name='tim'"

answered Sep 3 '11 at 03:24
279 points
  • I agree, it really is not that hard to do some backend work and tie it all together in the UI. I've used the CMS's, and some are complex and bulky. – Jack 12 years ago

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