iWeb FAQ - E-Commerce and business solutions



Selling stuff using iWeb. Is that possible? Any suggestions on how to do that? What about a booking system? How do I get my real-life business to show up on Google Maps and what is it good for?

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A lot of people are asking questions about business solutions and iWeb.

Here are a few ways to sell stuff using iWeb...

Chapter 1: Using PayPal

Chapter 2: How to add a PayPal Shopping Cart to your website

Chapter 3: An easy but not safe solution to sell digital products (E-Books, Music, ...) with PayPal

Chapter 4: Other e-commerce solutions

Chapter 5: How to build a store like ebookstoretoday.com (WordPress)

Chapter 6: Booking system solution

Chapter 7: Adding your (real life) business to Google Maps

Chapter 8: How to add a vCard to your contact page

Chapter 1: Using PayPal

1. Signup or login to your PayPal account

2. Go to Merchant portal and you will find something called "Key features" where you have to choose what button you would like to add

- PayPal shopping cart

- Buy now buttons

- Donations

- ...

3. Once you chose the one you want click on it and you will be led to a page where you have many options to customize the button (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3)

4. Once you customized your button click on "Create Button" at the bottom of the page

5. The code will be created. Click on "Select code" and copy it Command(Apple)+C

6. Go to your iWeb=>Widgets=>HTML Snippets and paste the code in the black window and then hit Apply (if you use iWeb '06 you will not have HTML Snippets, in this case refer to the Alternative HTML FAQ on my site)

7. You will see the button appearing on your site. You're done.

8. Have a look at this for further information

Chapter 2: How to add a PayPal Shopping Cart to your website

Since a lot of people want to Add a Shopping Cart to their website and don’t know how to do that I will explain that using PayPal’s Shopping Cart.

1. Signup or login to your PayPal account

2. Go to Merchant portal and choose PayPal Shopping Cart

3. Under “Accept payment for” choose “Products”

4. Enter Item name, Price, Currency, … and all the other information about taxes, shipping, ... It’s important to give every product an Item ID (1, 2, 3, ...) to make it easier for you to know which item was bought.

5. Once you’ve set all you need hit Create button

6. You will be shown a code for the “Add to cart” button (or the “Buy now” button, depending on what you did choose). Copy the code and paste it into an HTML Snippet which you place near the description of the product on your page

7. If you want to sell multiple products do the same for all the other products on your page.

8. When this is done create a “View Cart” button which you will place at the end of your page for people to have a look at their Shopping Cart and checkout (confirm the order and pay).

9. Again copy and paste the code in an HTML Snippet on your page

10. That’s it

Here’s an example (please note that there are no products to be bought here, as described they work as donations to me and my website and I won’t send you the money back):

Send me a 3$ Donation

Send me a 5$ Donation

Send me a 10$ Donation

and checkout.

Note: if you hit “Add to cart” you can always remove it from your Shopping Cart afterwards.

However if you decide to make use of this example/try it out and send me a donation I’d like to thank you and tell you that’s it’s much appreciated!

- Cédric -

Chapter 3: An easy but not safe solution to sell digital products (E-Books, Music, ...) with PayPal

PayPal itself doesn't offer a feature to sell digital products. If you don't want to use WordPress as described here (offering encrypted links hence links which don't show the real path to the file and links which expire after a defined amount of time) you can set the URL to the zip containing the digital files as the URL people are redirected to after the payment when creating the Buy Now button in PayPal.

Go to PayPal, Merchant Portal, Buy Now Buttons. Type the Item Name, ID, Price as usual. Under Step 3: Customize advanced features (optional) go to "Take customers to this URL when they finish checkout" and enter the URL to the zip file, Create Button.

Once the payment went through people will see the usual message saying that the payment went through and "If you're not redirected within 5 seconds click here".

Apparently nothing happens, people are not moved to another page but keep seeing the "you will be redirected" message but what happens instead is that the download process starts. So the page doesn't change but the download process is started. One of the problems is that people expect the page to change. If you decide to use this method, make sure you warn them and tell them how it works. Another problem is that hovering over the click here of the "If you're not redirected within 5 seconds click here" message the following URL displays in the browser:


hence containing the actual path to the file (here in red). This could be a security issue but probably only very few people will notice this. Unfortunately PayPal itself doesn't offer the possibility of creating an encrypted link and or a link which expires after a certain amount of time.

In some cases people may not be redirected automatically and the download is not started or people just click the window away or whatever. You have to offer a way to contact you and send them the link by e-mail.

I wouldn't recommend you to use this method because of the problems mentioned above but thought it would be good if I presented you this as an option to sell digital products.

Chapter 4: Other e-commerce solutions

Here are a few other ecommerce solutions...

http://kagi.com/index.php apparently most used (free)

http://www.mals-e.com/home.php looks good to me (free)

http://www.webasyst.net/shop/ also looks good (free for 100 articles and 100 purchases per month)

I guess these pages will also provide you a code to add in an HTML Snippet. Or they will host the stores themselves, if that’s the case you can embed it in iWeb pages using an HTML Snippet (have a look at iFrames) or simply link to them from your site.

Note: I didn’t try them myself so please don’t ask me questions about these solutions.

Chapter 5: How to build a store like ebookstoretoday.com (WordPress)

I entirely explained how to build a store like my EBookStoreToday.com in WordPress in this post of my WPFAQ.org website.

This can be used to either sell your E-Books as I'm doing, your Music in either digital or CD format, T-Shirts, Handcrafts, Paintings or anything else you may want to sell and to me it works really great. I'm very happy with it.

Chapter 6: Booking system solution

Do you have a flat or house you offer to rent for holidays? If so you may want to display on your website when it is available and when it is already booked. You may want people to be able to book the house or flat from your website. Here’s an easy way to do that...

First you would have a form on your website for people to contact you and choose when they’d like to rent your house. The form would look something like this:




Phone number:

Number of people:

Date of arrival:

Date of departure:

Then you would have a Calendar (Google Calendar or iCal, I would recommend Google Calendar) embedded into your website displaying the availability. This way you would have to enter the availability manually. There are also solutions where people can edit the calendar themselves but then it’s hard to know which entry is real and which is fake. So I think it’s better if you do it yourself after you called the people who booked the house to make sure it’s true.

How to setup and use Google Calendar for this purpose is described in the Calendars chapter of my iWebFAQ.org E-Book (sample)

That’s what it will look like...

Note: If you need other people to add events to the calendar you can allow them to do so by going to downward flash, “Share this calendar”, “Share with specific people”, enter the e-mail address of the of someone you want to be able to edit the calendar and under “Permission settings” (default: See all event details) choose “Make changes to events”.

Chapter 7: Adding your (real life) business to Google Maps

If you’re running your own business it’s a good idea to submit it to Google Maps (if it’s not yet included). On my recent trip to Vienna (Austria, Europe) I found myself using my iPhone at least twice to find what I needed. Once I wanted a coffee so I typed in Coffee on my iPhone and all coffee bars near me popped up on the map. Another time I wanted to have a ride on a bicycle but obviously I left mine at home so I searched for Bicycle and all the bicycle stores around me popped up. I walked to one of them and could rent a bicycle. You can get a coffee at every street corner but finding a bicycles is already harder.

Having your business on Google Maps is also helpful when people search the web for something the traditional way going to google.com and typing in what they’re looking for since the first results on Google usually are Google Maps entries of local businesses.

If your business is not yet listed on Google Maps click here. On that page you will also find a video with instructions on how it’s done. Don’t forget to provide your website’s address for people to get further informations!

Chapter 8: How to add a vCard to your contact page

vCards are electronic business cards. They can contain the name of your business, the logo, address information, phone number, e-mail address, web address, ... Very useful if you want your clients to be able to easily contact you.

How to add a vCard is described in my iWebFAQ.org E-Book (sample)

iWebFAQ.org - Tutorials, Tips & Tricks is made with iWeb and for iWeb.

It’s an EBookStoreToday.com company. It’s presented by Cédric Giger and hosted by HostGator.

Thank you for visiting and supporting my website,

- Cédric -