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Creating a Web Page Can Be Easier Than Doing Business

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

I’ve written before about a variety of Web sites that allow small businesses to create their own free Web pages, including ECongo, ICat, WebJump and others. These sites typically allow you to advertise products and services, and some let you create an online store at no cost. They make their money by displaying advertising on your page or by trying to sell you upgrade services.

OhGolly.com is no exception to the rule, but the Huntington Beach company does offer a twist. They make it easier for novices. In fact, they make it possible to set up a Web page even if you don’t have a computer.

One way to set up a site is to visit their Web page at https://www.ohgolly.com and fill out a questionnaire. It took me about two minutes to create a site for a pretend bakery called “Larry’s Bake Shop.” I’m not really in the bakery business but you can visit my site at https://larrybakes.ohgolly.com. My new shop has a guest book, a place where you can send feedback and pages that I could use to advertise my baked goods if I really were in that business. There is even a calendar where you can post upcoming events. By default it’s already filled in with national holidays, but you can add or delete events.

The site lets you create as many pages as you need, as well as a product catalog with up to 25 items. There is a “shopping cart” that customers can use. Details are posted in your own secure area on their site that you access by providing a user name and password. You can also add a “frequently asked questions” page and a map to your place of business. The map, provided by MapQuest.com, is automatically generated from your address.

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As you might expect, ads appear on every page of my site, but they’re not my ads and I don’t get any of the revenue. OhGolly will turn off the ads for $99 a year.

If you want, you can call them up and they’ll set up the site for you. I set up a fictitious site for a hair cutting business by calling (888) 644-6559 and talking to a friendly person who took down all my information. If only cutting hair were as easy. After the person takes down all your information, you get an e-mail detailing how to access and edit your site.

In addition to selling you an ad-free page, the company offers other premium services including online merchant accounts that let you accept credit cards, a unique domain name and services to help you market your new Web site.

My biggest complaint about OhGolly is its name. It’s cute and catchy but it’s hard to remember how to spell it, which can be a problem for its customers, whose Web site address will include ohgolly.com.

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One solution is to get your own unique domain name, which is generally a good idea for any business that is serious about having a presence on the Web. OhGolly will register a domain name for you for a $25 “search” fee plus Network Solution’s $70 registration fee plus $149 a year. For $19.95 a month it will host your site with a unique domain name and no advertising.

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Technology reports by Lawrence J. Magid can be heard at 2:10 p.m. weekdays on the KNX (1070) Technology Hour. He can be reached at larry.magid@latimes.com. His Web site is at https://www.larrysworld.com.


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