We started it last year. It started getting a little busier and a little busier. The website slowly grew.
It’s a very basic website. No flashy pictures, no rockin’ music, just a very basic website with big print. I designed it with people like Brian in mind. Because that’s his demographic. People who aren’t tech savvy and into all the fancy internet stuff that’s out there. They just want to know what it does and how much does it cost.
The main method of payment has been PayPal. We’ve gotten a few checks. Started last October. And since it’s not businesslike to have them made out to him, they were made out to the company. Only problem with that is the company didn’t have a bank account. So, I had to get the fictitious name statement/certificate done. Then it had to be published. But once we got the stamped fictitious name statement back, we were okay to set up the company bank account.
There were a few people who inquired about using credit cards. We didn’t take them. Once again, we took PayPal. And you could send us a check. But some people would rather do the credit card thing. Brian proclaims “we need to accept credit cards”. I check companies online. He checks with our bank. We compare notes. I call our bank and speak with the rep. I ask some questions that Brian didn’t know to ask.
Our bank had the best deal. So, a couple of weeks ago, we, urm, I started setting it up. First there was the demo merchant, the testing to make sure the code was right. The manual was not user friendly (okay, okay, if you knew what you were doing, it was user friendly) and I called in the big guns to help me. Together, we muddled through it and I was able to get the code to work. The customer inputs the amount he’s paying, there’s no shopping cart. That’s what took the longest to figure out, but once I saw how easy it was, I was kicking myself in the butt. Something I should have seen right away.
Okay, that’s set up, everything works for the demo. Let’s get this baby rolling. Oh, I need an SSL page (you know, when you put in your credit card information, up there at the top, the page URL has an “https” instead of “http”? That extra letter means that’s a secure site. It’s a protected site). No problem, my webhost offers a shared SSL. I find out late yesterday afternoon, the bank does not like this. The bank wants the company name up there, not some shared name. I contact tech support, find out that this can be done and I’m given guidance on how to do it. Three hours after we start, Fit Rite Hydraulics has it’s on SSL certificate. Yay! Even though it’s late, after eight, I send the new link to our bank contact. Surprisingly, I hear back from him. He’s forwarding it on to the back office. We’re set (in the three days since we went live with the credit card option, we’ve gotten over a thousand bucks in orders)!
The only bump right now is the dedicated IP number we’ve been assigned. No one has used it since the nineties. It’s just been sitting there. We inherited it. The previous owners were spammers. Email we send is blocked, because of the spam that originated from that number. This sucks.
AT&T and it’s subsidiaries was the first. Took twenty-four hours to fix. Yesterday, mail sent to an Earthlink baby bounced. I emailed Earthlink to protest, to have our IP number removed from the block list. My email to Earthlink bounced. Because, you know, we’re spammers. Their website says if we’re blocked from sending mail to their customers, contact the originator of the bounced mail, have them contact Earthlink with the IP number and a copy of the bounced mail so that Earthlink can check in to it. And unblock that IP.
Only there’s one problem. Did you catch it?
“Contact the sender.” And how am I supposed to do that? With an email? That’s going to bounce? Oh, sure, I could use a different email address “hey, you don’t know me, but I work with Fit Rite Hydraulics and we can’t send you mail, could you please contact your provider and let them know we’re okay and that we’re not spammers?” Yeah, that’s really professional. So, I sent an email to Earthlink using a different address, sent a copy of the customer’s email with headers and also let them know what a stupid way of doing things they had in place.
But, today, all is good and it looks like it should be smooth sailing (at least with the website) from here on out.