We can't find an easy url to match our company name

What should we call our business? We had agreed on Beltway since we were selling customs belts from around the world. When tried to register beltway.com, we found it was already taken by a company with an unrelated name.

Other urls such as The-Belt-Way.com were available but nobody liked them. When we contacted the site owner for beltway.com, they wanted $100K for it.

Do we change the name of the business because we can’t get an obvious url for it? Should be choose the domain name first? Do we have to have “.com” ending?

We didn't know enough about technology to manage our website development

We built our first website ourselves. It looked really cool and was informative. It couldn’t accept payments but that didn’t matter as we used mobile banking. It wasn’t very stable and would crash every now and then. But it was cheap.

As the business grew, we needed our website to do more. We wanted to know how people navigated the site and we wanted to introduce live chat so we could deal with service issues. We had $5000 to spend and eventually found a company in Russia that would do the work.

From the start it was obvious to me that we didn’t have the skills to manage the project, even though it was small. They kept asking do you want to do XYZ and we would say yes.

This first invoice came in and it was already $3750 and we weren’t even half way through. We questioned them and they said it was what we asked for and approved. Moreover, they built it into the site and it would cost more to take it out.

The second bill was for $8000 and there was more to come. We ended up spending $15K. Then we had to pay to support the site. This was $450 per month for a limited number of hours of development. We now have a list of over 45 things we need done and aren’t sure how we’re going to pay for all of it.


The website I built had too many bugs and Christmas sales were a disaster

I really didn’t like the website. It didn’t have enough functionality.  It was three years old and looked outdated. I made it myself because it was too expensive to have it done professionally. The time was tight though; the Christmas sales season started, which was an added stress.

In the beginning, it was relatively easy. I was putting up new products, updating stock numbers, and making sure new orders were sent out. Friends tried out the updated site and all the functionality worked when I tested it out.

The site went live on November 10. Sales were good, but some of the products couldn’t make it through checkout. I also couldn’t update stock levels. By the end of the week, I couldn’t tell if product availability was accurate. We were out of stock, but people were still able to order on the site. I panicked and started to make adjustments manually.

As sales increased, it was chaos. We lost control of our stock, didn’t have an updated catalog, and couldn’t adjust invoices for discounts. We made hundreds of manual adjustments and planned to sort out everything after the new year though the problems were getting worse everyday.

We fell way short of our sales targets. By the middle of January, we realized we didn’t have any real idea of our inventory. We had customer returns that we couldn’t process and people were contacting us to say their Christmas gifts were never delivered.

We never should have launched so close to Christmas. We should have tested the new site more thoroughly and made sure the payment systems were robust. We learned that no matter how good our products were, we needed to have world class support systems. This mess took us six months to sort out. We lost loyal customers and we almost ran out of cash.