24 Apr

Building a Website With XSitePro V2 and DLGuard

Although I can build websites with html or use Dreamweaver and Frontpage I am not an expert website designer and to be honest I struggle with software and scripts. Accepting my limitations I bought the XSitePro web design software in 2007 and upgraded to XSitePro V2 last year.

When I first got XSitePro I built my digital download site solely using that. Used Paypal as my payment processor and had thank you pages with download links for every product. It was a cheerful but not very professional looking site. I was fond of my efforts but there were problems with my download links being accessed by cheats and as time passed I began to cringe at the unprofessional look of my website.

As I had made a major investment in some software called Memberspeed I decided to rebuild the site using that. Although the software was intended to build membership sites it has a shopping cart and article directory which meant that I would get regularly updated content to help the site along in the search engines.

Fine but the fatal flaws were that using the software was time consuming and difficult for me to figure out and that it wasn’t flexible enough. For somebody with greater website design skills it might not be a problem but for me it was. My website looked more professional on the surface because I used a ready built Memberspeed template, but the shopping cart looked an uninviting mess that I simply did not have the skills to rectify.

Sales disappeared and another solution was called for. I wanted part of the solution to be XSitePro V2 because I love working with it. I have tried to use other shopping carts but find them difficult to understand and I don’t find them flexible enough for my limited skills. I had regularly seen posts in forums about using DLGuard as a shopping cart, or indeed paying memberships. Most but not all of the posters recommended DLGuard, but not everybody is going to like the same thing.

One day a question was asked about whether or not DLGuard could be integrated with XSitePro V2. The replies were all in the positive and when I checked out some of the sites indicated as using both I was quite impressed. A timely payment from Google Adsense was deposited into my PayPal account so I thought ‘go on girl go for it’.

I bought DLGuard for the princely sum of $146.05 including VAT. Before I could use it I needed to build the bones of a site, and being an impatient bod it was a good job that I had the speed of XSitePro. I used XHeader (a freebie with XSitePro V2) to make the header and utilised the many inbuilt design features to build the rest of the site. Not perfect but it looks more professional than my first digital download site and I can make alterations very easily.

My next step was to unzip DLGuard and upload it to my website following quite easy instructions. It wasn’t long before I’d uploaded my first product and added my Getresponse autoresponder details. That’s built in with both XSitePro and DLGuard so that was the easy part.

My next step was to redesign the DLGuard shopping cart to make it look like my website design. I sat and looked at the screen, scratched my head a few times before I decided that I was out of my depth. I went on to the DLGuard and XSitePro forums looking for how to tutorials and couldn’t find any. I thought about it for a while and decided that the only way to do what I wanted was to experiment.

I had a list of alterable DLGuard pages so I visited my sites Cpanel and viewed the source files. I wanted to edit them but being cautious I copied the source files into notepad before I began. That way if I boobed I would be able to replace the original source files.

An hour later I had added my new header to the shopping cart, altered the background colour and a few other things to give the appearance of integration. Considering how hopeless I am with scripts and software and my lack of design expertise I have surprised myself with what I have achieved.

My website now has an integrated shopping cart and my downloads are secure from cheats. It has flexibility in that I can add articles and reviews quickly and whenever I want. To my eyes it looks better than the previous two designs and it’s even started to make sales again after a spell in the doldrums.

One little glitch was with my first sale on the new site. I had redesigned the product download page and to check to see if everything was working I reduced a product to $0.01 and bought it with a joint Paypal account that I have with a partner. As I was testing I got called away and when I got back to my computer somebody else had bought the product and told me that the download link didn’t work. No it didn’t because I hadn’t uploaded the blooming product at that point. But, never mind the lower price than normal sale tested the rest of the work that I’d done and showed me that yes XSitePro and DLGuard do work together and it isn’t all that difficult.