Creating an E-Commerce Website - A Quick Overview ecommerce, sell online, online store, home page, website, commercial website Creating an E-Commerce Website - A Quick Overview Creating an E-Commerce Website
The Internet is jam-packed with ecommerce web sites. Consider this: A web surfer can buy anything online now. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs are cashing in on their ecommerce web sites. If you have ever wondered how you can start your own cash-generating ecommerce web site, read on.
Planning your ecommerce web site before you build
When you decide that you are ready to create an ecommerce web site, you must start your venture on the right foot. Planning is everything, and it will help you stay organized throughout your business opportunity.
Some considerations for ecommerce web sites that require planning are:
If you write up a business plan outlining a detailed answer to each of these questions, you are well on your way to ecommerce success.
What to sell and where to get it
Most ecommerce business owners choose to sell products that they are interested in, for one reason or another. It is beneficial to your success if you select products that can at least hold your interest. If you have some knowledge of the item(s), all the better.
Some ecommerce web site owners choose to make their products and sell them. This is wonderful, but you will still need to locate suppliers who can furnish you with the equipment and ingredients to make the products.
The Internet allows you access to suppliers and vendors all over the world who you can hook up with to purchase the item(s) you plan on selling. Shop around and get a good deal on bulk orders of the item(s) so you can make a profit. Many vendors will arrange discounts with people who order in large quantities. Make sure that the vendor is responsive, offers rush shipping orders, and is established. Nothing is worse than finding a great vendor and then having them disappear.
How about your new web site?
With the popularity of ecommerce web sites came a million and one new web site hosting companies. You will want to find a reliable, customer support-oriented web hosting service to house your web site.
There are several great web hosting services, some of which are free. These work well with smaller ecommerce web sites that offer limited amounts of products. Depending on how extensive you plan on becoming, a free ecommerce web hosting plan may or may not be for you.
Paid web hosts are usually the way to go. They offer more web space, the ability to handle a great deal of traffic, and the ability to handle a merchant account for credit cards.
Regardless of which web hosting company you select, you do need to register a domain name that suits your ecommerce business. Most of the time, you can register the domain name you choose when you sign up for a web hosting company.
If you are an HTML coding genius and are familiar with creating web sites, you are lucky, and you will probably enjoy creating your web site. If not, don't despair. There are several ecommerce templates that you can download online and use for your pages. You can also use a WYSIWYG (called "wizzywigs" by techies) web page design program that allows you to create web pages visually, not with unfamiliar HTML language.
You could also pay someone to create your ecommerce web site. Make sure you check out the web designer's portfolio before enlisting their help to see that they are capable of producing a quality web site for your business. There are several good freelance web sites on the Internet that allow you to post your project and get bids from qualified applicants. Another great resource is the web hosting company you choose - more often than not, they have a design team ready to build web sites for their customers.
It goes without saying that your web site should allow visitors to view pictures of the item(s) for sale and read accurate, detailed descriptions of the products.
The secure shopping cart for your shoppers
Online shoppers want to know that their personal information and credit card numbers are protected. If your web site only offers one or two products, you can set up a PayPal account and accept credit cards from purchasers. However, if you are going to offer a variety of products, you will need a secure shopping cart and a merchant account to process credit card orders.
VeriSign is the industry leader in ecommerce shopping cart and secure transactions. The company offers affordable, reliable solutions for ecommerce businesses. Unless your web designer chooses another company, I recommend using VeriSign. You can learn all about merchant accounts and shopping carts by visiting their web site at www.verisign.com.
The Offline World
One final note about ecommerce web sites: Don't forget about the shoppers who do not use credit cards online. Offer your shoppers a printable order for so they can pay by check or money order. They will appreciate it, and you will get more business from a larger market.
By Devon McCollum