E-Commerce Website

How do I create an e-commerce website to sell my products or services online?

1st Reserve your domain name. The domain name is the address people write on the hypertext tab of the browser. The domain name should be your company’s name or descriptive of your company business.  To register your domain name, you can use Network Solutions at www.networksolutions.com, Go Daddy www.godaddy.com, and Yahoo www.yahoo.com.   There are other e-commerce providers that can help you register and some even offer a complete e-commerce solution (such as Yahoo) that includes, hosting, tools to create and design your website, visitors statistics, and a shopping cart to sell your services online. 

2nd Find a host. The hosting company provides space for your website.  The more space you have the more information you can upload to your site. If your website has plenty of graphics, elaborate interface, download services for visitors, etc. then you will need more space than somebody just putting a contact information on their website. There are plenty hosting companies to choose from, a couple of websites to choose from are Yahoo Small Business www.yahoo.com, IPowerWeb.com at www.ipowerweb.com, GeoCities www.geocities.com.

3rd Design your Page. There are a couple of ways you can design your Web page. You can do it yourself by using web-design software such as Macromedia DreamWeaver www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage www.microsoft.com/frontpage these programs can range front $80 to $400 per copy.

Another way to do this is using your hosting provider’s web design tools. These tools are user friendly and usually included in your monthly hosting cost, making it a cost-effective way to design your website.

You can also hire a professional (or a resourceful amateur) to design your website. You can find them in websites such as Craig’s List www.craigslist.com, Guru www.guru.com, Elance www.elance.com, other websites related to web design or programming and industry associations that can make a referral.  You can also find students or other people who are technology

savvy that can help you build your website at a reasonable cost. Nevertheless, if you choose a professional, for a well designed website, the cost can be more than $2,000-10,000.

When hiring a professional make sure you understand what is her specialty. If it is web design, she will work on the aesthetic component of your website presentation.  If her specialty is web programming, she will work on the functionality aspect like the database, data-storage, interface, etc.

4th Marketing Online. A key component of your website success is online visibility.  To market your business online you have different options, some of them are:

  • Search engine listing, refers to submitting your website to portals, search engines, databases. The most popular ones are Google www.google.com, Dmoz at www.dmoz.org, Yahoo www.yahoo.com, MSN at www.msn.com.

  • Search Engine Optimization is a set of tactics to make your website more visible for search engines.  This is done by making your website rank higher on the search list results. For more information go to Search Engine Watch at www.searchenginewatch.com
  • Keyword advertising refers to paying a search engine for placement and click-through on a result list when a user types a search that matches the description of your product or service.  Some companies that offer this service are Google at www.google.com, and Overture www.overture.com (now Yahoo Advertising Solutions).
  • Banner ads. With banner ads you place advertising about your business on a relevant web page to increase the number of visitors to your web page.
  • Back Links, with this scheme you provide a link to somebody else’s website to yours with the agreement that they will do the same for your website.
  • Sending emails to a list, you will gather emails from prospective or existing costumers that have agreed to receive emails from you
  • Creating a blog can help you connect with your visitors by creating an online journal of your business, interest and opinions.  Web hosting providers can offer blog-space services or you can use Blogger www.blogger.com.
  • Affiliate programs, you pay a commission every time an advertiser (an affiliate) drives a traffic to your website or sends a consumer buying your product or service.

Visit the following websites to learn more about online advertising: Self Promotion www.selfpromotion.com and Expert Exchange www.expertexchange.com.