How to Build a Merchant Website

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Whether your business is product- or service-based, or you are just starting out, there are a number of reasons to take your business online. An online approach can give your business global exposure and save you thousands of dollars in overhead. Competition is fierce in E-commerce and building a solid presence on the Internet will take time and effort. Begin by building a Web site that is attractive, easy to navigate and secure.

Things You'll Need

  • Domain name Web host Shopping cart
  • Select your company name. Your name should be easy to remember. Once you've selected your name, purchase a domain name from GoDaddy.com (see Resources).

  • Choose an E-commerce site to host your Web site. Volusion.com offers an entire package that includes your domain name, shopping cart and Web hosting, starting at $19.95. Corecommerce.com is another E-commerce site that offers packages for as little as $29.95 (you will need to purchase your own domain name). Both sites offer business e-mail addresses, Web site templates (and the ability to use your own design), marketing tools, accounting tools, data feeds, Google AdWords coupons, the ability to create coupons or newsletters for your store and the ability to accept a number of different payment methods such as Paypal, Google Checkout and credit cards. GoDaddy.com allows you to pick and choose the services you need, such as a domain name or shopping cart. Web hosting starts at $4.99. If you aren't familiar with SEO and online selling, an all-inclusive site such as Corecommerce.com may be the way to go. Both Volusion.com and Corecommerce.com offer a free 30-day trial.

  • Build an attractive storefront. Take high-quality images of your products and create clear and thorough product descriptions that use relevant key words.

  • Create your business profile on an About Me page on the Web site that includes some information about how your business began, your vision and your goals. Create a Shipping and Returns page as well as a Privacy Notice page that tells your customers how you intend to use and safeguard their personal information.

  • Minimize risks by using security measures such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates such as those offered by VeriSign and payment gateways such as Authorize.net (see Resources). Contact your hosting site to see what services they offer or which gateways are compatible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check out Web sites that sell similar products to get an idea of how you want to design your own site. Submit product feeds to Google.com for more product visibility. Consider submitting your Web site to online review sites such as Shopzilla.com.

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References

  • Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/fruugo/3426116990/
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