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How to Build an Ecommerce Website
Copyright Herman Drost 

You've got a brilliant idea for selling products online
that's been festering in your mind for a long time. This
means you need to build an ecommerce website or online
store as others would call it, but have no idea what is
involved and how much it is going to cost you.

ecommerce website design

This article will put your mind at ease as I will try to give you
the necessary knowledge for creating, building and promoting
your ecommerce store.

Steps involved in building an ecommerce website:

1. Do the necessary online research - you first need to see
if your product is in demand. It's no point spending time
and money building your ecommerce store only to find out no
one is interested in your products.

Enter the keywords or keyword phrases that visitors would
use to find your web site in wordtracker's free keyword tool:

This will give you a good indication of the number of
people that regularly search for that term. If there are no
search results, you may want to reconsider what you intend
to sell or do more extensive research on other types of
keywords that may match your products.

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2. Prepare your product information - if you organize your
products ahead of time in an excel spreadsheet, it will
make it much easier for you (or your web site designer) to
add them to the ecommerce web site.

Here are the columns to create in your spreadsheet:

a) product categories and subcategories ie horse supplies-horse boots
b) product options ie sizes, colors
c) product ID number ie SK105
d) product description
e) product image
f) product price
g) shipping calculations
h) tax calculations

3. Open a PayPal account - the paypal shopping cart is one
of the easiest payment solutions to integrate with your
ecommerce web site. You won't have to bother with a
merchant account, payment gateway or shopping cart and
signing up for a paypal account is free. Paypal integrates
all these services automatically and just charges you a
small processing fee for each purchase. You can accept both
paypal and credit card payments online. Customers don't
even have to open a paypal account to purchase products
with their credit card.

To sign up or learn more, click on the banner below:

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

There is plenty of online documentation on how to set up
your paypal shopping cart should you get stuck.

There is plenty of online documentation on how to set up
your paypal shopping cart should you get stuck.

4. Register a domain name - choose a name that is easy to
spell and remember. This makes it easier for the customer
to return to your online store without looking it up. You
can register a domain name for around $9.00 at Godaddy.com.

5. Select a web host company - here are some features to
consider when choosing a web hosting company for your
ecommerce web site:
web space
bandwidth
email accounts
autoresponders
site statistics
database (if needed)
fast customer service
reasonably priced

You can view some very affordable web hosting plans here

6. Build your ecommerce web site - decide on how many pages you
want on your site (this won't apply if you have a database
driven site). Name the navigation links for the web pages
according to the main product categories you are using.

Here are some suggestions:

Homepage
Category 1
Category 2
Category 3
Category 4
Category 5
Category 6
Policies
About Us
Contact

Some points to consider:

-There should be a consistent theme and design running
throughout your site ie same header image and/or logo, slogan,
navigation, copyright and colors.

-The homepage should include a summary of what products
your site has to offer. Customers can always delve deeper
into your site for more information.

-Add a paragraph of text at the top of each page (250-500 words)
which includes the keywords you have researched for that
product. This will attract potential visitors to find your
site based on the keywords they insert in the search
engines.

-Include a contact form to build a contact list so you always
keep in touch with your customers.

-Include a policies page for shipping, refund and terms of
service policies.

7. Test your web site - after uploading your site files to
your web host, thoroughly check your site by testing for
these factors:

-broken links
-browser compatibility
-screen resolution
-html/xhtml vaildation
-contact form works
-site loading time

8. Market your web site - you will not make any sales if you don't
actively market your web site. The most important action
you should do on a consistent basis to increase your
presence in the search engines is to build your link
popularity (number of links pointing to your site). Contact
sites related to yours and exchange links with them. You
should also submit your site to the main search engines and
directories.

Other methods of marketing include writing articles related
to your site's material, advertising in ezines and pay per click
advertising. Be sure to include offline advertising by including
your web site address on all your stationary.

Conclusion - building an ecommerce website doesn't have to
be complicated task. By following the steps outlined above,
you can quickly and easily set up your site and start
selling your products.
=====================================================
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
and owner of iSiteBuild.com
Web Site Design, Web Hosting, Web Site Promotion

Author of “Marketing Tips” newsletter. To subscribe, send an email to:
subscribe@isitebuild.com and place "Subscribe me please" in the subject line.


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