A Beginner's Guide to Setting Up a Successful Online Store
Online selling is by no means a simple task. To sell products online not only requires making
use of high end marketing strategies but also involves lots of planning. This article is meant
for those of you who intend to start an online store. It is intended to give you a fair idea
of what you would need to do and what you need to avoid while planning an online selling business.
The following are the various steps that you would need to take in order to open a successful online store
1. Designing a website that sells
The first most important aspect of online selling is to have a professional looking website
that is designed to sell. You can go about creating the website from code up using web designers
or simply go for readymade website templates. If you are purchasing website templates, be
sure to go for templates that are professionally designed and have the option of shopping carts.
Buying templates from providers who offer allied services like template customization, web
hosting; SEO etc would be even better. Some template providers like "buytemplates.net" offer
allied services irrespective of where you actually purchased the template from. To get a rough
idea of how your site should be designed you can take hints from successful online stores like
ishopage.com, gap.com and bestbuy.com.
2. Hosting your store online
There are many factors that you need to take into consideration before selecting your web host
when it comes to online selling. Some of the major factors are discussed as follows.
a. Secure servers
Firstly you got to make sure if your web host offers you with SSL encryption which is very
important for secure money transactions online. Most web hosting companies would offer you
with SSL secure server facilities along with a regular package whereas a few would charge you
an extra amount for the service.
b. Up time guarantees
Your business is only as good as it remains online. Make sure to go for web hosting service
providers who promise you an uptime guarantee of 99%. Also check to see as to how they back
up their data and what kind of back up systems they have in place in case of emergencies.
c. Private CGI-BIN
A CGI-BIN directory is a location on your web server where you can upload your binary scripts
or interactive programs. This is very important for payment processing and shopping cart
management. So be sure that the hosing company gives you a private CGI BIN directory.
d. Web logs and web statistics
Web logs and statistics are vital for your online business. Studying the web logs can give
you much needed information about your customers and your sales records. Understanding your
customer behavior can help you retain customers and attract new customers.
e. Customer support
Get as much information about the hosting company's support policies and the type of support
they offer. Go for web hosting companies that offer 24/7 customer support.
Most web hosts promise you lots of goodies but may not live up to it. Make sure to test the
web host's credibility by asking them for references. The existing customers of the hosting
company can give your first hand information on the service that you can expect to get.
In addition to this you should also look for services that offer you Mysql database and PHP
scripting, unlimited emails and a minimum space of 10GB.