Friday, December 14, 2007

Integrating Paypal Into Your Website

by Rick Jones

If you want to sell goods on your site, you'll need to be able to provide a means of taking orders and payment from your customers. One of the easiest and most accessible ways of doing this is by using PayPal.

Millions of people worldwide now have a PayPal account, and even if they don't it's free and easy to open one. All of which means that integrating PayPal into your website will result in being able to reach a huge potential customer base.

If you don't already have a business account registered with PayPal, now's the time to upgrade to one. Once you've done all that's required of you, it's time to investigate the two main ways to introduce PayPal to your website.

The first one is the Buy Now buttons. These are ideal if you have a mini site and you are only selling a single product. They are quick and easy to install and PayPal will give you the HTML you need to know to insert into your website.

However if you sell more than one product the limitations of the Buy Now buttons will be obvious, and you would be better off opting for the PayPal shopping cart, which again is available for you to use free of charge.

There are many benefits associated with using the shopping cart, not least of which is the opportunity to customise it with your own website colors. It also takes away a lot of the worry about how secure your site is for ordering purposes; PayPal basically takes all that on for you. Even if your site currently has the facility to take credit and debit card orders on a secure server, you should still offer PayPal as well, as it will likely attract even more customers.

The shopping cart is ideal if you have little or no computer experience, as everything is made simple for you. You don't need to know about CGI (common gateway interface) scripting, which is what prohibits many people from putting a shopping cart onto their website themselves, as they simply don't have the knowledge. In this sense PayPal acts as a programmer on your behalf, and provides the service for free - ideal if you are just starting out and having to watch the pennies.

While not as comprehensive as some merchant services, PayPal is arguably more than sufficient for most websites in their early stages, and certainly wins in the price stakes. When the money really starts rolling in, then it's time to expand your reach.

But hang onto your PayPal cart at all costs, as many people are more than happy to use it.

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