Thursday, March 20, 2008

Some Basics about E-commerce Web Hosting

by Matt R

E-commerce is has grown to unseen proportions these past years, and this is seen in the amount of buying and selling of products and services over the internet and other computer networks. E-commerce is starting to turn into a way of life for most people, since more and more people are now starting to do their buying or selling online. If you are planning to jump into the e-commerce bandwagon you need to have a reliable e-commerce web hosting service, as well as other important things.

First things first. You obviously would not be thinking about putting up an online business if you have nothing to sell. Most people who think about going into e-commerce usually already have some selling experience off-line, and want to do the same thing with their products online. The amount of products that you expect to sell on day-to-day basis will have some say on the type of web hosting package that you should get.

If you are expecting to sell a maximum of 20 items online, you can do well with a small hosting account. If you are expecting to sell hundreds of items per day you will definitely need a larger account, with a larger disk space, bandwidth, and a secure connection for financial transactions.

Doing e-commerce necessitates a web site with a secure connection so that you can send and receive important data like PIN numbers, account numbers, passwords, etc. across the Internet without the fear that it can be intercepted and read by anyone on the net. A secure connection means that your website address has an https before it. If your website address does not have this, web-savvy potential customers will surely stay clear of you and your business, since they know that important information like credit card or bank account numbers won't be safe on your site.

To get a secure site you need to get an SSL, or a Secure Sockets Layer certificate, which will be installed on your website for a small fee once you have complied with the requirements for the certificate.

If you find conducting and managing financial transactions on your web site too much of a hassle you can opt for third party gateways. They can manage your financial transactions for you and you can direct your customers to them for payments. A popular third party gateway like PayPal is free to set up although it takes a small fee from each sale that you make a small price to pay if you want people to trust you and your business.

Shopping carts is also another important feature that any e-commerce venture cannot do without. These are scripts which are installed in your hosting account that will basically provide a structure to your site and will allow your customers to navigate your site easily.

Shopping carts organize your products into categories, which makes it easier for the customer to find the product that he wants. Shopping carts also keeps you posted on returning customers and the products that they have bought, allowing you to make suggestions about other items that they may need.

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