Five steps to Setup your Site
- Go Daddy $1.99 Domains
- iPage– Get a website that works. It’s quick and easy.
- Wix– Domain, Hosting, Design everything you need.
You need a domain name so that your web site will appear on the Internet and people will be able to access it. A domain name is another term for the URL or address of your website. When you type in www.Google.com, for example, the domain name is Google.com. Because ” .com” is the most popular of the Top Level Domain (TLD) names, most of the highly desirable ones have been taken. That may not be a problem for you, however, because there are many TLD options these days. In addition to the original ones, com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org, there are also .name, .ws, .us. .tv, and more. With all of these TLD options, there’s sure to be a domain name out there for you somewhere. You can find a complete list of all Top level Domains at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains
In order to establish your domain name, make a list of possible ones that you like. Then, go to a domain name registry and check each name to see if it is available. Register any that are available, pay the registration fee, and you’re all set.
You can check the following links for the relevant services
- World’s Largest Registrar – GoDaddy.com
Choosing a host should not be taken lightly. Your business depends upon selecting a hosting partner who runs their hosting business full-time. Avoid free hosting services and those that only charge a few dollars per month. It takes hundreds of hosting clients to pay for a server and the low cost providers concentrate on filling a server up to its maximum capacity. The end result is a slower response time when customers visit your site. In addition, many unprofessional hosting companies do not make an effort to apply the latest security patches, and they have no backup or disaster recovery strategy. You could end up being wiped out in seconds when you trust a less than first class hosting provider.
You will have a choice of hosting on a Windows or a Linux server. It doesn’t matter what type of PC you use at home as the Windows or Linux designation pertains only to the software that your host uses. There are benefits and drawbacks to both operating systems. Generally, however, Linux hosting plans are less expensive and the Linux O/S, combined with the Apache server, is one of the best choices you could make.
Once you choose a web host and register, you will have to go back to the domain name registrar and update a field called Domain Name Server (DNS) and enter the DNS for your new web host. You will most likely receive the DNS information in the welcome letter that your hosting company sends you. If you do not, contact their support desk and ask. When you log into your domain name registrar account, there should be help available to tell you how to make the setting change. If you can’t find it, ask their support desk for assistance.
Your new web site will not show up when your URL is typed into a browser until you make these changes. It can take as long as 2-3 days for the changes to show up in all of the DNS servers around the world.
Visit the largest independent web hosting review site on the Internet. The site operators are unbiased and hosting providers can not pay to be included on the list.
Relevant links for Webhosting Services
- Yahoo! Web Hosting – Reliable, easy-to-use and affordable.
- iPower offers the most complete Web Hosting Solution.
- StartLogic – Affordable hosting: Free setup/domain, unlimited emails, PHP, mySQL, CGI, FrontPage. As low as $6.50/month.
- Over 5 million Customers Trust 1&1 Web Hosting.
Once you have your domain name registered and your hosting provider taken care of, it’s time to begin planning your site design. Follow these steps for best results:
Focus on your site’s goals
Your site should be laid out so that it’s easy for the visitor to do what they came their to do. If you are selling a product or service, the home page should “sell”. There should be links to the “buy now” button, and additional links to your FAQ, Contact, About, Terms of Service & Polices, and Privacy Notice. These are all essential pages for every web site.
Organize your site by folders
As your site grows and changes you will want to update your pages and, perhaps, add more products and services. The easiest way to maintain a growing site is to keep it organized from day 1.
Create a folder on your computer for each folder that will be on your website. Create and edit all of the documents for that folder and save them in that folder. Then you will create a folder with the same name on your web server and upload the documents when you are ready.
Each folder should have a specific purpose. All images, for example, should go in the images folder. If you use sound files, they should go in the audio folder. Home page content would go into the root folder (the mail directory on your web site). Your Privacy Statement would go into the privacy folder, etc.
Creating your design
If you are not a graphic artist, you can save a lot of time if you buy pre-made templates for your website. These are ready-to-go designs that include the HTML pages, images, and, sometimes, FLASH and audio files. There are hundreds of template sites on the Internet and you can usually buy a nice one for under $50. Of course, a ready-made template won’t have your logo or site name on it, but you can hire a graphic artist to “touch up” your template for a small amount of money. That way you will end up with a quasi-personalized look that doesn’t cost you a fortune.
Planning site navigation
Following are some links for relevant Service
If you plan to accept credit cards on your site, and there is practically no way that you can avoid doing this if you will be selling a product or service, you’re going to need a credit card or merchant account. It is important that you choose your credit cared processor before you select a shopping cart or e-commerce program. Not all shopping carts are compatible with all credit card merchant accounts.
You have two basic choices when it comes to accepting credit cards. You can either apply for a merchant account,or you can use a third-party card processor. There are some major differences between the two types of credit card accounts and your costs can vary as well.
A merchant account is a three-way relationship between you, the transaction processing company which approves or declines the customers card and initiates the transfer of funds from the credit card issuing company to your bank who deposits the funds into your account within 24-48 hours after settlement.
Opening a merchant account requires that you either apply to your current bank, or use a merchant account provider service like Cardservice Internationalwhich will match you with a bank that provides merchant account services.
A traditional merchant account can be expensive, especially if you are just starting in business and are not generating any sales.
There are a number of recurring fees that you will be charged, and some of these fees are owed whether you make any sales or not. The most typical fees include:
- An application fee (although many providers will waive this fee)
- An account “set-up” fee payable after your application is approved.
- A per-sale “discount” that can run between 2% to 3% of each sale.
- A flat per-transaction fee of anywhere from .35 to .75 cents or higher.
- A monthly minimum fee if your sales volume falls below the minimum volume that the merchant account provider assigns to you.
- Statement fees, gateway fees, and communication or connection fees which can run as high as $60 to $75 per month.
On the other hand, third party credit card processing services like PayPal, ClickBank and 2Checkout.com give you a relatively inexpensive entry into accepting credit cards without generating a lot of expenses. PayPal has no setup fee and simply charges you a percentage of each sale. That amount can vary from 1.9% to 2.9% depending upon your monthly transaction volume. There is also a .35 per-transaction fee. 2Checkout and ClickBank both charge a one-time setup fee plus a fee per transaction much like PayPal’s The advantage with ClickBank is that you can also use their built-in affiliate program which allows other merchants to promote your product or service. These merchants earn a commission from each sale. The commission is deducted from each sale by ClickBank and is forwarded to the referring merchant each month. This can be a great way to drive additional business to your web site and only have to pay for performance.
Spend some time to investigate all of your credit card processing options before you choose one. It can be very difficult to change providers once you are up and running.
You can check out reviews and features for many of the major credit card processors by visiting credit-card-processing-review.toptenreviews.com.
See Item #3 in the 10 Best Practices for Running an E-Commerce Site for additional suggestions.
You can check the following links for the relevant services
- PayPal (the most Popular method for startup)
- Accept checks today by Phone, Fax, or Website
There are countless shopping carts and other e-commerce software available on the Internet. Prices run from free up to several thousands of dollars. In addition to installing and running e-commerce software on your own server, there are a number of shopping cart companies that will host the service for you. These companies typically charge a monthly fee for the service, and some also charge a per-transaction charge. These charges are in addition to whatever credit card processing costs you’ll pay.
Follow these steps when choosing your e-commerce software.
1. Focus on finding software that provides the features that are important to you.
If you will be selling physical goods then you will want a cart that is able to interface with the shipping companies that you are planning to use. Many carts have modules for communicating with FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the US Post Office. If you are operating your web site somewhere other than the United States then you will need to look for carts that are compatible with the shipping companies in your country. What’s most important to you.
You may want a cart that keeps track of your inventory and automatically marks a product as out of stock when inventory levels reach zero.
If you are selling digital products then you will want a cart that can process payments and make the product available to the buyer by either a direct download link that appears after the payment is processed, or one that sends an e-mail with the download link embedded.
Spend the time to make a list of all the features that you need and then find the software that matches your needs. Keep in mind that the language that your cart is written in must be supported by your hosting account. If you are in doubt, ask your web host provider before you buy anything.
2. Look at web sites that are actually running the software that you are considering.
Most e-commerce software providers will provide links to their customers who are running their software. Visit as many stores as you can find and try out as many features as possible. Make sure that you like the way the software operates and that it provides the kind of experience that you want your customers to have.
3. Be sure that you know what the full cost of ownership for the software that you are considering.
Some software requires you to pay ongoing or annual fees to renew your support contract or license. Read the terms and conditions for each product carefully so you aren’t surprise by an unexpected bill down the road.
4. Look for independent and unbiased reviews from other users.
Many of the more popular e-commerce software packages are usually discussed in various online forums. Your best bet is to enter the name of the package you are considering into Google and then type the word “review” after it. You should be rewarded with links to sites where your prospective selection has been thoroughly discussed and you can also find reviews on many of the popular carts.