Building E-commerce Websites

By: gerrybrice

Building an e-commerce website -- what does it entail? Again, don't let me go into that harangue of telling you guys that this task is something only 21-year old eggheads in stiff white collars can do. You would either need a little of their help or search online for a reliable company that offers a package of services for high risk merchant account owners. And if you got lucky on the latter, you still would need to create a checklist on which elements you need to prioritize for your website. I'm talking about the bare bones. After you have decided on those, it's time to figure out whether to add some fancy stuff on your website or keep things simple

So what elements should you consider added on your e-commerce website? If you've published a book before (not e-book, but if you want to go into that detail, see my article ("Homemade Remedy for Download Theft"), most likely you'd already be familiar with the steps you need to take from the time you've conceived the story to the moment it's out in the bookstore shelves. Yes, you would need an endorsement from celebrities, too! Remember Harvey Mackay's "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive"? Well yeah, that one's a classic.

Web copy, layout and other visuals, e-commerce elements, marketing elements, and customer service tools, are some of the basic stuff you need to incorporate in your e-commerce website. Each one of these elements come with its own set of structure that would also require a bit of search engine friendliness or better yet, full-blown SEO campaign.

THE WEB COPY

For your e-commerce website's copy, consider the number of pages. Major search engines such as Google usually favor more webpages but be careful about using Javascript or adding frames. The simpler the structure of your text pages are, the better. Do not forget adding basics such as "About Us" or product description pages. When it comes to adding extra content such as blogs and RSS news feeds, the more optimized for the search engines (using keywords, backlinks, etc.) the better. You would also need the help of a flexible database so that each time you add new product or text elements, the storage can be extended. Administration area for uploading text content should be user-friendly.

IMAGES AND FLASH CLIPS

Images are important for your e-commerce website but be selective in handling them. Look into how they will improve your catalog or shopping cart before you assign your web designer into building elaborate Flash intro pages, logos, or banners for affiliate programs or other online marketing campaigns. Image incorporation can be expensive. Worse, they are not often crawled by Google's spiders anyways. Also, the heavier the image files in your e-commerce website, the longer the loading time, the harder it is to retain customers who go by split second click-browse shopping method.

SHOPPING CART

Setting up the shopping cart itself requires the help of a good programmer but you can always make use of osCommerce. The important thing is that you are able to handle credit card payment processing with the aid of a low risk or a high risk merchant account provider. Your shopping cart has to be user-friendly enough to foster a good online shopping experience for your customers.

CUSTOMER SERVICE ADD-ONS

For a good discussion of customer service tools you need to add in your e-commerce website, see "7 Best Tools for First Rate Customer Service". The key here is to provide interactivity measures for your customers to learn more of their buying tendencies, suggestions for improvement, inquiries, and above all, a way to reach them via mailing lists! Shouldn't be complicated. When these foundations are built, you're all set to sail in the gritty world of e-commerce industry.

Online Business
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