Host Your Business Website With Ecommerce Hosting Os Commerce An Intro How To Create A Money Magnet E Commerce Web Site

When you sell products or services on the Internet, you are taking part in the world of ecommerce. Ecommerce hosting can help you to connect with customers and potential customers. You can make online transactions secure and easy for your clients.

Increase sales for your company by taking your business online!

If you are going to host an ecommerce website, it is especially important to carefully select a web hosting provider. Find a hosting provider that offers 24/7 customer support if at all possible. Anytime you are experiencing difficulties with the hosting of your website, you could potentially be losing customers or sales. If a problem ever would arise and your site would be offline or not functioning well, you want assistance as soon as possible. You should also search for a host offering a 99% uptime or better. Again, when your website is offline, you can lose customers.

Many web hosting providers offer ecommerce options. Often, a small to medium sized business can find a highly affordable shared hosting package which includes ecommerce features. There are even hosting providers that offer you the ability to create a customized ecommerce hosting plans. This can help you to increase the productivity and success of your website. Select the features that you do need and leave out those that you do not.

Some ecommerce hosting packages will allow you to set up a store front. You can place your store online. Or you can organize your products and services easily into an “online store.” This will make it fun and easy for your customers to shop and to browse all that your business has to offer. You can easily conduct business with your customers. In doing so, your website can be a greater success and you can obtain satisfied customers.

Your website can even include an online shopping cart. There are various carts with different features for your customers. Find a shopping cart that is easy to use while still offering customers many fun options. Shopping carts make it a snap for customers to add the items they wish to purchase to their cart. They are then able to continue shopping and browsing your website.

In addition, if a customer changes their mind about a particular product or service, they can easily remove that item from their shopping cart. Most shopping carts will allow customers to see how much money they are going to spend. As they add items to their cart, they can see the total adding up and can even estimate the shipping costs for their purchases.

Accept payments online from your customers. From your website you can accept payments in various forms depending upon the payment processing systems that you use. In fact, you can have the ability to accept credit card payments and e-checks online. You can make every transaction safe and secure for your customers. Utilize an SSL certificate for your site. In doing so, you can product all the information that your customers must provide to you when completing a transaction.

The ecommerce packages offered by a hosting company should be secure and easy to use. You will want an ordering process that takes little time and is very understandable for your customers. In addition, you will want your site and all the ecommerce features to be easy for your customers and online visitors to navigate. The more function your website offers to your visitors and clients, the more likely they are to return to your website and to make future purchases.

Look for ecommerce hosting solutions that include marketing features. Many packages include search engine submission services, keyword tools, sometimes credit towards and advertising program and more. These features can help you to promote your website and your business. Hopefully, these features will bring more customers to your website and help to make your business website popular and profitable.

If you want to offer products and services online, search for ecommerce hosting solutions. Many shared web hosts offer ecommerce friendly hosting packages at an affordable cost. Some of these plans could be $20 or even less and are still highly effective hosting services for your business website.

Take your time to explore various ecommerce solutions and hosting options. Do your research on each hosting company that you are considering for the hosting of your business website. Evaluate how reliable the hosting services are as well as the stability of the company. Selecting a great host will allow you to spend your time running your business and not worrying about your hosting services.

Executive Summary

eCommerce platforms are being commoditized. Enterprise level solutions are coming down in price and new open source solutions are being made available to anyone with an internet connection for free.

The most robust of these open source solutions is OS Commerce (OSC) – a community driven eCommerce solution that is flexible, scalable, and user friendly. As eCommerce becomes even more a part of mainstream retail, OSC will provide businesses of all shapes and sizes with the functionality and capabilities of the big boys. This brief examines some of the advantages of OS Commerce and provides insights into how it can help your business.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Maybe so, but you CAN get an eCommerce platform for nothing. Offered for free at www.oscommerce.com, this eCommerce solution provides tons of bells and whistles and provides a user friendly interface to manage the administrative portions of the store. The code is based in the PHP scripting language and runs on the Apache web server – a user also needs access to a SQL database to initially upload the files that manage the categories and products within the admin section.

Now that sounds complicated, but really anyone can do it with some concentrated effort. Much of the documentation online regarding OS is very thorough and provides step by step plans on how to get your store up and running. Any newbie to this type of work will likely come across some roadblocks, but the OS Commerce community forums are only a click away to start trouble shooting.

The solution is community driven, meaning that like minded OSCers are ready to help out their peers with answers to posted questions. Yes, at times this can be extremely frustrating waiting for an answer, but it is very rewarding to overcome a technology bug on your own.

Contribute to the Cause

The best part of OSC is the number of contributions that can be added to your site at any time. Again, there is no cost for these enhancements and upgrades – just the need to be patient in your installations. In most cases, contributions are located on the OS commerce community section and are downloadable via zip files. After opening the file, read the “read me” file which will walk you through the file additions, subtractions, and code changes needed to make your enhancement work properly. If you explore the OS platform be sure to upgrade with the following contributions.

Ultimate SEO URL’s by Chemo

This cool contribution allows the site owner to create static URL’s out of a database driven site. This will dramatically help in search saturation as more pages are able to be indexed. Its no secret that search spiders like traditional urls better than ones that are dynamic and this contribution helps achieve that.

Easy Populate

No need to input product data manually, this contribution allows you to import data from a basic excel file into your store. A true timesaver!

Featured Products

If you have an ecommerce store – certain products are more attractive to sell than others. This contribution allows you to tailor the featured products that you want to showcase within both your home and category pages.

Final Thoughts on OSC

Myself, I am a marketer. But after learning OS I really feel like I have some programmer blood in me! This platform is easy to use and perfect for a small to medium size business in getting online. Yes, there will be headaches along the way but stay with it and you will overcome them and soon have an ecommerce store to bring you in a new revenue stream.

If you’ve been online for more than a day you’ve probably heard some “guru” somewhere recommend that you create a Money Magnet Web Site – a site that is highly automated and helps you make money 24 hours a day. While that might *sound* great, what they often forget to tell you is HOW to do that.

Well, I’m going to tell you right now, in this article!

First, what IS a Money Magnet Web Site? A Money Magnet Web Site can be defined as one that is equipped with an integrated suite of both e-commerce and internet marketing tools in a fashion that will allow you to be the most profitable with the least amount of effort.

Most e-commerce systems are equipped with the following essentials: a shopping cart, acceptance and processing of credit cards, a maintenance system that allows you to add/change products, an order-retrieval system that enables you to fulfill orders.

However, what most of them are lacking are marketing tools. There are several marketing strategies that are essential in the creation of a successful e-commerce web site: email marketing (broadcasting) of prospects/customers, effective use of autoresponders (generate automatic email messages), online newsletter, online form/survey to capture your prospect’s email address electronic product delivery (if you sold a digital product), advertisement (ad) tracking, back end sales, affiliate program.

Now, if you had a system that would support the integration of ALL of these marketing tools in addition to the necessary e-commerce essentials, then you would have a Money Magnet Web Site. After all, it has been shown that it often takes 7 or more ad exposures before prospective customers actually make a purchase. Consider the following scenario:

A prospect clicks on an advertisement in an online magazine. This action increments a counter for this particular ad to help you determine how well it’s working. They don’t decide to buy as of yet but join your newsletter. They are now considered a prospect. You begin to send them a monthly email newsletter. Additionally, an autoresponder kicks in to thank them for joining the newsletter as well as scheduling them to get email twice a month for the next 90 days reiterating your product benefits and inviting them to purchase.

Upon sending them one of your “juicy” offers that they couldn’t refuse, they finally purchase. They will automatically be removed from your prospect list and added to your customer list.

Based on the particular product or service they’ve purchased, they will receive a series of emails every two weeks for the next 6 months offering complementary products. This will be the engine that will drive your back end sales and keep your customers coming back to your web site.

Being able to play out a scenario such as this using one integrated system would be pretty impressive don’t you think? The internet big boys do this with expensive e-commerce platform suites produced by vendors such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Having your system automatically perform these follow up tasks frees you up to spend more time on your business, your health or your family!

=====> What can you do to obtain a money magnet web site?

Fortunately, there are ways that you can automate your website in much the same way that the big boys do. The best and most cost-effective way would be to sign up with one of the handful of Application Service Providers available on the internet, which provide a shopping cart integrated with a full suite of marketing tools. Normally, the shopping cart and tools are very flexible and can be incorporated into any website.

=====> Are there any other ways to automate your business besides working with a total solution provider?

You can accomplish some level of automation without an integrated shopping cart system, however, it will require manual intervention and of course it would be incomplete. I believe that the most important asset of your e-commerce business is your email lists. Therefore, concentrate on the implementation of a good autoresponder/list server system to “enhance” your present e-commerce website. There are several good ones on the

market.

Look for providers that allow you to: create multiple lists, add prospects via a web form, email, or manually through a management console, send out an unlimited number of autoresponder messages, send out an unlimited number of email broadcasts, set up and distribute a newsletter.

When setting up your autoresponder system, create one list for your “prospects” and another one for your “customers”. Now, here’s where you come in: when a person orders your product, you will have to perform the extra task of logging into your autoresponder system and manually remove them from the prospect list and add them to the customer list. This action will then trigger your customer autoresponder series of messages to be sent.

Remember, the key to building a successful e-commerce web site is to automate your marketing engine as much as possible and drive your prospects and customers back to your web site. This will certainly create a money magnet e-commerce web site for you!

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