Due to the rapid growth in popularity the internet has received over the past decade, most business owners are expanding the sale of their products and service into the online marketplace. The practice of selling goods or services online is called ecommerce, or electronic commerce. Although running an online business is often easier than running a brick and mortar shop, there are some things you’ll need to know to get started. The most important aspect of your business website will be it’s hosting account. There are many ecommerce solutions available, however choosing the right one can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. The following three steps will guide you through the process of picking an ecommerce web hosting solution.
1. Assess Your Needs
Finding the right ecommerce plan will depend largely upon your needs as an online business owner. What is right for another company may not necessarily be right for you. If you’re planning on running a smaller operation then you could get by with the bare minimum, however it is important to consider scalability. Choosing the cheapest service will almost always end in disaster, especially if you plan on expanding your business in the near future. A general rule would be to consider reliability over affordability. If you have a lot of products to sell then you’ll want to purchase a plan that comes with unlimited disk space and high bandwidth. Many times the best option for large business owners is a dedicated server.
A website lacking these server features can suffer downtime, and ultimately loss of business. The appearance of your website is important no matter how big or small your business is. The goal of a small business owner is to be able to compete with the big corporations that often consume all of the business within a particular niche. Doing this would be nearly impossible without the programming tools included in a good ecommerce hosting solution.
2. Review Payment Methods
Once you know what you need in terms of server space and features, it’s time to consider how you’ll be paid for your efforts as an online business owner. Once your customers have decided to purchase a product or service from you, you’ll want to make it easy for them to checkout and pay you. Therefore a shopping cart solution is crucial to your website. In fact, most customers will leave your website if you do not have a secure shopping cart feature. It is best to have a merchant account, however you can also accept credit card payments with a simple PayPal account.
3. Make Your Decision
Now that you’ve rounded up a few prospects base on the above attribute, it’s time to make your decision. While price should not be a deciding factor, it should be noted that most web hosting plans are very affordable due to the competitive nature of the market. Therefore, it should be easy to find a plan that fits your needs in terms of finances and server requirements.