Strategies for E-commerce Site

E-commerce means selling your products and services over the Internet, and even if you have a traditional offline store, these days you need an online presence as well, or you risk losing customers to the online competition. Many customers simply enjoy the convenience of shopping without leaving home.

There are two main options when creating an e-commerce site: design your own website or hire professionals to do it for you. Whichever method you choose, you will still need to do the basic groundwork of deciding on exactly what you want on your website, and how you want it to look.

If you decide to do it yourself, a web hosting company specializing in e-commerce can be a great help, because they have numerous tools and software packages designed specifically for online sales businesses. Designing the site with the help of a good e-commerce host can save you a fortune and can deliver a result that is highly efficient and effective at selling to, and retaining, customers.

Among the tools available from e-commerce web hosting companies are website building software packages, along with templates to streamline and simplify the process of designing a winning website.

Other tools include various types of shopping carts to automate sales, and the option of a variety of payment options for the customer, such as credit cards, PayPal, eChecks, and so on. PayPal is by far the most popular and cost-effective method of payment, and it is easy to qualify for a business account if you have a valid bank account to link to PayPal. Savvy online purchasers will almost always have a PayPal account these days.

E-commerce web hosts also give you multiple email addresses and autoresponders, and access to powerful database applications to help you build your customer database and mailing lists. If you are selling a lot of products, you may need to look for an e-commerce web host that allows you to upload electronic versions of your product catalogs, or thumbnails of your product images.

Even if you are a novice, the tools provided by a good e-commerce web host can have a professional-looking and effective website up in only a few days. Make sure the features of the e-commerce website match the features you actually want for your website, and check the fine print about bandwidth, which might be exceeded if your website is successful and the number of visitors grows.

Once you have your website up, the next thing to do is promote the site and generate traffic to it, since your sales will be a percentage of the number of visitors. There are many ways to attract more visitors to your site, including submitting the site to search engines, choosing keywords effectively and using them in your articles to maximize effectiveness with the search engines.

You can also try buying Google Adsense or Yahoo! Search ads, as well as emailing everyone on your mailing list, informing contacts via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and using link exchange programs. Try a combination of strategies to find out what works best for you. Just remember, the more traffic you can generate, the more sales your site will make.