Web design for a competitive business isn’t easy, especially when you add e-commerce (the buzzword for buying and selling online) to the mix. Thankfully, many service providers have basic web hosting templates available to their customers at little to no cost depending on your package. More complex templates can be quite expensive. Companies that provide hosting with templates make setting up and maintaining an e-commerce website possible for people without the expertise to do it themselves and without the money to hire a professional to design their site from the ground up.
When purchased separately from your web hosting package, a template can run anywhere from $20 for a basic, simple web template and well into the hundreds of dollars for a more complex, custom design. For the majority of small business owners, basic templates designed for businesses are usually a safe bet.
An e-commerce template may include basic pages, search and navigation tools such as a virtual shopping cart, but it will be up to you to find your own online payment processing – most often through a third party provider such as PayPal. A web search for “online payment processing” will provide you with several options.
As an alternative, you might want to consider a turnkey solution such as eBay Stores or Yahoo! The designs of sites like these make e-commerce solutions for small business accessible to everyone. Be sure to read the find print about transaction fees and other costs before you decide.
Questions to Ask about Functionality
1. Does the shopping cart accept debit cards and online checks?
2. Is there a limit to the number of products, services or categories you can set up?
3. Does the site offer automatic notification of orders and transactions?
Questions to Ask about Cost
1. What are the basic monthly fees?
2. Are fees charged on a per transaction basis?
3. Is there a setup fee? If so, what is it?
4. How are taxes handled?
Talk to other business owners about their choices and do your homework. The right solution is out there for you, you just have to be willing to do what it takes to find it!