Taking your business online is essential to your growth and should be an important part of your business plan. Doing so may seem daunting but establishing your business on the world wide web is easier than you think.
Things You Will NeedIn order to get your business up and running online, you will first need to register a domain name and select a hosting service.
Select a Domain Name
The domain name you choose should either be relevant to your business or include your business name. Try to register a .com domain since it is the most widely used and recognized extension. Using another one (i.e. .biz or .net) not as popular can result in customers typing in the wrong address. Pricing to register a domain name can be as low as $10 a year.
After you have registered your domain name you will need to set up your own web server or find a hosting service for your site - most businesses beginning their online endeavors opt for the latter. Reliable hosting services are relatively inexpensive, with little or no set-up fee and anywhere from $20 to $40 a month. Be weary of extremely cheap services (you pay for what you get!).
Step 3Payment Gateway
Most online shoppers use credit cards for purchases, so you will need an internet payment gateway to accept online payments. Most payment gateways require a credit card merchant account to deposit online payments.
Basic shopping cart hosting can range from as little as $20 a month to thousands of dollars. There are a wide variety of solutions available including the popular X-Cart, Open For Business, and Zen Cart.
A secure certificate allows you to encrypt customers' credit card numbers before they are sent across the internet. Not only does your certificate verify your company as secure, but it allows your server to accept encrypted connections. Check out VeriSign, an industry leader in secure certificates.