what this blog is all about...

Do you sell stuff on-line? Interested in it? Well, this blog might be for you. Don't expect lots of news stories or other stuff you can easily get. I want to give you the ugly side...the practical, the-stuff-they-don't-warn-you-about side of on-line retailing for the small seller.

I've been selling on-line for about 9 years. And I'm happy to share some of my experience and knowledge with anyone who has the patience to trudge their way through my random ramblings!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A short list of things to NOT do first when opening your website

OK, I know it's the fun part...

"What should I name my store?"
"What colors will it use?"
"I have so many ideas for my logo."
"I love the flashing graphics I saw on one site and I want them on mine."
"I can't wait to list my stuff and start selling!"

Here's a piece of friendly advice....whoa. Hold on.

Yes, a name is important. Colors are important, too, as are your logos.

But wait...there are a few more important things to check on first.

  • Your host: Picking a host is seriously important. There are about a gazillion hosting sites out there. Maybe a tiny handful are worth serious consideration (and your time, trust and money).
  • your products: Some hosts are more suited for store-type products, others can handle almost anything. What will you be selling?
  • your payment methods: Not all hosting sites allow use of a merchant account to handle credit card payments, so you may need to use a gateway, take CC payments over the phone only, or just skip credit cards. Want to take checks? Some don't have that option at all!
  • your # of products: Monthly fees are sometimes based on the # of products you want to sell.
  • ability to redirect your site: If you want people to type www.mycoolthings.com to go to your site (rather than www.ecommercehost.com/mycoolthings), make sure your host allows this and that masking won't screw anything up.
  • ability to customize: Most hosting sites offer pre-set templates you can choose from. You can usually customize them once you select one, but the level of customization may not be to your liking. Or the degree of complexity to customize it may be a bit intimidating.
  • how much you want to pay: You can easily pay $100 a month for your web presence, and that doesn't include selling fees, merchant account fees, etc. You may have found the perfect host, but can you afford them?

OK...don't be all ticked off with me about bursting your bubble. That was not my intention.

I just want to give you a little heads-up on some of the issues you will inevitably have to face if you want to have your own web store.

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