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What to expect from an ecommerce website, and how much should you pay.

E Commerce has changed the way we shop and is now a part of our daily lives, so if you are a company who sells anything at all, it's vital that you have an e commerce website to enable you to sell your goods on-line.

E Commerce was originally very expensive and was only affordable by the Internet 'big boys' . But as the Internet and peoples skills grew, so the cost came down.· You can now pay a web design company anywhere between· £500 and £3000 on average for a decent e commerce website.

What does E Commerce do ?

Basically, it provides an online interactive shop, where people can select what they want to buy form you, put the goods in their 'virtual' shopping cart, and then pay you electronically· (usually by pay-pal).· You then dispatch the goods to the customer.· Your website will have it's own log-in area where you can receive products, set prices etc.. and generally administer your shop and other aspects of your website.

What to expect from an e commerce site .

Like any type of website, or business you need to work at· an e commerce shop.· Soem people think that just by getting a website, they will magically sell· and make loads of money instantly. This is not how things work, like any business, the Internet requires either money spent· and/or hard work in promoting your website, in order to make money from it.

An e commerce website is just a starting point really, but the features you will need on your site are :

A customer registration function.

Email marketing function.

Add / update products and associated· images.

Be able to setup Pay pal / and or Credit card payment facility

Have a customer log-in area where they can view their account history / orders.

Have a site that allows unlimited products / bandwidth etc..·· Don't choose an e commerce solution that takes any percentage of your income / sales or charges you to add extra products . There are better solutions available.

These are just the standard features you would need in an e commerce site. Make sure your Web design firm includes these as a minimum.

Along with setting up your e commerce store you would also need to promote it , and hopefully reach· the first page of Google.

How is this done ? Basically with a lot of hard work doing what is know as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).· Depending on the nature of your products and the competition this can be expensive· and / or time consuming, but has to be done if you want to be· financially successful· SEO in simple terms is building quality links to your website from other websites, and needs researching before either

1. Paying someone to do it ,or

2. Doing it yourself.

Doing it yourself is obviously the cheapest option and is not too difficult to do, once researched properly . Make sure to avoid the pitfalls of companies offering you loads of links really quickly. There's no 'cheating' way of building quality links that Google won';t find out about. They prefer your link building to appear· 'natural' and will reward your ranking for keeping to within their guidelines.

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