I get a lot of questions from people asking how and where they should build their online stores. With so much conflicting information out there today, it’s almost impossible to figure this out on your own if you’re new to the business.
Many people are under the impression that different types of stores will automatically bring you different amounts of “traffic” (visitors who might buy from you). While that might have been true to some extent years ago, it really doesn’t work that way anymore. You can’t depend on a store platform to bring in your traffic. You have to go out and get it. So don’t believe it when you hear that building this kind of store or that kind of store will automatically bring people in to buy from you. There’s no such thing as “automatic traffic”. At least not enough of it to make any kind of a difference to your business.
What platform you use to build your store is a business decision. If you’re going to be in business, you have to learn to make objective business decisions, no matter what hype and promises you hear. Choosing a store platform has to do with cost, time, features, and compatibility.
There are companies out there who want to charge you thousands of dollars for a web site, or a set of web sites, claiming they give you all kinds of “support” and make things “easy”. Don’t believe them. Those people have all the moral fiber of the underside of an outhouse.
You only need ONE web site/store to get started online. One web site all by itself will keep you busier than a set of jumper cables in a junkyard for a long, long time.
A good online businessperson should be building a business mostly from profit, not from their wallet, and the best way to do that is to ignore the get rich quick promises and use the right tools for the job. The right tools actually cost very little, but they get lost very quickly in all the noise from the ‘get rich quick’ leeches that dominate the search engines.
Control costs from the very beginning, and you’ll find that you can run an online business for less than $100 a month.
I hear from a pretty large number of people who say they want to “build their own” web site/store. Even if you have the kind of programming expertise to do that (and it takes a LOT of programming expertise, no matter what anybody tells you!) it still takes too much time.
Building a good web site and store from scratch is a complicated process. There are hosting companies out there (lots of them) that tell you that their amazingly cheap and simple do-it-yourself shopping carts and store solutions are the next greatest thing on the internet. Well, if cheaply built, partially functional, inflexible and programming-intensive web sites are the next greatest thing, we’d all better go build lemonade stands on the corner, because we won’t get anywhere otherwise.
Your time is critical to you in your business. Chances are you still have to work a day job to keep money coming in, which means you don’t have a lot of time available for your biz. Or, maybe you’ve been laid off and need to get something working pretty quickly. Either way, as a businessperson you can’t make the mistake of spending too much time on any one thing, no matter how much web programming you know.
So, even if you do have the programming knowledge you need, you can’t allow yourself to waste the extra time it takes to re-invent the wheel and try to make something like that work right.
Your best choice is a really good pre-built we site/store platform that doesn’t require a lot of “poke and hope” mouse clicking and time-wasting to get running.
Every idiot who ever wrote a sales letter makes promises to you about “Features”. Most of the web site/store platforms out there frankly suck eggs, but that doesn’t stop their salespeople and affiliates from praising them to the Heavens, in the hope of wrenching a few ill-gotten dollars from your wallet before you find out you bought a piece of junk, whether it was for a few bucks, or a few thousand.
A web site/store platform should be:
1. Completely under your control. You should never be forced to ask someone else to make changes to your site, or ever be charged for changes. There are too many changes you’re going to have to make to your site over time to give up control and have to depend on or pay somebody else to make them for you.
2. Feature Rich at a Low Cost
A good site/store platform has features like easy merchant account connectivity, the ability to create your own HTML pages (no “locked” templates that you can’t change), the ability to cross-promote and offer coupons, autoresponders to contact your customers automatically, real-time connection to shipping companies so your customers’ orders can be calculated exactly, the ability to let you choose how you tax your sales, the ability to let you choose where you accept orders from and where you ship to, and a whole lot more.
Each basic business feature that your web site DOESN’T have is going to make your site that much less likely to succeed in business.
These features should not be add-ons that you have to find or create yourself. They should be included, at a LOW cost.
Most of the over-hyped and underpowered site/store “solutions” out there are incompatible with other things you need to run your business. One of the most important is your Merchant Account. That’s how you collect payment from your customers’ credit cards. If you buy a junk site/store platform, you’re going to find that you either can’t collect your customers’ money without huge amounts of programming hassles, or you have to go with the merchant account “solution” offered (at a high cost) by the same leeches who sold you the junk site/store platform. That’s one example; there are many more.
What’s the real solution?
The store platform I have found to be the best, the most feature-rich, time-saving, inexpensive, flexible and reliable is Yahoo Store, without a doubt.
This is a store platform and web site combo that’s been around for more than a decade, and has everything you need and more without a contract length. That means if you want to close it, you close it, and you’re done paying for it.
Their tech support is phenomenal, and the store itself can host thousands of products at no additional cost.
Before you buy any site/store platform, look at Yahoo Store.
This article has been provided by Chris Malta's blog. Find more great information about your online business on Chris's site. HERE.