Archive: May 2008
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of tracking your website’s visitors and using that information to improve your site and thus conversion rates,etc. I have just come across a brilliant post by Linda Bustos in which she explains some very useful tweaks and tips to improve the collection of stats regarding your website. (more…)
I recently came across this gem of an article written by the guys over at Get Elastic about how much of an impact a button can have on a potential customer of an e-commerce website. Obviously with e-commerce, building trust is extremely important and therefore consistency and simplicity are your friend. This article gives you some tips and pointers on what kind of buttons to use for your website in terms of colours, design and text formatting. If you are planning to start your own web business I would highly recommend you think long and hard about what colours you are going to use and make sure that they are consistent with your company image or branding. Check out the full article here: 107 Add to Cart Buttons of the Top Online Retailers
Now that you understand the importance of a hosting company for your e-commerce store (covered in Part 1) , we can move on to the actual software to be used. A decade ago there were very few e-commerce software packages that wouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Today, however, there are literally hundreds of different options, including a number of absolutely free ones.
I have decided to describe a few of the most popular packages in use today. These software options are used by millions of stores around the world. When considering a shopping cart (as they are commonly called) you need to consider the language (code) that they are written in as well as the database which it supports. This is very important because it will influence which hosting provider you select to host your website.
This is an open source software package, it is totally free to use and modify. It comes with a number of useful features that are quite easy to use and configure. The site can have an almost unlimited number of products which can be organized into categories. You can also set various discount and promotions. The site allows you to accept most popular payments methods (PayPal, credit cards, cheques,etc).
This is an e-commerce solution that has been developed by a number shop owners, programmers, designers and fanatics who have a lot of experience with e-commerce stores. It is a free open source solution with a user-friendly design.
This is a high quality paid software solution that costs $195 but comes with a 1 month technical assistance package. It is written in PHP and MySql. Installation is very easy with an automated setup. The admin area is very user friendly and easy to understand. The cart has been integrated with more than 35 popular payment gateways such as PayPal, 2CheckOut, GoogleCheckOut, WorldPay, etc. It includes 5 professional templates.It has also an advanced Order management tool, Affilate add-on, Product configurator, Feature comparison and Gift Registry modules.
This is an eCommerce package written in PHP & MySQL. You can setup a powerful online store as long as you have hosting supporting PHP and one MySQL database. CubeCart is very powerful and easy to connect to various payment gateways.
Virtuemart (formerly known as php-Shop)
This is an independent open-source shopping cart solution. However, it is better known as an e-commerce component for Mambo or Joomla! CMS.
Those are just a few of the options available to you. If you haven’t read the first part in this series please see Part 1.
Telkom has truly astounded me! After having written about my decison to get ADSL, I have received my ADSL line and router within 24 hours of making the application. I really couldn’t believe it, especially since I have been hearing about the horror stories of some people waiting months to have their line provisioned for ADSL.
I think I must have just been extremely lucky! I won’t go as far as to say that I am suddenly a big fan of Telkom’s but I will say that in my eyes they have certainly improved their image slightly. I’m still paying an excessively high line rental but atleast now I don’t feel totally neglected be them, as some people have been!
What do you think? Does Telkom deserve some recognition for a job well done? Or was I just one of the lucky minority? Let me know…
This is the first post in a series of posts dealing with the setup of an e-business.
For those who don’t know, hosting is an absolutely vital part of your e-commerce success. It is extremely difficult to get your business online if you don’t have an adequate hosting company. Many large online businesses host their own websites, but for a small startup, this is out of the question. Your host will handle all the necessary technical issues that relate to keeping your site on the internet.
Choosing a hosting company can be daunting task, especially if you have no understanding or no interest in understanding the ins and outs of this technology. So, where do you begin? Firstly let me say that you have a couple of options, you can host locally or internationally, you can also host on a Linux server or you can host on a windows server.
Hosting locally has many benefits, some of which I’m sure you guessed. Let me list a few of these advantages: Local support, faster loading websites for local users and no downtime related to the international link being down. The major disadvantage for local hosting, however, is simply the cost of bandwidth. Once your site begins growing and gets more and more traffic, it’s going to be using more and more bandwidth and you are going to be charged heavily for that bandwidth.
Hosting internationally can work out a lot cheaper, but there are also some difficulties. As mentioned above, when the international connection goes down you site will be unavailable to local users. Your site will load quite a lot slower than a locally hosted site. Overall it’s a good idea to do a lot of research into exactly what your needs will be.
In terms of choosing whether or not to host on a Linux server or a Windows server you need to consider your e-commerce software needs which will be discussed in a future post of this series. In short, most e-commerce software has certain requirements and most often can only be hosted on a Linux server.