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Set-By-Step eCommerce Web Site Development Guide

Define Goals
Select Keywords
Choose Domain
Register Domain
Hosting Service
Develop Content
Optimize Images
Design A Logo
Design Pages
Insert Meta Tags
Optimize Content
Payment Processor
Shopping Cart
Contact Forms
Bulletin Board
Mailing List
Test, Test, Test
Link Popularity
Search Engines

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Define Your Goals

Before you begin the process of developing a ecommerce website, it is important to define your goals. Sure, you want to make lots of sales, but there is much more to achieving success than simply building a website and submitting it to the search engines. In fact there are entire books devoted to the subject of Internet marketing. We will cover a few basics here to get you thinking. There is no absolute right way to market products or services on the Internet, but a substantial amount of research and planning will greatly increase your odds of success.

What is your budget? If you have the basic skills necessary to create web pages and upload them to your site or a web master to manage the site, then you are already half way there. If not, you might consider hiring a web master, at least until you learn the necessary skills. You may think that you are saving money by doing everything by yourself, but if you don't understand the technology mistakes can equate to wasted time and delays. If you can't afford a professional web master, the next best thing is to work with a hosting service and software vendor who will be responsive to your needs while you learn.

How much time do you have? Depending on your knowledge and skill level, you might build an e-commerce website in a matter of days or weeks. If you do not have the necessary skills or a web master, it could take much longer. Creating a web site and adding pages is the easy part of Internet marketing. Attracting customers to your website requires time or money or both.There are many inexpensive ways to market your website and, depending on your competition or the demand for your product, you may be able to do much of the marketing work yourself. How much time can you devote to this? An alternative is to pay for search engine optimization and effective advertising.

Is your product or service unique or hard to find? If it is, then you probably won't have too much trouble getting good search engine rankings using the most obvious keywords. On the other hand, if your product or service is in a heavily saturated market, such as consumer electronics decent search engine rankings can be difficult if not impossible to achieve. In this case, other forms of marketing may be needed.

What are your strengths?
What benefits do you offer that your competitors don't? What added value features or services do you offer? Build on your strengths and use them when writing content.

Who is your target audience?
Design the website for you target audience. Present meaningful benefits and design the style and content of your website in the context of your customers' needs and desires.

Keep it simple and to the point.
First impressions are lasting impressions. Avoid distractions such as moving objects and animation. Use graphics sparingly and with purpose. Flash and sluggish multimedia plug-ins, and overindulgent mission statements will slow the loading time of your pages. The most important aspect of a commercial website is usually; compelling content, easy navigation, and a simple way to purchase the product or service. Your website can still be visually appealing so long as you emphasize function over form.

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