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How to create an E-commerce web site

Guide How to Create an E­Commerce Web Site Contents Introduction: The Elements of E­Commerce _________________________________ 1 I. Step One: Establish Your Online Identity with the Right Web Address__________ 2 A. What’s In a Name?_________________________________________________ 2 B. How to Get and Manage Domain Names ______________________________ 2 1. How to Buy an Existing Domain Name_______________________________________ 3 2. How to Register Domain Names Worldwide___________________________________ 3 II. Step Two: Build a User­Friendly Site _____________________________________ 3 A. Plan Your Site Carefully_____________________________________________ 3 B. Choose the Right Site­Building Tools _________________________________ 4 C. E­Commerce Site Design Tips _______________________________________ 4 III. Step Three: Set Up Your Web Server—or Select an ISP to Host Your Site______ 5 A.What to Look for in a Web Hosting Company___________________________ 6 B. Where to Find the Right Web Host____________________________________ 6 IV. Step Four: Secure Your Site___________________________________________ 7 A. The Risks of E­Commerce___________________________________________ 7 B. The Trust Solution: SSL Server IDs for Authentication and Encryption_____ 8 C. How Server IDs Work_______________________________________________ 8 D. How to Get SSL Server IDs__________________________________________ 9 1. VeriSign Commerce Site and Secure Site Solutions__________________________ 10 2. VeriSign Key Benefits_____________________________________________________ 11 E. Code Signing IDs_________________________________________________ 12 F. E­Mail IDs________________________________________________________ 12 G. Your Privacy and Security Statement________________________________ 12 V. Step Five: Accept and Manage All Kinds of Payments______________________ 12 A. The Internet Payment Processing System____________________________ 13 B. VeriSign Payflow Payment Gateway Services _________________________ 14 1. Payflow Link_____________________________________________________________ 14 2. Payflow Pro______________________________________________________________ 15 3. Payflow Pro with Fraud Screen_____________________________________________ 16 C. Set Up Your Internet Merchant Account ______________________________ 17 VI. Step Six: Test, Test, Test_____________________________________________ 17 VII. Step Seven: Promote Your Site_______________________________________ 18 VIII. Now, Start Selling_________________________________________________ 19 i Introduction: The Elements of E­Commerce Your business may be small—but the Internet lets you think big. Whatever product or service your business offers, the Internet levels the playing field and lets you compete with bigger businesses, reaching customers around the world who can conveniently buy from you 24 hours a day. But in the competitive world of the Web, growing your business and increasing your profits online requires some careful planning. For every successful e­commerce businesses, there are dozens that fail by not addressing basic risks and pitfalls along the way. So to take full advantage of the e­commerce opportunity, make sure you base your Web business on a solid f foundation that covers every element of e­commerce: Establish your identity. The right domain name, or URL, can make the difference between a memorable e­commerce identity and getting lost in the online crowd. b Find the right online home. For brick­and­mortar stores, location is everything. Your e­ commerce business needs the right home, too. Purchase and set up your own Web server, or find a a home for your site with the right Internet Service Provider or Web host. Build an attractive storefront. With the right tools, creating a Web site is easier than ever—but following some basic guidelines will help make your site easy and fun for customers to navigate. And that means more sales for you. Let customers know they can trust you. In the anonymous world of the Internet, customers will communicate private information, like credit card numbers or phone numbers, to your e­commerce site only if they’re sure your site is legitimate and the information they send you is protected. Make sure your site is secure—and that your customers know it. Make it easy for customers to pay you. You can set up your site so customers can pay by simply keying in a credit card number. But then how will you process that transaction? Make sure you not only offer customers a variety of convenient payment methods, but that you can p process them all. Let the world know about your site. A memorable domain name, a great­looking design, and top­notch products and services can make your site successful only if customers know about it. Don’t neglect promoting your site to drive traffic to it. Clearly, building the elements of e­commerce into your Web business is a big job, but it’s too important to ignore if you want your e­business to grow and thrive. VeriSign can help. As the leading provider of secure Internet and e­commerce services for individuals and businesses of all sizes, VeriSign offers a complete set of solutions that help you easily handle every step of the e­commerce process. Just take the following steps to ensure that your e­commerce business gives you the competitive edge. I. Step One: Establish Your Online Identity with the Right Web Address The first step toward e­commerce is selecting the name of your site. Your Web address (also called a URL—Uniform Resource Locator— or “domain name”), tells customers who you are and how to find you on the Internet. It is the core of your Internet identity— your online brand. And because no two parties can have the same Web address, your online identity is totally unique. A. What’s In a Name? Quite a lot, actually. Remember that not only does your domain name tell customers exactly how to find your business on the Web, but also it communicates and reinforces the name of your business to every Web site visitor. It can also be used as part of your e­mail address to establish your online identity. K Keep these tips in mind before you choose: Make it memorable. “Amazon.com” is much catchier than “booksonline.com.” “ Describe your business. Another approach is to simply and logically describe your business. “Flowers.com” works perfectly for a florist. And if you are setting up an online presence for an established business, keep the name of your site the same as the name of your b business. Keep it short. The best domain names are those that customers can remember and type into their browsers after seeing or hearing them only once, so complicated strings of words like “onlinecdstore.com” don’t work as well as a simple phrase: “cdnow.com.” B. How to Get and Manage Domain Names Once you’ve decided on your Web identity, the next step is to determine if it is available and then register it with a domain name “registrar.” Registering is easy and inexpensive, so do it as soon as you’ve decided on your domain name to make sure you get the name you want. Many businesses register a number of variations, just in case they want to use them later—or to avoid the risk of competitors obtaining similar names. A Scandinavian financial service company, for example, recently spent more than $1 million to register 3,080 domain names (Business 2.0, August 22, 2000, p. 32). You also may want to register common misspellings so that all customers who incorrectly type your address still find their way to your site instead of receiving an error message. E­commerce businesses most often register a name with “com” as the domain name extension (the letters after the dot; also called a top­level domain, or TLD), but often also register their names with “.net” and “.org” (for “organization”). Other suffixes include “.tv” and “.edu” for schools and universities. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently announced seven new TLDs—.biz, .info, .name, .pro, .museum, .aero, and .coop. 1. How to Buy an Existing Domain Name What happens if the domain name you want is already registered? You can either choose another name or buy your first choice from whoever got it first. The fact that the name you want has already been registered doesn’t necessarily mean it is not available for sale. You can easily find out whether a domain name that has already been registered is for sale by checking out the Network Solutions domain name marketplace site at http://www.greatdomains.com. 2. How to Register Domain Names Worldwide The Internet is global —shouldn’t your business be, too? Registration of multiple domain names for use around the world protects your intellectual property, brand name, and trademarks against infringement by global cybersquatters. If you plan to do business in other countries, you can register country­specific Web addresses (in country­specific TLDs such as .ita for Italy and .uk for the United Kingdom) with Network Solutions’ idNames search and registration service. But as your business grows, you may find that registering and managing multiple domain names is a complex, time­consuming process. IdNames can also consolidate worldwide domain name management into a single centralized account if you have 50 or more domains. Go to http://www.networksolutions.com/catalog/idnames to learn more. Once you’ve established your Web identity by selecting and registering your domain names, it’s time to build your site. II. Step Two: Build a User­Friendly Site With a domain name in place, you’re ready to start building your e­commerce storefront. But before you begin, take some time to plan. A. Plan Your Site Carefully First, identify clear marketing goals for your site, such as generating leads, building a database of potential customers’ names and e­mail addresses, or putting a product catalog online to save the time and expense of printing and mailing. Quantify your objectives— such as increasing sales by 15 percent—so you know whether or not your site is successful. Then, figure out what your potential customers need to know before buying your products and services. This might include: An overview of your company, its products and services, and their applications Complete product or service descriptions, including features, key benefits, pricing, product specifications, and other information, for each product or service Testimonials, case studies, or success stories so customers can see how similar individuals or organizations have worked with you An FAQ section that anticipates and answers customers’ common issues ...

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