Over the past 10 years, e-commerce has been one of the fastest growing segments of the retail industry. That may seem obvious to anyone who has ever shopped online, but the size and speed of the boom has been truly astounding. There are already hundreds of thousands of online stores around the World Wide Web, and according to some estimates, merchants open 20,000 new e-commerce storefronts every week.
• Before You Start Creating Your Site
Build Your E-Commerce Dealing Plan. What are you selling? Who is your target market? How much money will you need to invest to get your e-commerce business off the ground? Do you want to incorporate or operate as a sole proprietorship? These questions may seem like no-brainers, but it is worth taking some time to sit down and map out a strategy.
Depending on the size and complexity of your business, this could take anywhere from a day or two to several months.
• Learn the language(s) of the web
HTML, PHP, ASP, SQL, CSS, AJAX — today’s internet encompasses an alphabet soup of different programming codes and tools. While you do not need to be an expert in any of them to create a web site on your own, you should at least familiarize yourself with these technologies. There are a wide range of resources available at your local library, bookstore, and of course online. The World Wide Web Consortium is a great place to start.
• Jumpstarting Your Site Design with Free Templates
Even if you decide to create a DIY web site, you do not need to start with a blank slate. There are wide varieties of free HTML templates that you can tweak to meet your needs available at sites such as 4templates.com or freewebtemplates.com. Before you start re-coding, however, be sure that the designer really has given permission for others to use and change the look of the template.
• Is Free Web Hosting Right for You?
It is often said that the best things in life are free, but when it comes to web hosting, this may not be the case. If you are running an e-commerce site, a free hosting provider may not give you the reliability or features you need to keep your customers happy. Before you decide on a host, be sure it offers the bandwidth to support all of the traffic to your site and meets your needs for guaranteed uptime.
• Don’t Forget to Register Your Domain Name
Before you can host your web site anywhere, you will need a domain name. Pick something that your customers will find easy to remember, but try to avoid plays on words and other phrases that are not search engine-friendly. For example, if you have a business selling cat toys, CatToyOutlet.com is better than PurrfectlyPerfectToys.com.
Also, remember to complete your metadata fields with relevant content and to submit your site to the Open Directory Project, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other popular search engines so your customers can find you.
• More Bits Mean More Protection
When you begin to researchSSL Certificate, you will notice that different certificates may offer different levels of encryption measured in bits. Usually, certificates range from40-bit to 256-bit encryption. As you might have guessed, 256-bit encryption is the strongest, but just how strong is it? To give you some idea, 128-bit encryption can calculate 288 times as many combinations as 40-bit encryption, making it over a trillion times a trillion times stronger. That means it would take a hacker a trillion years to break into a session protected by a 128-bit SSL certificate, and even longer to hack into a session secured with 256-bit encryption.
When you are comparing CAs, also check to see if they are using 2048-bit roots that support up to 256-bit encryption. This means that the CA follows the latest recommendations developed by the Certificate Authority Browser Forum—an industry oversight organization—to help ensure that SSL certificates are as strong as they can be.