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I can understand how confused you are and I think I can help you from here to counting money in your checking account... :-)
Here is what you will need:
1. Purchase your domain. You should buy it yourself and do not allow anybody else to manage it. This is your online identity. You should buy a good domain name, or more, today. Just go to http://www.dotster.com/, create an account and start searching for an available name. This will cost you around $10/year.
2. Programmer or good Content Management System (CMS). See article: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/choosing-the-best-web-content-management-system.aspx. This is where most people fail: a bad programmer and/or bad CMS will result in a beautiful failure. This is the time to figure out what your website needs to do and make sure the CMS can do it and/or the programmer knows how to do it. The list of possible features for the website is long, but here is a highlight: product directories, business directories, shopping cart, discussion forums, e-newsletters, discount coupons, rating systems, content tagging, subscription based content, user blogs, anonymous postings, feedback forms.
3. Designer. What truly separates one website from the other is DESIGN. A good and optimized website will make a powerful statement for the target public and separate you from the sea of dull websites. One important advice: do not let your programmer to do design and vice-versa.
4. Merchant account. In order to get the money from the website to you bank account, you'll need a merchant account. There are lots of bad companies out there with so many hidden fees... I can recommend you a couple of good ones, just let me know.
5. Secure Site (SSL). If you are planning to sell anything online, you'll need a secure site (Secure Sockets Layer - SSL) for people to give their credit card info. The service will cost you about $60/year.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The majority of web traffic comes from search engines like Google, Yahoo! or MSN, so called organic traffic. If your site is not indexed by search engines then people who want what you offer on your website cannot find it. Studies and experience have shown that search engine organic traffic can make or break the success of an organization.
7. Online marketing. After your website is up-and-running, you need fresh content on a regular basis, you need to publish press releases as many times as possible, keep in touch with customers using newsletters, and lots of other activities to raise your website's visibility online. After all, you want your prospective customers to find you.
I hope I did not overwhelmed you... As you guessed, building a successful website is not easy, but the rewards can be huge. As I mentioned before, I can help you with every step, as I am doing it every day with all my clients.
Thank you Lorin Morar, where can I reach if I need your help.
Great question. I have been very happy with Site Build It!, the hosting company I use. They have all kinds of tools to help you run the site, and no programming is required. If you know html or CSS or whatever and want that, you can do that, too.
One very cool thing - SBI! doesn't charge for bandwidth. One fee per year, that's all it takes.
Also, SBI! already has tons of great sites that have succeeded through their system. Take al ook and see if will work for you. http://www.sitesell.com/kimba.html.
I have two sites at SBI!, and I love it. The tools make it so easy to see what is happening on the site, and the forums are great for support.
Hope you like it.
Could you please provide us with links to both of your sites? I'm also looking for a e-commerece solution and I would like to check out your websites.
I'm sorry, I misspelled your name.
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I am really confused with who and how I can start selling my products on line. I know that I need an eCommerce site, but there are so many other things too. Like a shopping cart, domain name ....ect....Could you please help me with a company that has a package that includes everything already. I was looking for a web designer, but I think I am just going to use a company that will provide me everything to create my own. Any suggestions? Thank you so much in advance.