Nowadays, you can roll out your businesss online presence in a series of stages. You can start off very simple by creating a page in a social networking website. While social networking pages lack in customization, it is very easy to do and costs nothing. Plus, you can have potential customers subscribe to your page so you can interact with them and keep them updated. But if you really want to boost your businesss income through online channels, you have to go a bit further by building an actual website and eventually get into ecommerce development.
Web Development for Businesses
Providing that you started off with a business social networking page, you dont have to rush directly to ecommerce development. You are still in the stage where you are trying to build a sizable audience so for the meantime, your business website should be able to handle the small amount of visitors. A business website is important because it lifts the limitations that social networking pages have. You can come up with your own website design and layout and make sure that it reflects the overall theme and/or style of your business. You can be more expressive when it comes to describing your business and presenting any products and/or services you are offering. This is important if you want people to have a better impression regarding your business. It is also pretty simple to link your social networking page to your business and vice-versa.
Due to the amount of customization you can make on a business website, you can pretty much craft your own online store so people can actually make transactions online. While it may seem complicated since you may have to move on to ecommerce development, you can actually start pretty simple by coming up with a price list or online catalog where the products and their corresponding prices are listed. You can then encourage people to contact you via email if they are interested in making a transaction. Alternatively, you can sign up for an online marketplace like eBay , have your items listed there and use your business website as some sort of gateway. With online payment systems being more popular than ever, these simple approaches can be a good starting point as you slowly transition to ecommerce development. If you lack experience in web development, you can always hire a freelancer or web design agency to assist you.
But once your business grows popular, you should really consider making the jump to ecommerce. Fortunately, a business website pretty much serves as the foundation of ecommerce development so you dont have to backtrack or take down your business site and start with something fresh. An ecommerce website is basically an ordinary website that is equipped with an ecommerce script or component. Think of it as a web-based software that can integrate with your website layout.
Getting into ecommerce development can be a bit intimidating even if you are very familiar with web design. It goes beyond the scope of HTML since programming languages like PHP power the more dynamic aspects of ecommerce platforms. These platforms come with a registration system where users can sign up so they can securely make their purchases online. Any items you add to the ecommerce platform are stored in a database making it much easier to add or update items. Magento is one example of a popular ecommerce platform that is quite easy to use but comes with a ton of features.
Setting up the platform might be the tough part for beginners since you have to upload the script to your website and follow a series of instructions to make sure the platform is secure and functions perfectly with your hosting provider. Even more steps may need to be made if you want to integrate the ecommerce platform to your existing business website. In the case for Magento, being a Magento developer helps a lot here.
If you havent set up a business website or have a very simple one, be sure to check your hosting provider and see if it offers friendly support for ecommerce. If the hosting provider comes easy installation support for popular ecommerce platforms like Magento, you can skip the whole ecommerce development process and start managing your online store in just a few steps. With Magento, you can actually build your site around the ecommerce platform without relying on a Magento developer.
Evaluating Ecommerce Solutions
Magento is just one of the decent solutions to try out for your business. There are several other solutions like the Joomla-based Virtuemart and ZenCart. It is important that you evaluate the features of each solution so you can properly set up a complete online store for your customers. Magento still wounds up one of the best choices since it has been around for so long and has tremendous magento developer support.
There are plenty of review sites that evaluate the popular ecommerce platforms but you should still go hands on with these platforms yourself. Just about all the popular choices offer a freely accessible demo site where you can login as an administrator so you can experience exactly how it is like to manage an ecommerce website. These demos give you a barebones experience so if you want to know how far you can customize the ecommerce site, you should find other ecommerce sites that rely on the platform. Personalization is very important if you want your business to stand out from the rest of the competition.
Getting directly into ecommerce development is recommended if you already have a product catalog and you are ready to sell to the masses. The ecommerce site will handle a lot of the work ranging from managing the users shopping carts to processing payments and issuing invoices. You can go ahead and find an ecommerce solution that supports a good platform like Magento and go straight to work. If you are still in the process of managing your inventory, take the gradual route and slowly develop your business website. You can always market your business just to spread awareness and integrate ecommerce features through ecommerce development later on. With a social networking presence, a fully developed business site and functional ecommerce platform, your site should deliver a very convenient experience to customers.