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Hosting Options for an Ecommerce Web Site.
Written by by Bobette Kyle, publisher of, Take-Payments-Online.com 12/09/04
Deciding how to host your ecommerce Web site and what approach to take can be daunting. There are several approaches available, each with different advantages and disadvantages.
Features and support vary by program and can include options such as search engine placement, credit card processing, and advertising. These tend to be template services, however, with less flexibility than a custom site. Familiarize yourself with the current offerings in this area before making a final decision.
Hiring the same company to design and host your site.
To evaluate the company?s hosting service, contact current customers and ask how pleased they are with the service. Find out how often the server is down and ask about help desk responsiveness. Also, consider how your site will be updated. Can you upload changes directly or do you have to wait for someone at the hosting company to get to it? If it is the latter, ask current customers about their experience with this process.
If you are still considering the design/hosting service after studying their design capabilities and talking to their current customers, you may also want to find out if there has been recent turnover in key personnel. An individual designer, coordinator, or account manager can make a large difference in support or design quality.
Using a separate design and hosting service.
Choose a short list of hosts with both the ecommerce capabilities you require and that pass "reliability" tests. Read "Don't Make These Hosting Mistakes" , for questions to ask and other mistakes to avoid.
Find a Web designer experienced in ecommerce applications. Together, decide on the hosting service and ecommerce systems you will use.
Making the Decision
Asking for referrals from business acquaintances is another. Many times, people are more than happy to share their positive experiences. For example, I use five different hosts and am generally pleased with all of them. When asked about hosting, however, I always recommend Lexiconn.com (my WebSiteMarketingPlan.com site host) because of the exceptional help desk service and support documentation.
Another way to develop hosting options is to look for online advertisements. The sponsored search engine ads and advertisements directly on Web sites are two places you can find these. While there's no guarantee all of the companies you find will be high quality, the willingness to pay for ads can be an indication of commitment.
Diligently decide upon ecommerce features and choose a host with those features in mind. By doing so, you are creating a smoother path to ecommerce success.
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