Making E-Commerce Work

Getting an e-commerce site up and running can be a real challenge for businesses transitioning from the brick and mortar world.

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles on

Taking the same principles and philosophies to the World Wide Web doesn’t always translate well and can lose you valuable customers along the way. These do’s and don’ts of e-commerce will help you build your website for success.

Choose your domain carefully

This is one of the most important things you can do for the sake of making your website successful. Your domain name is a life-long commitment unless you want to start over from scratch. It’s much easier to build a better brand for yourself and your business if you have a domain name that’s short, memorable and relevant to the products you’re selling.

Your domain name should provide important clues about what it is you have to offer on your website and be short enough that customers can remember it if they ever want to return. After all, how many sites have you bookmarked and never returned to? Don’t let that happen to your site due to a complex or unrelated domain name.

Choose your hosting wisely

Hosting is probably the second most important thing to choose when you’re starting your e-commerce website. It’s not a decision that should be made lightly. Unlike domain names, however, it’s a decision that can be changed at a later date. With hosting, you want to work with companies that offer exceptional customer support so that you have someone to talk to immediately whenever website emergencies occur.

You also need to go with a hosting service that scores high marks with customers for uptime and performance. Finally, you want to choose a Web hosting company, such as Rackspace’s cloud-based VPS hosting, that provides a great deal of flexibility for you as your e-commerce site and hosting needs grow.

Make your site appealing

Websites with bright neon colors, blinking borders, numerous popup ads and loud music blaring are unappealing to visitors and can turn away people who were looking to buy whatever it is you’re selling. Make your site visually appealing with clean lines and plenty of white space for better results.

Don’t choose a complicated shopping cart program

The last thing you want on your e-commerce website is for people to have any trouble at all buying the products you’re selling. That is the one thing that must be as simple as possible. Take your time and find a shopping cart that’s intuitive and simple to operate. Take a look around the Web at the sites where you do business and pay attention to the ones with the simplest, fastest shopping experience. Take time to research various shopping carts, reading reviews and checking out businesses that use them well.

Don’t break the rules

Most countries have strict laws regarding e-commerce. Make sure your site is playing by those rules or experience the penalties. One major benefit with most Web hosting companies is that they ensure all their sites comply with the laws before going live so you don’t mistakenly break any laws.

These may not seem complicated or life-altering, but they can make a huge difference in the success and profitability of your e-commerce venture. Follow them well.