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ECommerce Websites
You can have an e-commerce website up and running in a matter of days when you use convenient shopping cart programs and other online services. Setting up this type of site may seem complicated, due to the number of products that you see indexed on many e-commerce sites, but in truth your site can be live in just a few steps.

Get Your Website Domain and Host
The first step to starting your e-commerce site is to select a website host. The host will also provide you with your domain name. There are numerous services available online, with prices that range from $5 to $50 per month or more to host your site. The domain name will cost between $10 to $40 (possibly more if you purchase it from someone who already owns the name). In some cases the domain name will be free with the hosting plan.

Establish Your Store
Once you have your domain name and host confirmed, the next step is to purchase shopping cart software. This software will allow you to upload products to your online site via FTP. You can also start a full-service e-commerce website using Yahoo! stores or a similar service--the software is already built into the online service.

Establish a Merchant Account
The next step to creating your e-commerce website is to get a merchant account. This is the service that will allow you to accept credit cards and checks online. You will receive an identifying merchant number and other details that have to be integrated with your online shopping cart so that when someone orders from your store, the payment will go to your account. You can also set up an account with an online payment service like PayPal, which has no upfront cost--just a fee per transaction.

Hire a Web Designer
Now you need a web template. The template is the format that all of your store pages will appear in when displayed to a customer, including the category menu, navigation bar (about us, contact us, shipping, privacy policy and other pages), logo, header, and other images that will appear on every page of your site.

You can either hire a web designer to come up with a custom design for your site, or use the shopping cart software or web host's pre-designed templates.
Upload Products

Once all of the other details of your site are in place, your next step is to upload your products to the shopping cart. You can upload photos, descriptions, features and a category for each product.

Test the Site
Before you go "live" with your e-commerce site, you have to troubleshoot it to make sure that it is performing optimally. Ask a friend to navigate the site on another computer and purchase a couple of products to assure that everything works properly.
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