Finding a Host for Your Website and Storefront
While your online business is in the planning stages, finding a host for your website, your blog, and any storefronts you set up to sell your products is an essential requirement. You can set up shop with a variety of hosting services, from an auction site to an online mall to your own Internet Service Provider.
Here are some suggestions based on the type of merchandise you want to sell:
|I Want To . . .||What to Do|
|Sell mugs, bags, and other merchandise printed with my original
designs and artwork.
|Create a store on CafePress, which lets anyone
put their original designs on products and sell them through the
|Sell vintage clothing.||Sign up with a specialty marketplace such as Babylon Mall, which enables
vintage clothing sellers to set up their own storefronts.
|Find a site that offers predesigned templates that make my
store look like a well-established and professional operation that
has been around for years.
|Lots of hosts offer website templates. If you are willing to
make the investment and purchase a template, check out PrestaShop, which offers a
large variety of predesigned store templates you can customize to
fit your own needs.
|Set up a website that is also a store and have access to
full-featured storefront software.
|Find a hosting service that offers ShopSite or Miva Merchant, software
packages that let you run a store as part of your website.
|Be a part of an online shopping mall where lots of other stores
|Sign up with AOL Shopping
or Access Market Square.
|Sell individual products such as books and CDs that are already
sold through Amazon.com
|Add your items to the Amazon.com marketplace.|
|Sell a wide variety of collectible and one-of-a-kind items as
well as popular consumer goods.
|Start selling on eBay or set
up an eBay Store.
|Keep it simple and, rather than shopping around for a web
hosting service, pay a single bill for Internet access and a
|Use your Internet Service Provider (ISP) as your website
|Find a host that specializes in e-commerce and provides you
with a way to list items for sale, have customers make selections,
and have those customers pay you with a credit card.
|Sign up with a shopping cart service that will host your online
|Put everything you can into a website that has all the bells
and whistles — video, blogs, e-commerce, and more.
|Sign up with a company that does website hosting full-time.
These are businesses whose primary function is hosting e-commerce
Web sites and providing their clients with associated software,
such as Web page building tools, shopping carts, catalog builders,
and the like.