If you have a favourite script, template or peace of software that’s really made the difference with your ecommerce business then we would really like to hear from you. Maybe you’ve built your own site and found a script from softaculous to be everything you needed, or perhaps you’ve used a plugin or app that’s really made the difference. Whatever it is please tell us….
Since the above date all websites must provide information and capture consent for dropping or accessing cookies or other information on a user’s computer equipment when a user visits their site.
The Data Protection Commission of Ireland has already started to clamp down on this and send the first letters out to companies who’s websites do not conform, some such companies include
This was correct at time of going to print and the above sites may well now conform
If your website captures any customer details (especially a form that requests credit card / personal details) then the answer is yes, you need to have an SSL certificate installed on your website.
However, if you run an e-commerce site, online shop or any type of client login then having an SSL certificate is a must.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and adds an extra layer of security to your website and the way the server handles your websites data.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate any user information sent from an online form to that websites server is transmitted in plain text, which obviously means it’s not very secure.
Installing an SSL certificate means any information sent is encrypted using a key that is unique to the website, the server receiving the information is the only recipient that has the key required to decrypt the information.
There are lots of providers of SSL certificates, but go for a quality certificate like Comodo, your hosting company should be able to supply the SSL cert that right for your site.
If you’re looking for an ‘off the shelf’ solution for your ecommerce site then you won’t go far wrong with Softaculous. Softaculous is a the leading auto installer having some 200+ scripts available which means you can get almost any application with the click of a mouse.
Any good hosting company will be using a leading control panel such as cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin, H-Sphere or InterWorx and Softaculous integrates with them all. So once you’ve bought your domain and hosting you can easily install the application that’s best for you.
The Top 10 applications include – WordPress, Joomla, Opencart, Prestashop, phpBB, Drupal, SMF, MyBB, Dolphin, WHMCS.
Whatever you’re looking for Softaculous will have it. The total 285 (and still adding) applications are catagorised into the following:
Polls and Surveys
So before doing anything consider Softaculous it could save loads of time and money and ensure you have the application that for you……
Believe it or not there are still millions and millions of businesses still not online. There are a variety of reasons for this, including scepticism about the business opportunity, lack of knowledge or simply a resistance to change. The world is online and there is no escaping this fact and so whatever your business you need to consider taking the plunge and getting online.
There are some steps to take before you do that, you need to be realistic and do research as to what the market opportunity is for your business. Ask some questions; what are my competitors doing, are they online? Are people using search engines to look for my products and/or services? What are the dynamics of my market? Is it growing, and more competitors appearing, or declining and competitors consolidating?
Then where do you go from here? Well if you’ve made you’re mind up that you want to get online, then that’s a great step in the right direction. Your business and product/service will have a bearing on how you do this. If you’re a service you may only need to consider a portfolio site, if you have products and you want to actually sell these online then a full ecommerce site with a CMS (content management system) to probably nearer to what you require.
Before you spend any money on your website or ecommerce solution, you need to figure out exactly what you want to accomplish. Speaking to a good marketing company, or online consultant maybe time well spent. Trawl the internet and see what you like and don’t like, what your competitors do well and not so well. All this will help you formulate what your solution could be.
Well there is lots of talk about Cloud Computing, but is it just talk or are there real benefits? Well this is all dependent on your ecommerce business. There are some great benefits to utilising the Cloud for your business and the obvious is flexibility and value for money;
Flexibility – This is where cloud computing really beats any other solution hands down, especially if you have a business that is seasonality driven or has visitor and/or user spikes. Cloud technology means that resources such as RAM, disk space and processing power can be managed in such a way that your site is always performing to the optimum regardless of the amount of traffic it is receiving.
Value for Money – The flexibility that Cloud Computing can deliver by way of resources can be reflected in costs, in that you are not stuck with a fixed solution and therefore fixed costs. Most Cloud solution providers will offer daily billing based upon your requirements. This has excellent advantages as you only pay for what you really need. If your business is a startup then you can pay-as-you-grow and keep costs under control.
These aren’t just the only benefits, but we recommend that you speak with one or two reputable Cloud providers and get the solution that best fits your business.
OsCommerce, while a great ecommerce solution; has it’s weaknesses.
This article is designed to highlight some really simple steps to take to make osCommerce a bit more reliable.
Step 1. Change the default admin folder name, still needs to be something you will remember but it doesn’t need to be so obvious as “admin” (e.g it could be “secureadmin” for instance)
Step 2. Use a second level of authentication on your new “admin” / “secureadmin” folder, this canbe set up simply via cPanel or whichever control panel your hosting provider provides you with. (password protected directories)
Step 3. If you are not using the “Tell A Friend” module, delete it as this is wide open for misuse by spammers.
These three steps will protect you from a lot of vulnerabilities that have been discovered on OsCommerce. But as always, backup your database and website regularly as nothing is safe forever
Setting up an ecommerce website is remarkably easy, probably a lot simpler than you think if you have never done it before.
However, to clarify; This particular post is only going to get you to the stage of having an online shop up and running. It’s appearance, search engine optimisation, style and stocking will be dealt with at a later stage.
I have spent many hours building ecommerce website’s so I am going to dispense some of the things I have learned over the past few years in this blog for your free use and comment.
1. What will I need?
There a few ingredients required to come out with a complete ecommerce website they are as follows :
- A domain name, this is your address on the internet (e.g ‘ecommerce1.com’ is my domain!) (for purchasing domains try here.)
- A hosting account that supports PHP and MySQL (glx web hosting is my recommendation for ecommerce hosting)
- FTP software (my recommendation is filezilla which is free!)
- Choose which ecommerce software you would like to choose (we will assume osCommerce for this post, but I will be going through all the ecommerce software at a later date and highlight the pros and cons.)
2. How do i install my ecommerce?
This part is a little complicated if you haven’t done it before, If you have hosting with a reputable company they will offer helpful support if you require it.
First you will need to log into your hosting control panel.
In your control panel will be an area for MySQL, you will need to create a database and create a database username and password. Keep a record of these as they will be needed in the oscommerce installation.
Next, using your FTP login details (provided from your hosting company) upload your downloaded copy of oscommerce.
Follow the installation instructions that you will find in the downloaded folder. (some files may need file permissions changed, you can do this through filezilla by right clicking on the file or folder and selecting ‘File permisssions…’)
Once this is completed you will have an fully functional oscommerce website! weldone! But however this is just the begining…