Finding Web Hosts for Ecommerce

Ecommerce is big and growing. It makes sense really, because shoppers look at ecommerce sites to get product information and best price without the bricks and mortar overhead. After the shopper gets this information they may go to a bricks and mortar store in their neighborhood or they may check out a second ecommerce site for info and price or they may just buy right there.

Shoppers are buying right there more and more often as ecommerce becomes more popular. And ecommerce websites can take a real share of the market – as long as they have a good web host keeping
them dependable and fast 24/7. The host is a major factor in ecommerce because there are some considerations that some hosts cannot handle well.

So, what should you look for in an ecommerce host? We often think of ecommerce in terms of an online shop for books, CDs, and computer accessories. But there are ever more products available and ecommerce hosts are responding. Ecommerce hosting plans must include a very powerful website design that allows you to create a responsive and effective sales engine. Here are some very key features:

Shopping Cart- A virtual shopping cart should be provided by an ecommerce website allowing a buyer to select one or several products before going to checkout point for purchase. This program should have cookies so your ecommerce site remembers every customer and every item in the shopping cart. Your ecommerce hosting plan must offer one or more shopping cart programs.

Payment Gateway- Ecommerce hosting necessitates provision of a payment gateway so customers will purchase goods from your site with Visa, MC, MoneyBookers.com, PayPal.com , check, or even by
telephone. Before you choose a particular host make sure all your features are compatible and well supported by that host.

SSL- (Secure Sockets Layer) To accept payment online you must have a SSL. SSL will provide security by encryption of all data – like credit card numbers and addresses so that it remains invisible to various computers the transaction must pass through. Without SSL your personal and financial information would be visible to anyone with access to the computers. If your ecommerce host plan includes shared SSL, than you can use the host’s shared SSL certificate. You can get a private SSL certificate if you pay a fee and you have a dedicated IP address. These details must be verified with your host.

Planning- Ecommerce websites need more planning than regular business web sites. You must have a detailed plan for growth so that your choice of hosting services can grow with your site. And you should try to anticipate the addition of new features as you need them. Your host must provide reliable technical support. You will need to use a database to store all of your products and various customer information. This can be complicated, but good hosting services that support ecommerce websites can show you a
demo model or some operational ecommerce sites that you can study. If you won’t have an in-house web developer it might be a good idea to select a host plan with ready-made websites that you can easily add your product pictures and texts. Look at the demo too if possible.

Your hosting provider should guarantee near 100% uptime. The worst case scenario sees your customers unable to bring up your website. Ask about downtime reimbursements for hosting fees and check with
webmasters who have used the host in question. There are plenty of ways to check out the reputation and abilities of any ecommerce host. The best way is to get a list of their ecommerce customers and send the webmasters an email requesting info on the company’s track record.

Choosing Your Web Developer

Placing your business online should not be a strenuous or arduous task. It should be a reasonably enjoyable process whose end result should be increased leads for your business. The secret, is finding the right web developer, with the right skills, for your particular needs.

When deciding on who should develop your site you should consider the following:

1. Availability – Is the developer contactable? Will he/she be available after hours and on weekends if you have any issues or problems with your site?

2. Honesty – Will the developer give you truthful advice and recommendations, or just push the company line?

3. Customer Service – Will you be given a personalised service where the developer sees your project through from start to finish? Will this developer be the one who makes changes or additions as your business grows?

4. Services – Does your developer offer the full range of services necessary to get your business online? For example, do they offer Domain Name Registration, Website Hosting, Email, E-Commerce, PHP and MySQL (to run blogs, CRM’s and other database applications) and be able to market your website?

5. Pricing – The cost of having a website built can vary quite considerably.

Always ask for a quotation upfront.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions;

• Ask for a itemised quotation so you can see a breakdown of exactly what you are getting for your money.

• Will you need to pay a deposit?

• Are there any ongoing fees? i.e. Website Hosting.

• Do you charge a flat rate or charge by the hour?

• How long will the website take to complete?

• Will I have to pay for extras, and if so how much?

6. Quality – There is no point in paying big dollars (or even lesser dollars for that matter) for a site you are unhappy with or looks cheap and nasty. Always have a look at the developer’s portfolio. If they do not have one on their website, ask yourself why not? Don’t be afraid to ask to see previous works. Also, read customer testimonials. Even call those customers to get their opinion on the developer’s work ethics and abilities.

Although I would be extremely thoughtless to claim that these 6 points are everything you need to be aware of, I firmly believe if you include these points in when considering your developer you will find yourself one you are going to be happy with and that you will use for many years to come.

PHP As The Best Web Development Language

Developers can choose from many scripting languages while developing web applications. Some of the programming languages that developers use commonly are CGI, Perl, ASP and PHP. However, PHP has certain benefits due to which it has become the most popular web development language. IT companies ranging from small to big are using PHP for creating different types of web applications. One can realize the efficiency of the language from the fact that huge applications like Facebook use PHP. Web developers having knowledge and experience in PHP are in high demand in the present times.

Developers are choosing PHP over the other languages due to the following reasons.

Easy to Learn and Simple

The language is easier to grasp than many other programming languages. This is because the language has similarity with languages like Java and C. Even if you know only HTML, learning PHP would be quite easy for you. The language is ideal for beginners since it is easy to understand and clear.

Freedom

PHP offers a higher level of freedom as compared to languages like ASP. NET. The language is an open source. You can use any text editor to write the code. Some of the common text editors which you can use are Notepad, Bluefish, Emacs. On the other hand, while using ASP. NET, you can only use Microsoft Visual Studio for creating the code. PHP is also not OS specific. PHP runs well on operating systems like UNIX, Windows and Linux.

Automatic Refreshment

The language creates dynamic websites that refresh automatically. If you use PHP for developing a website, you do not need to make any changes manually for refreshing it.

Integration:

The language has created more than 30% of the applications present in the World Wide Web. The language integrates with various systems like Pusher. Almost every industry is using the language including large corporations, government, hospitals and banks.

Frameworks

You can find a large number of PHP frameworks. These frameworks help you to carry out a variety of tasks using PHP. You can do tasks like code reuse, session management and finding database libraries easily using PHP frameworks. A popular PHP framework is Slim.

Support

You can find support and documentation for PHP quite easily. The support coming with the language is completely free. You can find many blogs and forums online to help you if you face any coding problem. You can also find support through social media. Among all scripting languages, the user base of PHP is largest. This is one of the reasons behind such a huge support community of the language.

Easy to Solve Problems

Web developers face programming problems very often. In case of PHP, you can easily find the issues and fix them. In case of other languages, you cannot fix problems that easily.

Object Oriented

The language is capable of calling Windows and Java COM objects. You can also create custom classes. Other classes can borrow from custom classes. This increases the efficiency of the language.

These are the major advantages of PHP over other scripting languages. Besides, the language is an open source and free. Applications developed using PHP are very fast and have a high level of security. All these factors have made the language highly popular in the word of web development.