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How to Set Up a Business Web Site


Maintaining a Business Web Site
If you're running an e-commerce site, make sure your shopping engine can handle credit cards, unless you'd rather wait for that check in the mail.
If you're running an e-commerce site, make sure your shopping engine can handle credit cards, unless you'd rather wait for that check in the mail.
David Muir/Getty Images

Depending on your arrangement with your Web site designer, you may be responsible for updating your site. Your host will likely provide security and customer support services, but those only concern the site's infrastructure. If, like many small businesses, you use a hosting service like Yahoo! or Crosswinds, then you don't need a webmaster.

If you decide to forego a hosting service and put your own server online, security will be a major concern. Hackers could attack your server within minutes of going online [source: Nice]. In that case, you or the webmaster will have to remain vigilant, monitoring security, applying patches and looking for problems on a daily basis. If your server goes down and your site is unavailable, it will then be up to you and your webmaster to fix things. There will be no company to turn to and no promises of 99.9 percent uptime or data backup solutions.

When maintaining a business site, you also have to consider standards governing e-commerce. If you run a site that stores customer information, such as credit card numbers, then you must be PCI certified. (PCI certification refers to a mandatory security standard for processing online credit card payments.) Many hosting services are already PCI certified, and it can be quite a hassle to certify your own system.

Similarly, if you're interested in selling products, educate yourself about the tax laws associated with e-commerce and consider a program that makes it easier to add shopping and purchasing functionality. For example, Americart software allows a site proprietor to quickly put a shopping cart function on any page that includes a product listing.

Remember that the dominant methods for buying products over the Web are credit cards and PayPal. If your e-commerce site can't support these products, your competition almost certainly will.

Read on to learn how to satisfy users and keep them coming back.


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