How to Start Your E-Commerce Business Safely

Published on April 7th, 2013 by | Category: Management

There are many ways an Internet based business can be started up. However, the most important thing needed is reliable and fast internet technology. In the below article the authors would like to cover the basics of setting up a communication system online, the importance of security and software.

In the 20th century, Internet is a part of our everyday lives. People shop online, often not knowing the risks and threats of doing so. The internet offers effective communication methods and fast processing for all people, not to mention the endless flow of information. However, the information cannot be always trusted the same way we believe in what it is in books and reference guides. Setting up an internet technology system would allow businesses and individuals to make the most out of the advancement of computers and communication without endangering their business or privacy.

Setting Up a Communication System

When communicating with others on the internet via websites or email, a business needs to ensure that the flow of information will be fast and secure. Some site owners set up a contact form on their site that would allow visitors to ask questions or comment on the content. These forms can be found in the form of a script online, (html or java) and inserted in the code of the page. However, there are some advanced functions that come with the paid versions, such as a script that asks for contact details or the Captcha code, to avoid spammers from bombarding the owner. The contents of the form are immediately forwarded to the email address provided by the site owner, therefore, they will get all the information and can answer the query in real time.

Email Accounts

Some businesses have more than one email accounts, and forwarding all the emails arriving at every single email address to one place makes site owners’ lives easier. SPAM filters should also be used in order to keep he account free from clutter and easier to navigate. However, it is also better to have a Gmail account where all the emails are forwarder to, as this type of email service would allow people to create lables for different rules. For example, if a customer sends a message via the site, it would immediately go to the “important” folder, and go to the front of the page.

Organizing emails the same way once people learned in Outlook can be fun, easy and make work more efficient. However, many people choose not to download emails to their computer any more, as they take up space and the malicious programs can make more damage in the file structure that way.

Setting up the Security

When working on the Internet, all sites need to have a basic spam and security threat protection. The owner needs to protect the site and users alike. In the case of an online shop or outlet, the site should have a SSL feature that would ensure that all the information transferred through the site would be safe from hackers and would not become public. It does not only protect the data sent to the site, but the data security of the site’s content as well. Its full name is Secure Sockets Layer and most of the hosting companies offer it in their packages. It encrypts all data, so personal and financial information cannot be retrieved by third parties. SSL can be set up for some pages or whole sites. By creating an SSL folder and placing the content in it any webmaster can secure their site.

In order to gain trust from potential customers, the SSL logo and privacy policy need to be featured on the site in a clearly visible position. Still many people are worried about identity theft and financial loss, therefore, for their peace of mind and to increase the site’s revenue, these features are essential.

Apart from the security installed on the site, the owner needs to protect the rest of the content on their own computer. An antivirus program is essential, and some of the professional ones are available for free, such as AVG. The spam filter should be installed and the hard drive needs to be cleared on a regular basis to prevent loss of data due to too many temporary files. One of these programs is Ccleaner, and it is available free, with many advanced options, such as program removal and file checker.

Communication

When somebody visits the site, it is important that they get the information they are looking for in the shortest possible time. This is why there should be a FAQ or similar section in the site. If the answer requires personalization, online chat features can be used. Scripts are available for free and at low price, however, this means that an administrator needs to be logged in all the time. Alternatively, the email function can be used or instant messenger and phone contacts need to be published. Adding a Skype button on the site showing whether the support staff is available is a good option, as well. The button script is available at: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/tell-a-friend/get-a-skype-button/

Software

There are various software people would need to set up their internet technology and enter e-commerce. From a free basic invoicing software to a complicated personalized program that retrieves data from the site; there are many options. For a one-person internet based business, it is easier to get a logo created on one of the freelancer sites, such as Elance and Freelancer, and use it in the company stationary. It is very simple today to create an email header and template, and customers would trust the company more if they saw professionalism. Starting-up businesses can use a free accounting software available at http://www.freeaccountingsoftware.net/ that can be customized and made to handle quotes, costs and invoices. Obviously, there are various other software as well, used to promote the website. Submitting press releases and optimizing them for search engines would improve the position of the site for customer queries. These can be handled by project manager software, however, it is usually cheaper to outsource the work.

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