You’ll have to excuse this post if I go off on a tangent and rant a bit about unscrupulous (read “jerky”) web designer types.
As you read the article you’ll understand why.
These tips are really basic, so if you’ve been up online accepting payment, this will seem very basic to you. But of late we’ve been getting a lot of calls from folks interested in learning how to turn their site into an “ATM machine,” as well as those turning to the internet for the first time.
To answer some of those questions it just seemed to make sense to put down these basic tips to get started on the “right foot” so to speak.
Choosing your URL
It may seem strange to begin by discussing web-stuff (instead of credit card stuff), but trust me on this one. It IS important.
Well, getting this wrong will cost you time, and money.
Here’s an example from a conversation with a new client just a few weeks ago. In discussing her site to better integrate the payment gateway (usually authorize.net, but there are other alternatives), it turns out that she didn’t actually register the site herself.
Her web-guy did.
And that was problem number one.
Turns out she doesn’t even own her own webname. The URL of her choice is owned by the very web-guy refusing to fix site navigation issues.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the problem here. Why would she ever want to drive traffic and build an online web presence when the very name, the very URL used to identify HER business, isn’t even owned by her.
That’s strike one.
Let’s discuss the next two critical aspects of your site.
Let’s revisit the case study above, about the new client with serious web issues.
Care to guess where her site is hosted?
If you guessed her web developer, you’re right. And that’s the WRONG way to go about things. For example, can your current (or former) web developer:
- Guarantee your site’s uptime?
- Even during power failures?
- Will they continue to host your site, without problems, even after the engagement is over?
- How secure is their server?
- Can the guarantee your site’s security?
One client called one day frantic because someone (or some ones) were hacking into her website and shopping cart on the back end trying to compromise her payment gateway. The good news? That no credit card numbers were compromised. The bad news? She nearly lost her merchant account, because millions of dollars of bad transactions were stopped, but barely.
The back office just didn’t want to deal with the risk, and wanted to make sure her shopping cart solution would be safe and secure in the future.
Just a few questions to ask. And here’s another point, and it’s even more important than the previous two issues. And that issue is…
Let’s break it down in understandable terms.
Bandwidth is about how many folks can visit your site at the same time without the flow of information becoming compromised. Meaning, what would happen to your site if 1000 site visitors all landed on your site at the same time:
- Would the server handle it?
- Or crash?
- Could they still receive your information?
Now, hosting a site with your local web developer could be a problem, and the reason is simple. Could their servers handle the info?
More importantly, is your web developer assuming that your site will NOT get lots of traffic. Are they short-sighted? Since most web developers have NO idea how to market a website, will your specific site be hampered by limited bandwidth, stunting your online business growth?
Make sure that your shopping cart solution (software or virtual) accepts a wide range of payment processing platforms.
Case in point.
One person recently emailed me that they were anxious to get up and running, and they heard from other folks that we were able to help them find a solid solution for a reasonable price. As he detailed the software he was using for his shopping cart, one problem emerged…
His expensive software only integrated with 3 payment gateways. And I never heard of any of them.
That’s a problem.
There are a few industry standards out there, and Authorize.net happens to be one of them. It’s not the only one, and lots of gateways work well across many platforms. But you need to ask this question when you’re setting up online payment processing.
Be sure that ALL your systems integrate well before you sign up for services you may have to cancel later.
Remember, some services and payment processors will charge you an early termination fee.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please feel free to share your comments below.
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