Starting your own eCommerce website can be a rewarding adventure like little else.
Whether it’s simply as a sideline to your main 9-5 work or a change to completely reinvent yourself and start a brand new life, the opportunities to break out into the online retail industry and establish a name for yourself can be nothing short of exhilarating.
Still, as with everything in life, where there’s an opportunity, there’s usually a challenge or two, and the eCommerce industry is certainly no different.
From finding an audience for your new idea to getting that initial funding, and even finding a suitable hosting company for your new website.
Though there’s plenty others far better equipped to talk about funding, business planning, market research and all those other essential tasks of starting your new enterprise, if there’s one thing we do know about, it’s hosting.
Here then, is our guide to the top things you should be considering when choosing the best web hosting for your new eCommerce site.
For some folks, getting some outside investment on a new online store isn’t always necessary, especially if they’re starting a fairly low-cost business and already have enough in their own coffers to support the launch phase.
Yet that’s not to say there’s no reason to have a budget at all.
Good eCommerce web hosting doesn’t come free, though if you shop around and do your research, you’ll find it does come cheap enough to support even a meager budget.
Typically, eCommerce plans range from as little as $5 per month for a fairly small site, all the way up to $40+ for large-scale stores.
When you’re first starting out then, it’s worth considering how big -or small- you’re planning to start and budgeting accordingly.
To be fair, this has less to do with your actual hosting itself and more to do with the merchant account and payment gateways you install on your server to process payments.
All the leading tools for accepting card and other payment methods through your site will usually charge you a small fee per transaction, usually between 2-4%. You may even find there’s a monthly fee on top of that.
Why are we mentioning that here?
It all goes back to your budget.
Remember to account for merchant accounts on top of your initial hosting costs.
Here’s another key one:
If your web hosting provider isn’t as reliable as they may first claim to be, that could lead to slow loading speeds or, even worse, your website being offline altogether.
You don’t need us to tell you what a disaster it could be for your business if visitors are landing on your site online to find that it either isn’t there at all, or is, but is taking so long to load that it’s impossible to make purchases from you.
Bandwidth allocations go hand in hand with reliability.
Some hosts may refer to this as data transfer or simply ‘monthly transfer allowance’ but it all pretty much means the same thing;
The number of resources you’ve got behind the scenes to serve your website quickly to every visitor who lands on your site, no matter how many people arrive at the same time.
It’s rare these days to find a web host that doesn’t offer unlimited disk space, but if the one you’re going with doesn’t, it’s worth considering whether the amount of room you’ll have to store your files is enough for your site.
Typically, eCommerce sites tend to take up more room than your average brochure website or blog, if for no other reason than the amount of images and content you’ll be uploading to attract visitors and encourage them to buy from you, so check that you’re not going to run out of storage space before you’ve even had the chance to get off the ground.
What challenges have you found in setting up your eCommerce store? Let our experts know by sending us a tweet to @WebDesignDIY or sending your questions to us on Facebook. We’ll do our best to answer your key questions on an upcoming blog post here on Web Design DIY.