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By Kristen Dyak Most people approach building an e-Commerce site one of two ways. Either fear or lack of knowledge will cause them to hire someone else to do the work, or decide to go at it themselves. How do you know if this is a do-it-yourself task or something you should hire a web company for? The answer to this question can be determined by three factors: Time, Available Funds, and Tech Savviness. Most do-it-yourself shopping carts have a slight learning curve if you are already somewhat tech savvy, meaning if you do not know how to install software, please, stop right now and hire some to do this for you. For some of the more customizable features you will need to know CSS, HTML, PHP, or whatever programming language the software is built on. If you decide to go with do-it-yourself shopping cart software, you will want to choose one that is open source, to allow for more drastic design changes later on. Even though you will have to hire a developer to make these changes, open source software will give you more options for change then a strict template based software. If you decide to hire a web solutions company to do the job, there are some qualifications you should look for. Look for a company that is PCI compliant, this will save you time and money from becoming PCI compliant yourself, they might also be able to give you discounted rates. They can also help you register and implement the right SSL and choose the best hosting for your site. Many people get excited at the price of $3.99 a month, however, you will need more web space than $3.99 can afford. Speed is an important factor, and a slow loading website will have a higher bounce rate. Companies that provide their own shopping cart solution could be more of a benefit then one that creates from someone else’s template. Cart software is built with programming language, some open source, which requires a web developer to customize due to the heavy extent of the programming language used. If you want custom features you might be out of luck depending on the flexibility of the software. Another thing to consider is if you will own your site once you have paid for one. Some companies will not give you ftp access if you choose to go with another provider. You might want to ask this question before committing to a software or web solutions company. Whichever option you choose, do-it-yourself software or hiring a web solutions company, remember that this is still a necessary business expense. Do-it-yourself software can prove more problematic than hiring a web company and vice versa. Consider the three factors previously mentioned before making your decision: Time, Available Funds, and Tech Savviness.
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