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Five Tips for Building Your Own Website and Shopping Cart

A couple of years ago I decided to build shopping cart website. At first, I thought I might hire a professional to build them for me. Faced with a cost of $5,000 to $6,000, I decided to tackle the job myself. Besides a need to control my costs, I wanted to challenge the idea that "anyone who can fog a mirror can develop a website." So, with no time to spare, no perceptible technical skills, and a wisp of a budget - I set out to do it myself.

Today, after a wild and costly learning adventure, I am proud owner of a fully functional website and shopping cart.

Along the way, I've learned about an amazing array of topics, including content management systems, e-blasts, blogs, article marketing, affiliate marketing, shopping carts, search engine optimization, copywriting, publishing, media enhancements and web trends.

I thought I was embarking on a simple website development project; in reality I was drawn into a much larger journey, that of learning how to market my goods and services online.

Here are five lessons learned on the trail to building my website and shopping cart.

1. Three currencies will buy you a website - money, time and energy. If you scrimp on one, you will pay more of the other two. It's that simple.

2. Effective marketing is the secret to making a website profitable. The cost of building an online store is small potatoes when compared to the ongoing cost of attracting customers to your site.

3. The vast majority of the websites and shopping carts on the internet are simply not profitable. The success of an online business is determined by the owner's ability to build a qualified list of opt-in subscribers.

4. The key to building your own opt-in list lies with your ability to drive traffic to your website, using both online and offline methods. Location is just as critical to the success of a website as it is to a bricks-and-mortar business. Traffic is the oxygen, and conversions or sales are the lifeblood of an online business.

5. Much of an entrepreneur's success hinges on knowing which tasks to outsource. This often comes down to knowing what you love to do, and being able to determine how good others really are at what they say they can do. Fact is, you can invest a lot of money to build an online store, and still not make any sales.

Although I've not saved much by doing more of my own website development, I've gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. I couldn't have done it without the help of a few skilled and very patient techies.

The internet is here to stay. Increasingly, businesses need to have websites. If your customers are browsing the Web, and particularly if they are using search engines to find your products and services, you need to be there and open for business.

About the Author:

Dan Boudreau makes business planning achievable, fast and fun. Want to learn more about how to do your own business plan? Subscribe to the RiskBuster Newsletter and instantly download a free copy of Dan's popular fast-track business plan template at www.riskbuster.com

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