Everyone wants to sell something nowadays, be it the young girl out of school, the small-time entrepreneur who works from home or the working professional who seeks side income. With the influence of the Internet coupled with the availability of various platforms and tools today, anything ranging from clothing to multi-vitamins and pets can be sold online, all from the comfort of the home without having to step outside anymore.
There are two ways that online entrepreneurs use to market and sell their wares. The first is to set up a blogshop and the other is to set up a hosted website with a shopping cart feature. A blogshop is a site that runs from a blog, usually Blogger or WordPress. In this instance, the URL of your blogshop will be either blogshopname.blogspot.com or blogshopname.WordPress.com, depending on the blog platform that you are using.
Of course, you could also use your own .com domain name on the blogshop which will make your blog look more professional and the blogshop address easier to remember and type.
On the other hand if you have a website hosted, you will have a simpler domain name which is easy to remember and easy to type. Both a blogshop and a hosted e-commerce website have its advantages.
Why Blogshop is Good?
Convenient and Easy to Setup
Setting up a blogshop is easy. Just select the blog platform (Blogger.com or WordPress.com) you want, think of a name, check its availability, register it and you’re good to go. The setup is immediate and you can start posting photos and details of your items right away. Also, you don’t need to have any technical knowledge of maintaining a website. Thus, you can post, update and edit your blog anytime you want to.
Blogger and WordPress are FREE
Blogging on Blogger or WordPress, as you all know, is free. By setting up a blogshop, you save on several fees that you have to come up with by having a hosted website. First, there is the domain name, which you need to register prior to having your website. There is also the website hosting fee as well as the need to purchase a shopping cart software (although there are free shopping carts available). You save on all these by running a blogshop!
Quick and Straightforward Communication with Customers
Visitors are able to inquire, give feedback or place orders by leaving comments on the blog posts. There is also the option of installing a chat box where blogshop owners and their customers can communicate easily. However, there is not much control on how these chat boxes will display and will work, because they are designed for general use and not specifically for doing business online.
However, I think that a hosted website with a shopping cart gives a business leverage because of the following reasons.
Why a Hosted e-Commerce Site with Shopping Cart is Better?
Delivers a Brand Image and Easy Access
For starters, having your own domain name represents your business well. It is easy to access and remember your website, besides giving customers confidence in your business. Having your own domain indicates that you mean business. To me, I wouldn’t have confidence in dealing with blogshops. With the simplicity in setting a blogshop up, they are just everywhere and I don’t know if the person behind them are serious about the business, reliable or trustworthy.
Real-time Credit Card and Paypal Payments
This is one great advantage that a blogshop doesn’t have. A hosted website powered by a shopping cart software is able to accept credit card transactions through a payment gateway such as 2Checkout and iPay88 (Malaysia’s most popular online payment gateway that accepts credit cards, Paypal, Maybank2u and many others). The site can also integrate PayPal easily. Having a shopping cart gives your business an edge because customers are not only able to pay for large purchases easily but are also able to shop online in a more secure manner with the SSL and other security measures.
Better Business Management
Most shopping cart software come with a myriad of features that were created to make business management a breeze. These features include the real time calculation of sales tax, discounts, and shipping cost. Orders, catalogs, inventory and shipping orders can also be managed at ease with the assistance of the shopping cart.
With auto-responders, you can send automated replies and emails to your customers, affiliates, suppliers and prospects easily. By defining an auto-reply and creating multiple mailing lists, your emails will go out automatically to the intended recipients. You can even improve the deliverability of the emails by engaging a third-party auto-responder service. Just imagine if you have to manually send these emails without this auto-responder feature. Most of your time will be spent on emails instead of focusing on your business!
Search Engines Optimized Pages
Do you know how to get more traffic from Google or other search engines? The average entrepreneur out there most likely doesn’t have this knowledge and using Blogger or WordPress doesn’t help much. But you don’t have to worry about having SEO pages if you have a shopping cart because it provides a search engine friendly environment that will lead to a better ranking on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo! Search and Bing.
What Shopping Cart do you Recommend?
We strongly recommend CS-Cart shopping cart. It is a really good shopping cart software which is very affordable yet features-rich. CS-Cart is suitable for any online e-commerce sites, such as a fashion or clothing site, a website selling mobile phones, a watches site, and many others.
For more details, check our complete CS-Cart review.
What about Web Hosting?
Now that you have chosen a good shopping cart software, what about the web hosting? We recommend GreenGeeks. Their Eco Site hosting plan costs as low as $4.95 monthly and it comes with a whole lot of features designed for an e-commerce website. On top of that, you can use a discount coupon which will get you $30 discount instantly!
Check out details on our GreenGeeks review.
A blogshop is convenient and needs little effort in maintaining but as its name indicate, they were meant to be just blogs and do not have any features that support a business. Someone who is just starting to dabble in online business and intends to keep it as an additional source of income can remain using blogshops hosted on Blogger or WordPress.
However, if you are serious about being an online entrepreneur, a shopping cart on a hosted website is the better bet for you for the reputation and features that it carries for your business.