Expanding your Business on the Internet Easily and Cheaply
If your currently thinking of running a business on the Internet, or if you have a bricks & mortar business you want to expand on to the Internet, or if you even already have a business on the Internet, what are your options for expanding your business easily and cheaply?
What are your options?
You can grow any business on the Internet cheaply and easily by using open source software. Open source software is made by groups of people who release the software so that its free for you to use.
If you search around you can find some very good examples of easy to use sophisticated software to help expand your business into. All the best open source software allows you to import your existing products via simple spreadsheet uploads.
You can upload thousands of products with just a few clicks, and obviously save yourself huge amounts of time.
These open source options are built around maximizing your important business actions, and minimizing the time you spend doing technical programming hacks. Spending time on trying to get a web page looking just right can be time consuming, and if you are writing web pages from scratch, then this really takes ages.
Its also very expansive to hire someone to build a site for you, and you will be tied into maybe having to use them each time you want to upgrade your web pages, and make improvements in your online business.
What if you could easily load some software on your domain, and then within a short time, choose from a huge range of ready made templates, and then spend your time getting your stock listed, and your payment gateways setup, along with your shipping gateways?
Sounds great, and yes there are a few excellent pieces of open source software that can help you accomplish this.
Open Source Examples
One of the originals, and tried and trusted is:
This is a very easy to use basic, and highly expandable open source ecommerce package.
It has been trusted by thousands of business owners around the world,
and is easy to spot on a webpage.
There is quite a number of plug ins available for it, and themes also, but after doing a large search i found most of the good ones had to be bought. Now it is quite a few years old, and seems to have been abandoned with no dedicated release happening, or regular programming team on its side.
There is also a new kid on the block called magento. This is the new heavy weight in the field of online commerce, but there is very little customisable options available, and the programmers of this software, are more interested in serving the needs of very large business rather than the smaller & medium sized business.
Its very clunky, and is tough to install, and really requires some decent programming knowledge. Unless you have a large budget or enjoy technical web page programming, you should stay clear of this.
What's your easiest option then?
SO, how can you control your cost, while maximizing the growth of your business effectively?
This is where i recommend the wonders of joomla.
Joomla is a content management system or CMS for short.
Its the most popular CMS in the world, and is used by more web publishers now than any other software.
Although its roots are in the content based side of websites, because its so well put together and easy to understand, there are lots of plugins and upgrades available including store & shop upgrades. Best of all they are free, and easy to use.
Virtue mart is constantly being refined and upgraded, and you can do everything you need to do on your site, without ever getting involved in the programming.
Joomla is all menu based, and very easy to use, and update. There is a joomla expansion's website, that has more than you will ever need plug ins & modules on every subject you need.
Now, if your looking to expand your product & service based business, then this is where joomla comes in.
The module called virtue mart allows you easy access to all the features that you would expect from ebay & amazon!
Oh, did i mention, all free?
The great thing about using virtue mart is also there is a huge forum with all the answers to any customisable options you may want to apply to your store.
You can easily setup paypal, but if you want to use google checkout you can buy a module to install from powerseller unite. Nobody has created a free reliable google checkout plugin yet, but it will come some time soon. You can also easily plugin various payment gateways to process credit card payments.
The best thing I like about using virtue mart is that it is totally customisable, and once you get the hang of it, you can start building websites and store in a weekend.
Since your paying less than $10 a year for your .com name then this makes things very cost effective, and you can spend more money registering more websites with stores, and still pay less in a year than you would pay on selling on ebay in a week!
This hub will give you info about expanding your business with ebay alternatives.
- Ebay alternative selling sites
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