No business can get by these days without a strong online presence. Websites have become crucial to every merchant. In fact some businesses operate entirely online, but most at least supplement a bricks and mortar store with a website.
There are many kinds of merchant accounts out there for businesses looking to go online. Businesses can choose from a standard U.S. Account, Specialty Merchant Account, International Merchant Account and many other options, depending on where they choose to have their website hosted.
Some web hosting services can really simplify the process of getting your business online. For example GoDaddy offers merchant accounts that facilitate the acceptance of credit cards, which cuts out a lot of extra steps and lets you get your business up and running in no time.
There can be some element of risk involved with going online with your business. Keeping information private and secure is a concern and it is also important to realize that not all buyers are reliable when they are coming to you through the internet rather than face to face. Signing up with a reputable web hosting service can reduce these risks significantly. It may cost a little more than a knock off service, but it is worth the price to ensure that you and your customers are kept safe while making online transactions.
The fees for web hosting will vary depending on who the host is. Typically, hosts will charge around $20 a month for the account (Here’s a list of popular shared hosts), sometimes with a modest setup fee, but this should only be a one-time fee and not a recurring one. It is also important to realize that it is likely that there will be a fee required for every transaction made. This is typically a few cents per electronic transaction.
Certain types of businesses are better suited to the internet. At the same time, certain types of businesses have more legal hurdles to jump through to even be allowed to sell on the internet. Merchants selling cigarettes, cigars, firearms, adult content or running a gaming website may have more legal considerations to take into account when trying to find an internet host.
However, most businesses should have no trouble getting up and running on the internet. Businesses such as travel, weight loss, legal services and even online dating are welcomed by web hosting companies, as are pharmaceuticals, electronics, employment services, online auctions, magazines, discount clubs and many others.
Often, a web host will offer a merchant automatic transactions with no paperwork required. These can be great as they eliminate tedious paperwork and keep transactions secure, organized and easy to track. However, merchants should perform their own due diligence with these electronic accounts. With money coming and going out of them automatically, it can be easy to lose track of transactions. A web host can offer a lot of services and help, but ultimately the onus is still on you to make sure your online business is running successfully and smoothly.