Photo by Kaiyan
If you are looking into starting up a small business, or you have recently started one, one of the first major steps you may want to consider is putting your business online. No matter what field your work is in, a website is almost a necessity in today’s world. Setting up your small business website can seem like a daunting task – you will want to do it as quickly and inexpensively as possible, but you will also surely want to make your site look legitimate and professional.
This is why professional website hosting companies such as Network Solutions exist; these companies offer simple and competitively priced features that allow you to set up a real, fully functional website essentially all on your own. And, for business-related websites, they even offer features called merchant accounts that can greatly assist you in turning your website from informative to functional, which can in turn help your business a great deal.
Basically, a merchant account allows you to set up a credit card payment method right on your website. This may seem simple, but when you consider the alternative it is a vital step of you are attempting to sell any sort of product or service with your business online. Many small or independent businesses do not bother with merchant accounts, but ask customers to send payments in via check or cash… this of course is not an extremely secure way of handling payments, and can lead to customer mistrust; basically, there is nothing to assure the customer in this situation that your business is not a potential scam. People are simply, in general, more comfortable paying with their credit cards when it comes to online transactions, because you can immediately look online to make sure that only the proper amount of money was charged to your account, and you can either instantly receive the service you paid for or be given a tracking number and/or receipt to see that a product has been shipped to you.
Essentially, the payment process is simply more reliable and more efficient with a merchant account. As is probably evident at this point, the benefits of this reliability would be difficult to overstate; your customers will trust you, which means that they will buy more from you (in fact, statistics do back up that online customers are more likely to spend money if they can pay via credit card). Additionally, you will receive payments more quickly and more regularly, and word may get out that your online business is a safe and effective place for your customers to shop. Ultimately, if you’re putting a business online, you have only a small fee to pay for a merchant account setup, and everything to gain.