Small-business advice: Designing and managing an e-commerce website

Dear Karen: What is the most cost-effective means to design and manage an e-commerce site with digital downloads?

Answer: Design your site using free tools, such as WordPress, or membership sites such as WooThemes, which cost as little as $70 annually. "The great thing about WordPress is that you can plug in all kinds of cool and useful widgets, from polls to e-commerce," said Michael Weiss, chief executive at Imagistic. He recommends managing digital downloads with or

Scott Sanfilippo, co-founder of Solid Cactus, recommends Yahoo Store and 1ShoppingCart. "Both allow you to upload your digital product. Once the customer successfully places the order for your item and pays for it, it allows them to download it securely," he said.

Don't forget that you'll need a secure certificate so your site will be safe for customers entering their credit card numbers.

Small-business questions? E-mail Karen at

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