How Do I Set Up an Online Store So I Can Sell My Stuff?

January 20, 2009

in Internet

by Tina Gasperson

There is definitely money to be made on the Internet, even in slower economic times. Even if all you have to sell is your unwanted stuff, it’s easy to find a place to list those things where thousands of people can see and buy it. The most basic way to do that is to create a classified listing either at your local newspaper Web site, or on a national site like Craigslist. But if you want to kick it up a notch, you can set up shop in your own virtual store.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to open an online store is through a service like eBay. Known for its online auctions, eBay is also home to a vast collection of virtual stores run by shopkeepers who decided to create a more permanent online selling presence. With eBay, you can make a career out of selling, simply by listing multiple items for sale. Or you can take it a step further and create an official, named store on eBay, with a page that highlights all your items and gives customers information about you and your business. Remember that eBay charges listing fees and takes a percentage of your sales. If you can live with that, eBay does try to make the process as easy as possible by showcasing its tools and tutorials in one place. Another popular online selling venue for handmade goods, vintage items, and crafting supplies is Like eBay, Etsy makes it very simple to list and sell your items, and it makes money by charging you a small listing fee and a percentage of your sales. However, if you’re selling brand-new commercial goods not handmade by you, better steer clear of Etsy.



If you have an independent streak and like to do your own configuration, setup, and marketing, then try setting up your own self-hosted store. A great number of Web hosts now provide free shopping cart software with automated installation and configuration through Fantastico Deluxe or similar applications. You’ll still be responsible for paying your monthly or annual hosting fee, but no one will be charging you listing fees and percentages. It could be a very profitable trade-off if you’re willing to do the work.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.