I started with the goal of building a website that had no running costs, minimal transaction fees, and low maintenance. Choosing to have all features integrated into one website? or do I manage the website and leave the financial transactions to a third party? Security is key to answering this question, a third party is my option. First I did a lot of research on free web hosting solutions, benefits, security and 100% uptime. The list was limited to a few, I tested them and settled on google sites which ticked all the boxes. The main disadvantage is also an advantage, it locks the code, making it harder to implement tons of features, but increases security immensely.
I’ve decided on my web hosting, now look at payment systems. The customer would need to be redirected to a secure website, the data exchanged between my website and the shopping cart would need to be minimal as it could be hijacked or altered. I’ve looked at a lot of cool Java and PHP based shopping carts, but they all still ended up being submitted via code that could easily be modified by someone smart enough. PayPal and Google Checkout are the main players as Google Checkout was banned in Australia so I went with PayPal.
Google Sites is very easy to use, first you give the site a name, choose a template and play around with the formatting a bit. Add a picture of the item you want to sell and keep it in mind for a while. We now go to PayPal.
Create a PayPal account and change the account type to Business at http://www.PayPal.com. PayPal gives you the ability to create pre-made buttons that connect to your account and since no dollar amount or number of items is exchanged between the sites, it is very secure.
Creating a PayPal button:
Profile >> My Saved Buttons >> Create New Button
Choose Yes; Create an “Add to Cart” button.
Give the article a name, if you have several identical articles, enter an article number.
Choose a price
Postage weight or cost of postage for this item.
Track inventory, PayPal may prevent people from purchasing items when they are out of stock.
After the button is created, select the Email tab, copy the code and save it for later.
Go back to your Google Sites web page and add an image that you will use as the “Add to Cart” button. This can be the one previously provided by PayPal, or you can create your own image. Make sure you are happy with the size, google sites gives you the option to choose small, medium or large, but if you want something else it can be changed in the html code option.
Select the image and then click the link button above. Here you link your button to PayPal, select Link to external website and paste the PayPal link you kept earlier.
My finished result is: