Review: WebPlus X2 Simplifies E-commerce Design

WebPlus X2 helps eBay and online sellers quickly design their own Web shop—complete with shopping cart, buy now and other e-commerce functions.

If you’re an online seller or retailer, it’s increasingly important to have your own Web site.  Whether you sell on eBay, Etsy or any other online marketplace, you still need to invest in your own central business or Web shop. From your own site you can direct customers to other channels you sell through, and vice versa.

For many sellers, the challenge to getting their own Web site is often a lack of budget or know-how. But you don’t need hundreds of pages and a larger-than-life Web presence.  You can start small just by getting your pertinent business information online, and invest in like marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) down the road.

No HTML or Programming Skills Required

One way to obtain a business Web site online is to use Web site design software, such as the easy-to-use Web Plus X2 from Serif

WebPlus X2
WebPlus X2 offers a selection of professional templates from business and e-commerce to home and hobby themes.
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WebPlus X2 offers an interface that’s similar to desktop publishing software.  All you need to do is edit templates to design the site’s pages, and the software renders the HTML code to create the different pages within your site. 

This particular software package makes it easy to create a Web site using basic drag-and-drop features and pre-defined, editable regions within the templates.  With a quick click, more experienced designers can work directly with the HTML code.

Create Interactive Sites with E-commerce Functions

Web Plus X2 comes with a detailed user guide and the program installation CD, in addition to template pack CDs that contain templates for Business and Commerce or Home and Hobby Web sites.

One of the reasons we looked at WebPlus X2 is that it offers e-commerce functions for adding a shopping cart to your site and features for secure payment processing. You can also include interactive features such as blogs, forums, and videos to your Web shop.

Before getting started, you should gather your assets—that is any company logos and images that you currently use for marketing—and have them ready to insert in your new Web site as you lay out the design.

Getting Started

After installing the program and the Business and Commerce template pack, you’re ready to build your own Web shop. Getting started is easy. From the File menu, click Startup Wizard, then simply choose Create and select Use Design template.

Here you will see a preview image of the available templates, as well as images of each page included in the template set. The usual selection includes templates for the standard pages you would expect to see on a business site, such as home, about, services, products, privacy policy and others.

After choosing a template to use for your site’s layout, you can then select a scheme. This allows you to change the colors in the default template so you can use your own logo and brand colors in the pages.

When you are happy with the colors, you can edit the default text and image regions from within the template to incorporate your own dialog and images.  You do this by selecting a pre-filled box with your mouse—then you highlight and delete the existing template information and replace it with your own business details.

WebPlus X2
Edit the default text and image regions from within the template to incorporate your own dialog and images.
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As you edit these text areas in the template you can change fonts, text and image colors and also add your own images.  You can make these changes across a master page—which pushes those changes to all pages in your template set. You can also open each page within the site to make individual section edits.

As anyone who has designed with templates can attest, you may find that the template set you choose lacks a specific type of page or feature you want on your site. WebPlus X2 lets you “copy” a page from another template into the set you are working with. This lets you work in a style you like with pages that best suit your business needs.

Special Features for E-commerce Designs

What makes WebPlus X2 stand out in a crowded software market is that it offers basic e-commerce functionality straight out of the box.

You can include e-commerce functions in your Web site by using the built-in WebPlus X2 PayPal wizard. The wizard correctly inserts all the information and functionality into your product pages for successful online selling.  WebPlus X2 also provides wizard functionality for Roman Cart and Mal's Cart.

WebPlus X2 also supports larger stores and catalogues through its database merge technology. This lets retailers easily feature large amounts of database information, like product descriptions, pictures and prices.

Of course, an e-commerce site needs more than just "buy buttons" and product images.  WebPlus X2 offers additional features that e-commerce site designers can use to their advantage, such as templates for e-mail marketing campaigns and search engine optimization controls.

These controls will help you to create keywords and other meta tags for search engines to improve your site’s search rank. You can also set up an analytics profile with Serif to obtain visitor analytics once your site has been published online.

Pricing and Availability

You can download WebPlus X2 or buy it on Serif’s Web site for $79.99.  WebPlus X2 works with Pentium PCs running Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Vista operating systems.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!

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