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Adding PayPal Payment Buttons to Your Site

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For many individuals and small businesses, the easiest way to sell on their websites is to use PayPal payment buttons. But how do you add these buttons to your site? It's easy, as Michael Miller (author of The PayPal Official Insider Guide to Growing Your Business: Make Money the Easy Way) explains.
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For an individual or a small business, what's the easiest way to start selling online? PayPal offers a number of seller solutions, but the one that's best for smaller sellers involves placing PayPal payment buttons on the site and then letting PayPal handle the entire checkout process. This feature costs nothing upfront; you only pay when someone makes a purchase.

What's involved with adding a payment button to your site? The process is actually quite easy, especially if you're familiar with basic HTML coding. You tell PayPal what you're selling and for how much, and PayPal generates the code for the appropriate payment button on your site.

Understanding PayPal's Payment Button Solution

PayPal offers a variety of products for online merchants. Some of the more sophisticated products are targeted at larger sellers, but other PayPal products are aimed at smaller sellers.

For small businesses or individuals offering only a handful of products for sale online, the best payment solution is PayPal's Website Payments Standard. With this solution, you insert payment buttons onto your website for each product you offer. As you might suspect, PayPal makes adding these payment buttons to your website or blog relatively easy. All you need to do is tell PayPal what you're selling (and for how much), and PayPal generates a few lines of HTML code, which you insert into the appropriate page(s) on your site. PayPal does the rest of the heavy lifting, in terms of shopping cart and checkout processing.

How does this work? Let's say you're an individual offering a single product for sale—some type of craft or a piece of artwork. You create a page on your website promoting your product, and then add the requisite PayPal payment button. It's a one-time thing; insert the code and forget it. PayPal handles all subsequent orders, notifying you when there's been a purchase and you need to ship your product.

In this type of situation, there's no need for you to build or buy your own shopping cart or checkout system—and little value to be gained by doing so. Instead, you let PayPal handle the backend process. When a customer clicks the Buy Now button on your site, he's taken to the checkout system on PayPal's site, where the transaction is completed. You benefit from getting a ready-made payment-processing solution with minimal effort and zero upfront cost. In short, your sales are up and running just as fast as you can generate and insert that payment button code.

What Does It Cost?

PayPal's Website Payments Standard is a relatively low-cost payment solution. Here's what you pay:

  • Setup fee: Zero. That's right, it costs you nothing to get started with Website Payments Standard; there are no upfront fees of any type.
  • Monthly fee: Zero. You also don't pay any ongoing monthly subscription fee. In other words, there are no fixed costs; you pay only when you sell something.
  • Transaction fee: Variable. When someone clicks the button to make a purchase, PayPal charges you a percentage of the total purchase price, plus a fixed transaction fee. The percentage you pay varies depending on your total monthly sales volume, but most smaller merchants end up paying 2.9% of the final price, plus a flat $0.30 per transaction.

Let's look at an example. If you sell an item that costs $30, and it has an $8 shipping/handling fee, the total price paid by the customer is $38. PayPal charges you 2.9% of this total, or $1.10. In addition, you pay a flat $0.30 for the transaction, for a total fee of $1.40. That's it—no other charges apply.

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