Your content is the meat and potatoes of your website. With all of the Google Panda updates, it is extremely important that your content is unique and relevant. If you have multiple pages with the same content (or if you have your content on other people’s websites), you will run the risk of getting penalized by Google and your search rankings will suffer.
Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.
Eric has been writing about tech for over 27 years. He was on the founding staff of Windows Sources, FamilyPC, and Access Internet Magazine (all defunct, and it's not his fault). He's the author of two novels, BETA TEST ("an unusually lighthearted apocalyptic tale"--Publishers' Weekly) and KALI: THE GHOSTING OF SEPULCHER BAY. He works from his home office in Ithaca, New York. 
If you don't have a design already in place and think templates are too limited, consider Adobe Muse CC. This unique little program concentrates on letting you design. Templates are handy, embeddable web fonts are great, and the sitemap view may be the best way to get an overall feel for what your site will have. Export it to HTML and you're ready for upload. It's part of the Creative Cloud bundle and also available individually for $14.99 a month with a yearly plan.
After you choose a website builder and a theme, take some time to learn how to use and customize these tools. Once you feel comfortable, start making changes. Some easy changes to start with are to add your name, logo, and contact details. Then, change the text font and color, add image galleries, background pictures, banners, and other site enhancements. 
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