Blog | Online Business, Website Design & Marketing

E-commerce website checklist - What you need to get started

J. Enrique Garcia - Saturday, August 14, 2010 Bookmark and Share

If you’re thinking of going online to sell your products – Congratulations!
The number of people buying online grows each day. You have taken a great step towards reaching a larger market. Here is a basic list of the things you will need to get started.


Domain Name
The web address for your website – www.MarysGiftBaskets.com. Make sure that if your web developer is offering a free domain name or offers to buy it for you, that he/she purchases it UNDER YOUR NAME. You are the owner and you want to make sure that you can access your own domain name.

The Website

First you need and E-Commerce website with a shopping cart and product catalog for your customers to add items to the cart and buy them. The type of e-commerce site and functionality depends on your needs, so make a wish list of features. Here is a list of the typical features we offer.

Hosting

The computer connected to the internet where your web pages and shopping cart reside. Hosting costs for e-commerce sites can cost anywhere from $6.99/month to $75.00/month. You have to look at the features they include, such as a shared SSL, to determine the best solution for you. Your web developer will help you pick.

Accepting Credit Card Payments Online

There are a couple choices here that we recommend depending on your needs and budget.
You can set up some free accounts with Google Checkout or PayPal Standard. These payment gateways will handle the authorizing of a credit card and deposit the money to your bank account. They charge a percentage per transaction of 3% or less. Your customer gets taken off your site and goes to the secure page of the provider and can either pay using their account or a credit card. Once they finish they are redirected back to a page of your choice on your site.

For a more professional look, you may want your customer to complete the checkout and payment process right from your site. For this you will need the PayPal Pro account, or an account with Authorize.net, another major provider. These require a monthly payment and have transaction charges. An example of the cost would be: $30/month + 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Check with the provider for details. You will need to purchase an SSL certificate to secure the checkout pages on your site. Browsers identify secure pages by displaying a “lock” icon near the address bar.

SSL certificate

SSL certificates are installed in your hosting server to make a secure directory or pages. The cost of the SSL varies from provider to provider. Some hosting companies sell a” shared” SSL for around $100/yr. You can buy your own from trusted companies like Verisign starting at $300/yr.

Product Catalog

You need a way to add your product images (small and large), descriptions and prices to your online catalog. Your supplier may provide you with an Excel or .CSV formatted file that can be imported to your site allowing you to add hundreds of products within minutes. They may provide you with images or you will have to take pictures and format them properly for the web. You can also add products one at a time via the site’s admin area.

That’s about it… If I think of anything else I will add it. If you want to add anything please feel free to leave a comment.