Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ecommerce websites that enable a company to conduct its sales transactions or that act as a middleman and help other companies process their own payments are necessary aspects of any company that uses the internet to conduct sales. Ecommerce sites act as the sales department of companies that choose to sell their wares online, processing payments, coordinating orders, and controlling all other accounting information needed. It is what enables you to actually exchange money through your virtual storefront.

Luckily, setting up your own ecommerce site is easier than you may think. Your first question should be whether you would like to learn how to set it up yourself, or if it would be better to hire the services of someone with more experience. As mentioned, it is not difficult to set up your ecommerce site, but it will take some investment of time and energy. Many web hosting sites will help you set up an ecommerce site, saving you all of the worry. If you instead enjoy building your whole web experience from start to finish on your own, then think about following these tips:

Find the right software.

Although you will be able to build your ecommerce site mostly alone, you will need the help of some professional software. For those who would like to become strong web designers, you can invest developer software that can help you learn the craft of web design and give you the tools to completely customize your website. For the average user, however, it may be easier to use a web host for your company’s website in order to have some guidance and inspiration in the sites construction and functioning. Web hosts that also offer advertising and SEO help are great options, along with payment-based web hosts.

Know what you are getting.

If like most business owners you have decided to use a web host for your ecommerce site, there are a few things you should make sure will be available throughout your business relationship. The U.S. Director of Technical Development at the Pennsylvania-based firm 1&1 Internet recommends finding an ecommerce company that offers a full wizard-driven setup for ease of use, many templates to guarantee you can find one that fits, SSL encryption for protection, a database-driven system to promote system integration, and several payment gateway options to meet your needs.

Grab your shopping cart.

Once the website is up and running and optimized for usage as an ecommerce site, you need to concentrate on which shopping-cart software will work best for your services. The shopping-cart services are what allows you to actually take orders, calculate shipping and taxes, and send order messages to your clients. This software is available from several sites and usually costs about $29 - $79 per month. Websites like offer great shopping cart experekinces.
Open the right accounts.

When your website and shopping-cart capabilities are ready, you need to open an internet merchant account at a bank so that you can accept credit card payments online. Some banks make opening these accounts more difficult than others, so if this is your case keep shopping around banks until one is willing to operate on your terms.

In addition, you will need to open a payment gateway account to connect your customer’s credit card account and your internet merchant account. This account verifies the information on both ends and authorizes credit card transactions in real time. Leading payment gateway account providers include VeriSign and CyberSource.

With a bit of dedication and creativity, you can build an incredibly successful ecommerce website for your company. Understand your comfort levels and look for the right amount of help in software, hosting, and consulting to meet your needs and still allow you the freedom you want to be proud of your work. For more tips, see Entrepreneur.

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