How To Create An Ecommerce Website

Neil Forrester
February 3, 2022

Have you ever wondered how to create an ecommerce website? Well, it takes preparation and little longer than a regular website. There are a few important steps you should know when setting up your ecommerce website.

This post is provides a simple checklist you can go through if you want to set up an online business.

Business Name Registration & Trade Mark

If you’re serious about doing business online it’s important that you register your business name and trade mark your logo.

Business Name – A business name is the name which a person or entity conducts business. You will need to register a business name if you carry on business within Australia and are not trading under your own name.

Registering a business name does not provide exclusive ownership of your business name. It also doesn’t prevent other people from being able to register and use similar names.

To register your business name see this page for more information:
https://asic.gov.au/for-business/registering-a-business-name/before-you-register-a-business-name/

To gain exclusivity over a particular business name, you need to register it as a trade mark with IP Australia.

Trade Mark – A trade mark is used to distinguish your goods and services from those of another business. Typically this will be your logo design but there are other forms of trade mark such as a written word or jingle.

A trade mark is a way of identifying a unique product or service and a form of brand protection distinguishing your products or services and those belonging to your competitors.

A registered trade mark provides you with exclusive rights to use, license and sell the mark. It’s also a valuable marketing tool because the value of your trade mark increases with the success of your business.

To gain exclusivity over a particular business name, you need to register it as a trade mark with IP Australia.

Visit: https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/trade-marks

Domain Name Registration

All websites require a domain name. You will need to register a domain name for your website. For Australian businesses I recommend registering both the .com.au and .com suffix versions for your domain if possible.

Ventra IP is a good registrar and are very reasonable for registering domain names. You will need an ABN for a .com.au and they usually cost $19 per year.

Website Hosting

Every website requires website hosting. Website hosting is space on a server that holds all fo your website files, folders, database and operating system. When someone visits your domain / website they are redirected to view the files on the website server.

Our website packagess include web hosting plus:

  • Plugin updates.
  • WordPress operating system updates.
  • Security checks & hardening to prevent hacker attacks.
  • Website maintenance to ensure your site continues to operate smoothly.
  • Website backups saved to local hard drives.
  • On-going support.

What CMS should I use to build my ecommerce website?

There are many Content Management Systems you can choose from to build your ecommerce website. At Ethos Website Design, we prefer WordPress + WooCommerce. That said you can build ecommerce sites with Wix, Shoppify, OpenCart etc. The list is endless.

I prefer WordPress + WooCommerce because it’s flexible, allows for custom coding / functionality and most importantly, you own the website. 

If you build a site on a dedicated ecommerce platform such as Shoppify, you don’t own it and neither can you move it away to another web hosting platform. 

Owning your own WordPress website that utilises WooCommrce gives you total control of your own store.

Email Accounts

There are many ways to create professional email accounts for your business. I highly recommend that you use a proper business email account and avoid using personal ones via Hotmail or Gmail etc.

My preferred platform for creating professional email accounts is Google’s Workspace. 

Each Workspace Basic account costs $8.40 AUD / user / month. Note: The website itself will require its own email address it can use to send order email notifications to customers and admin. I usually create orders@ or sales@ for this purpose.

Each account comes with 30GB of space which is more than enough for most people.

Processing Payments

To process payments via your website you will need a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a company such as Stripe, PayPal or Square.

Payment gateways securely process the payments and deposit funds directly into your business bank account minus their fee.

For ecommerce websites, I recommend Square or Stripe. Both companies offer:

  • Accepting credit card payments via your website, in person, by invoice or over the phone when logged into your website.
  • Point of sale equipment so you can sell at markets or in store.
  • Integrate with Xero booking and WooCommerce.
  • Work with recurring subscription payments.

Note: If you think you are going to sell at markets or in store, Square provides a better system for syncing product inventory.

Business Bank Account

I recommend creating a business bank account from the outset. It will make bookkeeping and accounting so much easier.

With a business account, you’ll find it easier to:

  • Track your business expenses and income
  • Control your business expenses and income
  • Clearly show your business finances separate from your personal finances
  • Get the information you need for your accountant or to meet your tax and reporting obligations.
  • A business bank account also makes your business look more professional to your customers.

Transparent Contact Information

If your business is going to operate from home you may not want to use your home address on correspondence.

Registering a PO Box is a great way to accept mail for your business while keeping your private residence address private.

Ensure the PO Box you rent allows for product returns. In any case you should make your contacts details clear on your website. Not only does this make it easier for customers who may have issues but it is also provides prospective customers a ‘trust signal’ that should something go wrong during the purchase they can easily get in touch.

Shipping Rules

Shipping is one of the dilemmas many new ecommerce website owners face. It’s best to know how you want to ship products before you start building your website. Here are the typical options to choose from:

  • Free Shipping: This is easy to set up and business owners usually add a little extra to each product to cover shipping.
  • Flat Rate Shipping: A single charge is made for all orders.
  • Free shipping if you spend X amount: This is a combination of Flat Rate Shipping & Free Shipping and encourages visitors to usually spend more to qualify for free shipping.
  • Weight Based Shipping: Shipping costs based on weight, volume and dimensions. Using this method means there is a lot more admin as you will need to add the weight, volume and dimensions for each and every product in your store. We usually use Australia Post to calculate prices.
  • Pick From Store: Customers come to your store to collect their goods.

Product Images

When selling products online, each product should incldue the following considerations.

  • Use good quality sqaure format images.
  • Realistic colouring.
  • Include at least four or more product images.
  • Be on a white background.
  • Be optimised for fast loading on the web.
  • Include a featured image.
  • Include gallery images.
  • Include detailed close up shots.
  • Show whats in the box.
  • Include trust sysmbols.
  • Show the product in use.
  • Illustrate the scale of the product next to something else.

Policies

Protect yourself by including professionally written policies on your website. These should include:

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions Policy
  • Cookies Policy

Having your policies written up professionally by a solicitor is going to be money well spent. Ideally you want your T&C’s water tight so customers know where both parties stand when it comes to returns, cancellations, refunds, shipping costs, handling costs, guarantees etc.

Below are couple links to help you get started.

 

Insurance

Finally, owners of ecommerce websites must ensure they protect themselves and invest in the following insurance policies, should your website ever be hacked, compromised or fail.

The two types of insurance I recommend you get are:

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  • Cyber Liability Insurance.

Ecommerce Website Design

If you would like professional assistance in setting up your ecommerce please get in touch. We’ll work with you and guide you every step of the way!

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