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Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Store

Posted on the 15 April 2013 by Butterchicken @vivekkrishnan

In our current global market scenario, ecommerce as the ‘new business trend’ has been appreciated and well recognized. Starting an online store is a valuable futuristic business tool, ecommerce has curtailed the hardships of being physically present to remit payments of any nature and amount. With E-commerce one can now afford to make payments anywhere and at any time just with one click of internet connectivity. Apart from infusion of new age technology throughout the global hemisphere, E-commerce brings in the convenience for each one of us to feasibly operate from within the four walls of our homes. With such new technological era making its arrival, many more new-age digital web outlets have been set up online making it even easier for the buyers and sellers to make transactions under one single global hemisphere. The physical boundaries across countries have definitely been curtailed, rendering each one of us to transact any business globally. However, it is pertinent for sellers or business houses to employ necessary security measures, as much as it becomes significant for the buyers to check out such measures being employed by the web businesses online. In other words, both employing and ensuring of security becomes an important factor in order to combat issues of fraud or the advent of many other internet crimes.

In fact, ensuring of such precautionary measures in your business setup online is what differentiates tour online web store from other avenues online such as setting up of a blog. Only when you set up your online business store with good measures of security imparted in it, will you be able to attract and gain trust from your customers as well as many more prospective target segments. However, ensuring security measures in your online set up is not as easy as it appears to be. Aspiring webmasters ought to be well versed with every aspect of technicalities prevailing in this World Wide Web. This post endeavors to serve as a guide to all those business minds wanting to enter the world of E-commerce. Certain essential tips and pointed useful for being adapted for serving better business transactions are as follows.

Building a Business Brand

Merely wanting to set up a business set-up online would not suffice your desire of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Your desired success would require you to visualize a far more in-depth vision of building a business brand. This is why you ought to look at the whole market scenario to enlighten yourself with your competitor’s product and services, even before you want to start building on a business idea. This phase of inception would require you to familiarize yourself with the global competition prevailing in the internet world even before you start thinking of carving a niche for your business. Alongside these business building parameters, what is equally significant is your quest to build a brand name for your concerned business.  Your brand building quest would in fact translate into rendering your business a whole new identity for procuring a very viable global recognition. Your brand building exercise would rather be incomplete without a well driven thought rendered to purchasing of a domain or a domain name. Your domain name would further aid you in securing of the company name and logo successfully.

Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Store

Opening a new Google account, for instance, could render you much help for satisfying your new corporate requirements. Doing so can avail you the use of many Google apps, with the use of which you could track your web traffic with ease. Google Analytics would essentially quench your this aspect of technicality. Likewise, you could merge You Tube into your Google via OAuth, with the help of which you could possibly visually capture every aspect of your business to depict the same onto your customers.

Domain Registration

Registering a domain name is yet another step you would have to take while conceiving your business launch. Searching for a web host is such another significant task which should be embedded in your list of ‘must-do’s.’ Your domain search is the most critical part of setting up your online business. You have to take into consideration the price factor alongside the freebies which come with the purchase. You can find a list of top domain name registrars here.

Choosing a Web Host

Choosing your web hosting service could make your process of setting up online business more difficult. This is why it becomes essential that you know the backend language which would be run on your online shop. Once this gets known, all you have to do is opt for the most optimal server settings. In my opinion, sticking with PHP would be ideal and make far more sense than anything else. As an open source, PHP supports nearly every server environments. It is for this reason that you ought to ensure that your web hosting service supports PHP alongside databases pertaining to MySQL.

Companies such as Hostgator and Bluehost render new webmasters incredible web solutions. For unlimited bandwidth and storage requirements, all you would be paying is as little as $100-$150 per year on an average. Although certain web hosts cap their bandwidth and storage limits, you have to operate under their rules for executing even the cheapest solutions online.

Adhering to our post can aid you in choosing some of the best web hosting services. Our recommendations are based on 10 factors of immense significance. Alongside, we impart a consumer guide to clear your every doubt relating to web hosting. Also, our tips can help you overcome even the most complicated issues in the arena of web hosting.

Selecting An E-commerce Package

For starting an online shop, you could rely on certain prominent Hosted companies alongside continue your tasks envisaging licensed scripts.  Hosted companies render Hosted solutions to help you on most of your backend solutions. Moreover, hosting of e-commerce server scripts could be even easier via such hosted solutions. Hosted solutions also enable you refrain from carrying out certain unnecessary and repetitive tasks such as complicated programming or uploading of files. However, you would still have to search for a distinct URL so as to give your business a domain name for redirecting its brand identity.

As with licensed scripts, you could easily customize these paid and open source e-commerce systems to enhance the identity of your online web store. Although you are not conversant with most of the technicalities like any programmer, you could easily follow certain installation instructions for downloading of, and re-uploading of script files in your hosted server.

However, making and receiving of online payments brings with it several security risks. For ensuring sufficient security, choosing an apt hosted solution would be an optimal step to embark on. Moreover, communicating with these company representatives will enable you tackle security stress efficiently. Needless to state, your customer’s safety should be a prominent attribute catered by your online business set-up and inherently built-in your online business infrastructure.

Popular Hosted Ecommerce Solutions

As an online entrepreneur, you have to understand the benefits that your hosted solutions could possibly render your website visitors with efficacy. In order to procure the viability of your online set up, you have to ensure the uniformity of scripts in your administration panel as much as paying attention to your interface’s ability to either add new entries or upload photos without obstruction. Following are certain feasibility options for any webmaster who desires to refrain himself from the complications of programming, however who strives to indulge in the technicalities of customizations for rendering strong security measures and customer support to his customers.


Shopify depicts a good website visual appeal with some of the most alluring demos articulately placed within. Shopify may just be your better option, especially if you are on lookout for a formidable E-commerce solution envisaging a custom mobile template, customized app store, a unlimited server bandwidth along with an SSL security, amongst many other specialty features.

Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Store

You could possibly weave several user customizations on your website with the aid of a mere single script. Moreover, selecting from amongst several themes to be implemented onto your website has never got easier than by imparting Shopify in your business set-up endeavors. Also, editing your website design can be functionally viable merely by the understanding of simple HTML and CSS engraved within it. For beginners, this E-commerce platform renders editor simple enough and in tandem with the functionality as provided by the WordPress theme‘s editor. By including Shopify in your E-commerce business plan, you could avail the facilities of 24/7 customer support as well as live chat. Browsing through list of Shopify-powered stores though this link can render you an insight into the many benefits of this E-commerce tool.

As for the pricing, you could customize it accordingly in order to suit your online set-up ranging from economical to expensive by choosing from amongst their five plans. A little researching  on the same would satisfy you procure an insight into many of the overwhelming attributes provided by Shopify. More so, if you have a basic knowledge of HTML and quest for procuring a  fully-fledged accountable staff for quenching your new launch online business needs, choosing Shopify would be optimal.

Yahoo! Merchant Solution

Yahoo! Merchant Solution is apt for satisfying all your small business requirements. Your standard Y!MS account would provide you a fairly customizable solution depicting the best clarity. With your Y!MS account would come custom traffic analytics annexed onto your admin panel alongside split testing tools. Moreover, Y!MS account supports the most globally supported payment gateways such as PayPal, most of the credit cards as well as honoring transactions via money orders and checks.

As your hosted partner, Yahoo! is undoubtedly a trustworthy merchant solution. This hosted solution renders good amounts of traffic via organic search engine and ad clicks, although much of its benefits has been rubbed off by its arch rival Google. However, Yahoo! Merchant Solution is satisfying for all your small marketing requirements, rendering you much help in partnering your new business network with skilled web professionals, thus enhancing your overall store management.


BigCommerce software is on similar lines with that of Shopify, comprising a crystal clear interface for its users. Not only does this aspect makes the adding of new features and users easier, but also enables convenience in its overall signup process. Likewise, making payments online can be transacted in minimal time.

Its online API and integration settings stand out as their specialty with every detail about page plugins highlighted therein. Similarly, making inclusion of numerous details from various web entities such asFacebook, MasterCard, E-Bay, PayPal and many more has never got any easier. Its several inherent template customizations absolve your new launch branding worries.

This live stores showcase can enlighten you with many of their web stores spurring the best of e-commerce designs globally recognized. A very good customer support along with a lot of positive reviews pertaining to the same makes BigCommerce a formidable E-commerce platform in the running for all the new web business launchers.

Popular Open Source Ecommerce Software

Following are some of my personal pre-hosted solutions which make it ideal for developers to freely operate and work from within their respective business boundaries. Alternatively, browsing through these open source e-commerce shopping carts or making an independent research on Google can aid you choose your custom-owned scripts to perfection.

The following custom-owned scripts are ideal for most of the business environments functional in this online global business world.

Zen Cart

Being written in PHP, Zen Cart is one of the best brands supporting most of the hosting environments. What is favorable for any new businessentrepreneur is its free to use and easy to download installation. Moreover, many more services could be procured through efficient connectivity provided by Zen Cart. You could also find many prominent companies partnering the Zen Cart software. Their array of recommended services list could enlighten you on the support rendered by this business brand. It’s easy to use simple XHTML templating system could efficiently support your API development know-how for all your website building endeavors. Moreover, creating of a custom theme for you as a web developer can never get easier.

Zen Cart is embodied with excellent customer support community which is constantly alive and to solve any of your queries. Moreover, its support forums can resolve your any issues pertaining to setup and installation and even queries relating to customized module controls.


Magento is fully based on PHP with significant amount of instructions on how to get started. Its current SVN could render you much help with FTP deployments as much as its active developments. In fact, accessing raw PHP files gets much easier as the site is constantly being updated. it makes it easier even for the non-programmers to opt for Magento, however choosing carefully from amongst its several options is recommended especially if you are not well versed technically with HTML/CSS. If you have a taste for customization and would like to set-up an incredible online store having superior functionality, then Magento is the best selection you could make.  By weighing several options you could familiarize yourself with the many options available in it. Although imbibing Magento backend should not be such a hard task, you could well learn it within 2 weeks time especially if you belong to the fraternity of PHP or any like programming language.

Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Store

Apart from its free edition, you could opt for several options including its pay per license option. With this option, you could garner a more professional script for your business purpose. The comparison page would enable you to choose the best option suited to the perfection of your business needs.

Although Magento excels in documentation, its screencast videos along with technical documentation can render you take a better professional approach in choosing it as your custom-script partner.

WordPress eShop

The WordPress eShop is warped with full adaptability in similar lines with the Classic WordPress CMS, on the basis of which innumerable websites stand powered. With WordPress, any new business eShop would get assistance in smooth functioning of business ranging from receiving of orders to shipping on discounts.

Browsing through some of the tabs can render you insight into amazing examples of vivid documentations that this E-commerce script manager provides. Along with an easy and functional installation process, WordPress eShop can render you combat with a task of large complexities. You could sight some of their outstanding features in their brief FAQ tab which would solve your every concern on the many attributes of this custom e script.

With regular updates and injection of utmost security, your website can stay from any obstructions such as hacking and other security threats. Moreover, many support forums inherent in WordPress can solve your every query pertaining to custom scripts to be used for your business environment.

Interspire Shopping Cart

This one is an Australia-based web development company having an excellent administrator backend support along with CSS3 templates for fulfilling all your business requirements pertaining to custom scripts. Along with its general CMS, and strong email marketing software, Interspire has a fully fledged shopping cart. Moreover, their relatively enormous fee to the tune of $295 per license renders you with some of the most incredible benefits customization.

The functionality of Interspire Shopping Cart is on the same lines designed for BigCommerce. However, their paid hosting account differentiates them from other contemporaries in refraining you from editing of server files. Interspire is sought by most developers for the loads of creativity that it renders. Interspire has developed innumerable brand new features through its version 6. As such, hundreds of modules and templates can now be accessed through well recognized payment gateways active globally.

Finding Merchant payments partner online

Credit card payment is the most preferred payment method however other new sources like Google and PayPal have enhanced the market scenario by partnering with business owners.

Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Store

You could opt to sign up for two separate accounts for including your new business name on record. Where through Internet merchant account you could receive funds, your payment gateway can render connect you with a suitable merchant online. Thus, accepting of instant payments via credit cards is considered as one of the most optimal modes of accepting customer payments.

Do check with your local bank to gauge into the feasibility of engaging with an Internet-based merchant account. After a preliminary signup process for crediting your website, your bank shall create Internet-based merchant account for enabling you tie-up with your choice of merchant. However, you could opt for a merchant account provider in case you need a second option for accepting your customer payments. Some of the popular ones are

Choosing of a gateway comes as a prerequisite followed by the selection of your merchant account. Choosing a secured merchant account shall instill security to your customer transactions. Authorize is one such company exuding credibility amongst many merchants across the global hemisphere. Alternatively, eWAY is targeted more towards satisfying the likes and preferences of international segment.


The aforesaid are certain essential steps for establishing your first e-commerce store. Although not an easy way to execute, one has to adopt a professional approach by incorporating professional help of web designers or through adapting a well versed research.

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