Ok, you have made the choice to prepare your own Webshop and you have the products you need to sell but just how do you go about doing it? Where do you begin?
There are several different aspects that you need to consider, the primary ones are –
- Domain Name
Hosting the Website
eCommerce Webshop Software
Loading Products onto the Website
Receiving Customer Payments
To return to basics a domain name is the name by which your website is known on the internet, when you enter the www address of this site you wish to visit you’re typing in that website’s domain name.
To have your own Webshop you need to first buy your own domain name, then you will need to connect that domain name using a physical ip address on the world wide web, which leads me nicely onto…
Hosting the Website
The software for your Webshop needs to reside on a computer that can be accessed through the world wide web, as soon as you’ve chosen your applications it has to be operating 24 hours a day on a computer somewhere.
Here you have the option of whether you operate your own Webshop on a dedicated server or you could share space on a server with other sites. However, whatever you choose you also have to have the ability to associate your domain name with all the physical (ip address) of your server i.e. the dns settings, this would typically be handled by individuals registered the domain name for you but you do have to be careful with this as it could badly affect the smooth functioning of your Webshop, its really important that if someone types in your domain name (url) that your site is ALWAYS available.
You also have the option of whether to operate on a Linux Server or a Windows Server, generally there are more choices out there for Linux and as yet another generalisation software for Linux is available at a lower price than Windows applications, but as in most things though there are exceptions and there’s some very good windows applications available at competitive rates.
You also need to make sure that things like database backups are cared for and that you can load website certificates etc. (more about that later)
Now that you have your domain name and you’ve got your own server (or hosting service) and both work properly together you need to consider that eCommerce webshop software to operate, as mentioned before there are two main directions to enter i.e. you could either pick on Windows or Linux
As soon as you’ve decided of the operating system then you’ve got a enormous selection of the different Webshop applications and these can vary from free software (with limited support) through to applications which costs tens of thousands of pounds annually.
There are some very good free software available for example Magento and OsCommerce but normally with these you’ll be on your own when it comes to installing and running the program.