May 30, 2022

Let's assume you already know what to sell and how you're distributing it but aren't entirely sure how to get started as an Online Merchant.

We start with the Domain.

Step 1: Domain Name

Do a google search for 'register domain name' or use a service like VentraIP or GoDaddy, here you can purchase a domain for your business.

Some things to note as you make your choice of domain name:

  • Buying a '.com.au' domain requires an ABN. This is an ideal domain but not necessary to get started, you can secure this later (You will want to make sure you can even register it).
  • Maintaining a domain requires a subscription that varies in cost based on your choice of domain (.com / .biz / .io etc)

With a domain secured, we now look for hosting.

Step 2: Hosting

Hosting services are plentiful on the internet, find one that offers you the best coverage for your business needs. What are those needs? Before you make your choice of hosting plan, think of how much 'disk space' is needed to support your business. How many products are you listing? How many pictures per product are you using? How large in filesize are those pictures?

Your hosting service can hit its capacity when the website is overloaded with data, discuss a plan that suits your needs with your provider of choice.

Another factor that you may want to consider is the location of the server - if your customer base is primarily Australian, your best to choose an Australia provider and host it locally. Your customers will be thankful for the local speed boost.

Alright, at this point you've picked your domain & your hosting provider. Now we choose... the eCommerce platform.

Step 3: The eCommerce Platform

Choosing the right platform for you is no small task, if you're looking for the most powerful & cost effective solutions - Our go-to solutions are OpenCart & WooCommerce. Both are free and user friendly, and also have large developer communities which contribute additional functionality. There is a third party plugin out there for almost every business type (Even we've done a few!)

Have a look around the web for a platform that you like if WooCommerce & OpenCart don't entice you, as you peruse, here are some notes about the platforms we've worked the most with:

  • OpenCart
    Our personal favourite, OC3 is a free platform that can be installed in minutes and themed within the day. As an 'Opensource' platform, clever developers have contributed their own features and functions for you to use in the OpenCart Marketplace.
  • WooCommerce
    Arguably the most accessible platform for a business to use as it is technically a free plugin for a free platform. People who want to self manage the website and its content tend to lean towards WooCommerce as you can supplement your business with the built in blogging engine of Wordpress.
  • Shopify
    An all in one eCommerce platform that has risen in popularity over the years. Shopify incurs fees that scale with your business. Pricetag aside, shopify is a heavily supported platform which offers more 'Out of the box' features than OpenCart & WooCommerce. Check out their plans here: https://www.shopify.com.au/pricing.

What's Next?

Congratulations, you've covered all the bases to get started with building an eCommerce site.

At this point, all you need to do is install the platform of choice onto your domain.

For those less tech savvy, we recommend consulting a developer with a background in your eCommerce platform. As they can offer useful guidance as your online business makes it's first sales. WebDev has dealt with companies from all walks of life, so feel free to reach out and have a chat to one of our team members.

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