Setting Up An Online Store

There are four essential components that make up on online store. The first one is a catalog or list of the goods or service you are selling, the second is a shopping cart or area in which people can see what they are purchasing, third is a secure connection and the fourth is a payment processing center.


If you are selling products, you should have descriptions and pictures for each item you are selling to increase your chances of a sale. The more attractive the pictures are and the more detailed the item description is, the better chance you have to sell your goods. You will also need a service to host your online store. Ideally, you should find one that is the easiest for your customer to use while still offering a good value to you.

Shopping Cart

Many sites that host online stores often include shopping carts as part of the package. If yours does not, there are numerous places that offer shopping cart software that will work in conjunction with your domain. There are free shopping cart software programs available, but it is best to compare each one to make sure it includes all the features you need.

A Secure Connection

Security is of the utmost importance when you are building and maintaining an online store. Customers will not spend money at an online store that does not give them the security needed to inspire confidence. One of the best ways to make sure you provide a secure connection is through SSL, or secure socket layers. A SSL will provide your site a Security Certificate which will authenticate your site and encrypt any data coming into or out of your site.

Payment Processing

You will first need to sign up for an online merchant account. An online merchant account gives you the ability to process credit or debit cards and electronic checks. There are numerous merchant account providers including online providers, independent third party providers and banks or other lending institutions. If you have a bank that already trust and rely on, you can check to see if they can and are willing to host your online merchant account. There are many types of merchant account and can cater to several different business types. If you have a location store and an online store, you can find merchant accounts that will incorporate both, so you can avoid having to pay for multiple merchant accounts. Always be on the lookout for hidden charges and fees.

You will also need a payment gateway in order to process the digital transactions. Popular payment gateways include Authorize.Net, PayPal(I use PayPal to pay rent), OneTouch Online Purchasing, Google Checkout, CyberSource, 2Checkout and Link Point. Each one may charge different service or monthly fees and offer different features. Research each one or one of the many payment gateways available to determine the one that will work best for your online store.

Having an online store can be a great way of building your income, make sure you have all four essential elements to your store in line and soon you will be open for business.

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I totally agree with you on having really good pictures of the products. A few years back, I set-up an online store and didn’t even make one sale. Thinking back on what I was doing wrong, I realize that my pictures SUCKED. I’m guessing that’s why I failed. Great tips for setting up online stores. :-)

12 years ago

For sure Jen, with bad pictures it just turns buyers off. They either think the site doesn’t look professional enough to trust or they can’t see the item in detail enough to see if it meets their needs. These are the basics that are needed for an online store, but there is a lot more involved if you want it to do well. For a general idea, you can check out your potential competitors and see everything that is involved on the front-end of their online stores. Without the basics though, you can’t really enter the marketplace and start trying… Read more »

12 years ago

Interesting Jen, did you do much SEO work? We’re considering doing some affiliate stuff and I just wondered how much luck you had driving traffic to your site.

12 years ago
Reply to  Modest Money

Good tip MM, checking out what competitors are doing, and then trying to improve on their model is a great way to save time and effort.

12 years ago

Thanks for the advice – my mum has been looking at setting up a small online store so I’m just trying to help her make sure she’s doesn’t miss anything…like a secure connection for example, something I hadn’t really thought of before

11 years ago

Jen, Once I have worked with a guy on online shopping website, they spent a huge money to develop their site.. but they failed to rank. I noticed few things like site management, lack of seo knowledge, networking and etc…

Shopping cart types sites are not for us actually, this site needs daily updates like anything and lots of hardworking..

I am with Jeremy’s point..


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