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The Ultimate Checklist for Building an E-commerce Website

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Are you thinking of starting your own e-commerce website but don’t know where to begin? Look no further! Building an online store can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and execution.

To help you get started on the right foot, we’ve put together the ultimate checklist for building an e-commerce website.

Whether you’re an established business looking to expand your reach or a budding entrepreneur with a fresh idea, this checklist will guide you through the essential steps to create a successful online store that’s both functional and visually appealing.

So let’s dive in and turn your e-commerce dream into a reality!

Choosing a Domain & Hosting Provider

When it comes to building an e-commerce website, choosing the right domain name and hosting provider is crucial to your success. Here are a few things to consider before making your final decision:

  1. Branding and Identity: Your domain name should be reflective of your brand and easy for customers to remember. Choose a name that’s short, catchy, and relevant to your products or services.

  2. Domain Extension: The extension of your domain can impact your website’s credibility and search engine rankings. A .com extension is the most popular choice for e-commerce websites, but there are other options available such as .net, .org, and .store.

  3. Reliability and Uptime: A hosting provider with a reliable uptime ensures that your website is accessible to customers at all times. Look for providers that offer an uptime of 99.9% or higher.

  4. Speed and Performance: Your website’s loading speed is critical to providing a positive user experience. Choose a hosting provider that can handle high traffic volumes and provide fast loading times.

  5. Security: Protecting your customer’s data should be a top priority for any e-commerce business. Ensure that your hosting provider offers SSL certificates, daily backups, and other security features to keep your website secure.

When choosing a hosting provider, it’s also important to consider the level of customer support available. You want a provider that can assist you with any issues that may arise and offer 24/7 support.

It’s important to consider your specific needs when choosing a hosting provider for your e-commerce website.

Depending on your situation, a private server or hosting package may be a better fit for your business.

To find out more about the benefits of each option, we recommend reading our other blog post Private Server or Hosting Package

Finding the Right e-Commerce Platform

E-commerce platforms are software solutions that allow businesses to create and manage online stores. These platforms provide a wide range of features and functionalities to facilitate online selling, including product catalogue management, checkout and payment processing, shipping integrations, and more.

E-commerce platforms come in various forms, ranging from open-source solutions that require some technical expertise to install and customise, to hosted platforms that offer a more user-friendly, out-of-the-box experience. Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, and Squarespace, among others.

With an e-commerce platform, businesses can quickly and easily set up an online store, reach a wider audience, and offer their products and services to customers worldwide. E-commerce platforms have revolutionised the way businesses sell online, providing a simple and efficient way to get started with e-commerce, regardless of your technical expertise or budget.

Examples of E-commerce Platforms:

  1. Shopify: One of the most popular e-commerce platforms, Shopify offers an all-in-one solution for building and managing online stores. It’s user-friendly and includes a wide range of features, making it a great choice for businesses of all sizes.

  2. WooCommerce: Built as an extension to WordPress, WooCommerce is a free, open-source e-commerce platform that offers plenty of flexibility and customization options.

  3. Magento: Magento is a highly customizable e-commerce platform that’s designed for larger businesses with complex needs. It offers a wide range of features and is highly scalable, making it a great choice for growing businesses.

  4. BigCommerce: BigCommerce is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that offers robust features, including multi-channel selling, custom storefront designs, and advanced shipping options.

Tips on How to Choose the Right E-commerce Platform:

  1. Consider your budget: E-commerce platforms can vary widely in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when selecting a platform. Some platforms charge monthly subscription fees, while others take a percentage of your sales.

  2. Think about your business’s size and needs: Different platforms offer different levels of functionality and customization, so it’s important to consider your business’s size and needs when choosing a platform.

  3. Look for user-friendly platforms: If you’re not tech-savvy, look for a platform that’s user-friendly and easy to use.

  4. Consider the features you need: Make a list of the features and functionality you need, and choose a platform that offers those features.

  5. Check for scalability: Choose a platform that can grow with your business and can accommodate increased traffic and sales.


Creating a Positive User Experience

Creating a good user experience is essential for the success of any online business. It helps retain customers, improves brand reputation, increases sales, fosters customer loyalty, and provides a competitive advantage.

A positive user experience makes a lasting impression and encourages customers to return, recommend your brand, and make repeat purchases.

With a focus on creating a superior user experience, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and attract more customers to your business.

  1. Keep it simple: Make your website or application easy to use and navigate. Simplify the design and layout, and avoid clutter.
  2. Prioritise usability: Ensure that your website or application is easy to use and that users can complete their tasks quickly and efficiently.
  3. Make it responsive: Your website or application should be accessible on all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
  4. Optimise for speed: Slow-loading pages can negatively impact the user experience. Optimise your website or application for speed to improve the user experience.
  5. Use clear and concise language: Make sure your content is easy to understand and use clear and concise language.
  6. Provide helpful feedback: Provide feedback to users when they complete actions or make mistakes.
  7. Be consistent: Keep the design and layout consistent throughout your website or application.
  8. Test and iterate: Regularly test and iterate your website or application to ensure that it is continually improving and providing a positive user experience.

By following these tips, you can create a website or application that provides a positive user experience and encourages users to return and recommend your brand to others.

Creating Products that Sell

Creating products that sell is essential for the success of any e-commerce business. Here are some tips to create products that will entice customers and increase sales:

Accurate Product Descriptions: 

Write clear, concise, and accurate product descriptions. Highlight the benefits of the product, its features, and any unique selling points. Ensure that the description is easy to read and understand.

High-Quality Images: 

Use high-quality images to showcase your product. The images should be clear, well-lit, and show the product from different angles. Include zoom features and videos to provide a better understanding of the product.

Offer Competitive Prices: 

Price your products competitively, but ensure that you are still making a profit. Consider offering discounts, promotions, and bundling products to encourage customers to buy.

Provide Excellent Customer Service: 

Respond to customer queries promptly and efficiently. Offer hassle-free returns, warranties, and refunds policies. Build trust with your customers, and they are more likely to return and recommend your brand.

Focus on Product Packaging: 

Packaging is an essential aspect of product presentation. Invest in attractive and high-quality packaging to make your product stand out from competitors.

Make Sure Your Payments Are Secure

One of the most crucial aspects of running an ecommerce site is ensuring the safety and security of your customers’ payment information. Here are a few key steps you can take to ensure that your site’s payment process is secure:

Firstly, it is important to use a secure payment gateway. This is a third-party service that handles online payments securely, ensuring that sensitive information is encrypted and protected.

Another critical step is to use an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate on your site. This helps to encrypt sensitive information such as credit card details and ensures that it cannot be intercepted by hackers.

It’s also important to implement strong password policies and to regularly update and patch any software and systems used in the payment process. This helps to ensure that any vulnerabilities are identified and fixed promptly.

Finally, it’s a good idea to provide clear information to customers about your site’s security measures, so that they feel confident and safe when making a purchase. This can include displaying security badges, providing information about your site’s security policies and procedures, and offering customer support for any security-related concerns.

Here are a few examples of popular payment gateways:

  • PayPal: PayPal is a widely-used payment gateway that allows customers to securely pay using their PayPal account or credit/debit card. PayPal is known for its ease of use and accessibility, but it can come with higher fees for sellers.

  • Stripe: Stripe is a payment gateway that allows customers to pay using credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, and other payment methods. It’s known for its flexibility and customization options, but can come with slightly higher fees than some other gateways.

  • is a payment gateway that supports a variety of payment methods, including credit/debit cards and e-checks. It’s known for its robust fraud prevention tools and integrations with popular ecommerce platforms.

When choosing a payment gateway, it’s important to consider factors such as fees, security, ease of use, and integration options. You may also want to consider offering multiple payment options to accommodate the preferences of different customers.

Set Up Shipping & Delivery

When it comes to managing shipping for your e-commerce store, using a shipping management system can greatly simplify the process. These systems allow you to automate and streamline your shipping processes, saving you time and reducing errors.

A shipping management system can help you compare and select the best courier options for your customers based on their location, package weight, and other factors. These systems can also generate shipping labels and tracking information, as well as handle any customs forms for international shipments.

There are several shipping management systems available, such as ShipStation, ShippingEasy, and Shippo. These systems can integrate with your e-commerce platform and provide you with real-time shipping rates, tracking information, and delivery updates.

By using a shipping management system, you can offer your customers reliable and affordable shipping options, track packages easily, and streamline your overall shipping process. This, in turn, can help improve customer satisfaction and ultimately lead to more sales for your e-commerce business.

Testing Your Website

Testing your ecommerce website is a crucial step in ensuring that everything is working smoothly before launching it to the public. Here are some tips for testing your ecommerce website:

  1. Test the website’s functionality: Make sure that all the links, buttons, and forms on your website are functioning correctly. Test the shopping cart, checkout process, and payment gateway to ensure that everything is working correctly.

  2. Test the website’s performance: Check the loading time of your website and make sure that it is loading quickly. Slow loading times can result in customers abandoning their shopping carts.

  3. Test the website’s design: Make sure that your website is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Check that your images and graphics are high quality and that your website’s design is consistent across all pages.

  4. Test the website’s compatibility: Test your website on different devices and browsers to ensure that it is compatible with all of them.

  5. Test the website’s security: Make sure that your website’s SSL certificate is active and that your payment gateway is secure.

  6. Test the website’s shipping and handling: Test your shipping options and make sure that your website is accurately calculating shipping costs.

  7. Use a test mode: Most ecommerce platforms have a test mode that allows you to test your website without charging customers. Use this mode to ensure that everything is working correctly before launching your website.

Remember, testing is an ongoing process, and your website should be continually evolving to meet the changing needs of your customers. So, keep testing, keep improving, and watch your e-commerce business flourish!

Don't Neglect SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is crucial for any website, especially for an e-commerce business. SEO helps your website rank higher in search engine results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

Neglecting SEO can mean losing out on valuable traffic and sales. By focusing on SEO best practices such as keyword research, optimizing your site structure, creating high-quality content, and building backlinks, you can improve your website’s visibility and attract more visitors.

So don’t neglect SEO – it’s an essential part of any successful e-commerce strategy!

Congratulations! You are now armed with the knowledge and tools to build a successful ecommerce website.

Remember to focus on creating a positive user experience, secure payment options, and efficient shipping and delivery. Don’t forget about the importance of SEO and promoting your site to attract customers.

With the right strategies and a commitment to excellence, your ecommerce site can thrive and bring you the success you deserve.


James - Senior Developer

James - leads the development team, ensuring high-quality code while staying up-to-date with the latest tech trends. Outside of work, he enjoys rock climbing, fuelling his passion for adventure and challenge.

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