Ecommerce 101 – Elements of a Standalone Ecommerce Website

Call it a shopping list of items needed to start and maintain a standalone ecommerce website:

Domain Name
A unique and easy to remember domain name that represents the products and company’s brand identity.

Domain Hosting
This is the storage space allocated on a web server that will be used to store the website, ecommerce software, product information, customer orders, etc. Another function of the domain hosting is to setup and store email accounts related to you site. Selection of the proper domain hosting company is important based on technical requirements and capacity needs of the website.

SSL Certificate
Secured Socket Layer or (SSL) are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and security protocol and allows secure connections from web server to browser. In plain English, it provides a secure connection from shopper to ecommerce site.

Some merchants have worked around using an SSL on their site by allowing the shopper to order until the final step of checkout when they have to enter their credit card information. At this point they are directed to a merchant provider site such as PayPal that is secure with their SSL to enter sensitive information.

Today security of any information is important for the organization. Protecting the entire site or at least portions of the site where customer data lives with a dedicated SSL. Having an SSL on your site also give the customer confidence that the organization has taken care to secure personal information.

Content Management System
This is a system that is installed on the web server. This system is where all of the web pages and blog entries are organized and stored. Also any elements that make up a product you are selling such as imagery are sorted on this system. For small to medium size businesses WordPress or Drupal are excellent choices.

Ecommerce Shopping Cart
The ecommerce shopping cart is the workhorse of your organization’s ecommerce efforts. Here is where products are placed for sale, inventory (if any) is kept, and orders are placed. The shopping cart software will reside in the content management system and use the resources such as text and images of the product.

Merchant Provider
If you want to accept credit/debit cards on your ecommerce website then you will need a credit card merchant provider to process the credit card orders. An automatic connection between the ecommerce site and the merchant site will be established to accept payment. Merchants such as PayPal, and Simplify are some examples of companies that provide ecommerce gateways with competitive rates.

Backup and Security
ecommerce websites are significant sources of revenue for many organizations. They are also more complex systems than a basic website. The importance of security and regular backups should not be ignored.

Periodic backups of the website and its databases will provide insurance of recovery of information in case of website failure or a malicious attack on the webserver your ecommerce resides.

Another safeguard is to have your site periodically checked by a security software company for malicious code that could have been placed on your site. One other point about security is to make sure the computer(s) you are using to access your ecommerce site are free from any viruses by using Internet security software such as Norton, AVG, or McAfee. If you are using a wireless environment make sure you can only access the wireless router with a username and password.

Success Media Services has experience in building standalone ecommerce websites with a high quality personal touch that gives the small to medium size business an ecommerce website competitive with the larger companies. Let us know what your needs and what we can do to help.


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