When setting up an eCommerce website to sell goods or services, there are a few elements to consider to ensure the site is highly functional, user friendly and most importantly, secure. Picking from a selection of reputable eCommerce website builders is a good first step, but here are a few pointers to get you thinking.

Secure Sockets Layer or SSL

Another Internet-related acronym! But, what does it mean? Well, SSL is a technology that creates an encrypted link between the web server and user’s web browser.

‘Okay, I get it now…kind of.’

Basically, data travelling between the web browser and web server will be encrypted and private. To ensure you have this on your eCommerce website, you will need to purchase an SSL certificate and install it for your domain name. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, it only takes a couple of steps:

1. Purchase the certificate
2. Set up the certificate on your web hosting

Alternatively, check if your web hosting company can set it up for you. They usually charge a minimal fee, so if these steps seem a bit overwhelming, it could be worth finding out.

Merchant Account

What is a Merchant account? Basically, it’s a bank account that allows you to receive online payments made with credit cards.

For you to have a credit card payment option on your website, you need to setup an eCommerce Merchant Account with your bank. Or, if you’re happy to leave it to a payment system like PayPal, setting up an account is easy.

Payment Gateway

In a nutshell, a Payment Gateway is the technology that handles credit card payments.
When you sign up for a Merchant Account with your bank, you will usually be supplied with a Payment Gateway, which you or an experienced developer will have to install on your website.

Shopping Cart

The last thing to know about setting up an eCommerce website is the Shopping Cart. This is what turns a regular old website into an eCommerce website. It’s that fun little thing that probably gets filled and emptied twenty times when your window shopping on your favourite online boutiques!

These are the basics of setting up an eCommerce website. There’s a fair bit to consider, like choosing who to bank with, exactly what Payment Gateways you need, and which Shopping Cart will be most suitable. These elements are the most expensive and important for eCommerce website development, so make sure you choose from reputable eCommerce website builders to either assist you or build it for you.