Things Needed to Start an E-Commerce Website

Written by
Jason Rasnake

E-commerce websites have grown an incredible amount over the past 10 years. Everyone wants to shop easily online without the hassle of going out and about, fighting traffic on the road, crowds in the store, and waiting in line for what seems like a century. A couple of clicks of a button and BOOM! Your items will be delivered to your doorstep within the week or sometimes, even that day!

If you are a business that sells products, it is imperative that you have an online store to compete. It is also very easy to start a business selling things online because you don’t necessarily need a brick and mortar location, which saves you from a building lease.

Once you realize that this is something you need your next questions might be, where do you go from here? What are the expenses to building an e-commerce website? What all do I need to get an e-commerce website?

I have broken down things that usually go overlooked when a client starts building for the first time.

Product Images

I know this isn’t the most shocking but you would be very surprised how many times this goes overlooked. Clients want to add a lot of products but then we have to figure out how to track down each product image and you cannot just grab an image from Google without dealing with copyright issues. The best way to do this if you have it in your budget is to hire a professional photographer to take photos of every product. Images are a huge difference maker between sites and if you just throw something up, people can see a difference from when each picture is taken separately and with high resolution. If you are not a Walmart, Best Buy, etc. You need to have a legit site so people feel comfortable buying from you. Photos can go a long way with that.

Product Description

The more information you have about a product, the better. If you have a lot of description text, it can help the buyer make a decision quicker, answer questions they may have without having to email, and it helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well. I know this is a big task to write about every product if you have a large amount of products, but it will pay off.

Product Pricing

Another that can seam like a no-brainer but if you do not have this thoughtout, it can be a headache to try and come up with last minute before launching your site. You have to make sure you have enough profit built into each item that it is worth selling. You have to recoup your money spent on your site somehow? LOL!


This is probably the most forgotten thing on an e-commerce site. You have to have a way to ship your sold items. You can integrate UPS or FED EX, you can use USPS or you can even add shipping cost into your pricing and then figure out shipping between you and the client after the purchase has been made.


Secure Sockets Layer, WHAT??? This is necessary anytime you are taking payment on your site. It is very important as it creates a secure connection between a client and the server. It basically adds extra security so that your clients information is not easily stolen from your site. This is very inexpensive and easy for your web developer to set up for you.


This one is very easy, you have to have a place for the money you bring in to go. This is a bank account that you have set up to receive these payments.

Merchant Gateway

This one is my least favorite but again, you have to have it. A merchant gateway is like a middle-man that takes the money from the site and hands it safely into your bank account. They do like to take their cut, most of them will require anywhere from 2% to 5% of each transaction. I get it, they have to make their money as well and they are providing you peace of mind that your money is safely getting from your site to your account. Who else would do that?

There you have it! These are all things to think about when starting up an e-commerce website. Your web developer will be able to help you out with finding the best solutions for you and you should be able to bounce thoughts and ideas off of them to get exactly what you need.

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