Ecommece Startup? Check out our Ecommerce Startup Checklist to help you workout where to start

After years of working with hundreds of clients looking to start their first ecommerce website the most common statement we hear is “I’ve never done this before, tell me what I need to do”. This checklist is designed to help you start a plan for your ecommerce website and the resources you will need to start selling online.

Choosing the right domain name 

Once you have established the business name for your business the next step is to secure the domain name. Ideally the shorter a domain name the better as its easy for people to recall and also means they don’t have to type lengthy email addresses when emailing your business. Its also great if you are able to secure a domain name that can include your keywords – words that people would use to search your business. i.e. If you were selling dog toys.

If you are only looking to service the local Australian market then domain name is recommended. If however, you are looking to also sell internationally then domain name is recommended. You can purchase both and have them both redirected to your website.

But why do the costs of domain names vary so widely?

One thing you will find is there can be a vast price range when sourcing a domain name from different suppliers. The prices will be varied depending on whether you are dealing with an Australian or an overseas company. You may save a few dollars by using an overseas company however you may also find when it comes to contacting them for support you have a lag in response time due to time differences.

You should also be very aware of whats been included when you receive a quote/purchase your domain online. Sometimes there may be a bunch of “optional extras” added into the cost that you may not need such as marketing services, hosting etc so just make sure you are clear if all you need is the domain name that no other optionals are added to your bill by default.

Branding/Logo Design

We often get asked, “do I really need a logo design – whats the benefit?” If you want to establish a credible brand then yes we would always suggest having a professional logo designed for your business. Having a logo means you have those files to be used across all of your various media from your website, business cards, socials, vechile and shop front etc.  Professional branding confirms your credibility and should emotionally connect with your potential customers.

Choosing a website platform

Obviously the website is key to conversions. There are 2 options here – having a custom designed website developed by a developer or having a website designed on a content management system such as WordPress. With a custom website this will generally mean you won’t have any access to making updates to the site yourself but rather you enter into an agreement whereby the developer will make any and all updates to the site. This can suit people who simply don’t have the time or inclination to work on their site and would rather pay someone else to do the work. A custom developed website is generally a great option for a a larger corporation with a committed marketing budget.

The other option is to have a website designed on to a content management system (CMS). For the majority of clients this is always the preferred/most suitable option. This allows you to make your own updates and additions to the site so you don’t have to pay ongoing development fees. The other advantages of this is that most CMS’s have a plugin for pretty much any additional functionality you might want to have saving you costs on ongoing custom development work. You can of course also enter into a maintenance agreement with your supplier if you do become time poor and don’t wish to make your own updates.

When talking to. the various suppliers it is also at this point you should enquire about the website hosting options they can provide you for the website. I would say the crucial part here would be to ensure they have an Australian based support team so you aren’t left in the lurch if you have any urgent issues.

Getting paid!

Next you will need to decide on a payment gateway. There are plenty of options out there these days including those listed below. Click on the link to view their pricing.

Paypal is a well known and trusted option for a start up business who doesn’t forecast a massive amount of online sales in the beginning/launch of the website. This option means you don’t need to have a merchant account set up with your bank and people don’t need to have a PayPal account to pay.

SecurePay and Eway are options if you do have a merchant account with your bank and its best to talk to both to understand all the fees and charges to make the best decision. This is also more advisable if you do forecast high transactions for the website as the fees will be lower than PayPal.

AfterPay has gained serious traction since it came onto the market-  splitting a payment over 6 weeks for the customer and you get paid within days. Great for retail businesses such as fashion


Next you will need to decide on how you are going to ship your products. If you are using a content management system such as WordPress there are plenty of plugins that can be used to connect to the various courier companies and to Australia Post. For smaller articles then Australia Post may be a great option and for larger shipments then you will need to do research with the various courier companies around. Some will have minimum monthly order requirements so its a matter of ringing around and gathering all the information and deciding on the best option. From there your web developer and chat through the costs of integrating this with your website.


There are certain legal requirements for selling online too which include;

  • Privacy policy
  • Returns policy
  • Terms and conditions
  • Developing dispute and resolution procedures

There are templates online you can use as a starting point but of course its always advised to have a lawyer assist in the final documentation. We have worked with Legal Vision in the past and they have really assisted our clients as they specialise in legals for online businesses. You can check them out here:

Content and Imagery

As we have talked about in a previous post content is consistently a road block in going live. With ecommerce imagery is everything so we strongly suggest organising for a professional photo shoot of your products or obtaining images from your supplier if applicable.

Finally your copy and messaging has to be on point and correctly talking to your target demographic and really connecting with them in order for them to transact on your site. You should have your copy ready to go well before your web developer starts work on the development of the site. We often recommend if you are working on your copy yourself use the time when your site is being designed to be working on this so when its development time you have everything ready to hand over.

Need more help? Stuck with next steps? Call us now on 0433 501 613 to see how we can help!