1. Domain name\r\n\r\nPreviously it was good practice to choose a domain name which included lots of keywords e.g.\u00a0BirminghamGoldJewellerySpecialist.co.uk. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) experts now\u00a0think choosing a more memorable brand name is a better approach. Check availability at https:\/\/www.heartinternet.uk\/domain-names\u00a0\r\n\r\nBritish businesses wishing to attract domestic customers should use a \u2018.co.uk\u2019 or a \u2018.uk\u2019 domain\u00a0name, but you may have to go for another suffix to get the name you want. To sell globally, a\u00a0US \u2018.com\u2019 web address has wider international awareness.\r\n\r\n2. Software\r\n\r\nEcommerce software allows customers to place orders on your website. There are three choices\u00a0available:\r\n\r\nOpen source ecommerce software: Purchase web hosting, then install and configure the free\u00a0shopping cart software yourself, or hire a web developer.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Pros: Free software, highly flexible for bespoke requirements, lots of feature add-ons\r\n\r\n\u2022 Cons: No support, ongoing cost of ownership for maintenance, web developer involvement\u00a0likely\r\n\r\nHosted shopping cart software: Use an online shop plugin\/addon on an existing basic website, blog\u00a0or Facebook business page that doesn\u2019t require any coding skills.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Pros: Low cost, support available, automatic software updates\r\n\r\n\u2022 Cons: Less flexible for bespoke requirements\r\n\r\nHosted ecommerce platform: This option provides the complete website hosting and online store\u00a0solution in one.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Pros: Fully supported, lots of features and add-ons, automatic software updates\r\n\r\n\u2022 Cons: Expensive with some providers taking additional per-transaction fees in addition to\u00a0payment provider fees\r\n\r\n3. Online payments\r\n\r\nThe shopping cart solution connects to a third party payment processor so customers can pay for\u00a0their order securely, e.g. WorldPay, Sage Pay.\r\n\r\nYou need a merchant account which is a special ecommerce banking facility for receiving online\u00a0payments and is separate from your business bank account. You pay a monthly service charge and a\u00a0per-transaction fee.\r\n\r\nPayPal is a popular online payment processing solution which bundles the payment gateway and\u00a0merchant account together. The standard PayPal business account has no monthly service charge\u00a0but you'll pay a higher per-transaction fee of 3.4% plus 20p instead.\r\n\r\n4. Growing visitors\r\n\r\nBe prepared for the long haul; allow two years to grow regular visitors to your website and social\u00a0media accounts.\r\n\r\nPromote your website and social media in all your offline advertising. Try online paid advertising\u00a0on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads for an immediate visitor boost. But make sure you've\u00a0got something special on offer when they arrive, otherwise you'll get little return on investment.\r\n\r\nFinally\r\n\r\nDo your research and don\u2019t rush, otherwise you could end up spending way more than you need\u00a0to start selling online.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nSimon Horton is the founder of ShopIntegrator, a hosted ecommerce plugin that makes it easy for\u00a0anybody to add an online store onto their existing website without any coding skills.