Launching an ecommerce Company: the first steps

My previous post explained the launching of several ecommerce companies in the U.K. because of the pandemic. It reminded me of when I began roughly 20 years back.

Domain Names

One of my first tasks would be to think of a domain name, as in yourchosenname.suffix. Sometimes there’s a www prefix, but it is not needed. The suffix generally is .com or .co. Uk in several U.K. websites. There are other options like .biz, but they are not as popular. For U.K. business it’s much better to have two versions: .com and the .co. uk.

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Domain names are unique. The majority of the good names are taken.

My store was (and is) known as Kulture Shock. Thus my initial domain was A U.S. band already took the .com version. So I couldn’t have it. It was a risk, but I chose to ignore it. The threat was that some customers would type .com after kultureshock rather than . That danger never developed, mercifully. If it was a competitor, rather than a music group, I’d have picked another domain.

I also registered the hyphenated names and kulture-shock. Most companies shy away from hyphenated domains. They’re cumbersome to spell over the telephone, and typically consumers omit the hyphen. Therefore, if a competitor owns the title without the hyphen, you will probably lose customers.

Initially I registered my domain with my internet hosting firm. This was convenient as the identical company also hosted my website. With time, however, I kept the domain names with a major (more economical ) registrar and hosted my website with a specialist company. It made it a lot easier to move hosts when required.

Domain names are unique. The majority of the good names are taken.

As my business expanded, so did the assortment of products. I decided to divide my site into several domains. This time I chose product-specific titles, such as and . com and drwho-shop. I found the hyphen to be awkward. I also ran into problems with a similarly-named competitor who filed a lawsuit to take my titles away. This is the possible pitfall in using product names. Others have the same idea. What’s more, the real license owner may object.

In my case, the BBC, which possessed the television show, was upset that my rival was trying to limit the product title. The BBC squashed the suit.

A side benefit of having a domain name is more or less unlimited email addresses. I’ve [email protected] and [email protected] and an email address for every single worker. This to my mind looks more professional than, say, [email protected]. With time, however, I discovered that some hosting providers restricted the amount of email addresses.

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Web hosting

That’s the next thing you need to get a site, following a domain name — a good host.

A programmer or designer can create a website and supply everything. He can register your domain name, arrange for hosting, and sort out email names. The drawback to this is that a third party controls your business. Developers sometimes set themselves up as the principal contact and secretary of customers’ domain names. That is not a problem when you’ve got a fantastic relationship with a programmer. But if a dispute occurs, a programmer could be uncooperative. It is like giving a builder your only set of keys to your property.

In my experience, when it comes to hosting you get what you pay for. There are lots of cheap hosts. They’re cheap for a reason. They often cut corners on equipment and encourage and cram as many clients as possible on a single server (a computer).

Keeping costs low is essential — but not for internet hosts. An analogy is a brick-and-mortar merchant who finds cheap rent in a high-crime area where there is no parking, street lights, or foot traffic. The merchant saved money — and doomed her company in the procedure.

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I have regretted the couple times I used cheap hosts. They limited the amount of unique email addresses, and, importantly, they didn’t run their own email server, leading to my company’s email classified as spam.

This is an important point. All computers on the internet have a unique IP address, such as Spam-related emails are often traced to the IP address of the computer or mail server. This address gets blacklisted, and all emails from this speech can get junked. When you get cheap hosting, you discuss the IP address with hundreds (or thousands) of clients. If only one of those customers is a spammer, and the server doesn’t shut it down immediately, then all clients suffer, and their emails are blacklisted.

Thus I’ve always paid extra to get a unique IP address and made sure my emails originated from this speech. There’s not much point in playing to get a unique IP address if the server ignores it.

Building the website

After sorting the domain name, host, and emails, I could then create my site. This was over 20 years back. The ecommerce software was primitive. The website I created was great for the time but would look awful now.

What was state-of-the-art decades ago is currently unprofessional. This is the reason why every couple of years I review my website and update it, moving to new and improved applications, which is also easier to maintain. Every new software package typically demanded another server. It’s all interrelated as specialized applications often has exceptional hosting and support needs.

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Now, in 2020, there are lots of excellent ecommerce applications and platform providers. An all-in-one option is a simple and affordable way to begin. For a monthly fee, an all-purpose supplier will register your domainname, host your website, and offer the ecommerce applications, such as payment processing and safety. In addition to the customer service — essential for an inexperienced entrepreneur — is absolutely free. You can use the supplier’s templates to make your store and add your goods.

The monthly fee is probably higher than for different hosting. And you share resources with a number of other shops. You also have limited flexibility with the appearance and various attributes. Nevertheless, for a new company, the simplicity and support of setting everything up usually outweigh the limitations.

As soon as you’ve established an ecommerce website, you need to lure consumers to see it and buy goods, which necessitates collecting payments, fulfilling orders, and providing excellent customer service. I will cover these in my next post.

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