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Ecommerce Website Design

I have developed over the years a backbone design for Ecommerce websites that can be easily adapted to suit most requirements.

Payments are handled securely online using a third party payment company such as PayPal or WorldPay.

There are many advanced features to the design and offers a very comprehensive package. Like all my designs it is created to perform well in the search engines, particularly the better ones like Google.

In addition the key bonus is that this is my design. We are not using an off-the-shelf package. We are not constrained by licences or copyright. If we need to make changes or adaptations at any time there will be no infringements.

So what does it include and what is required:


I can arrange a suitable hosting package with a .co.uk or .com domain name included for £65.00 per year. This includes everything we would need, ASP, PHP, mySQL database, several email addresses, unlimited bandwidth, no adverts, etc.

The Website Design

There are a few current ecommerce sites listed at the bottom of the page that will give you an idea of the public pages and their capabilities.

For your administration.

  • A password protected admin area, where you can …
  • Add, edit, delete and remove from display products, within categories, departments, etc.
  • Add, edit & delete the categories / departments. This can also include an introductory piece of text for each department.
  • Upload a picture to accompany each product – these can only be jpg format, but the website will deal with uploading, renaming, resizing and when the time comes; deleting.
  • The ability to flag selected products as ‘featured’ or on special offer.
  • Monitor online orders, update the order status i.e.. To dispatched, invoiced, etc.
  • Search for orders, by order number, client email, etc.
  • Search for products.
  • Printable picking sheets.
  • Invoicing facility, with printer friendly invoices.
  • A product counter, so you could see what products or types are looked at the most.
  • A system that will record what visitors search for, it will also provide a link to see the results the visitor got. So if you have products that do match their search, but did not come up, you can edit the description so that it shows next time.

    It may also be a good tool for finding out what would be a good new range, gaps in the product range etc.
  • There are also several advanced features that can be included, such as:

    The ability to remove ALL special offer products off special offer with one click – ideal for at the end of a promotion.

    The ability to clear out redundant shopping baskets and keep the site quick.

    To change prices en masse, such as changing every product at £9.99 to £9.95 with one click.
  • Manage delivery areas and charges.

For the Visitor

  • A home page with welcoming text and images
  • Links generated from your categories / departments. Which feed to a page that can show say five to ten products within that department complete with brief description and photo. And an ‘add to basket’ link. Next and previous links will be automatically generated as required, to show the other products within the department / category. A link to the full display page.
  • I code this page so that Google and some of the other key Search Engines will recognise these as different pages. Each will have a chance of performing for you in the search engines – as each will be a related product.
  • A full display page for each product, with full description, order now link, text boxes to accept their choice of colours, sizes, etc. I create these so that when they are removed from display; i.e. no links appear to them anywhere in the website, but are still accessed directly from old search engine indexes, that they will still show, but the add to basket functions are removed.
  • The ability to search through your titles and descriptions with a string search.
  • Advanced product search: 'all words', 'any words', 'the phrase', etc.
  • Shopping basket with update quantity, delete item, empty basket, etc.
  • Your returns and refunds policy - Required by EU law.
  • Contact information with country of residence - Required by EU law.
  • Contact page. With a contact form included which you would receive as an email.
  • Relevant thank you pages
  • An 'about us' page.
  • A page to detail the most commonly searched for phrases/products, with links to the results. This is more for the Search Engines than the visitor. It will create extra pages, with easy to index links, that are based on the phrases people actually search for.
  • A delivery charges calculator.

Checkout & Payments.

On checkout the customer would have an option of payment by post & cheque, by card online or by phone (if you wished).

All options would write the order to your database and you would see which way the payment was coming.

Payment by cheque would give the customer a printable order form with total payments, where to post it, etc.

Payment by card; would write the order to your database – collecting the delivery details, then pass them on to WorldPay or PayPal or similar. They go through the payment process, the payment is credited to your WorldPay/PayPal account, and the customer is given the option of printing a receipt and given a link to your return to your website.

At the same time WorldPay or PayPal can send information back to your website. My code will interpret this and will update the order status to ‘payment confirmed’ or ‘payment declined’.

WorldPay / PayPal will also send both you and the customer a confirmation email.

The website will also send you a payment received email for orders where the bill was paid online, and an email receipt to the customer.

Where an order is paid by post, there is a link within the admin area to send a confirmation email. This is required by law under the distance selling regulations. This link to send a confirmation email does not appear ordinarily for those orders where payment has been received online, as this confirmation will have been sent automatically. In the event of any errors you can generate this confirmation email link

Secure Payment Providers

You need to set up the account with a third party payment company such as WorldPay or PayPal, as it is about your banking.

But they would provide you with a few URL's, username and password, which you forward to me and I can use these to modify both websites to talk to each other.

WorldPay : is the company my earlier ecommerce clients have opted for. They are apparently comparable on price and offer a few advanced features, such as feedback after payment, which my code can interpret to update the order status to payment confirmed or payment declined. So you are not wholly dependent on the confirmation email. I believe WorldPay is the one most banks recommend.

PayPal : Most of my recent ecommerce clients have opted for PayPal, it's quite a bit cheaper, it offers all the same functions. They charge something like 3.2% +20p per transaction. It's worth having a look www.paypal.co.uk

Of the two, I would recommend PayPal.

Included in the design

  • W3C compliant code. This is likely to become a legal requirement of ecommerce websites by 2005.
  • Submission to the top thirty + free search engines and directories (those that people actually use)
  • Optimisation of all images for fast loading and search engine performance
  • Optimisation of all Meta tags
  • Optimisation of all pages for fast loading and search engine performance
  • Site designed for both Internet Explorer and Netscape, though older versions of Netscape do not like some advanced ecommerce functions.
  • Any changes or corrections for four weeks after the site has gone live would be free of charge.

VAT or Sales Tax

Most clients opt for a 'retail price', so VAT is not needed.

However, if this is applicable to your business, we can include this in all calculations.


We can calculate delivery by a range of means.

However, calculating delivery charges is one of the more complex aspects and we would need to establish which method we are going to use from the start.

Changing this later can be time consuming and opens up chances of bugs, many background pages can be affected.

The most widely used is to have bands for different delivery areas.
So initially we set 'United Kingdom' and 'World-wide'. Then for each :

Orders under £A = £X
Orders between £A and £B = £X
Orders between £B and £C = £X
Orders between £C and £D = £X
Orders over £D = £X or Free! etc.

If you find you enjoy a high number of sales from a new region this can easily be added into the system with its own delivery charges.

If you have a system in mind that would be more appropriate for yourself, perhaps where weight is an issue, we can create an alternate system for managing the delivery costs.

I would need

  • Any pictures, logos etc. you would like to use on the website.
  • Text, text and more text. Be very descriptive about what you are offering.
    I can optimise the text you provide to work with the search phrases that people actually use to find you, but I do need the text to work with.
  • A returns and refunds policy. This is require by law.
    Guidelines can be found on the DTI's website. Visit this page.

    You can also visit some of my existing clients websites to check out their Returns and Refunds Policies. There are example sites listed below.

Updating Content

  • All of the product information, department descriptions, special offers, FAQ's, feedback, etc. can be up-dateable by you, online in a secure admin area.
  • The more static content, you have me do if or when it was required. Having the general information more static helps in the search engines. Pages such as the home page, about us, etc.

International Ecommerce Websites.

My ecommerce website system is designed to work with a range of currencies. It can easily be adapted to work for you wherever you are in the world. Provided your language is based on the Western alphabet.

Using PayPal or WorldPay allows you to accept payment in a range of international currencies, while you receive the payment in your chosen currency.

Optional Extras.

Not included in the basic ecommerce package, but easily incorporated are a range of advanced features to give you more control over your website. More functionality for your visitors and a greater range of pages that can work for you in the search engines.

Extras include:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

  • In your admin panel, you would be able to add, edit and delete FAQ's.
  • Search through your FAQ's
  • Set them to display publicly or be suspended.
  • For the visitor, a page listing your FAQ's, with next and previous links generated automatically as required.
  • The ability to search through your FAQ's.

Visitor Feedback / Guest Book

  • In your admin panel, you would have the ability to edit and delete comments left by visitors to the site.
  • Their email address is included in the admin panel so you can contact them, but displayed publicly so their email address is not harvested by Spam software.
  • Visitor comments do not go live until you authorise them. This allows you to ensure the content is suitable for all.
  • For the visitor; a page to show other visitors feedback. With the most recent authorised comments first, next and previous links as required.
  • A form for the visitor to submit their feedback.

Most Recent Products

  • A page for the visitor, that lists the most recently added live products to the website.

Most Popular Products.

  • A page for the visitor that lists the products with those viewed the most showing first. This page is not based on actual sales, but on the number of times a products' full display page has been viewed.

Popular Product Searches

  • A page for the visitor that shows what other visitors to the website have searched for, through your products.
    Each search phrase has it's own counter and provides a link to display the results of that particular search.

Outlet Management

  • If different outlets sell your products, we can include a page within your admin area where you can manage these outlets and provide a page to the visitor to list them and details where they can be found.
  • Key fields are a title, description, contact details and a link to their own website.

Shows, Fairs, Exhibitions and Displays.

  • If you regularly attend trade shows, exhibitions or similar. We can include a page in your admin area to advertise these events. Complete with title, description, date etc.
  • The visitor to the website is provided with a page listing these events.
  • A more advanced version is available if your events are numerous, where the visitor can filter results down to individual months.

Recommended Websites and Reciprocal Link Management

  • A page in your admin area where you can add recommended links within four categories of your choosing. Including a title, description, anchor text and the URL. Also included is a field for keywords to help visitors search through your entries to find a website matching their requirements.
  • The visitor initially has a page where all links are listed. These can then be filtered down to any one of the four categories.
  • The visitor also has the ability to search through your recommended links, through the titles, description and keywords you have entered.
  • Next and previous links throughout as required.

Photo Gallery or Portfolio.

  • Within your admin area; the ability to add, edit and delete a photograph for an online gallery. Complete with title and description.
  • You select the jpg file from your computer and the website will deal with uploading, resizing, renaming and saving. And if the time comes, deleting the image too.
  • The visitor initially has a page displaying thumbnail versions of your photographs. These show X number per page with next and previous links as required. There is a link to see the full sized picture.
  • The full size picture page will show the larger picture, complete with your title and description. Links to browse through your pictures are included. Error handling ensures if the page is visited without requesting a specific picture it will show the most recently added.

Latest News Management

  • A page within your admin area where you can add, edit, delete and suspend articles, latest news or information.
  • Features include the ability to include a picture to accompany each entry and the ability to include a link at the bottom of the article.
  • The visitor has a page showing the most recent live entries first. We initially show just a limited amount of the article. And article that is longer than this set amount, or where there is a link included, has a link created automatically to visit a second page to see the full story.

The Costs

The price does reflect the time involved.

Bear in mind there is no annual licence fee applicable as there is with many popular ecommerce solutions. And this system is fully adaptable at any time without infringing any licences or copyright.

Please contact me in the first instance and detail your requirements, I will be happy to provide a quote.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

A few current clients sites using this system:

Eminence - supplements, herbs and skincare  

Eminence - supplements, herbs & skincare

Bespoke ecommerce website, with the ability to select one of several colour schemes for various pages around the site. Multiple order processing and more.


Further Ecommerce Solutions:

  • The Handcrafted Card Company
    The most complex website I've created to date. Separate sections, fancy card displays, all manageable by the client.
  • Noo Noo Art
    Hand painted glassware, hand made greetings cards and with commissions undertaken. All products are designed and handmade by popular Devon artist Louise Thompson.
Effective Website Designer