Recently, a lot of people are thinking about creating an online business. Not only because of the fact that more than half of the internet purchases products online per year but also as a solution to earn more in these difficult pandemic times.
However, building an online store may be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Moreover, running and creating one requires a lot of preparation and planning. In this article, I will explain the five easy steps to get started with your eCommerce website.
Things to Do Before Building Your Online Store
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to building an eCommerce store. Before starting on the website itself, below are several crucial steps you need to figure out first:
- Choose a Product or Service to Sell – your product is the heart of your business. Before anything else, consider the talents and skills you have to figure out what you want to put in the market.
- Conduct Market Research – it is always important to know your audience. Research your target market, ask them several questions to understand how to make your product or service appealing.
- Write a Business Plan – now that you know your market and what to sell, define your business plan. Analyze the competition, identify your goals, decide on a budget, and more.
5 Steps to Build an eCommerce Website
Now that you have figured out the business, the audience, and the plan, it’s time to move on to constructing your store online. Here are five steps to build an eCommerce website.
1. Choose a Web Hosting Platform
Every website needs a hosting platform to go online. An eCommerce website must choose the best hosting plan to guarantee uptime and speed. A slow website that crashes from time to time will result in losing potential customers.
For an eCommerce website, it’s best to avoid shared hosting plans as it is more prone to crashes and slowdowns. Websites are placed together in one server with shared hosting, so when one crashes, other sites may be impacted.
Moreover, eCommerce sites will be handling lots of transactions. The website has to have optimal uptime so that transactions can run smoothly, as crashes may cause payment errors and lost customers.
Opt for a web hosting platform that offers various hosting options, like VPS or cloud hosting. A great hosting provider should also offer other features that the site needs in a package, such as a website builder and a free domain name registration. Hostinger is a prime example of this.
2. Register a Good Domain Name
A domain name is the web address that the customers type into the address bar to visit your website. An eCommerce website needs to choose the most suitable domain name, as it will be the brand of the online business and the first thing customers remember.
There are several important points to pay attention to when choosing a domain name. First, always opt for a .com domain name if available, as it is the most memorable and trustable TLD on the internet. Also, keep the domain name short and avoid double letters to prevent typos.
Usually, hosting providers offer free domain name registration as a package to hosting plans. As soon as you’re done planning the business, you can immediately register one that best suits the business.
In case it isn’t offered with your hosting plan, use a domain checker to make sure that your desired domain name is available and make a direct purchase from the tool.
3. Set Up WordPress and Install an eCommerce Plugin
After registering a domain name for the online store, set up a CMS (content management system) to ease uploading content and media, like WordPress.
Most hosting providers have one-click WordPress installation tools to ease the setup process for beginners. All you need to do is locate the auto-installer in your control panel, click on the WordPress icon, fill in the necessary information in the field, and click install.
From there, you can install an eCommerce plugin that best suits your store’s needs. Below are several factors to pay attention to when choosing an eCommerce plugin:
- Multiple payment gateways – this is crucial for the customers’ comfort. Try to install an eCommerce plugin that supports your preferred payment gateways.
- Tools and apps – your eCommerce store will need third-party apps to support business growth, such as email marketing services, tax calculators, or accounting software. Make sure the eCommerce plugin you choose supports integration with these apps.
- Customer support team – you may have questions when configuring your eCommerce store with the plugin. A solid customer support team should save you a lot of time and effort by providing answers timely.
4. Pick a Theme and Customize Your Website
Now that you have an eCommerce plugin, it’s time to get started on your website’s design.
A good storefront layout should provide customers with a comfortable shopping experience. I recommend choosing mobile responsive themes, as 82% of online shoppers use their phones for consultation before purchase. A mobile responsive website should also help with search engine rank, bringing more traffic to your store.
It’s also important to be able to deliver products or services information well to the customers. Keeping the theme simple should help create a painless shopping experience for the visitors, as they will spend time scrolling through your catalogue. Choosing a simple colour scheme for the website should also make it seem less cluttered and more comfortable in the eyes.
5. Configure Payment Gateway
An online payment gateway is necessary for both you and the customers. This enables you to accept online payments made by the customers for your products and services.
While eCommerce plugins and website builders support most payment gateways, some charge a fee for using the providers. The transaction fee can go up to 2% per sale, and although it seems a small number, it may impact your revenue when it adds up.
Choose payment gateways that are supported by your eCommerce plugin or website builder. That way, you can avoid these transaction fees and save your revenue.
Tips to Create a Successful eCommerce Business
Now that you know how to create an eCommerce website for your business, below are useful tips that may help in the long run:
- Launch when you’re ready – the first step is always the most important, and to launch when you’re not fully prepared may make it hard to build customers’ trust. Avoid launch until you have the basics and business processes all covered.
- Utilize social media – social media is beneficial to support business growth. Use it to know the customers’ recent interests and promote your business accordingly.
- Put effort into SEO – Search engine optimization helps with website rank, thus allowing you to stand out from the competition. Learning more about SEO should gain you more traffic and expose your business to more potential customers.
Building an eCommerce store can be easy when you know which necessary steps to cover first. Start with choosing the best hosting platform, then register a good and memorable domain name for good branding.
Then, install an eCommerce plugin as a base for your online store. Pick a theme that gives the most comfortable shopping experience for the customers, add features that the website needs, set up payment gateways for transactions, and you’re set.
I hope this article helps you understand how to build an eCommerce store easily. For any questions, make sure to leave them in the comments section.