Let's say you've decided you want to start selling products online.
While most people get this desire to start a side income on the internet, they just don't know what steps to take to turn it into reality.
Trying to figure out how to create an eCommerce website from scratch can be overwhelming. There are so many platforms and options that it's hard to know what will work best for your business.
In this guide, I'll walk you through the process of setting up your eCommerce website in a step-by-step fashion so that you'll have all the information to build a professional-looking site ready to start selling.
Here's all you need to know.
How To Build An Ecommerce Website From Scratch
Choose Your Platform
The first step is choosing the platform you want to build your site on. This can be tricky because many options are available, ranging from simple drag-and-drop builders to complex code-based solutions.
It's essential to take the time to evaluate your needs and choose a platform that will be able to grow with you as your business expands. When starting, you may select a straightforward platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, which offer ready-made templates and easy-to-use tools.
The good news is that these platforms can also scale up with you as your business grows. In fact, as some of the best CMS for online businesses, platforms require little technical knowledge to get going and expand as needed.When creating website to sell products, your chosen platform will significantly impact your business's success, so be sure to choose carefully.
Pick Your Domain Name And Hosting
The next step is to choose a domain name and hosting for your site. Your domain name is what people will type into their browsers to find your store, so it's essential to choose something easy to remember and relevant to your business.
Once you've chosen a domain name, you'll need to set up hosting, which is essentially the place on which your website lives on the internet. Some of the most commonly used web hosting platforms include Bluehost and HostGator.
After you've chosen your domain name and set up hosting, you'll need to connect the two by pointing your domain name to your hosting account. This can be a bit technical, but most hosting providers will have detailed instructions on how to do this.
Set Up Payment Methods
Setting up payment methods for your site is next. This includes choosing which credit cards you want to accept and setting up other payment methods like PayPal or Apple Pay.
If you're using a web building platform, they will provide you with everything you need to get started accepting payments. However, if you're using a self-hosted solution, you'll need to choose and install a payment gateway plugin. While some technical knowledge will be required if you go with the latter option, there will usually also be step-by-step instructions you can follow.
Find A Theme Or Template
The next step is to choose a theme or template for your site. This will determine the overall look and feel of your store, so it's essential to take some time to browse the available options and find something that fits your brand.
Depending on your platform, a limited selection of themes may be available. In this case, you may need to hire a developer to create a custom theme for you.
Most website builders will have more than enough choices for many of the top industries, so going with a custom solution won't generally be needed.
Add Your Products
Creating product pages, adding photos and descriptions, and setting up pricing and shipping options are fundamental steps when launching an eCommerce website.
Adding products can be time-consuming, but it's essential to take the time to do it right. Make sure to include clear and concise descriptions and high-quality photos that accurately represent what you're selling.
It's also important to set realistic shipping expectations so that your customers know how long they can expect to wait for any orders to arrive.
Customize Your Checkout Process
The next step is to customize your checkout process. This includes choosing which fields to have in your checkout form and setting up any discounts or coupons you want to offer when enticing people to place orders with your business.Earning money online is about providing a great customer experience; part of that is ensuring your checkout process is as smooth and streamlined as possible.
Launch Your Site
The final step is to launch your site and start selling. This includes pushing your site live on the internet, promoting your products, and marketing your store to the right people.
Once your site is live, it's also essential to keep track of your analytics so that you can see how people are finding and using your site. This will help you to make necessary changes and improvements over time.
How Much Does It Cost To Build An Ecommerce Website?
The cost of building an eCommerce website can vary depending on several factors, including the platform you're using, the size and scope of your store, and whether or not you hire a developer to custom code any (or all) components of the site.
Using a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, you can expect to pay around $30-$50 per month for the basic plan. If you need more advanced features (or want to jump onto more advanced plans), you can expect to pay more.
If you're using a self-hosted solution like WooCommerce, the cost will be lower since you won't have to pay for a monthly subscription. However, you will need to pay for hosting, ranging from $5 to $25 per month. You may also need to pay for a premium theme or plugin, which can cost anywhere from $50-$200 as a one-time fee.
Finding The Perfect Ecommerce Platform
If you decide to go down the easier route, it's good to know there are various eCommerce platforms, each with unique features and pricing structures. When choosing a platform, you must consider your specific needs and budget.
To help you make the right choice, here are some top features to look for in an eCommerce platform.
Ease Of Use
The platform you choose should be easy to use, even if you don't have any technical experience. It should be intuitive and user-friendly, with a clean and straightforward interface.
Search Engine Optimization Features
Your eCommerce platform should include built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features to help your store rank higher in search results - both for the homepage and specific product pages when someone searches for particular keywords. These features might be able to customize titles and descriptions, as well as the ability to generate dynamic URLs optimized for keywords.
Since more and more people are shopping on their mobile devices, choosing a platform optimized for mobile is essential. Your store should be responsive and adjust to fit any screen size. Additionally, the platform should offer a mobile app so customers can shop on the go.
The platform you choose should be designed with the user in mind. It should be easy to navigate, with a clean and straightforward interface. The overall design should be aesthetically pleasing, and the product pages should be easy to customize.
In addition, when it comes to the user experience, the fewer clicks it takes someone to get to the product page they want to find, the higher the chance people will go through with purchasing one or multiple products from your site.
Aesthetically Pleasing Design Themes
Your eCommerce platform should offer a variety of professionally-designed themes that you can use to create a unique look for your store. The themes should be customizable, so you can change the colors, fonts, and layout to match your brand.
Multiple Payment Gateway Options
Your eCommerce platform should offer various payment gateway integrations so that you can accept payments from all major credit cards and PayPal. Additionally, the platform should provide fraud protection features to keep your store safe from scammers.
Intuitive Checkout Process
The checkout process on your eCommerce website should be quick and easy to complete. The platform you choose should also offer a one-click checkout option and the ability to save customer information for future purchases. Moreover, if you want to include upsells and downsells along with the products you sell, this should be easier to add to your checkout process.
Your eCommerce platform should offer shipping integration so that you can connect to various shipping carriers. This feature will allow you to get real-time quotes for shipping rates and transit times. Additionally, the platform should offer order tracking so that you can keep an eye on your products as they make their way to your customers. This will allow you to also help customers if they have any problems with shipping.
Powerful Admin Panel
Your platform should include a powerful admin panel that will give you complete control over your store. The admin panel should be easy to use, with a clean and straightforward interface. Additionally, the panel should offer a variety of features, such as the ability to track inventory, manage orders, and create coupons.
Top Tips To Drive Traffic To Your Site
While building an attractive and user-friendly site is a great start, you must ensure your potential customers can find it. Use the following tips to help drive traffic to your eCommerce website.
Get Involved In Social Media
Getting early traffic to your site can be as easy as creating social media accounts and sharing your content. Start creating accounts on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then, start sharing highly valuable and relevant content to engage the right people. Always ensure to include links to your website so people can easily find it and get more of the same high-quality content.
Use Google Ads
Using Google Ads is a great way to get your website in front of potential customers. With Google Ads, you can create ads that will appear in search results when people are looking for specific keywords related to your products or services.
Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
If you want people to be able to find your site, it is essential to optimize it for search engines. This means including relevant keywords in your content and titles and creating backlinks to your site from highly relevant websites. Additionally, you should ensure that your site is mobile-friendly and loads quickly, as these are important ranking factors for Google and other top search engines.
Run A Contest Or Giveaway
People love contests and giveaways, so this is a great way to get people interested in your site and its products. Offering a valuable prize relevant to your business will give you a reason to promote the contest on social media and other platforms and will also help you get the initial momentum needed to gain some traction.
Use Retargeting Ads
Retargeting ads are a great way to keep your business in front of potential customers. These ads will be shown to people who have visited your website or interacted with your brand in the past. Keeping your business top of mind will make you more likely to convert leads into customers when the right time comes for them to make a purchase.
If you can get influencers to promote your business, you can reach a much larger audience than you would be able to do by yourself. Look for influencers who have a similar target market as you and who would be interested in your products or services. Then, reach out to them and see if they're interested in collaborating.
Converting Shoppers Into Buyers
Finally, let's consider that you are now getting visitors to your site. The next task is to ensure everything is laid out in the best way possible to convert them into buyers.
To this end, you can do a few key things to increase your chances of conversion.
Use High-Quality Product Photos
One of the most important things you can do to increase conversions is to use high-quality product photos. People want to see what they're buying, so ensure your images are clear and feature the product from multiple angles whenever possible.
Create Detailed Product Descriptions
Another important thing you can do is create detailed product descriptions. People generally want to know all the details about a product, so the more information the better. Also, try using bullet points summarizing the features and benefits to increase your conversion rates.
Offer Free Shipping
Free shipping is another great way to increase conversion rates. People are more likely to buy if they don't have to pay for shipping, so offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount can be a good tactic to consider. You could also offer free shipping for first-time customers who create their accounts and place an order through your site.
Provide Multiple Payment Options
People want to be able to pay with whichever method suits them best, so it's essential to provide multiple payment options on your checkout pages. Including popular options like credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc., can help you accommodate the various methods people might want to use.
Offer Live Chat Support
People who have questions about your products or services will be more likely to buy if you offer live chat support that can answer such questions. This way, you can eliminate people's obstacles in real-time and help them feel more confident about their future purchases.
Include Customer Testimonials
Customer testimonials are a great way to increase confidence in your products or services. Showcase testimonials on your website and include the customer's name, photo, and location whenever possible. Social proof is one of the best ways to increase conversions, so my advice would be to go ahead and use this whenever possible.
Offer A Money-Back Guarantee
A money-back guarantee is another way to increase confidence in your products or services. This shows you're confident in your selling and willing to stand behind it.
There are multiple ways to do this. From 30-day money-back guarantee to a guarantee that never expires, knowing your business numbers will allow you to offer a guarantee that can increase conversions. It's vital that this guarantee also makes sense for the type of business you run.
Create An Ecommerce Website - FAQ
If you're serious about building a successful eCommerce website, it's worth considering investing in a paid service. While you have to invest money, you can create a professional-looking eCommerce website using one of the many hosting services available.
While some services offer free accounts, these are usually limited in one way or another. For example, you may have to display advertising on your website or be limited in the number of products you can list.
The time it takes to build an eCommerce website will vary depending on your experience level and the complexity of the website you're looking to create. If you're using a drag-and-drop website builder, you can typically have an essential website up and running within a few hours.Just like learning how to make money without a job using any other online method, it takes time to get up to speed with building an eCommerce website. However, if you're willing to put in the time and effort, it can be an enriching experience - whether it takes several hours or even a few days.
There are several ways to create an eCommerce website.
One method is to create a custom website from scratch if you're experienced with coding and web development. This gives you complete control over your site's look, feel, and functionality. However, it's also time-consuming and requires a significant investment of time and money.
On the other hand, several platforms allow you to build an eCommerce website quickly and easily if you don't have the time or money to invest in a custom website. Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce are all popular choices for those looking to set up an online store using this method. These platforms provide users with everything they need to get started, including templates, hosting, and support.
Creating an eCommerce website doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Using the right platform for your needs, you can have a professional-looking website up and running in a short amount of time.
Just be sure to do your research before committing to any platform, and remember that the most important thing is your ability to provide value to your customers. If you can keep this in mind, you can build a successful eCommerce business that will continue to grow for years to come.Finally, if you want more information about how to build various income streams that can help you live the financially-liberated life you want, be sure to check out The Lazy Man's Guide To Living The Good Life. It covers a wide range of topics that can help you get started on the right path in this regard.