E-commerce industry has been growing swiftly with each passing day as a large number of people tend to shop online. There are several online stores on the World Wide Web that help tech-savvy people to buy their desired products 24*7 from all locations using their Internet-enabled devices and get the products delivered at their specified addresses.
As there is no indication of a sharp decline in the popularity of E-commerce business in the near future, it is perhaps the right time for entrepreneurs to have a web presence of their brick-and-mortar stores. Opening up an online store is a headache for most of the retailers and vendors mainly due to the lack of the required technical knowledge.
However, with the availability of free CMSs, themes, templates, plugins, extensions, tools, services, etc, building an E-commerce website is no longer a rocket science. If you are a businessman and want to create your E-commerce site yourself, then follow the step-by-step guide detailed here below-
1. Domain Registration
Choosing a catchy and professional domain name is the 1st step towards creating an E-commerce website. While registering a domain name for your site, you should keep a few things in mind-
- There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a domain extension. But, first of all, you should try to register your domain name with .com extension as it is quite popular among Internet users and helps them to find your site easily on the web. But, booking a domain with .com extension is not an easy work. At most of the times, they are already registered by other users or are available at higher prices. If you fail to get a .com domain name for your site, you can try other options.
- Try to keep your domain name short and simple. Make sure that it is easy to spell and remember as well. You should choose a domain name that represents your E-commerce business wholly. You must include your keywords in it.
- Don’t use obscure terms, strings of words, hyphens, etc, in your domain name.
- Leave a room for future expansion if possible.
- If you face difficulties to find a suitable domain name, you can use the following resources.
A. Business Name Generator
2. Choose a Reliable Hosting Company
Once you purchase a domain, you need to choose a good quality hosting company to run your website. A host, which is also called a computer server, stores all the required accessories, files, data, etc. When visitors land on your website and generate requests, the host displays the results.
There are different types of Web hosting servers such as
A. Shared hosting
B. Virtual private server hosting
C. Dedicated hosting
D. Cloud hosting
E. Colocation Hosting
F. Reseller hosting, etc.
Based on your needs and budget, you can choose any one of them. It’s a common tendency among website operators to choose the shared hosting to reduce the cost of website operation.
In terms of E-commerce websites, using a shared hosting service is not recommended because of the risk factor. Typically, sites hosted on shared servers are exposed to a number of online security threats and vulnerabilities. Furthermore, their loading speed is pathetic.
Therefore, you should use other hosting options while running an E-commerce website.
3. Choose an E-commerce Platform
There are numerous E-commerce platforms which you can use to create your E-store easily and quickly. Thus, you don’t need to hire expensive web developers and programmers to build your E-commerce site from scratch.
When you choose an E-commerce platform, you can easily set up various things on your site (such as products, content, shopping cart, shipping options, payment gateways, etc,) and customize them as per your needs.
Have a look at some important E-commerce platforms:
Magento– Suitable for enterprise level business organizations. You need to have a decent command of different programming languages, tools, software, etc, to run Magento stores.
Shopify– Suitable for small to medium sized business organizations. Individuals with limited technological expertise can run it easily.
WooCommerce– Ideal for creating small scale E-commerce websites. Even Non-technical persons can easily operate it.
4. Website Design
It is one of the most significant steps in the process of E-commerce website creation. A well-designed website can catch the attention of users and bring more business to its owner. You may have your specific design requirements. But, E-commerce websites must have the following pages:
- About us.
- Money return Policy.
- Product return/replacement policy.
- Product’s pages.
When you start designing your site and its pages, keep a few things in mind-
A. Use pre-designed templates and themes
You can use pre-designed templates and themes to create your site or its pages. It is cost effective and convenient way of creating sites. You can customize themes and templates to make your website more appealing and eye-catching.
B. Selection of colors
The selection of appropriate color schemes is important if you want to make your website impressive and attract potential shoppers. Just think about the nature of your business, branding, target audience and choose the color patterns accordingly. Don’t use more than 2-3 colors. Keep the color pattern uniform across the site.
Smooth navigation is an important issue for all website owners. If your site is confusing and visitors face problems during navigation, they will leave it and may not return again. If you don’t have the sufficient knowledge as how to streamline website navigation, then you should contact any expert web designer or company.
Always note that the navigation streams on your site should make sense to search engines and users. In general, don’t create unnecessary pages and keep the site elements as simple as you can. It will help visitors to navigate your site easily and they would like to use it again and again for various purposes.
All those websites which are easy- to- use are likely to create more business opportunities for their owners. Users like to visit easy-to-use websites and deal with their offerings. Therefore, you should display your products/services in a concise and clear way. Ensure that your site meets the expectations of online shoppers.
E. Call to Action buttons
Call to action buttons encourage visitors to take different actions such as adding products to the shopping cart, subscribing RSS feeds/newsletters, participating in a blog discussion or social media campaigns, placing orders for the purchase of goods/services, etc. You should add at least one call to action button on each page to improve the performance of your site.
F. Website loading time
Slow loading websites and pages irk visitors. When they come to know that your site is slow, they don’t visit it at all. Google also favors fast loading websites when it looks for websites/pages for displaying results against the visitor’s keywords. Slow loading websites are inferior in the eyes of Google.
So, take care of your site loading speed before its official release. You can use some tools to check your site’s overall loading speed issues and fix them easily.
Once your site starts to load faster, it helps you to give a positive browsing and shopping experience to online buyers.
G. Clean and simple coding
If you have the sufficient knowledge of different programming languages and you don’t want to use pre-designed templates/themes to design your site, then you can use this option. You should implement clean and simple coding while designing your site or its pages.
It helps you a lot in terms of SEO. If your website is cleanly coded, search engine spiders can easily understand your content and add that in search results. You can use some free tools to trace errors in your coding and eliminate them easily.
H. Compatibility with all modern web browsers
Tech-savvy people use different web browsers to access websites. It may be a boon for users, but definitely, a bane for website operators as different browsers read website codes in different manners. In case, a browser is unable to read your site’s codes properly, then users will not be able to access your site using that particular browser.
Therefore, while creating your E-commerce website and its pages, just make sure that they are easily accessible on multiple browsers.
I. Make your site responsive
A large number of people use different mobile devices to browse the interest and search the products/services they need. In order to ensure the speedy and consistent expansion of your E-commerce business, you need to make your E-commerce site easily accessible on different mobile devices. So, resort to a responsive design that is adaptive to all devices.
With the uncontrolled evolution of the global interest, various types of online security risks keep threatening the existence of websites 24*7. As E-commerce websites are created to conduct online transactions, you need to adopt additional security measures to protect your site, user’s sensitive data, merchandise, etc, from hackers.
To sure your newly built E-commerce site, you can take the following basic steps-
- Use HTTPS and SSL encryption on your site.
- Use CAPTCHA for comment submission, cash transaction, sign-up for newsletters/services, etc.
- Use a good quality antivirus, security plugin/extension to track hackers/malicious activities and finish them off.
K. Use Original Content for website creation
While creating your site, you should use unique, meaningful, valuable content that reflects your business clearly on the Internet. It helps you to seek a good placement in search engine results and allow visitors to land on your site easily.
You can use Google Adwords to find suitable keywords under your niche. Write quality content yourself or get it done from professional content marketing agencies.
5. Attach Payment Gateways
You need to add different payment gateways to your website so that you can process the customer’s transaction easily and effortlessly. It gives options to customers when they have to pay for the products and services they purchase from your site.
6. Set Up Infrastructure To Perform SEO
By now, your E-commerce site is almost ready. But, it is of no use if you don’t optimize it with the latest practices of SEO and bring traffic to it. Therefore, you should have a clear and well-planned digital marketing calendar in advance and necessary tools to perform them. You may have your specific requirements when it comes to SEO. But, generally, you should install the following SEO infrastructure on your site-
A. Google Analytics– To review the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns/SEO activities and make improvements accordingly.
B. Email Marketing Tools– To create a customer base through newsletters and various promotional activities
C. Social Media Pages– Create social media pages for your site. It helps you to get in touch with tech-savvy people available on social media channels, promote your products/services and generate business
D. SEO Plugins/Extensions– To perform your SEO activities rightly and boost its ranking on different search engines in an easy way.
Eureka ! Your E-commerce site is ready by now. Just test it once and launch it.
Numerous E-commerce brands are minting money in E-business. Don’t lag behind in this profitable business simply on account of the lack of the due knowledge. Just adopt the above-mentioned tips, create your E-commerce site easily to sell your products/services online.