Building an e-commerce website from scratch is a cost-efficient way to start an online business. It gives you complete control of your digital store’s design, functionality, and marketing. Keep in mind, though, that doing so requires meticulous planning and thorough research.
To help you out, we’ll tell you everything you need to know before setting up a website—from choosing an online retail platform to setting up your payment processing system and promoting your business.
7 Steps to Set Up an E-Commerce Website
Here’s the seven-step process of building an online store from the ground up.
Step #1: Start with a Plan
The first step in building your e-commerce website is to create a plan. Begin by asking yourself what products or services you’ll be selling. Who is your target market? What are your goals for your website?
Once you have a clear understanding of your business and goals, you can start developing a plan for your website. You must have everything in this ecommerce website checklist.
- Choose the right e-commerce platform
- Decide on the website features you need
- Design your online storefront
- Select the marketing strategy you will use to promote your business
Step #2: Get a Domain Name and Web Host
Now that you have a concrete plan, you will need a domain name and choose a web hosting service provider. A domain name is like your business address on the Internet, while your web host makes your website accessible to visitors. You can purchase these from various providers, but make sure to compare prices and features when choosing one.
Most of the time, your business name will also be your domain name. The most important thing to do is make sure you choose something catchy so customers can easily recall your company.
Step #3: Choose an E-Commerce Platform
An e-commerce platform allows you to create and manage your online store. There are several choices available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some popular platforms include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce.
When selecting an e-commerce platform, consider your budget, technical skills, and the features you need. If you’re new to e-commerce, it’s best to choose an easy-to-use platform with a good track record. Reading customer reviews about different platforms will also give you an idea about other users’ experiences.
Step #4: Design Your Website
After selecting an e-commerce platform, you can start designing your website. That includes picking visual elements, such as the theme, color scheme, and fonts. Make sure they reflect your brand.
You also need to design the individual pages of your website since these will be what your customers will see. Most e-commerce platforms offer site builders you can easily maneuver, or you can hire a web designer.
Step #5: Add Products
Now that you have designed your website, you can start adding products. Do that by creating product pages, uploading images, and setting prices.
When creating product pages, make sure to include relevant details that potential customers will need to make a purchase, such as:
- Product names
- High-resolution images and videos
- Shipping information
- Return policies
Step #6: Set Up Your Payment Processing System
Provide a way for customers to pay for purchases using payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, or Square. Note that these companies have different fees and offerings, so do your due diligence and compare. Also, ensure that your payment processor is compatible with your e-commerce platform.
Step #7: Promote Your Website
Once your website is up and running, you must tell people about it through promotions. You can do that through different channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, and social media marketing.
- SEO: This process involves optimizing your website so it appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). Strategies include creating high-quality content, using relevant keywords, and building backlinks to your website.
- Social media marketing: This is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers and promote your website. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to share your products, offers, and news.
- Paid advertising: Platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads allow you to create ads that will appear when people search for relevant keywords or visit specific websites. You would need to shell out money for this step, but it is a great way to reach your target audience quickly.
Building your own e-commerce website from scratch requires a lot of work, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about selling your products or services online. The key is patience since building a site takes time and effort.