If you plan on creating an e-commerce store, you have two approaches:
- Buy a domain and hosting from a hosting provider, build a standalone website, and invest in SEO efforts to improve your search engine ranking.
- Rent a virtual storefront on a B2B platform that functions as a digital marketplace. An e-commerce platform is a type of digital shopping mall where you can rent a store and customize it to your liking. Shopify is the most well-known e-commerce platform.
Which approach is best for you depends on your objectives, budget, skills, and knowledge. If you choose to go with the first option, you will need to create a website by yourself which is more time-consuming and relatively more challenging. In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can build an e-commerce store if you decide to go with the first approach.
1. Choosing a domain name
This is the first step you need to take when you kick-start the process to create an online store. Ideally, your brand name will be available and you can register that as your domain name. In case it is not available, you need to choose a domain name that resembles the nature of your store. For instance, if you plan on selling electronics, you can include that in your domain name.
However, don’t settle on a domain name that is too long or too complex. It needs to be simple, straightforward, and easy to remember.
2. Select a hosting provider
This step is crucial to the success of your e-commerce store. How so you may wonder. Well, the hosting provider you choose can make or break your business. You need to do thorough research and find a reputable provider that has an excellent track record.
Keep the following three things in mind to help you narrow your options:
Whenever you are experiencing technical issues, you may turn to your hosting provider for assistance. It would be very hard to resolve the issue if they are hard to reach. Make sure you choose a provider that offers customer support 24/7 through various channels such as email, chatbots, phone calls, and tickets.
Uptime refers to the amount of time your website will be online. You need to avoid any providers that don’t guarantee 99.9 % of uptime. After all, you cannot successfully run an online store if it is not online.
In the beginning, your store will not consume a lot of resources, especially because it will not have a lot of traffic right away. However, it is important to choose a provider that allows easy, seamless, and simple upgrades of resources once your store grows and has a high number of visitors.
3. Building your website
Choosing to go the fully independent route rather than using an e-commerce tool necessitates the creation of a website from scratch. You have two options: hire professional developers for a bespoke design, which can be expensive, or use a drag-and-drop website builder like WordPress, which is popular among burgeoning startups.
Let’s take a closer look at these two options.
Hiring a professional
As we said, this is the more expensive option. So, if you have a budget you either need to find a professional that can build your website for an amount that fits in your budget, or avoid it altogether. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with spending a couple thousand on a website, you will get an extremely well-designed, user-friendly, and powerful e-commerce store.
Using a website builder
For a fraction of the price of a developer, you can get a website builder and create your e-commerce store. Nowadays, website builders are advanced and offer many features that will allow you to design a professional-looking website. The downside here is that it will take you a lot longer to do it yourself.
4. Creating and implementing a marketing plan
There are numerous tools available to assist in developing a comprehensive marketing plan.
For instance, you can fill out a form with information about your industry, target audience, budget, goals, and timeline on a specific website. The website then recommends a social media marketing strategy and connects you with influencers who match your brand’s image, marketing approach, and budget. This is referred to as an influencer marketing platform, and it has a high return on investment.
You can also use other forms of marketing such as content optimization, paid google campaigns, affiliate marketing, and so on.
If you follow this simple step-by-step guide you will be able to create your first e-commerce store. So, what are you waiting for? Start now!