10 Steps to Create Your E-Commerce Website

You’ve decided what to sell and have already weighed the pros and cons of using an online marketplace option vs. creating your own website. Now it’s time to create your e-commerce website. It’s a daunting task for many, so read on for 6 steps to put you well on your way to selling online sooner than later.

First, you’ll need to figure out a few things regarding what you’ll sell. Then, you can get to building your online store! Check below some of these tips might help you get started

1. Decide on your product.
If you’ve been pondering setting up an online store for a while, then you may well already have a product in mind. Whether it’s something you make, like handcrafted furniture or handmade soap, or something you’ve found a source for at wholesale prices so you can sell it off at a profit, every online store has to start with a product.
Do some research to make sure your product is viable. Is there already a market out there for your product?

If there is already an established market, consider whether your product is unique enough to break in. Will you be able to compete on pricing?

2. Set your pricing.
Pricing is one of the hardest parts to get right in running a new business.
If you price too low, you’ll lose money or just barely break even – which won’t make the time and effort you put into your online store worth it. If you price too high, you won’t make enough sales and still risk losing money on the whole endeavor.
To figure out the pricing that makes sense you have to first figure out your own costs . That includes:

Then figure out how much you want to add on top to pay yourself (and make a profit!).
Pricing pro tip: Before you set your final pricing, research what your competition is charging. You may get to bump your prices up a bit (oh happy day!), or you may have to lower them in order to stay competitive.

3. Research shipping costs and options.
If you’re selling a physical product, how will you deliver it to customers?
Your impulse may be to pass on the full cost of shipping to the client, and many online stores do take this route. Be warned though that shipping costs can have a strong psychological impact on consumers, with 44% saying they’ve abandoned an online purchase due to high shipping and handing costs.

4. Choose your eCommerce web hosting.
When it comes to eCommerce, you have two options: use a marketplace that already exists like Etsy or Amazon, or manage a website and brand that’s all your own.

If you want a website and brand that’s all your own, many website hosting platforms (including HostGator) make it easy to find compatible eCommerce options that you can work with in the same space you use to work on your website. This way you can direct people to youronlinestore.com. You look like a real, live store!

An ecommerce software like Magento will make it easy for you to list your products, set your price, and add a shopping cart to the website. They take care of ensuring the process is intuitive for both you and your customers, so you can just focus on selling.

5. Decide on a domain name for your site .
A domain name is the online address for your site. Having your domain name match your business’ name as closely as possible makes it easy for shoppers to find you. Keep in mind that the maximum character count for domain names is 63, and shorter is easier for visitors to remember too. Remember it’s possible that your first choice URL has already been secured by another user, so explore your options (for example, if “wendysjewelry” is already taken, you can try something similar like “wendysjewelryonline”). A .com suffix is usually preferable, however, and try to avoid using special characters like hyphens and underscore bars, which are hard to communicate verbally. Once you have decided on the perfect URL, register the name with an accredited domain name registrar, such as godaddy.com, register.com or hostgator.com.

6. Figure out who will host your site .
Your Web host publishes the site online (making it “live”). The host stores data files and uploads them to the Web for viewing. The host also usually offers valuable security features, such as secure servers that guard against cybercriminal activity, malware and viruses. In addition, the web host serves as your small business’ IT team, helping you get up and running and troubleshooting any technical issues.

7. Create your site now
Put some thought into the functionality and design of your site. Remember, this is your store’s online home! You want to encourage shoppers to browse, and make it easy for them to make purchases. Don’t forget good photography, information about you and your products, deals you’re offering, and links to your social media pages.

8. Set up your shopping cart.
Your shopping cart needs may vary depending on what you’re selling. For example, is your stock limited to single items, or are there options for size and color? The goal is to make it easy for shoppers check out in as few steps as possible. Popular cart services include 3dcart and Zen Cart, but there are many others, and many include tools like setup and template services as well as tailored plans. Finally, if you plan to offer discounts, be sure to use a system that makes adding elements like coupons easy.

9. Choose a merchant services provider.
PayPal is the most familiar name to sellers and shoppers alike, and it’s simple to get started. But Google Checkout and Amazon Payments are increasingly popular choices as well. If you would prefer to accept credit-card payments directly, you’ll need an Internet Merchant Account to process payments directly.

10. Market your site now

Now that all the back-end is in place, it’s time to bring customers to your e-commerce store. Make sure to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and don’t forget
social media! Set up and link to your business page on Facebook and check out our tips on email marketing and blogging to attract visitors.

E-commerce software keeps your operations streamlined. A “one-stop shop” for getting up and running, e-commerce software will walk you through every step of the setup process, from domain name to payment options. The monthly fee – ranging from $15 to more than $300 – can be well worth it if it keeps your focus on your products and marketing. Popular e-commerce software options are Volusion, Shopify and Shopping Cart Elite.

Third-party sites can get you started faster . If you aren’t quite ready to set up your own site, get your feet wet with large marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. Using their services to start may give you the push you need to establish a site of your own.

5 Tips to Increase Your eCommerce Traffics

When the stats begin to show your e-commerce site’s traffic dropping, you may feel like you’ve disappeared from the online selling scene entirely. You had customers and browsers before … where did they go? How can you get them back?
Here are 5 tips to help bring back – and
keep – shoppers on your site.

1. Let social media bring in the visitors
You have at least one social media account, right? If not, now’s the time;
it’s the easiest and cheapest way to drive traffic quickly. Set up your account and create your store’s profile, then be sure to add interesting and appropriate content regularly – product promotions, sales, and links to articles your shoppers may find interesting. To appeal to users of different social media outlets, have your accounts set to automatically cross-post between platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

2. Make full use of content marketing .
Our next tip is also inexpensive, but it will cost you a bit of time. Successful content marketing requires attention to writing, design and keywords that will drive traffic to your site and to specific products. Put thought into your content; think about what your customers may like to hear from you, whether it’s about your own products or the overall industry. Having trouble coming up with ideas? Ten to fifteen minutes of focused brainstorming may yield enough content for several entries! Learn what makes a good blog entry and how to leverage your blog content for traffic and sales. Don’t just say you sell jewelry online … add relevant keywords such as silver, gemstone, handmade and other descriptors that will drive visitors to your shop.

3. Make connections with customers.
Your customers can tell you why your site works – or doesn’t work. Contact them directly via email for feedback and suggestions. You can also create surveys with sites like SurveyMonkey.com, which require only a few clicks vs. written replies. Make sure you ask specific questions that are easy to answer, such as “What would make you decide to return to my store?” or “Is there anything about your shopping experience we could improve?” Also, always mention how much you truly value their input and advice.

4. Search engine optimization can make all the difference.
SEO can be your site’s best friend – but if Google’s search algorithms can’t find you, SEO can quickly turn into your worst enemy. Submit a reconsideration request if you’re a victim of an SEO error, and make sure to add your URL to other popular search engines to bring in more traffic. Update your Meta descriptions to both accurately reflect your store and to attract customers. Finally, a new site map outlining your layout can go a long way toward SEO optimization.

5. Give Pay Per Click advertising a try
This option requires a commitment of both time and money, but the payoffs can be huge. First, do your homework regarding your daily and overall budget, analytics and location targeting. Then consider an online campaign on search engine-affiliated advertising networks, such as Yahoo Bing Ads and Google AdWords. Be sure to carefully consider keywords and terms, because ultimately they are what get those needed clicks; in addition, keep in mind that both popular keywords and keywords that aren’t relevant will end up costing you more.

You’re spending time making the best decisions for you and your e-commerce site, which will pay off once your site goes live. Carefully consider your website options and the steps needed to establish the right storefront for your business goals, and before long you’ll be up, running … and selling

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Mohiddeen Ahmad

I am Mohiddeen Ahmad, the fountainhead of Flowdiary Blog. I Manage this blog and post articles relating to Entrepreneurship, Online Marketing, Technology, Blogging and more.. Stay updated on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

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