How to build an e-commerce website in 5 steps
1. Choose a name and get your domain
Your domain — besides called a URL — is your web address. This is your web site ’ second “ home ” on the internet, and what shoppers enter into the browser bar to visit your web site. Choosing a good domain name is authoritative to both your post and overall success. If possible, select a business and domain name that ’ s close connected to what you sell. By using descriptive keywords or key phrases into your business and world name, your customers know what you sell up-front, plus it helps you rank well in search engines, which is crucial to your occupation ’ mho SEO scheme. once you have a few ideas for a name, you can purchase your domain using a domain registrar service like GoDaddy, Bluehost or Google Domains. Simply head to one of these websites and enter your commercial enterprise name. It will tell you if that domain is available. If your mention is already taken, these sites will display options, like .net or .co, or an alternate name. It ’ s a adept estimate to stick with a .com if possible because that ’ s the most common and hope custom. however, if you ’ rhenium set on a particular name and the .com is taken, the .net and .co options are widely recognized, excessively. Your domain identify will typically cost between $ 12 to $ 25 per year, depending on the service and any add-ons you choose, such as sphere privacy. You may besides find that whichever e-commerce platform you choose to build your web site besides includes a free world with your leverage, which brings us to our future point.
2. Pick your e-commerce platform
This is where your site “ lives ” on-line, and you have many options to choose from. There are spare platforms with restrict features and about release stores built on WordPress. You can add e-commerce features to democratic web site builders, or go with a dedicated e-commerce platform that can support unlimited growth. here are some top e-commerce platform options to consider :
Dedicated e-commerce platforms
These are the easiest way to cursorily launch a full-featured e-commerce web site. These solutions are identical full-bodied and expandable and deliver herculean built-in functionality like secure payments, shipping labels, email market and multichannel sales support. These solutions aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate free, but deliver a long ton of tools starting at around $ 30 per calendar month. Three crown dedicated e-commerce platforms to consider include :
- BigCommerce : BigCommerce is geared to multichannel sellers and possibly the most expandable small clientele e-commerce platform. Plans start at $ 29.95 per month .
- Shopify : Shopify is the most popular dedicated e-commerce chopine and ideal for startups and drop-shippers. Shopify plans start at $ 29 per calendar month .
- Shift4Shop : Shift4Shop is another top rival in the dedicate e-commerce platform field and offers a budget inauguration design for precisely $ 19 per month .
All of these dedicated e-commerce platforms offer a dislodge test period, so you can test-drive each of them completely risk-free before deciding which one you ’ ll use.
Website builders with e-commerce features
popular web site builders Wix, Weebly and Squarespace all offer e-commerce functionality. If you already run a web site on one of these platforms, you can add on-line sales features by simply moving to an e-commerce plan .
- Wix : Wix offers hundreds of beautiful, easy-to-use web site templates with e-commerce features starting at $ 23 per month .
- Weebly : like to Wix, you can cursorily and easily create a beautiful site on Weebly with e-commerce features for $ 25 per calendar month .
- Squarespace : e-commerce features start at $ 30 per month and you can choose from hundreds of design templates .
Simplicity makes web site builder platforms democratic with the DIY and side-gig crowd. however, if you ’ re building a web site with the purpose to grow, a dedicate e-commerce platform delivers more integrate sales and market features for similar costs.
E-commerce plugins for WordPress
The WordPress platform drives over half of the world ’ sulfur e-commerce websites due to its huge customization options and low price. In fact, you can add on-line store functionality to any WordPress web site for detached using the follow e-commerce plugins :
- WooCommerce : The loose WooCommerce plugin adds arrant e-commerce functionality to WordPress websites .
- WP EasyCart : Like WooCommerce, WP EasyCart adds a full cortege of on-line store features to WordPress .
- BigCommerce : Dedicated e-commerce platform BigCommerce besides plugs into WordPress, so you can combine their multichannel sales features with a brand-building web log .
Free e-commerce website platforms
free e-commerce platforms let businesses with good a few products sell on-line with no upfront or ongoing costs. These platforms either limit the act of products you can list for exempt, or have fewer features than the e-commerce solutions covered above. Three platforms to consider are :
- Square Free Online Store : square users can well expand on-line with Square ’ s barren on-line store, which is built into every Square explanation .
- Freewebstore : Freewebstore offers a free e-commerce platform for up to 20 products ; paid plans cover more products .
- Ecwid : Ecwid offers a free e-commerce web site for up to 10 products ; paid plans cover added items .
3. Plan and build your e-commerce website
You ’ ll need to gather the follow elements and data to create your clientele web site :
Logo and brand imagery
All e-commerce platforms let you create a simple type logo, or you can use a third party platform like Canva to create your own logo using loose logo templates.
Product photos, descriptions and data
Consider this checklist of information to include on your web site, plus a few tips to help you market products effectively :
- Great product photos : You can capture great product photos with a little creativity and a cellular telephone telephone camera. Be certain to take photos from respective angles and show your products in use, if potential .
- product videos : authentic, real-world videos are test sales tools, and you can besides capture these with your cell phone .
- detailed product descriptions : Create great product descriptions that cover every detail. Include the size, weight and material for each intersection you sell and add answers to frequently asked questions. Use keywords in product titles and descriptions where it makes sense to achieve search engine ranking.
- intersection options : Options like size and color are called variables, and e-commerce platforms let you create multiple variables for items that come in different sizes, colors, etc .
- product SKUs : Make certain you have your inner stock keeping units, or SKUs, plus any manufacturer ’ s codes on-hand. Sometimes buyers will search using a manufacturer ’ mho code, so these are good to include in product data .
- product price : many e-commerce platforms give you single-item and group pricing options, plus sale and deduction price. Some even let you track your product costs for report .
- Item size and system of weights : e-commerce platforms use token size and weight to determine real-time transport costs and to print labels. This is optional, but can be a handy timesaver that automates your transport summons .
- inventory : Insert a stock certificate come for each item and your e-commerce platform will track your inventory as products sell down .
This is your luck to connect with electric potential buyers, so make the “ About Us ” section of your web site whistle. Share your personal travel and embellish it with photos and videos and make it entertaining and engaging to keep buyers coming back for more.
Customer service pages
Great customer service keeps shoppers coming back, so use the customer service page of your e-commerce web site to distinctly set expectations. key elements here include :
- Shipping rates and times : State your distinctive transportation turn-around, the rates you charge and median rescue times .
- Returns and exchanges : Cover your returns policy and clearly state who pays for come back ship .
Your e-commerce web site menu assistant shoppers well navigate your web site message. Most platforms let you create a main menu bar, along with pedestrian menus and sometimes peak and sidebar menu. experiment to see which combination works best for your product collection and content.
4. Set up payment, tax, shipping and marketing tools
This step will vary depending on your e-commerce chopine. All-in-one solutions like BigCommerce and Shopify come accomplished with built-in requital processing, tax calculations, shipping label print and marketing tools. Most others require integrating a few external services to handle these tasks.
Payment processing and tax table setup
All of the e-commerce web site platforms covered above volunteer plug-and-play integration with top payment services like Square, PayPal and Stripe. To enable requital serve using these solutions, you simply click a few buttons, set up your account and you ’ rhenium connected. Most platforms besides let you connect your own payment gateway and merchant account. however, built-in and plug-and-play payment services are the simple, and much the most economical, options for startups. After setting up your payment processor, you ’ ll configure sales tax rates to be collected from shoppers. All e-commerce web site platforms support sales tax collection and let you apply taxes to select or all items and orders. The sales tax rates you charge depend on your state and, in most cases, your overall sales book.
Your can, and should, integrate ship software with your e-commerce platform to streamline the order fulfillment process. Integrated shipping seamlessly connects orders to ship software so you can select carriers and shipping methods, print labels and mechanically advise customers when their orders ship. BigCommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce all offer built-in transport, so the consolidation is already done for you and setup takes barely minutes. Most other platforms require that you connect a third-party solution like ShipStation or ShippingEasy to print labels and trigger customer notifications. These integrations work well with most platforms, but can add monthly costs .
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once your ship solution is set up, you can create ship rates to charge your customers shipping fees. Most e-commerce websites let you add real-time rates, which is the actual price of shipping each decree. You can besides set up flat rates based on arrange totals or offer unblock transport for all or choose orders.
Email marketing and social media setup
Like payments and transport, some web site platforms offer robust built-in market tools. All-in-one solutions BigCommerce and Shopify offer arrant commercialize toolkits. You can easily build and use electronic mail lists to connect with customers, plus sell products and send promotions across your social media accounts in a few clicks. other e-commerce platforms require a piece more ferment to set up market features. For exercise, you can connect WooCommerce to top e-mail marketing services like MailChimp using free plugins. however, you need paid plugins to connect your products directly to social media accounts for sociable commerce.
5. Test and launch your e-commerce website
The concluding footprint in building your e-commerce web site begins with processing a few examination orders. Each e-commerce platform handles testing differently ; however, all let you run a few pre-launch test orders through the organization. These orders connect with your requital central processing unit, but don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate agitate your menu. Once you ’ ve sent a few test orders through successfully — or have worked out any bugs you noticed while navigating around your e-commerce web site — you ’ re fix to open for clientele.
Keep in mind, launching your e-commerce web site doesn ’ thymine equal instantaneous sales. It takes time for search engines to find and index your new on-line store. You can speed this along by verifying your new shop in Google ’ s Search Console and uploading an xml sitemap, which e-commerce platforms provide for this function. In the meanwhile, you can besides use social media and Google Adwords advertise to get the parole out once your on-line store is bouncy. This article in the first place appeared on JustBusiness, a auxiliary of NerdWallet .