How to Set up an Online Store Step by Step

How to Set up an Online Store

For anyone that has never set up an online store it can be very confusing. There are many choices available so it is difficult to select what is best for your online business. Before creating a store you must first look at your business goals such as how much money you wish to make each month, types of products you wish to sell, a marketing plan and how you will accept payments.

8 steps to set up an online store

1. Register a domain name

Get a domain name that is short and easy to remember. Ideally a dot com domain name is best because this is easily recognized as an online business. If the domain name you want is not available look at the keywords associated with your business then try different combinations such as including dashes between the words.

2. Build your website

Here are some of the options available for building a website and running your own online store:

  • Hosted solution
    This is where you purchase a web hosting package that includes the domain name, website hosting and shopping cart all in one place for a monthly fee. Even though this may be an easy solution the monthly costs can be expensive plus there is not much design flexibility and control over your website. It’s also difficult to move your store elsewhere should you want to transfer it to another hosting provider.
  • E-commerce software
    This is where you use e-commerce software to build your online store. The software running your website must be hosted on your own web hosting plan. This allows you more control because you can create a customized website plus maintain it yourself through a login administration panel. Often you can build the website yourself by using the default template or you can hire a web designer to customize it for you so you create a unique design. If you use free open source e-commerce software such as Zen Cart, your only costs will be the domain name, hiring a professional web designer and web hosting.
  • Custom-built e-commerce software
    This is where the software is built from scratch by web developers. It will be much more expensive than the above solutions because it will take many weeks to develop however you have design flexibility and receive ongoing support if there are errors found in the software.
  • My recommendation
    I recommend free e-commerce software hosted on your own (or shared) server because it is the most inexpensive solution plus you can build a customized website and maintain it yourself.

3. Web hosting

Select a web hosting service that provides enough disk space and bandwidth to host your website and the e-commerce software. Shoot for at least 100 MB of space and at least 5 GB of bandwidth per month. Make sure you can always upgrade your hosting plan should you need more space and bandwidth. Make sure you can receive technical support within 24 hours or less.

4. Add your products

If you have hundreds of products it may be a good idea to create an Excel spreadsheet to list all the variables of your products:

  • Product name
  • Product image
  • Product size
  • Price
  • Taxes
  • Shipping fees
  • SKU number

If you’re only selling one or a few products you may not need all these options.

5. Accept online payments

The easiest solution for accepting online payments is to integrate your e-commerce software with the PayPal shopping cart. This enables you to accept online payments without purchasing a merchant account payment gateway or separate shopping cart. Once your store begins attracting lots of visitors and making lots of sales consider purchasing a merchant account that integrates with your shopping cart software.

6. Test your online store

Once you’ve built your online store and added all your products it’s time to test its functionality. Act as a customer by going through the purchasing and checkout process to check for errors. Alternatively find someone that is not familiar with purchasing products online and observe how easy it is for them to complete the sale. After sales have been completed log in to your administration panel to check if the software is storing and tracking your orders correctly.

7. Promote your store

Your online store won’t generate any sales unless you drive traffic to it.
Here are 10 effective ways to promote your ecommerce website:

  • Add quality content on a regular basis
  • Search engine optimization
  • Article marketing
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Submit website to online directories and search engines
  • Video marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Press releases
  • Blogging
  • Newsletter

8. Monitor your site statistics

Your web hosting plan usually includes site statistics. They show how many visitors your site receives on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. It will also display where your visitors are coming from and what keywords are being used to access your website. This helps you monitor the progress of marketing your online store.

Related Articles
Create an Online Store With Zen Cart
How to Create Your Ecommerce Website

To receive a free consultation on creating your own online store
please visit: Professional Ecommerce Website Design

Herman Drost is the owner and author of
Web Design, SEO, Article Marketing


  1. You wrote very interesting post i love your blog it contains very informative article i will share it with my friends.

  2. Thanks Chance..glad it helped you.

  3. Interesting article. Where did you got all the information about sales… 🙂

  4. There can be such

  5. Good site & Thank you. It’s helpful for both product customer & online merchant. I ‘ll keep watching it.

  6. i love Online shopping because it is so convenient and it is just one click away.,~”

  7. Hey very nice blog!! Man I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your Article to my blog?

  8. cool blog =) keep it going!

  9. That is pretty helpful. It gave me a few ideas and I’ll be posting them on my web site shortly. I’m bookmarking your blog and I’ll be back again. Thank you again!

  10. These kinds of posts are always inspiring, I prefer to read quality content so I happy to find many good point here in the post, writing is really great, thank you for the post.

  11. Hi there thanks for the right up it was a pretty good read, I only stumbled across it on Google! Keep up the good writing.

  12. online shopping is very exciting because you do not need to go on a shopping store to purchase items.“’

  13. i love to both shop online and offline, you can say that i am a shopaholic;”-

  14. You are a genius! I love your blog. Thanks!


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