Build Ecommerce Website: 7 Steps For Building A Profitable Online Store

I often get calls from prospective customers asking me to build them an ecommerce website to sell their products online. When I ask them what their goals are, how many products they wish to sell and how they plan to market their website, it’s obvious they don’t have a clue what’s involved. They want to know the costs right away without understanding the work required to build an online store.

I’m assuming you already have chosen a specific niche and know what products you want to sell on your e-commerce website.

7 steps for building a profitable ecommerce website

1. Have a goal in mind

If you have a clear goal in mind your chances of building a profitable website will increase. Some of the goals to think about include:

  • How much money you want to make
  • How many products you want to sell
  • How many visitors you wish to attract

Even though you may not have exact answers to these questions right now, write them down any how and start working towards them.

2. Register a domain name

Include your main keyword in the domain name unless you’ve already chosen a brand (think Niki). It should be short, easy to remember and easy to spell. Avoid using dashes between words because it will be hard to remember and spell. Only use dashes if you’ve exhausted your ideas for a .com domain name.

3. Create a hosting account

Select a reliable web hosting company that will give you enough server space (approx 200MB) and bandwidth (approx 5GB) to host your website. Make sure you can upgrade your account anytime should you need more space and bandwidth. Avoid companies that offer unlimited space and bandwidth because they’re counting on websites using the same server to not use as much space and bandwidth. If your site suddenly receives a ton of traffic it may overload the server causing all the sites on it to shut down.

Check the server requirements for installing your shopping cart software (ie e-commerce plugin) before signing up for a hosting company.

As a web designer I prefer the websites I’m working to be hosted on my own servers. This speeds up the development time as I don’t have to wait for slow or unknowledgeable tech-support when dealing with another hosting company.

4. Design your ecommerce template

One of the best ways to build an e-commerce website is to use a content management system such as WordPress together with an e-commerce plug-in such as Shopp. With WordPress you can build unlimited search engine friendly pages, create RSS feeds, include a blog and manage all your content by logging in to a backend administration panel.

An e-commerce plug-in enables you to easily integrate your product pages with your WordPress website and process your payments online with PayPal or credit cards. It will also allow you to keep track of your sales and inventory.

5. Prepare your products

The best way to organize your product details as to use an Excel spreadsheet.
Setup columns for:

  • Product name
  • Product number
  • Product variables (ie size, shape, color, etc.)
  • Shipping rates
  • Price
  • Tax rates
  • Images (thumbnail and full size)

6. Select a payment provider

If you’re using PayPal to process your online transactions sign up for a business PayPal account. Under the merchant services tab select Website Payments Standard or Website Payments Pro.

Website Payments Standard
* Buyers don’t even need a PayPal account
* Major credit cards accepted
* No setup charge or monthly fees

Events will be processed from PayPal’s website.
There is no credit application or monthly fees.

Website Payments Pro
* No hidden fees
* Works with most popular shopping carts
* No long-term commitments or monthly minimums

Credit cards are processed directly on your website.
You pay a low transaction fee and a $30 monthly fee.

7. Set a completion date

If you don’t set a completion date for setting up your e-commerce store, distractions will easily get in the way and you’ll lose interest. The quicker you get it completed the faster you will begin to make money.

The 7 steps outlined above are only the beginning of building a profitable online store. The next major step is generating traffic to your ecommerce website and converting that traffic into buyers.

Related Articles
Which WordPress Ecommerce Plugin Is Best To Build Your Online Store?
Top 7 features To Look For When Choosing a WordPress Ecommerce Plugin

Need to Build an Ecommerce Website?
Visit: Ecommerce Website Design Maryland


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