You’ve finally got that great idea for your business and you want to take it online do ya? Well, before you jump into starting your own website you’ll need to a do a little research. Wait! How about instead you read this article which will tell you exactly what you’ll need to do to start your own online store.
If you’re ready to get started with ecommerce by creating your own online store, read on and learn the steps as you go:
1. Purchase your domain
The first step in starting your own online store is to purchase a domain name. A domain name is the URL you will use for your website but also carries to important values:
– Search engine optimization
A keyword rich search engine may play an important role with the ability for your online store to be found but does not have a lot of room for expansion if you decide to start selling a variety of other items outside your niche. Additionally, branding plays a vital role because it’s what people will remember your online business by; pick a domain name which will stick in the minds of visitors.
There are many domain hosting companies available on the web, two of the largest being GoDaddy and Network solutions.
Domain names are cheap, only running you about $11 at the time of this writing. Try to grab the .com name as it’s the most common form of domain level extension and easier to remember.
2. Purchase web hosting
The second part of starting your online store is to purchase a web hosting plan. Web hosting is what you’ll be placing all of your website files on so it can be accessed on the web. Although you can run your own server, high costs of doing so often deters most business owners away and toward solutions provided by companies like Hostgator and 1&1Hosting.
Besides costs, your hosting company based on a variety of factors such as: up-time, tech support, and scalability and server side backend scripts.
3. Create and install your website
For an average business owner, coding their own website is out of the question but for those that do have programming knowledge they will be able to save a large chunk of development costs by doing it themselves.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume you’re not going to be coding your online store yourself.
One of the quickest ways to start your online store’s website is to use Paypal. Paypal allows you to play a buy button which handles all of the credit card processing and deposits the funds into your account.
Another option it so go with an existing ecommerce platform such a Magento, ZenCart or Volusion. Development costs may be high depending on the difficulty of coding and numbers of items you’ll be selling at your online store but always weigh these costs with your return on investment by having a fully functional and attractive website which converts visitors.
When working with your developer, make sure that they are on time and provide all the items you need on your new online store. Test your website before it goes live to make sure there are no hiccups for when people actually visit your website.
4. Market your online store
Now that you have your website online, you will need to begin marketing your online store. Online marketing is much the same as offline advertising models but it uses online platforms in place.
Instead of TV, you’d be using online video. Print ads become online articles. Yellow page ads become pay-per-click advertisements on websites and search engines.
The three easiest ways to market your new online store is through these methods:
– Write information articles which help drive visitors to your website and build backlinks
– Participate in social media, seek out interested prospects and convert them to customers
– Utilize pay-per-click advertising on search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing
Using a hybrid approach to marketing your website is the safest and most financially sound way to drive sales to your online store. While paid advertising is running, driving visitors to the website, work toward building organic search by creating content and working toward a highly search engine optimized website.
Throughout the course of this article you’ve learned the four essential steps you need to complete to start an online store. Of course there are many more aspects of running a business online which can only be learned through real-world experience, informational products, research and a lot of dedicated time; well beyond this scope of this article.
If you have a great idea for an online store, don’t wait around while others take advantage of your idea. Start today, get your website online and begin marketing your website – drive traffic, convert visitors, create sales, market your store and create the business you’ve always dreamed of – good luck!