So, you caught the entrepreneurial bug or just read the 4 Hour Work Week and want to start your own small eCommerce empire. The good news is that pretty much anyone, even with the slightest technical inclination, can start an eCommerce website from scratch nowadays. However, a lot of people overlook some aspects when starting one, which can end up hurting their business later on. Here are the steps to follow if you want to set up your eCommerce website.
Start with the Domain
Once you’ve narrowed down the niche you’ll be targeting and what type of products you’re going to sell, you have to start looking for a domain name. This domain name should be easy to remember, preferably with a .co.uk or .com extension.
Buying a domain name is pretty cheap and the process is very straightforward. You can buy a .uk or .com domain name from a service like Krystal for as little as £7.99. The hard part is finding a domain name that wasn’t already taken. This is why you should have multiple alternatives and try to look at spelling variations, as your first choice might not be available.
Self-Hosted vs Hosted Service
You can then decide to either have the site built yourself, or go with a platform. If you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of money to spend on design and hosting, we strongly suggest you start with a platform. They will make designing easier for you, but more importantly, they’ll also be safer in general and already come built in with important features like a secure shopping cart.
Open a PayPal Account
You could go the hard way and apply for a merchant account, or you could open a PayPal business account. Opening a PayPal account will allow you to accept payments instantly as soon as you’re verified. It is also trusted and recognised by most online shoppers, and some will only buy online if it’s through PayPal, so this is a tool you’ll need if you want to be competitive in the marketplace.
You’ll now have to start looking at different advertising methods and see what works and which methods you can actually afford to use. SEO, for instance, can be very costly, and the results can take some time, which is not always the best option for people starting out. SEO is a long-term effort, and you’ll have to be patient if you want to get dividends.
Pay per click through search engines and social media is usually a better option if you’re not in a niche that is too competitive and need immediate results. Don’t neglect offline marketing either. If your business is local by nature, then advertising through good ol’ print can get you much better results than you expect.
These are the exact steps you’ll have to take if you want to get your eCommerce website off the ground. The next step is working on finding new ways to build awareness for your brand and always work to offer the best service that you can so you can start building a solid reputation.