If you’ve ever bought anything online, you know how easy it is to rack up a huge bill without even getting out of bed. Now, multiply that by hundreds, thousands – even millions – of customers all shopping in their comfiest pajamas. And now you know why eCommerce is one of the fastest growing and most profitable industries. What you probably don’t know is just how easy it is to make your own eCommerce website, so you, too, can sell online. With our easy-to-use sitebuilder, you don’t need to know anything about coding or web design to create a website your customers will love.
In fact, because we love eCommerce so much, we streamlined the whole website-creation process until we got it down to 10 easy steps.
How to create a website in 10 easy steps:
1. Get a domain name
You need to register a domain name so people can find your website. (A domain name usually looks like this: www.newdomain.com.) A good domain name epitomizes your brand and is easy to remember but hard to mistype. This means no hyphens, no fifteen-letter words, and no frequently misspelled words, either. (Avoid double letters if you can help it.)
Don’t overthink this too much, though. A solid brainstorming session should leave you with at least three good domain names to choose from. And if your products are good and your website is easy to use, customers won’t really care what you call your website, as long as they can find it.
2. Choose your platform
You can’t sell online unless you have somewhere to put your website.
All websites on the internet are stored on supercomputers called servers. To store your website on a server, you need to choose a good web hosting platform. Web hosting companies let you store your website on their servers, so you don’t have to worry about running your website and maintaining your own (very expensive) servers.
Lucky for you, we also have sitebuilder plans with hosting plans. This bundles web hosting with a sitebuilder package and makes life easier. We’ll talk more about sitebuilders in point three.
Good website services for your eCommerce site will include things like massive storage (so you never have to worry about scaling your website) and cloud backup (so you don’t have to worry about losing your data, either). The best web hosting platforms will also offer lots of extra website services that’ll be useful for your site. Good website services are things like email hosting, SSL certificates, and SEO tools.
3. Find your perfect eCommerce sitebuilder
A good sitebuilder should be uncomplicated and offer lots of templates for you to choose from. (Ours has hundreds of templates that lets you create a website that’s modern and attractive. You can choose one that’s already eCommerce ready, or you can add an eCommerce plugin to an already existing website.)
Here are just some of the things our sitebuilder can do for your website:
- Host your store
- Keep your site up and running
- Optimize your site for mobile users
- Take the guesswork out of setting up your store, restocking, and processing orders (You can do this from any device!)
4. Design your website
Our easy-to-use sitebuilder has been crafted by talented web designers and gives you all the ingredients you need for a stunning website. All you need to do is tweak the template until the colors, fonts and layout look the way you want.
5. Make it legal
It’s annoying to have to register and license your business, but doing this legal legwork upfront will save you lots of heartache later (and it’ll keep more of your money where it belongs: in your bank account).
This is the kind of thing that varies from place to place, so contact an attorney and find out the legal requirements where you live.
6. Get an SSL certificate
An SSL (“Secure Sockets Layer”) certificate keeps your customers’ data secure. When you have an SSL certificate, your customers’ browsers let them know it’s safe to visit your site. This makes them feel more comfortable entering sensitive data like their credit card information and shipping address.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate, it’ll be very difficult to get customers to buy from you, especially if you have a new website. When you don’t have an SSL certificate, your customers’ browsers will tell them it’s unsafe to visit your website and that if they enter their personal information on your site, it may be stolen by hackers.
So, an SSL certificate isn’t just nice to have – it’s a necessity.
7. Design your SEO campaign
Even the best quality products won’t sell if your website isn’t getting enough traffic.
So, you need an SEO strategy to help you rank high on search engine results, so your customers can find you. Plan the content you will need before you create a website. When you create content for your website, use the keywords your customers are using, so the search engine will know your site is relevant to what they’re looking for.
When your website ranks high on search results, your customers are more likely to see your website and buy from you.
Our SEO tool will help you analyse your own website and even your competitors’ websites, so you can tweak your content to attract more customers (and maybe even some of your competitors’ customers).
8. Get a payment gateway
To process credit card information, your website needs a payment gateway and a credit card processor.
Research some payment gateways (you probably already know about PayPal and Stripe), so you can figure out which ones will be best for your website.
Start this process as early as you can, so you can get all the information you need to do this properly.
This is one of the more tedious parts of the process, but once your website starts raking in more money than you’ve ever made in your life, you won’t even remember how boring this part was.
(And it’s not even that complicated. People who aren’t half as patient or intelligent as you have gotten approved for payment gateways, and they’re doing just fine. We promise you’ll be fine, too.)
9. Run an email marketing campaign with email hosting
If you want your products to sell online, you need an email marketing campaign. Offer customers a gift in exchange for their email address (this can be something like an eBook or a discount on their next purchase) or have a giveaway where the entry fee is their email address.
Once you have their email addresses, keep your brand visible in their inbox. Do this by sending them useful, non-spammy content like coupons and how-to manuals for your products. If you sell clothing, consider emailing them a lookbook of your new items. This is where email hosting comes in handy.
When you use email hosting, you get to create your own custom email domain. This means that instead of having a free email domain like @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com, your customers will see @yourbrand.com.
Having your email domain match your brand will instantly give your business credibility, even if it’s new. This means that when you email your customers, they’ll know your message isn’t spam.
Email marketing campaigns are proven to drive sales. (That’s why big eCommerce brands are so fond of them.) But all your hard work will just go to waste if customers don’t think the messages are coming from a legitimate business. That’s why email hosting is one of our most useful website services.
10. Order packaging and arrange for storage
Before you start selling products, figure out where you’re going to store them. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy in the beginning. You can even rent a storage location until your products start selling well enough to justify buying your own.
You also need to buy packaging for your products, so you can ship them.
And that’s it. Follow these ten steps, and you’ll be ready to launch your website! (Told you it was easy.)