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Building the Perfect E-commerce Website for Your Startup in 7 Easy Steps

Building the Perfect E-commerce Website for Your Startup in 7 Easy Steps

E-commerce is one of the best things that have ever happened to humanity. Before I dive into the facts of e-commerce growth and glorify its importance and make you realize that how critical it is for your business; I will take out a minute to thank all the great minds behind this genius idea of utilization, and maximization. I believe I am one the biggest beneficiaries of e-commerce as it has saved me from the agony of going out shopping with my wife who spends hours on deciding what to buy. You guys are awesome!

The importance and significance of e-commerce is unquestionable. It is an integral part of today’s business world, and the stats speak for themselves. A study by Coleman Parkes states that “21-40% of a business’s contributions are now a direct result of e-commerce and the figures are expected to multiply over the coming years.”

Why Exactly my Business Needs a Website?

Because having a website is something that is the need of the hour. This means that the market trends have changed radically and e-commerce is the new face of modern business trends. Websites are the ambassadors of companies on the internet, and they have the capacity to handle hundreds of client and customers round the clock without needing any salespersons or representatives.

This is further instrumental if you are running a small business or kick off with a startup. E-commerce is the best platform for startups because internet marketing requires less time, effort and resources compared to conventional forms of marketing.

Guide to establishing a Successful E-commerce Website

So this is the time you must convert your commerce into e-commerce. However, for someone who is new to e-commerce, website development may sound a tricky business. This is where we step in. In this article, I am providing you a stepwise guideline for to establish a perfect e-commerce website for your startup.

  1. Create a Business Domain Name

The first thing on the line is to come up with a perfect, fabulous, easy to memorize and comprehend domain name. It must express your business objectives and corporate agenda while keeping it simple and catchy. The best practice is to get your business name or its abbreviation as a domain name, but there are possibilities of its unavailability so you must conduct a corporate search to ensure if it’s already in use.

Some entrepreneurs take this part lightly. Remember, domain name directly affects your conversion rates so you must do brainstorming and come up with a name easy to spell, pronounce and type, yet appealing to the audience.

  1. Choose a Reliable eCommerce web hosting

This is one of the most sensitive and important tasks because it affects the user experience and the chances of securing the sales. The web hosts are servers that handle all the data and to choose a server that doesn’t run short on bandwidth can feel like a daunting task. There are hundreds of web hosts available and deciding if a particular web hosting is good for you depends on your hosting needs and what kind of website you are building.

For newbies, the only brainer rule is to choose from shared and dedicated web hosting. Shared web hosting works perfect for small site operations and is a cost-effective solution for your startup’s online presence. You can anytime switch to a dedicated server if you think your website has a bigger scope and demands more bandwidth to operate. There are no bandwidth and data sharing on a dedicated server, so it delivers uncompromised speed and ensures a smooth workflow when your site grows bigger.

Some of the popular hosting companies of 2016 include

  • CentOS, Rackspace
  • CloudFlare Hosting
  • GoDaddy Hosting
  • Hetzner
  1. Choosing the right eCommerce platform

Reaching your target audience is associated with choosing the right e-commerce platform. There is no one-size-fits-all solution as each platform has its own set of strengths and draw backs. The selection primarily depends on the functionality and features you want your website to have.

Based on my experiences as an owner of digital marketing agency, I have narrowed three of the very best platforms that are the first choice of entrepreneurs.

Magento

It is one of the most sophisticated and full-featured open source e-commerce platforms. Magento offers an endless amount of customization through plugins and extensions and works for any kind of business. Magento offers a free version (Magento Community Version) and also a paid version (Magento extensions) to cater large online companies.

WooCommerce

It is a free and an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress sites. For this, you have to create a website in WordPress and then install WooCommerce to that site. It is perfect for startups who want WordPress to power their business needs and therefore, was named the best WordPress shopping cart plugin.

3D Cart

It provides all the features required to establish and run an online store. It is a fully hosted e-commerce shopping cart and is similar to other hosted e-commerce platforms. It makes running an online store painless as most features are built directly on the software, and it also provides FTP access.

  1. Navigation and content

Once you have chosen the right e-commerce, the initial phase is completed. Usually, a CMS is integrated with the shopping cart by default, so you can optimize navigation and content with no expense over the line. Except for a custom PHP website you can invest in a better website design by hiring a dedicated developer or a company.

  1. Navigation

The most important element of any e-commerce stores is not the search box but the navigation. No matter on what page the customer lands on, your site must provide a high-level overview and a roadmap to the different sections of the website. If the site’s navigation is difficult to use, the bounce rates will increase and will make it difficult for the customers to find the relevant content.

The considerations for a safe navigation are

  • Position filtered navigation correctly and provide appropriate filters.
  • Keep category name simple and display a product counter
  • Provide auto-complete functionality or voice search
  1. Add texts and images

You are almost done, and this is the part where you start adding layers to the cake. A sophisticated textual presence is necessary for a healthy nourishment of the website. However, you must not add text and pictures irrelevantly undermining the importance and use of right color theme, font size and graphical structure of your website. Images, infographics, videos, blogs and good content in general, are an excellent source of user engagement and also play a major role in brand awareness and reach. They make a website more energetic and attention-grabbing for viewers. Also, if you want to secure your product images from getting used by someone else, use company’s logo as watermark on images. WooCommerce Image Watermark offers perfect solution to apply text or image based watermark on multiple product images effectively.

  1. The Use of SEO

I believe that the guide is incomplete without the introduction of SEO and the prospects it brings. SEO is a set of techniques that will help your website pages get ranked on the search engines like Yahoo and Google. The more you learn and invest in SEO, the better traffic you will get and an increased flow of conversion rates. If you utilize the SEO opportunities vigilantly, you can almost double your online sales.

You can either hire an SEO expert or get an SEO agency on board. However, it may not be possible for you at the start, but here are some of the practices that help a better indexing.

  • Intense keyword search
  • A complete and unique product description and also includes product reviews
  • Add social media buttons
  • Include inbound links
  • Avoid black hat techniques and always prefer on quality rather than quality

Conclusion

Websites are the new business cards. They represent your business ideals and corporate objectives in the online market, so it’s mandatory you convey them as brilliantly as possible. If you are facing problems in getting the people to your website, there are several other ways to achieve, such as content marketing, paid promotion, and social media. This will allow better engagement with your customers, intensifying your brand reach and most importantly, making large sums of money.

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Bilal Afzal

Bilal Afzal is Online Marketing Specialist with more than 3 years of experience in Digital Media and is currently SEO Executive at United sol, a leading e-commerce web design and development agency. Over the years, United sol has successfully delivered projects in Magento, WordPress, WooCommerce, Joomla and other CMS/shopping cart platforms. You can also find him on Linkedin.    
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