5 Steps to Help You Build an eCommerce Store
If you have decided to take the plunge and set up a web-based shop, starting an eCommerce business can be a rewarding venture but it can also be a stressful one. Here are 5 steps to starting an online business that will help make the process clearer and less stressful.
Your Guide to Starting an Online Business
Whether COVID-19 pushed you to pivot from a brick-and-mortar store to an online environment, or you’ve decided to take the plunge and set up a web-based shop, starting an eCommerce business can be a rewarding venture.
From 2017 to late 2019, approximately 28.1 million Canadians made purchases online. That’s a lot of people who are landing on webpages and whipping out their wallets if they like what they see.
But there’s more to the process than buying a domain name and loading your site with products or services. There are technical aspects to navigate and content to consider.
Do you DIY with a website builder or hire a pro? Should you stick to SEO or focus on paid ads too?
As a small business owner, I’ve helped many clients create successful online companies. So I’m sharing this five-step guide to starting an online business with you to make the process clearer and less stressful.
1) Figure out what you want to sell.
If you’ve already got an established store, this might be a breeze. But if you’re just starting an eCommerce business and are focusing on products, you’ll need to think about what you’ll offer, and where you’ll get it from.
The first thing in figuring out what to sell and in what form is to ensure it’s relevant to today’s consumer. COVID-19 has made consumers much more in tune with their spending habits. Ensure there is a consumer first and foremost who is willing to spend their money for the product you aim to sell.
2) Buy a domain name.
If you already have a business name, this part could be simple. However, you’re not going to get a short and sweet dot com name unless you lay down big bucks. And you don’t want a domain name that runs five words long or is difficult for customers to remember (or spell).
Ideally, you use your company name like we did, with a dot com—or a dot ca if you’re in Canada. There are a lot of other TDLs (Top Level Domains) to consider such as .net, .co and .org but strive to get the revered .com as your primary domain if at all possible.
3) Build an eCommerce store
From incorporating branding into your layout to loading products/services, there are so many things to consider when you’re starting an eCommerce business, including:
This is where it is so worth it to hire a professional web development company. You won’t have to spend your time Googling “SSL Certificates” or trying to set up shopping cart software. Learn how much cheap SEO and website design really costs you here.
There’s no arguing this pandemic has led to increased internet traffic as people work, socialize, and entertain themselves online.
That’s why I’m sharing 3 eCommerce challenges and solutions to help you maintain and even grow as an entrepreneur during this crisis.
4) Focus on SEO
Did you know that SEO has the highest ROI of any online marketing tactic? Despite this fact, many small business owners build their sites with very little consideration of how the search engines see their content.
SEO means doing keyword research to discover the keywords that your target audience is using to find what they need.
Your SEO strategy will be focused largely on on-page techniques like keyword-rich content and meta tags.
5) Create valuable content
Your customers don’t just want to see pages and pages of products, or a one-liner selling them services. They want you to be a trusted expert who can provide them with everything from useful tips to reassurance that their credit card info is safe.
Content marketing is an ongoing process. If you want to please your target audience and the search engines, you’ll need to be regularly posting articles, blogs and videos that are valuable to your audience.
No matter what your small business model is, you’ll need to keep testing and tweaking after you build an eCommerce store. You’ll want to dive into your data to see your customers’ behaviour, like:
Of course, there’s a lot more to starting a web-based business than what I’m able to cover here! From promoting your business on social media to creating paid ads to drive traffic, you’ll want to have a marketing strategy in place as you move forward. But this guide to starting an online business will help you lay a solid foundation for a successful eCommerce site.
To your business success,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.
As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.
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