Want to start selling online? That’s great – e-commerce is one of the best ways to scale your business. In this article, we’ll look at how to build an e-commerce website. But before we dive in, let’s cover the basics first…
What is an E-Commerce Website?
An e-commerce website is simply a website designed for selling products online. You can think of it as the opposite of a brochure site – which will allow customers to view products, but not to buy them. E-commerce websites should be set up securely to allow online payments.
Advantages of E-Commerce
The most obvious advantage of e-commerce is the ability to sell your products online. This could help you scale your business and reach new customers. Starting an e-commerce business is also much cheaper than starting a bricks-and-mortar business.
The cheapest way to sell online is through a third-party website. Amazon and eBay are the most popular choices. But it’s difficult to build a unique brand on someone else’s website. You’ll also have to play by their rules when it comes to deliveries, returns, refunds and more.
That’s why many online business owners prefer to build an e-commerce website of their own.
Find out more information on taking you offline business online here.
Self-Built Online Shops
At this point, you might be asking: Can I build my own e-commerce website? The answer is yes! There are plenty of tools available to help, so you won’t even need to pay a web developer.
Before you build an e-commerce website, you need to decide which platform or software to use. Shopify is probably the most famous e-commerce platform. It includes website hosting, an e-commerce builder, and the option to register a domain name.
But plenty of Shopify alternatives provide the same benefits. Let’s explore these now.
Online website builders make building your own website easy. They usually come with web hosting included – and sometimes a domain name too. The best e-commerce website builders allow you to build an e-commerce store without code.
Another option is to start with a self-hosted WordPress website, then install WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a popular WordPress plugin that adds e-commerce functionality. This way, you can have all the benefits of WordPress, plus a powerful online store.
Tip: If you like the idea of a simple Shopify alternative, then our website builder could be perfect for you. Alternatively, our WordPress hosting is ideal if you prefer the WordPress/WooCommerce option.
The Process of Building a Commerce Site
From start to finish the process of building an ecommerce site might seem daunting, but following the steps below will help you add products, build payment gateways and develop your marketing tools to help grow your store.
Businesses and shops all need a name, this is the same for both online stores and brick and mortar stores. In our case, the name will not only feature within your marketing and the branding, but will also feature in the domain name. You can find out more about domain names and how to pick the perfect domain here.
Picking a name and domain name is important, as this is the identity of your store and your brand as a whole.
Hosting or Using Online Store Builders
Whether you’re looking to use an ecommerce website builder or self hosting the store, it’s important to weigh up the options. Although it might seem like a big difference between self hosting and using a tool like Shopify, the method and process is very similar.
In fact, using tools like Woocommerce and WordPress have plugins and add ons such as Elementor and Divi that make creating your own online store a lot faster.
Your Stores Branding
Your marketing is designed to bring users into the site, whilst your branding is often the reason they stick around. Making sure your branding and brand identity matches the theme of the website is crucial. Using the same colour schemes, style of images and layouts will keep a consistent feel between your marketing and branding.
Using a Tool like Elementor or Divi allows you more freedom to match branding and website style. Whilst you have the option of pre-made themes in both Woocommerce and Shopify. Make sure you pick your themes based on your branding and target market.
When selling online it’s important to make sure your site’s security is high and secure. Using an SSL certificate and good strong passwords is a great first step to this. If you’re self hosting ensure you update your CMS and plugins often, as updates often contain security system changes to improve site safety. It is not worth risking personal data such as credit card information, so ensure your site is up to date and secure.
Your site is likely to make a fair few sales, handling these sales will be performed through your payment processor. The payment process works through a gateway typically with a third party gateway provider, Shopify have their own and Woocommerce typically uses PayPal or Stripe. Bear in mind, these payment gateways take a small fee for each transaction, so shop around for the best fee. But also note, users are more likely to convert into a sale while using a well known trusted gateway.
What would an online store be without products? Your store will need products and these products will need names, descriptions and above all else, images. Having good professional images is the best way to improve sales and boost your brand’s image. However, optimising all of the above is crucial to overall growth.
Each product in your store will need a name. If your brand has quirky names for each product then stick with this. Otherwise, keep it simple and descriptive, allow the user to know what they’re clicking on when they’re browsing through your online store.
The product description should not just describe the functions of the product, although that is important. It should also outline the size, weight and other useful bits of information. For example, if you’re selling electrical items, it should describe the charging situation, what it comes with and other information that the users can go back to if they have any questions.
It may also be worth adding a FAQ section if your product or online service is complicated. This helps to reduce the amount of time dealing with customer request calls and messages.
When selling online compared to brick and mortar stores the user is unable to see and feel the product. it’s important that your images help bring the product to life and inform the customer. Adding one image on a white background may seem like a good way of selling the product, but multiple images, with different angles and different backgrounds will help the customer far more.
Action shots of the image being used is also advisable. This allows the customer to see the product in the real world and the interaction with a real person gives the user more insight and more of a reason to buy. We’d recommend having at least 3 images of your products to help increase conversions.
Marketing Your Online Store
By now you’ve got your website built, products added and branding nailed down, but now you need to bring users into the site. This is where your marketing tools come into play.
Use social media to boost your website’s traffic, post about your products, your industry and show your product working action. Engaging with users will help drive your brand’s personality and improve your online sales.
SEO is a complicated topic, but there are some basic things that can be done to improve your search engine presence. Using good descriptive product descriptions, adding meta information to each page and creating frequent blog content is a great way to boost your online performance through search engines.
Building your marketing organically takes a lot of time, you can boost this process using paid advertisement. Tools like PPC, social adverts and endorsements can really help boost your image and drive more traffic to your site.
Build a Ecommerce Website With tasjeel.ae
If you’re looking to self host your own ecommerce website then tasjeel.ae can help. We provide everything from domains, hosting, security and website builders.
Learn More About E-Commerce Websites
We’ve covered the basics here to help you get started quickly. If you want to move forward now, you can use the links above to buy a plan.
Of course, you might prefer to learn more about the marketing aspects too. If so, then explore this article on Marketing Your Ecommerce Website.