5 Things You Need To Know About Starting an Ecommerce Website

One of the most exciting ventures of running an online business is setting up your own online store, more commonly known as an ecommerce website. Careful planning and preparation is of course the key to a successful start, when your shop goes online for the first time, very few people other than yourself and perhaps some of your families and friends are going to know about it.

In today’s post we’re going to take a look at 5 things you really need to know before starting an ecommerce website of your own.

Shopping Cart

1. Website Design

Designing an ecommerce website is not an easy task, nor does it have to be technically challenging either. However to make things a lot simpler, there are many services available on the web that can offer you a complete solution to getting an ecommerce site up and running at an affordable cost.

If you choose to go about it yourself, consider using something like WordPress, as there are many attractive storefront theme designs available for you to start using and customizing to suit your brand image.

The biggest advantage of using a pre-coded storefront theme with WordPress is that everything is ready to go straight out of the box, from product pages, shopping carts, types of currencies, PayPal integration, and stock management to customer membership tools.

2. SEO

Perhaps the most essential process of setting up an ecommerce website is search engine optimization. This is critically important if you want your storefront homepage, about page and product pages etc to appear in the search engine search result pages for relevant keywords key phrases.

SEO is not as hard as many people make it out to be, it is of course a time consuming process but nevertheless important, and since (give or take) over 60% of the traffic to your site are going to come from the search engines it simply can’t be ignored.

3. Ecommerce tools

There are lots of things to consider as far as ecommerce tools are concerned, such as types of shopping carts, payment gateways, invoicing, stock management, PayPal or WorldPay integration etc.

How easy it is to integrate these tools into your website greatly depends on the platform you’re planning to use. As we mentioned earlier, using WordPress with a storefront theme, or using Moonfruit’s Sitemaker Live with it’s simple to use ecommerce shop tools are probably the best avenues for those less tech savvy individuals.

4. Marketing & advertising

At this point you might have your site design complete and launched live for everyone to see, but really, who is going to see your store other than you and a small handful of friends? You need real consumers…

Whilst SEO takes care of the search engines, marketing and advertising is also essential to driving consumers to your storefront.

Marketing and advertising involves the use of online and offline tactics, from making use of social media, email marketing, mailing newsletters, business cards and flyers, press release advertising, link building and other SEO content marketing tactics and much, much more.

If you have no idea as to where to really start with marketing your ecommerce website, you can start right here on this blog.

Check out our top articles on marketing and advertising for small online businesses.

5. Analyzing your competition

Finally, as in all lines of business, you’re going to have to compete with other more established websites. Regularly analysing what your competitors are up to perhaps on a weekly or monthly basis can help you create a more refined and a more productive marketing plan to staying ahead of your competition.

In an ecommerce environment, here are some of the things you might want to consider evaluating from your competitors:

  • Types of promotions being used
  • Costs of deliveries
  • What forms of advertising are they using?
  • What keywords are they using for similar products as your own?
  • Consider subscribing to their email newsletter to learn more about how to construct your own email newsletters…
  • Who are they linking to?
  • How are they using social media?
  • How are they constructing their prices?
  • Do they have an attractive website?
  • How easy is it to navigate around their website compared to your own?

I’m sure you can add much more to this list…

However you decide to launch your ecommerce website, I hope that the 5 tips above will give you some lead way and tips to go away with, to get the most out of developing your online store from start to finish. If you have any additional tips and suggestions to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Photo by Rick Harris

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  • Almar

    Search Engine Optimization must be taken much more value. Since there a lot of E commerce site already appearing online. It is wise that you have to make your site SEO friendly for easy ranking. And it will help generate more sales on your part. Agree?

    • http://www.magnet4marketing.net Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Hey Almar thanks for stopping by, yes I completely agree with you that SEO must be taken seriously in an ecommerce evironment :)