Are you ready to sell your products with an online store in just a click of a button? Creating a website may sound tedious, but it is easier than you think. We will help you learn how to build an online store to start selling your products in just 5 steps.

Brief Overview

Take a look at the 5 steps you should follow when creating a website for an online store: 

  1. Decide How You Will Set Up Your Website
  2. Choose a Website Builder
  3. Establish Your Online Store Policies
  4. Design Your Website Effectively 
  5. Create an Online Marketing Strategy

Step 1: Decide How You Will Set Up Your Website

There are so many ways you can set up your website. Below, you will see a few things you should consider before you can get started on setting up your website. 

Let’s dive right in! 

Domain Names

A domain name is the link or website name that users will use to find your website. It’s similar to an address, in the sense that people will use your domain name to find your online store. 

Do you already have a store name? You will probably want to find an identical domain name or one that is shorter and readable for users. 

Explore available domain names on websites like godaddy.com or dreamhost.com to see if you find any inspiration when choosing your own domain name.

Illustration to show number of available website names you can find on websites like GoDaddy.

Simply search domain names on different websites by typing out the names you have in mind into the search bar. These websites will tell you if the domain name is available and other options you can take if not. 

But what if you don’t have an idea for an online store name? 

You might want to consult brand strategists to help you choose a winning name that fits your new business. 

Overall, we recommend you choose a domain name that is short, easily read, and fitting to your online store. 

Hosting Services

If your domain name is your address, then a hosting service would be your actual house. Your hosting service gives your website a place to “live” online.

Illustration that drives home the concept of hosting services giving a business a "home" or domain.

Simply put, your hosting service is what will allow your website to run and for people to access it online.

You might be thinking, “What does this mean for me?”

It means you’ll need both a domain name and a hosting service to start your website. 

We recommend you choosing a package deal for your domain and hosting service.

Website Builders

If your hosting service is your house, then website builders are the construction workers that help build your house. In other words, a website builder is a program that constructs your website without coding.

You could also code your own website if you want more flexibility, but we recommend website builders for smaller budgets. 

Finding a domain name, hosting service, and a website builder can all be done separately.

Nevertheless, we recommend you finding a domain service that offers a package deal for your domain name purchase and hosting service and then discovering your options for a website builder.

Illustration of several features included from the service of a domain service.

You can see that from bluehost, one free domain is offered along with other features. You would be left with paying for the hosting service.

Now, you’ll want to build your website!

Which takes us to our next topicChoosing a Website Builder.

Step 2: Choose a Website Builder for Your Online Store

Choose a website builder that matches best with your online store’s priorities.

Are you looking for a cost-effective site? Maybe a website with intricate designs or a simple one where you can easily upload your products? 

Depending on your needs, you will want to choose the website builder that best fits your business.

Choosing a Website Builder that fits best with your needs will easily jumpstart your online store. Check out these website builders that you could use for your store. 

Illustration of someone creating a blog post on their laptop.

What are some popular website builders for an online store? 

We have chosen some popular website builders specifically tailored to creating your online store. If you want more general information on different website builders, check out this comparison chart here.

Below, you will find website builders you could use along with different package deals for your online store. 

WordPress

Logo for the website design company WordPress.

With WordPress, you can easily sell online and customize your shop to your preferences with its WooCommerce Hosting with bluehost. Plans for e-commerce websites start at $6.95/month. 

Squarespace

Logo for the website design company SquareSpace.

Squarespace offers a Basic Commerce Plan with a free custom domain along with website hosting at $26/month. You can compare other plans for different kinds of websites as well. 

Shopify

Logo for the website design company Shopify.

Shopify gives customers a 90 day free trial with plans starting at $29/month. You can purchase a domain name or use an existing one that you own. They provide a free “myshopify.com” domain name when signing up.

Wix

Logo for the website design company Wix.

Wix offers free website hosting with Wix ads. You will most likely want to look at their premium features for a domain name and website customization for. Plans start at $23/mo for eCommerce. 

OUR RECOMMENDATION:

We personally recommend WordPress as it allows you to customize your payment platform through a plugin, giving you more flexibility. 

Remember, these are just a few options for your online store. You might even want to opt-out of a website builder and code your own website.

You’ll have the creative freedom to mix and match your options! Make sure to research your options more in depth to make the best choice for your store. Contact our website developers and ask us for help to build the best website for you.

Now, onto establishing your online store policies.

Step 3: Establish Your Online Store Policies

Your regular store policies will need some modifications as it shifts online. To mitigate issues and confusion, make sure to add your online store policies on your website where shoppers can easily access and read on their own time.

GIF doubling down on the importance to have policies in place for your online store.

Checklist: What you need to know before opening your online store

  • What forms of payment will you accept? (Credit/Debit/Paypal) 
  • Will you offer local, national, international shipping, or all of the above? 
  • Will you allow returns or refunds? For how many days? 
  • Who pays for shipping? 
  • How long will shipping take? 
  • What are the various shipping fees? 

After clearly setting your online store policies, you can now jump into designing your website!

Step 4: Design Your Website Effectively

Utilize an inviting format that makes your website user-friendly. 

Make sure to add key features on your online store such as images of your products, a shopping cart, and payment options.

Screenshot of Amazon's homepage that shows the effective and clear design of their online store.

Amazon, as the leading online retailer, makes a great example for how you should design your website. 

Notice how Amazon has a few of its products clearly displayed at the home page and how classic online store features like the shopping cart and return options are right at the top of the website. 

Screenshot showing the simple and effective design that Amazon's online store has.

See how easy it is to find information throughout their website?

Factor in Search Engine Optimization

When designing your website, it is important to consider SEO so that your customers can easily find your website. You will want to consider ways to construct your website effectively so that it can be seen by search engines.

Take a look at this example: 

Screenshot that shows the application of SEO, with the blog/post name tying into the URL, which can be applied to online store website design.

Taylor Stitch is a clothing shop that sells men’s casualwear. 

Not only do they sell clothes online, but they also run a blog on their online store. Within their website, you can see SEO techniques from their website.

They utilize content marketing through publishing blogs and implement on-page SEO through the URL named after the title of their blog. 

There are multiple SEO techniques you can also implement for your online store such as adding alternative text descriptions for your products, links to other websites with high-authority, and much more.  

Which leads us to bringing attention to your website, where you’ll about to find out how to create an online marketing strategy! You’ll need this to optimize your website for SEO!

Step 5: Create an Online Marketing Strategy 

Finally, a website is not the only thing that will sell your products. 

GIF that illustrates the shock of finding out that websites aren't the only things that can create sales.

Your website is the foundation to your store, but to sell your products you will need an online marketing strategy in place. 

You’ll want a website that distinguishes your online store from the millions of retail websites on the internet. With SEO, your website could rank high on search engines and ultimately maximize your website’s traffic and customer retention rate. 

Here are a few things to consider doing when building your online marketing strategy:

Understand Your Target Market

Your target market is who you want to sell your products to.

Who do you think will find the most use for your products? Who would be your most valuable customers?

Check out this target market example to help identify your business’ target market: 

An infographic giving an example of a Target Market breakdown, which details characteristics of the group of customers you are serving for your online store.

Once you’ve answered these questions and can visualize your target audience, you can easily focus on your valuable customers and generate business effectively.

Establish Your Online Brand

There are many companies that enter competitive markets. Anyone can sell the exact same good, but what sets them apart? 

The answer: Their online brand

You want your audience to understand who you are and what your business does. You can add a section on your website that talks about your business’ history and why you are selling your products. 

Establish a distinct logo and company values to stand out to the numerous amount of businesses selling their products online. 

Drive Social Media Presence   

We are currently living in the Internet age.

What does that mean? It means social media is vital and can seriously bump up the amount of customers you have in just a click of a button. 

Picture of the many social media platforms you can use to generate traffic your your business' online store.

You’ll want to choose a social media page that closely aligns with your business so that users can interact with you and learn more about your business.

The best social media platform for your business depends on the overall marketing strategy.

Maybe your business provides consultation services, you might want to make a Facebook or a Twitter to give people short business insights through posts or tweets. If your business is in the fashion industry, you might want to create an Instagram page to post your pictures of clothes for sale or your shop’s style. 

Overall, you should choose the social media platforms that caters to your business and your target audience.

Your social media marketing plan will depend on what your goals are and what strategy you would like to take. You’ll want to consider your products, target audience, business goals, and more. 

Whether your digital marketing strategy is the same or needs to be overhauled, you should stay active on your social media. We recommend you create an agenda for constant social media posts that increases engagement and click-through-rates for your product.

Once you’ve made your social media platform, link it to your store’s website!

Ready to Kickstart Your Online Store?

Now that you have learned how to set up your online store, an online marketing strategy will actually help sell your products online. 

We can help build your website with search engine optimization and an online marketing strategy right from the start. Instead of reviewing your website multiple times to ensure optimization, you could save time with us if you start with us!

Talk to our website builders at hola@colibricontent.com about creating your online store and marketing your website. Ask us for a free quote!




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