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Getting into the world of online business is an avenue open to everyone in our modern age. With so many options for creating and managing your own sales website, it seems that anyone could be a dot-com tycoon if they only got the formula right.
But setting up your own e-commerce website is not a walk in the park. As well as deciding how it will look and what it will sell, you need to ensure people can find you, will want to spend money with you and will hopefully return another day to complete another transaction. Achieving all this is no mean feat, and requires some careful planning on the part of the web developer, as well as the website owner.
Here are some key tips to consider when setting up your first e-commerce website.
1. Define your niche
Selling shoes is great; everyone needs them, after all. But trying to sell general shoes for all occasions will put you in direct competition with major brands and companies. Niche down into your true area of expertise and interest to gain a stronghold in an underserved area of your market. This could mean selling patterned wellingtons, squeaky kid’s shoes or novelty slippers. The product doesn’t matter as much as the fact you are the only company specialising in it.
2. Find your perfect hosting package
The host you choose will depend on what you want from them. Some hosts offer free templates and shopping carts as part of the service, whereas others offer less but at a great value price. Consider whether you will be building your website from scratch or using templates and add-ons to populate the site, and get the best package for your needs.
3. Buy your domain
As long as you are clear on your niche and have an idea of your name, this should be easy. If you decide to sell squeaky kids shoes and ‘squeakyfeet’ is no longer available, don’t settle for ‘squeakyfeet10’ or something naff like that. See if you can jiggle your name to fit a domain that is for sale instead, such as ‘feetthatsqueak’, and buy the .com, .co.uk and .org derivatives as a minimum.
4. Design your site
The more time and thought you put into your site, the better the user experience will be. As well as the general look and feel of the site, you will need to take into consideration how easy it is to navigate, how quickly customers can find your products and how efficient the overall process is. Consider website performance when building the site, as nobody likes to spend ages waiting for oversized pictures to load, and ensure everything runs smoothly by minimising 301 redirects and messy HTML in the background.
5. Perfect product descriptions
Your product descriptions will not only help to sell the products by communicating with your customer, they will also draw customers into the site by improving your SEO. If they are done right, that is. Research and use the correct keywords in your descriptions, and ensure you are giving the customer all the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision right there and then.
6. Mega marketing
Marketing an ecommerce website is like another project in itself. Consider the use of social media, paid advertising, pay per click, affiliate marketing and even running your own blog to increase brand exposure and drive traffic to your pages. Build up contact lists and use newsletters, promotions and other email marketing techniques to warm up these leads and ensure they convert into sales.
This post was written by and paid for by NCC Group.