Building your own ecommerce website

Building your own ecommerce website

Today you can buy all sort of stuff without leaving home. Online stores sell almost anything from typical health & care products to art objects. And since buyers go online, so do sellers.

What’s more, even those with limited budget and experience can open a web store now. Today we’ll talk about how to build an ecommerce website.

1. Choose a niche for your online store

Successful web store owners claim that the best niche is the one that appeals to the entrepreneur and is very popular among potential customers.

So choosing something you don’t like and don’t know much about is a really bad idea. In this business, it’s important to understand your target audience, what they want and what they like, to know what qualities a product must have, etc.

On the other hand, even if you like a niche, but it’s not popular, the chances of success are rather low. Business is business, and the law of supply and demand cannot be neglected. One of the easiest ways to find out if the given product type is really in demand is to use Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

The first one will show you how many people insert particular search requests. The second will show the interest for particular themes at runtime.

2. Supplies, orders and shipment

Before building an ecommerce website, you’ll need to find actual products to sell. Here you have several options.

First of all, you can make your own products. Talented people who make plush toys, figurines, hand-made clothes or art objects decide to often sell their goods this way.

If you don’t have any goods, then you’ll have to find a supplier. It’s relatively easy to find them on online platforms, catalogues and exhibitions.

Another business model you could use is dropshipping. In this case, your store serves as a mediator between the supplier and customers. Your job is to promote the given products and receive orders. You then pass the order to the supplier, and the goods are sent directly from a warehouse to the client. This type of business is very popular among beginner entrepreneurs with little budget.

3. How to build an ecommerce website and how much does it cost?

First of all, let’s talk about what free option you have here.

Selling via social media

Instagram and Facebook as well as other social media have turned into popular platforms for selling all kind of stuff. In this case, your account works as a web shop so it’s really easy to start and doesn’t cost you anything.

At the same time, this option is limited by the social media you choose – its popularity, its audience and technical functionality. Besides, promoting such stores outside of the given social media platform is harder than a standalone website. Still, it’s a great way to try it out, especially if you have no money on a website.

Using free web store building solutions

The easiest way to build a standalone ecommerce website is to use one of online constructors. As a rule, such solutions are easy to handle, and even an inexperienced person can create a decent web shop in a couple of hours. Plus, you also get a free domain and hosting.

Despite the obvious attractiveness, such options have serious drawbacks. First, free options offer limited functionality.

For example, you may not be allowed to import the full assortment of goods which will result in low sales volume. Second, such web stores often have typical design and lack unique features, thus causing problems in promotion. Plus, you’ll only get a third level domain name at best, which is hardly an advantage from the point of view of SEO. Lastly, such solutions usually do not grant you the full ownership of your store.

It’s a good option for micro businesses such as hand-made stuff stores, massage services, etc.

Building an ecommerce website for money

If you want to get a fully functional standalone ecommerce website, you can either order one from a professional company or make one with your own hands. The latter will cost less, but will take a lot more time, especially for someone with no experience. Besides, you’ll still have to pay for domain and hosting at the very least.

1. Domain and hosting.

Some companies offer domain and hosting they own, but it doesn’t mean they give you the full ownership so be careful here. In some cases, you’ll have to buy out your site to get it.

2. Website creation

Most ecommerce websites are based on WordPress. It’s a free content management system with intuitive and relatively simple interface. Plus, there are all kinds of plugins and extensions that will let you build a web store with a unique design and any features you want.

Some of such solutions are free, but you’ll have to pay for the most useful ones. And again, make sure you actually get the full ownership if you use a certain plugin. Also, pay attention to the payment model you’re offered.

3. Analytics and promotion

Most platforms and extensions for WordPress will offer you tools for analyzing the website’s traffic and optimizing it for search engines. In addition, there are standalone plugins for WordPress with similar functions. Lastly, you can always use Google’s tools.

However, successful business requires not only SEO, but also social media promotion, PPC, blogging, affiliate marketing, email marketing, etc.

4. Price

The price may vary substantially depending on what kind of service you use. A free platform will cost you zero, while a fully functional web store made by professionals may cost up to $3000 or even $5000. Sometimes you’ll have to pay on a monthly basis or a certain percentage from your revenue.

As a rule, the price depends on how much functionality you want and whether you employ a professional team to build your ecommerce website.

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.