If you have a product, getting it seen online by a large audience can help make or break you. Brick and mortar stores get the advantage of getting more traffic than just foot traffic and creators who can’t afford a storefront can still find an audience – online. If your product is unique enough, it can even go viral and get you picked up by major tech blogs and news outlets.
Getting yourself and your business up and running online may seem overwhelming, but creating an online store can be done rather easily, and without paying an arm and a leg. What once required a ton of coding and integrating payment gateways, has become somewhat streamlined thanks to CMS applications like WordPress, and thanks to a few plugins that I use.
I’ve compiled a quick guide to help get your product online, keep reading below to find out how!
1. A domain and CMS: The foundation of any website, obtaining a domain should be the first thing you look into setting up for your business. Deciding on a catchy, easy-to-remember domain name will make it easier for your target audience to find you. HostGator, GoDaddy and my former company Hostt are all easy, straightforward places to purchase domains. You should purchase hosting for your website at the same time, meaning you will not have to deal with any DNS transfers to get your website online. Some companies offer cheaper domain prices than the ones listed above, but the other don’t offer the hosting (necessary for getting your site online), and will require additional work on your part. You’ll need this to get setup.
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you should look into integrating a CMS into your website. A CMS (WordPress is a great option) takes out a lot of the difficult coding that is typically required in making a website, meaning that with a little work and research anyone can make a basic website. Installing a CMS instead of straight coding will also help with automatic security updates, which means your information, and your customers’ information, is secure.
3. If you’re looking to build an online shop, a shopping cart app will help get your products online quickly and easily. One great option that I really like is Ecwid. Ecwid will seamlessly integrate with your existing platform (website if you have one) and can even be added to your social media sites like Tumblr and Facebook. Ecwid works with over 40 payment gateways meaning you can connect it with everything from PayPal to Stripe. Ecwid also allows you to manage your store from your phone, so you’re never in the dark about your orders. It tracks all the sales for you, giving you complete information about your store, allowing you to add categories to your goods (e.g. sizes, colors, categories, etc) and to sell not only physical goods, but digital goods, as well.
6. You should also stay up-to-date on all of the plugins you have installed. Many times during the life of your website, plugins will have updates that can be installed to give you the latest version of it. Sometimes these updates can change how the plugin functions and many updates are simply security updates which will help you fight new threats from hackers.What once was a difficult project that would require weeks and weeks of programming and coding, has become simplified thanks to content management solution company’s like WordPress, and plugins like NinjaForms and Yoast. If you’ve been on the fence about starting an online store, let this guide show you that beginning your dream now is something many business owners are capable of implementing without involving expensive web developers and products.