How to develop an eCommerce website from scratch

There are many ways that you can go about this and many different budgets involved.

Step 1.

  1. Find a domain name – lots of cheap places or do a deal with a developer, they are cheap and most will throw it in for free if you host with them for 12 months.
  2. Create a logo
  3. Organise the content including returns policies
  4. Have an idea about the branding and product content is at the ready, next
  5. Merchant facility – start with PayPal or Stripe and then move to a bank merchant facility i.e. do it as cheap as possible to start with. For me PayPal and Stripe work, even though the transaction fee is slightly higher per order, there are no monthly merchant costs.
  6. Shipping – how are you going to have the goods delivered and can you offer free shipping? Free shipping helps with sales conversions
  7. Have a look around at the competitors and then find websites that you like the look and feel of. With billions of websites today there is no need for something new but rather doing things better.

Once you are armed with these, next I’d be asking, I have my content, now what am I going to build my website on?

  1. Do I want to be able to own the code to my website and move to a web host whenever I wanted if my relationship with my developer turns sour or am I comfortable using a hosted platform knowing that if I expand more than likely I’ll need to start the development from scratch again.
  2. Do I want an upgrade path? If the answer is yes, WordPress / WooCommerce is the solution for you and when that is exhausted, Magento is the way to go. If you need to go to Magento your turnover is sufficient to warrant the cost of the Rolls Royce in development platforms.
  3. Do your research on this as the likes of Shopify and other hosted platforms seem cheap to start with but in the end, having your own website does work out cheaper.
  4. The same holds true for customised Content Management Systems from developers. They can never keep up with the features of other platforms due to high development costs and will very likely disappear.
  5. There are platforms like Quick eCommerce that uses WordPress / WooCommerce and shows low cost ways to get eCommerce websites online.
  6. All developers offer web hosting. Don’t skimp on this as a site that loads quickly is worth dollars in the till to you.

Next, ongoing:

  1. Are you willing to update the website weekly / monthly with latest offerings and posts to attract more users? If not find a developer that can do this for you on a minimal maintenance contract
  2. Social media – blast the site on social media everywhere that you can. The more eyeballs the more chance you have of selling your products.

Try avoiding:

  1. Adding additional costs at the checkout unless they are options. If a customer adds a product to the basket, that’s what they expect to pay at the checkout
  2. Getting pedantic that an image doesn’t look right. In most cases, you will be the only one that sees it and if it slows down the launch, it is going to hurt the business more. Do these things on the fly and keep the site evolving. Search engines like sites that constantly get updated.

Realistic expectations:

  1. Don’t expect to be #1 in the search engines on Day 1 of launch. Search engines take time to index and understand your content thoroughly, so get the product to market asap and refine to suit customers needs
  2. If you have everything ready, a 4 week development time is realistic.

Conclusion:

If you are starting out, in our opinion, build with WordPress / WooCommerce. Over 30% of global websites are built on this platform. There are developers everywhere and the site easily supported, updated and best of all it is ever expanding with many free options to enhance your new website.