Editor´s note: This is a guest post by Avinash Nair is a digital marketer at E2M, India’s premium digital marketing agency. 

Building an awesome online store doesn’t have to break your bank account. Especially when starting out, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on all the bells and whistles. It’s best to save your money and focus on the essentials to get your e-commerce business off the ground. Regardless of your mission, launching an e-commerce website could very well lead to life-changing profitability. In fact, eMarketer estimates worldwide e-commerce sales to be nearly $2 trillion for 2016.

For every stellar e-commerce website, there are ten bad ones. Let’s examine three important steps to keep in mind when bringing your online store to life:

1. Choosing Your Domain

If you’re planning on building your brand by selling an array of products, creating a custom domain is your best bet. There are several advantages to a custom domain:

  • Benefits your search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Makes your brand recognizable online
  • Provides an email address linked to your business making you look more professional

Keep in mind, it’s very unwise to create a domain name purely for improving your SEO. Google cracked down on this in 2012 with the “Exact Match Domain Update.” The issue came about when e-commerce businesses with low quality websites would select their domain to simply show up first on searches. For instance, an exact match domain name is composed of only pertaining keywords. If a company sells vintage leather sofas and chairs, their exact match domain would be something like www.vintageleatherchairs.com. Google penalizes these types of websites which in turn destroys them in the search rankings.

Basically, when you choose a domain name, be sure it focuses on branding as this can heavily impact click-through rate and online recognition.

Think about the future of your business and how you want to market it. Choosing your domain needs to be thought of as a long-term investment. As a general rule of thumb, shorter is better. Your domain name is synonymous with your brand and if customers don’t trust the validity, you can be sure they will not purchase.

Basically, when you choose a domain name, be sure it focuses on branding as this can heavily impact click-through rate and online recognition.

Think about the future of your business and how you want to market it. Choosing your domain needs to be thought of as a long-term investment. As a general rule of thumb, shorter is better. Your domain name is synonymous with your brand and if customers don’t trust the validity, you can be sure they will not purchase.

2. Finding the Right Platform

Everyone wants an e-commerce platform that is user-friendly and flexible. Finding the right one for your business is an incredibly important decision. First of all, you need to come to terms with the fact that no platform is perfect. It all comes down to tradeoffs you’re willing to make. Be sure to measure all the pros and cons for your long-term business strategy. Switching platforms can be very costly and time consuming. If you’re a new business, it’s typically best to use a platform that is more powerful than what you currently need. This will leave plenty of room for growth. You’ll want to take a close look at the criteria you’re working with when considering your e-commerce approach. Should you go with a hosted or non-hosted platform for your business needs?

  • Hosted (SaaS) – This is a good option if you are not well-versed in coding and don’t have the resources for a technical team. Basically, if you want to focus your efforts on growing your business rather than managing technology, a hosted platform might be best for you.
  • Non-Hosted (Open Source) – If you have a background as a developer or have the resources to hire a team for these type of tasks, open source might be a good route to take. This is typically the choice for larger businesses with bigger budgets to do more customization.

Overall, more businesses are using SaaS as online shopping evolves. If you want a platform that will stand the test of time on the technical side, SaaS is the way to go. Shopify, which consistently tops ecommerce platform comparison charts, is a great place to start when looking into hosting your online store:

3. Designing the Store

Creating an online store can be a very intimidating task. Everything from the landing pages to the checkout options need to be carefully designed to positively impact conversion rates. With all the factors such as the theme, images, fonts, shapes and more, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So make sure you don’t miss out on these elements:

  • Contrast – Contrast is crucial in making your website appear sharp and crisp. Be sure to mix up the shapes and colors between different pages and site elements. Just don’t go overboard. People make subconscious product assessments within the first 90 seconds of a visit. Most of that judgement is based on color.
  • Alignment – Your online store should be properly broken down and aligned into clear elements so users can browse intuitively. If they have to jump through a bunch of hoops to find answers, they could very well move on to your competitors.
  • Repetition – Although having contrast in your platform is important, there should be consistency in areas like font and visual elements. This provides a sense of uniform and organization.
  • Proximity – This mostly pertains to the actual listings of your items. The last thing you want is clutter. Be sure that your products or services are grouped together by relevancy. A navigation bar is a great way to keep everything arranged properly.

Very important, you need a design that caters to mobile users. In the last few years, mobile internet use has pulled ahead of desktop.

Source: http://www.comscore.com/

Source: http://www.comscore.com/

Remember, you are not alone in this project. There are all sorts of tools to help your e-commerce website reach its full potential. Shopify again has a phenomenal ecommerce toolset resource to get your business up and going.

Over to You

E-commerce is tough game, there’s no denying it. More than likely, you are in for a lot of trial and error. There are many pieces to the puzzle and each business has different needs. There is no need to rush it as this can inevitably lead to poor results that hurt your company in the long run. Follow these three steps and you will be well on your way to having an e-commerce website that rakes in money.

Author´s Bio: Avinash Nair is a digital marketer at E2M, India’s premium digital marketing agency. He specializes in Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing services. You can find him on Twitter: @AviNair52

 

 

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This is a guest post written by one of our contributors.