Only a few decades ago, businesses were focused on optimizing their brick and mortar shops. They strived to provide the best face-to-face customer experience possible to retain customers and gain new ones. The mere mention of moving to the online sphere presented a hassle – it seemed like an unnecessary waste of time and resources.
As technology progressed, things changed. The processes of building and managing a website are far easier nowadays. You have to be a little tech-savvy, of course, but you don’t have to hire teams of IT graduates to move your shop to the online world.
So, without further ado, here is an easy guide on how to build an online shop from scratch.
Step 1 – CMS
CMS is short for Content Management System. This can be defined as an interface from which you will build a website. To cut the long story short, instead of listing various CMSs, we will just present the best one – WordPress.
This is a free platform (yes, you read that right) and it will be the base upon which you will build your website. They have a rather user-friendly setup guide, so be sure to check it out.
Step 2 – Find a Theme
WordPress has an astonishingly vast community around it. People create WordPress themes which are basically full-blown website templates. You can choose from an endless number of options to find what you are looking for – there are themes specifically designed for ecommerce shops, so be sure to check that out as well.
When you do find something that suits your needs, your job is to edit the theme and customize it to correspond with your offline shop. This implies adding your logo, changing the colors to fit the color scheme of your store, and filling the website with textual and visual content.
Step 3 – Plugins
WordPress plugins are there to aid your job even further. You can find plugins that will help you with all sorts of tasks, like security, search engine optimization, handling spam, etc. It would be best if you check this beginner’s guide.
Step 4 – WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin specifically designed for online stores. It will help you manage everything from product pages and shopping carts to checkouts and payment system integrations. It’s probably the most important plugin you will need to properly build your online store from the ground up.
Step 5 – Hosting
Yes, there are free hosting options, usually shared hosting. This is a practice where you share your hosting server with various other businesses. Sure, this is a good option when you are just starting out. However, when the number of website visitors starts to pile up, a free option just won’t cut it.
Therefore, it’s best to invest in a good WooCommerce hosting option. This will contribute greatly to both your security and your customer experience. There is nothing worse than having to wait for your pages to load when buying something, and free shared hosting will lead to just that. Therefore, it would be best if you invest a little bit of money to avoid this.
Step 6 – Blog
Now, you might be wondering why you need a blog if you want to sell things. Well, blog sections serve to show customers that you are an expert in your field. You can use it to both share valuable content related to your industry, as well as press releases and articles that will highlight new products and services.
Plus, a blog section will help a lot in terms of search engine optimization. Google likes websites that share content regularly. You can add social sharing plugins and let visitors share your content, thus broadening your reach even further.
Of course, all this is only one part of the puzzle. There are many other aspects you have to look into if you want to sustain business growth. Building and maintaining a website is one thing, but as you know, running a business is a puzzle that has many tiny pieces. All of them have to fit together just right.
So, if you are a shop owner in the offline world and you feel that you are ready to present your offer to the entire world, we hope that this article will serve as a good place to start. We wish you good luck.