Once you decide that doing business online is right for you then the job of creating your online presence begins. Creating an eCommerce website has much in common with creating a website in general. So let's get back to basics.
Before you do anything else, a decision has to be made about what type of website you are creating. Will you have a virtual storefront? Will this strictly be an informational content site? Are you combining the two? What about a marketplace kind of structure?
A domain name represents who you are online and says something about your business. For already established offline brands, the domain name is usually the same as that enterprise. For a strictly online business it can be anything you choose. Doing an Internet search will reveal if any of your name choices are already in use.
Once you have a name, people need to find you. Registering your site with search engines gives your content and web pages a chance to be ranked in search engine results. Use keywords that are common in search parameters within your content and throughout the website.
Who will host your website? Choose a web host that offers other services like site maintenance, easy-to-use templates and other perks. For the price, get as much space as you can for creating pages and information storage.
Setting up a Virtual Storefront
For eCommerce sites that will sell products, there is a process to getting ready for business. You will need to set up your virtual storefront. This is where your products will be located for customers to browse. The key here is to provide as much information as you can to satisfy potential buyers.
Customers are reluctant to go on description alone. Use your own images of products on the site instead of stock photos. For rapid viewing, you will need to compress the photos so anyone even someone using a dial-up connection can see them fast.
Storefronts not only need products but also a way to “carry” your items around with you. That is where shopping baskets and carts come into play.
And, just like in a regular store, payment types have to be specified as well as verified. There is software and web-based help available to make all of this happen online for your eCommerce business.
Creating the website is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you get underway, there are other features you can add to your sites as you need them to fashion a place where everyone will want to do business.