I will briefly discuss 10 steps that are needed to be taken, not necessarily in an order I will present, for you to establish your own online store (business) and get going. These steps are easy, but will require you to spend some time to think about the final destination of your future business. Meaning, to choose domain name wisely is very important and so are all other details of the business. Please remember, these 10 steps are followed once the product or service idea is in place.
Buy Domain name
This is the .com name for your business and one of the best places I always go to for my domain names is Godaddy.com. Domain name is important, because this is the address where you shoppers will come to make purchases. If you domain name is too long or confusing, customers may not be able to remember it and it will cost you a fortune in the long run. Getting a current customer to make a purchase costs a fraction of the cost of getting new customers to make the same purchase.
Choose platform for your e-commerce
Whether you are selling products or services, you will need to choose a platform that works best for you. You can read more about my preferences for platforms for e-commerce business here. Platform is a ready made software, hosting, shopping cart, and checkout system that will allow you to list products, sell them and accept payments for your items and services.
Get Logo Designed & Some Banner Ads for Your Home Page
As I said before, every detail for your new website deserves your attention since it will have a long lasting affect. One of the details that are very important is the Logo. People will see and remember your website if the name is easy to remember, but also if the logo is professionally made and looks appealing, it will have a long lasting visual affect on your customers. Visitors and buyers of your website will remember nice and interesting logo’s of the website and with that the address of your site. That said, it doesn’t have to be expensive, there are places where you can get logo’s and banners made for few bucks, really. Read more about where to get your LOGO designed here.
Once your domain, platform, and logo are in place, you have to choose a merchant account for your business. Merchant account is a special company that will process payments on your behalf. They will charge the customers credit card and transfer that money over to your bank account. It is very easy to find one and very easy to sign u with one. I will give you more details about which merchant accounts I think are the best and why here.
Add Products & Images
When the website is almost ready, it is time to add your products and images, after all what will customers buy if there is nothing in the store;) I will explain more in detail why the Image and description of your products are important here.
Buy 800 Number for Your Business
I will stress the importance of having a phone number that looks really professional. 800 number is the best way to go about it even if you are the only employee of the company. 800 Number gives an impression of a large organization and gives customers some confidence in your brand new website. I will also give you some resources and companies that I have tried myself for my other businesses, read more. Having a good phone number is another piece of the puzzle towards success.
Buy SSL Certificate
It is certificate that transmits information submitted by your customer on your website securely to make sure no information is lost and no one steels that sensitive information. If you don’t have SSL certificate, you will not make any sales, because your website will be considered unsafe. Read here for more info on such an important topic
Setup Accounts with Social Platforms
Once the website is 80% finished, it is time to let people know you exist. You will need to be present in all the social platforms possible: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, etc. Creating business page with any of those sites is absolutely free and with the right technique, you can gain a massive following and eventually sales.
Submit Your Website To Search Engines
Google and Bing are the biggest players in this area and you have to submit your site and sitemap to this sites. It is also free and is the best thing in the world for small businesses. Click here to see how and where exactly to submit to get the most exposure and free traffic from giants of the search engine business.
Create An Ad Campaign
Free traffic is good, but never good enough to have sales. To start making money you will need to run ads on Google, Bing, and Facebook. Why ads? Why pay? Because ads are targeted to your specific audience and those who come through well designed ads, will most likely make a purchase. Here, I will break it down in detail about what has to be done in order to spend your marketing budget wisely.
For more information on each step, please click and read posts that go in detail for each part of the way. In no way this is an exhaustive list, but rather a short to do list that covers the most basic things one needs to do and know in order to get started. The future of retail are online sellers who have the ability to provide customers with the right item, at the right place, for the right price. If you are able to accomplish those three things, you will be successful in this space. Good Luck