A step-by-step guide start an online store
Do you wish to start an online store of your own?
Do you have great visions of working from your laptop while your eCommerce business hikes in sales on auto-pilot? Whether this is your first time setting up your small business or you’ve been in this ground for a while, this step-by-step guide will teach you how to start an online store in 7 simple steps.
Our goal is to make you create your own online store. You may not know, you may start selling from today only! Without further delay let us get going.
Here is a quick index on the steps in setting your online store:
- Step 1: Decide your niche.
- Step 2: Get the best eCommerce website builder.
- Step 3: Chose a domain name and a hosting provider wisely.
- Step 4: Add and customize eCommerce templates.
- Step 5: Add your products
- Step 6: Set your payment methods and sort out the shipping setting.
Come, let’s get started.
The first step to start an online store is very basic, which is choosing your niche. Your online store has to be of a specific type. You need to know what you are selling and to whom you are selling.
Your niche impacts a lot of things, including:
- The sales figure for your online store.
- How much effort you’ll have to put into customer support
- Whether or not you’ll have repeat customers
You have to be very strategic while selecting your niche. So that’s the very first step you need to keep in mind.
In the next step, you have to find a website builder. It is not possible for all of us to know how to create and design a website through coding. So there is an alternative. An eCommerce website builder is an online software that allows you to build your very own online store, without needing advanced tech skills or any coding knowledge. All you need is an internet connection and a great business plan.
There are two popular eCommerce platforms that we suggest: Shopify or WordPress + WooCommerce. But among the two we highly recommend WordPress + WooCommerce because of the flexibility it offers. Initially, it requires some sort of setup, but that benefits in the long run for sure.
The next and one of the most important steps is selecting your domain name and your hosting provider. But before going into hosting providers let us know what hosting and domain actually mean.
Imagine your house to be a website, then the address of your house will be the domain and your house itself will be web hosting. Similarly, web hosting is computer where websites and their files and documents are stored. It is a service that allows individuals or organizations to create a website or web page on the internet. It works as a storehouse of the website.
Now I hope you understood what domain and hosting actually are. If you want further knowledge on both the terms you can check out our article on domain and hosting.
Coming back to the process.
If we are to recommend a domain registrar and a hosting provider then we would surely suggest you Bluehost web hosting. That’s the one place where you can get both your needs and Bluehost is also an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider. Here are the steps through which you can complete your domain registration and hosting process.
Through the link provided above visit the official website of Bluehost web hosting.
The next step is choosing your plan: basic, plus, or choice plus. If you are just a beginner we recommend you to go for basic plans as you can upgrade whenever you wish to. BlueHost always recommends the choice plus plan. But that is a bit expensive and you do not need that if you are just a beginner.
Once you have chosen your plan, click on the “select” tab to go to the next page.
The next step is setting up your domain. Let me remind you, BlueHost provides a free domain with all their plans. But if you have an existing domain then you have to just enter your domain and click next.
Next, you have created your BlueHost account where you have to enter all your personal details.
Next comes the step where you verify your details and purchase details and you can add extras like domain privacy + protection + sitelock etc.
Finally, you have to add your payment details and check all privacy policies and cancellation policies. And then click the “submit” button and enjoy your BlueHost hosting services.
Once done, your website is ready.
Let me remind you, your website is ready but your store is yet to be ready. In the next step, you have to customize your template. WordPress provides an ample amount of templates to choose from. You can choose the best that suits your store and apply it. While choosing your template you need to keep in mind a few things: what features you want to have in your store? How you want your customers to move around your store and what type of homepage interface you want?
Once you have decided on all these it will be much easier for you to choose your template. After applying the template you need to do your customization. Customization includes font size, font color, background color, positioning of products and etc. You need to do your customization very precisely because the look is very important.
Once your store is ready you need to stock your products. Since you cannot do that physically, you have to start adding the images and videos of your products to make the store look stocked up. That is your main purpose.
While putting up your product make sure you put up all the information surrounding that product. Since your customers are seeing them virtually, you need to be clear about the product details.
The main things you need to add a product are:
- Weight (for physical products)
- File (for downloadable products like eBooks).
The final task is setting your payment methods. Payment methods include online transfer, bank transfer, and Cash on delivery. You can put up your options as per your convenience. Along with that, you need to sort your shipping settings. Since your store is online, no one can buy your product physically. You have to arrange for shipping. So you need to sort your shipping charger accordingly.
Once done. Hurray! You started owning your online store.