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Business ideas require effective actions to become a reality. Obviously, everyone wants to earn cash from their ideas. But who says that you have to spend hundreds and thousands of pounds on buying a piece of land and then converting it into your shop when you can easily do it online! So, if you have an idea or a product which you think is beneficial for other people, then go through this article and learn how to set up an online store.
By setting up your online shop, you are not only cutting costs but also reaching millions of people on a regular basis. As interesting as it sounds, setting up an online shop is not an easy task. This is why we have created this ultimate guide to show you the right way of doing it, step by step.
Step 1: Defining your store type
Having a core idea regarding your products is mandatory. This step is necessary as it will have an influence on your general approach and the tools which you will use while creating an online store.
To be clear on your needs and demands, try making a straight-forward list that helps you in defining your core requirements. That list can include questions like:
- Will I be selling physical products or digital services?
- Will I be delivering products?
- In the case of digital services, will the clients be downloading the services?
- Do I want to conduct business internationally?
Having more questions like these will help you understand your store's needs and your goals.
Step 2: Keyword research for narrowing own your niche
Let’s say you want to sell socks. If you had a local store, operating it would not have been difficult as people who need socks would be coming to your store.
This is not how it happens online. There are tons of stores that are selling socks and each of these stores are just a click away. This is why you need to identify your niche and narrow it down with the help of targeted keywords. Now, Google is the most preferred search engine and when people type in socks, giant online stores like Amazon dominates the search. To deal with this issue, you need to narrow down your product further.
Many people have specific kinds of needs when they come online to buy products. Searches like warm socks, cheap motorbike socks or pink socks are extremely common. They can be your targeted keywords. Take these keywords and put them into Google Keyword Planner. It will give you a detailed report about how many people have searched for this specific keyword in a month. Apart from this, GKP will also suggests popular keywords that you can use for your benefit.
If you do not know how to use Google Keyword Planner, then here is a quick guide to help you with it!
Step 3: Market research
The purpose of market research is to let you know that there are people who are willing to buy your products. After all, you do not want to start an online store in a niche that does not interest people at all. This is where you need market research. Here’s how you should do it:
- Find your competitors and look at how they are selling their products.
- Find out all the places where your customers hang out. This step is helpful as it will let you in on how your customer's brain works.
- Find out all the frequent questions that customers ask before buying products related to your niche.
SEMrush can help you with the first step. SEMRush is the perfect place to start spying on your competitors as it tells you your competitors' keywords, backlinks, top link text and general stats regarding their monthly traffic and more.
SEMRush offers a free version but if you want to dig deeper into your competitors, you may need to go for a paid subscription.For the second and third steps, you need to join online communities, Facebook groups, and forums related to your niche. They will help you understand the needs of your potential customers.
Step 4: Choosing a suitable E-commerce platform
Next step is finding a suitable online store. The internet is filled with tons of e-commerce software platforms that host online stores. It can be a bit confusing when it comes to choosing one.
There are two major platforms that are rivaling each other: Shopify and WooCommerce. Around 90% of the online store owners go with the first choice. This is because Shopify offers the functionality and the space required to sell products (both physical and digital). Shopify has a monthly fee of $29 which is used to pay for hosting and domain name. If you want other options, then you should look into WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is an open-source platform that runs on WordPress which itself is an open-source CMS. The good thing about WooCommerce is that it is customizable and costs around $60 to $80 annually for hosting and domain name.
One less popular option is the Magento platform. Often it is pitted against Shopify but both of the platforms are greatly different from one another. If you want to opt for Magento, then you should take help from the Magento development service providers available in the market in order to help you set up your online store.
Step 5: Store and domain's name
On one hand, choosing a brand name is the most fun part where you get to play with words. On the other hand, it can be little difficult as you need to think of SEO value as well.
If you are selling socks, you need to have ‘socks' included in your name to let other people know about your product. Also, if socks are your main niche, then you need to find targeted keywords and incorporate them into your name so that Google ranks you better when someone types in the specific keyword.
However, adding keywords to your domain name can be a bit boring. So find your way, work with words and try to come up with a store name that sounds cools and is SEO-friendly as well.
You can also use Shopify's name generator if you cannot think of anything that is workable.
Step 6: Understanding web hosting
This step is for those people who have decided to host their store on WordPress WooCommerce. You can skip this step if you have chosen to use Shopify or any other all-in-one eCommerce solution.
Now, web hosting is a place where your online shop is stored and from where people can access your store. There are tons of companies that offer optimized hosting solutions. But before picking the one you like, here are a few things that you should notice before finalizing your decision:
- Your company of choice has dedicated IP addresses.
- They have SSL certificates and are PCI compliant.
Apart from these two, you should also look into their performance, uptime, and customer support along with database backup facility. One good option is SiteGround Hosting as they have all the qualities mentioned above.
Step 7: Launching your online store
Now comes the part of launching your online store. We will cover both the Shopify and WooCommerce procedure. So whatever you have decided to go with, we have got you covered!
- Launching a store with Shopify
Shopify is pretty straightforward when it comes to instructions. As it is an all-in-one eCommerce solution, you can be done with it in just a few minutes.
Simply, open Shopify and hit ‘Get Started' button that is at the top right corner of the main page. As Shopify has screen-by-screen instructions so you will not face any issues while setting up your shop.
- Launching a store with WooCommerce
For WordPress WooCommerce, you will need to pick up a hosting solution. There are many reliable hosting service providers that can be used for launching a WooCommerce based store with low downtime. So, choose the hosting service of your preference and install WordPress along with the WooCommerce plugin.
Step 8: Deciding a shop design and modifying It
With everything pre-installed and ready to go, you just need to design your store. Not everyone has a creative streak so we suggest to do some research on your competitors’ websites again. Look at their store's layout and ask yourself the following questions:
- Have they used a prominent header with clear product images?
- Have they used the classic site layout or have they modified it?
- Do they offer special deals? If yes, then what kind?
- Do they focus on their key products or promote all their services equally?
Whatever you do, just never select any design that you think would look beautiful. Always opt for a layout that complements your products and goes well with what you are offering.
Step 9: Further core settings
The configuration of the store’s core settings is the nest most important step after its designing. The core settings cover areas like currencies, tax settings, addresses, measurement units, etc.
When it comes to Shopify, open the main settings which are available at the bottom left corner. From there, you will see a list of all the settings that you need to set before operating your store. These settings include general contact information, payment options, checkout, shipping charges, international taxes, and notifications.
When it comes to WooCommerce, you can set the settings by entering the main panel and selecting ‘Settings.' From there, you will get similar core settings like that in Shopify. Moreover, you will be asked if you want to include the ‘Register' option at the end of each checkout. Through this, you can have your clients create accounts before finalizing their purchases.
Step 10: Adding your products
This could not be easier with Shopify. Simply, click ‘Products’ and you will see ‘Add Product' button. Also, for each product, you will be required to add information like product name, price, description, weight, etc.
After you are done with this step, click ‘Save' and all your progress will be saved! Remember, you will have to repeat this step for every product that you upload onto your online store.
You can find the ‘Add Product' option in the dashboard section of WooCommerce. Just like Shopify, when you add any product, you will also need to enter all the product-related information such as product description, category, tags, tax status, inventor, linked products, product type, etc. When you are over, click ‘Publish' and your product will appear in the ‘All Product’ list.
I hope that you have gained some insights into how you can set up your dream online store.
Lastly, the internet proves to be a game-changing factor as it provides individuals with opportunities to turn their dreams into reality. Part of the success of the internet lies in the fact that all of this can be achieved without spending a fortune.
You can also be a part of this story.
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