Step 1: Purchase a domain name
The first stage to building a successful online retail business is to find a suitable domain name. You want something that is memorable, easy to spell and isn’t too similar to the URLs of your competitors. Do your due diligence if you are purchasing a domain name from an already trading company or via auction as you don’t want to buy a URL that’s subject to Google penalties.
Step 2: Find a web developer
In order to make your online store a reality, you’ll need to find a reliable, experienced web developer. Search for a development team that has a proven track record with eCommerce sites, can show you examples of eCommerce stores they have built and is knowledgeable on subjects such as payment gateways and eCommerce platforms.
Step 3: Choose a platform
Once you have a web developer in place, they should be able to advise you on the most appropriate eCommerce platform for your needs. A common option is WooCommerce which dovetails very nicely into WordPress allowing you to manage your whole website from one control panel. You’ll also need web hosting in place.
Step 4: Decide on a theme or design
Once you have your eCommerce platform selected, you’ll need to decide on a look and feel for your new online store. At this point design and customer journey both have a part to play. Speak with your web developer to plan and plot the journey you want your new and existing customers to take through the website.
Step 5: Write your content
While your web developer is hard at work behind the scenes, begin the task of creating your web copy. You’ll need to conduct thorough keyword research beforehand, to ensure your product descriptions, landing pages and other web pages are optimised for launch. Don’t forget strong calls to action too.
Step 6: Test, test, test
Before your site officially goes live, you’ll need to conduct extensive testing. Your web developer should do this before hand over but, you’ll also need to thoroughly test the site, using a range of different devices. Go all the way through the checkout process too and ensure the journey to sale is as seamless as possible. Testing should continue after the site launches so you’ll also need a plan of action for A/B testing as you move forward.
Step 7: Launch your marketing plan
You’ll need a robust digital marketing plan to accompany your site launch. It’s a good idea to get started before your site goes live to build awareness and then kick it up a notch when your eCommerce site launches. You’ll need to consider paid search initially, but you should also simultaneously be working on a longer term SEO plan, social media marketing, content marketing and email marketing to drive relevant, targeted traffic to your site.
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