Although it’s often taken as a sales pitch (I own an internet marketing agency), the truth is that the facts speak for themselves. According to Coleman Parkes, a marketing research firm, “21-40% of a business’s contributions are a direct result of eCommerce and the number is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years.”
And the reason is pretty obvious, as the world is moving more and more into the digital realm, the impact of the Internet is directly affecting the way business is done. So now it’s the right time for you to start thinking about an eCommerce solution.
Do small businesses and start-ups also need a website?
Yes, and in fact, they need it even more than big businesses. As an internet marketing specialist, I believe that websites are ambassadors of businesses on the web. With a website, one has the ability to reach thousands and thousands of people without needing any salesman or cashier. Moreover, internet marketing requires less effort, time and investment compared to conventional marketing. In short, this is a platform where small businesses can compete with the giant ones and can easily differentiate their product from the rest.
Tips to help you build a perfect e-commerce website
Startups are risky maneuvers, and as an entrepreneur who is new to e-commerce, the development of your website can be quite challenging. Here is a complete roadmap for building a perfect e-commerce website for your startup,
Create a domain
To get started, think of a perfect domain name for your startup that expresses your objectives while keeping it simple and attractive. It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand or too long to remember; it must be easy to type and pronounce, yet appealing to the audience. The character limit to secure a domain is 67 and it’s a good idea to mention the name of your organization or use its abbreviation in the domain. Domain name directly affects conversion rates so choose a domain name carefully.
Choosing a reliable hosting server
The next most important task while building a website is to choose a reliable hosting server for your online data. The server primarily handles all your data, so it’s wise to choose a secure server that does not runs out on bandwidth.
Basically, there are two types of hosting you can choose from: shared and dedicated. For a startup, we recommend that you kick off with shared hosting. It works just fine for small site operations and is a budget friendly solution for your online presence. However, if your website has a bigger scope and needs more bandwidth to operate, you can always switch to a dedicated server where there is no bandwidth or data sharing. This helps the website to deliver uncompromised performance and a smooth workflow for your marketing.
Choosing the right ecommerce platform
The most important task when it comes to reaching your target audience is choosing the right e-commerce platform. I have narrowed down five leading shopping carts of 2016 that are the first choices of most entrepreneurs for a perfect eCommerce website development. They include: BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, GoDaddy Online Store, and 3dcart.
Navigation and content
Once you’ve chosen a suitable shopping cart, this is the part where you start adding layers to your cake by optimizing its navigation and content. A CMS is usually integrated with the shopping cart and templates come with it so there is no expense over the budget line and you can optimize them anytime you want.
Good navigation is imperative as it shows a roadmap to the different areas of the website, minimizing the clicking and reducing bounce rates caused by bad navigation. It makes the site consistent with user experience and allows your customers to find your content easily and remain engaged and convert.
Here are four must-haves for good navigation:
• Position filtered navigation correctly
• Provide relevant filters and enable manual input
• Provide auto-complete functionality
• Display a Product Counter and keep category names simple
Text, images and videos
Content is the icing on the cake. When we talk about content, it includes all: text, photos, videos, etc. A sophisticated textual presence on your pages is mandatory for your online store. But before putting text on your startup website, you need to understand a few basic elements, such as the right color scheme, font size, font style, and text structure of your site. Visual elements such as images, videos, and graphics are the faces of a healthy website. Good content is an excellent source of user engagement and makes a greater impact.
I recommend following certain considerations before adding content:
• Mention everything but be short and concise to enhance the readability of the text
• Non-plagiarized and grammatically error free and use subheadings to emphasize USP (Unique Selling Point)
• Add infographic, screenshots, and product images on your web pages
• Use High-quality photography products for better user engagement
SEO is a tool that can help you get your pages ranked on search engines such as Google. SEO is not as hard as it sounds and you can do it all by yourself, but if you are unable to figure it out, hire an SEO specialist for the task.
For SEO to work more efficiently, you should use appropriate keywords and keyword phrases text. Choose quality over quantity and avoid black hat techniques.
Follow this set of guidelines and recommendations to not only engage with your customers more effectively but also to expand your reach and take your business to the next level.
** About the Author: Paul Simons is a professional E-commerce and a digital marketing expert. He is currently working for FME Addons, a company that develops extensions for popular shopping carts like Magento, WordPress and Woocommerce. One of their best extension is Magento brand page which allows e-merchants to sell products with the manufacturer’s name.