With the current Internet boom in the face of the recession, many people are ready to jump into the online world and see if they can make their own cut of the millions that are coming out of e-commerce. It is only fitting that you may want to try your hand. But the world of e-commerce is more complicated than it may seem at first glance, which is why you should take a moment to look over the ten things to consider before starting an e-commerce website.
1. Purpose of your website – At the very top of the list is what you want the purpose of your website to be. While this may seem basic, many people jump into building a website that they have glorified in their head only to find weeks later that the idea looked better in their head than on paper when it comes to actually making money.
Before purchasing a hosting service, domain, or constructing your website you need to have a clear idea of the purpose of your website and what you want from it, otherwise there is a good chance that your website will fail.
2. Payment options – Next, if you decide that you are going to build an e-commerce website that offers goods, products, or services you need to decide how to accept payment. After all, it is easy to set up a website that shows off your product, but unless you have a way for customers to pay, there is no use in doing so. Keep in mind that e-commerce is just that, commerce in the virtual world, so accepting cash payments is not going to be your fall back while you get set up.
3. Security – At the same time, as you will be forced to take important security information from your clients such as their addresses, names, credit details, bank account details, etc, you need to figure out a way to protect their privacy. On the internet it only takes one instance of losing data or compromising security to sink a website, because word travels fast in the cybercrime world. Keep in mind that it is very hard to recover once you have lost your customers trust, even for well established web giants.
4. Site Layout – More basic is the fact that you will need to consider how you want to lay your site out. This includes everything from templates, text, color schemes, general themes, navigation, etc. While it may seem simple at first, you need consistency and simplicity in your site layout if you want to retain browsers, so do not take this lightly.
5. SEO – You will also need to think about SEO or search engine optimization, given the fact that your website will only perform well if you have regular visitors. There are dozens to thousands of different SEO techniques that can be utilized to increase your search ranking and overall amount of visitors. However, the trick is either investing a large amount of time in SEO yourself or hiring an SEO professional to do it for you.
6. Generating leads – Just like in every other business once you get your website up you need to start generating leads. This means getting out on the internet and spreading the word using Internet marketing tools which are similar in theory, but in an entirely different concept than traditional marketing tools
7. Hosting – In order for your website to go live you will need to choose a hosting service (and a domain). You want a reliable hosting service that is affordable, that will offer you enough space to house your website. Thus, you need to have a realistic sense of how large your website will be and how much you plan to expand within the next few years.
8. Coding – In the world of e-commerce you will need to put your website together at some point, which will mean learning to code or hiring someone to do it for you. While it may seem as if your ideas should just be able to jump onto the screen, this is the farthest thing from the truth so keep this in mind as coding is the architectural basis for your website.
9. Web design – Web design is important given the fact that the internet has a modern style the same way any magazine or newspaper does. You want your website to fit into this style and also stand out which can be tricky to figure out but rewarding in the long run.
10. Time investment – Finally, after reading through the other nine points, think about how time each of these components are going to take out of your day. The amount of motivation and determination combined with the amount of time you are willing to spend on your website closely relates to the success of an e-commerce website.
About the Author:
Jesse Hunt is the owner of Dream Design Studios, a Memphis Web Design company. He offers website design, website maintenance, and search engine optimization services.