Having an online presence is important in this modern world, especially when you own a store. With an offline store, you can only reach a limited number of people who may be walking through your street. But an online store gives you the privilege to reach any corner of the world by following a few simple steps.
A lot of people are generally afraid to use technology to build their online stores, but modern solutions have made it very easy to start your own store without the need for any assistance. Nowadays online stores can be made in a matter of few minutes if you have the right resources and information.
Here are some basic steps you can follow towards launching your very first online store:
Choose and Purchase Domain Name
An online store starts from a website that you need to build and the domain name is a basic element of a website. It is a sort of identity and ease of access for your website.
Ever heard of Godaddy? This is where you can start. Godaddy is a website for purchasing domain names. Similarly, some others are Bluehost, Namecheap, and Hostgator. Godaddy is the most popular because of its affordable prices. Before purchasing a domain it is highly advised to decide the name of your brand and stick to it for a long time. This is because the domain name purchase is made on annual basis and sometimes it’s hard to resell it.
You can buy a domain on Godaddy for around $5 to $12 per year basis. It may provide some additional features, but they are not necessary at the beginning.
Choosing a Hosting Provider
The next and most important step is to choose where to host your online store. Bluehost and Hostgator already provide very good hosting services. You can also choose Shopify which can handle everything for you. But we will talk about that in some other post.
A2 Hosting is also a very good option to start with a lot of scaling options as well for later. But basically, you can choose any hosting provider which is trusted and easy to use. Visiting their websites, you will get an idea of which to choose for your comfort. Also, the monthly cost is one of the main factors you have to look at. There is no need to have expensive hosting services at this moment. This is because we can later transfer the website to other hosting servers if needed.
One of the main things you need to look for here is the support of WordPress or preferably WooCommerce. They have specific servers optimized for such websites in order to run online stores. It is very easy to work with them and they also provide good customer support if something goes wrong.
Configure WordPress and Domain with Hosting
First, you need to configure the WordPress website on your server. With all major hosting providers it is just one click away. They provide the option to start a server based on WordPress. Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress for hosting.
As seen above, if you visit their website they are already giving the option of Online Stores at a very affordable rate in the beginning. Selecting this option will give you already what you need for your store. It will directly install WordPress, WooCommerce, basic Themes, etc. You can of course customize this as per your needs with the admin dashboard of your site. The details of this dashboard will be provided by the hosting provider.
After selecting the hosting service you need to configure the domain to redirect queries to the right server. For this, if you are using the same hosting server from where you bought the domain, it will be pretty easy. But if the hosting provider is different from the domain provider, then you need to add namespace servers into your domain configuration. The details of that will be provided by the hosting provider along with easy-to-follow steps as well.
Configure WooCommerce and Add Products
Upon completing the above steps your website is now live on your desired domain name. So, now if you enter your domain in your browser, you will find your website running. Feeling accomplished right? Well, there are a few more steps to complete before the customers can use it. By this point you will be in access to the WordPress dashboard that will look something like this:
This dashboard is very easy to use and you can easily set up your theme and WooCommerce settings. You need to configure the following in this:
- General Settings – Shop Location, Countries, Currency, Customer behavior
- Shipping Methods – DHL, FedEx, etc.
- Payment Methods – Cash on Delivery (COD), PayPal, etc.
- Product Details – Name, Description, Price, Images
There is much more you that configure later but for now, this is enough.
Find a Shipping Partner
In offline stores, the customers visit your store and pick the items by themselves along with the payment. But for online stores, your customers are very far from you. So a means of shipping is required to deliver the products.
There are some of them available for international shipping like DHL, and FedEx. For local shipping, you can find good companies providing such services. It would be a plus point if the shipping carrier provide a WordPress plugin to integrate into your system. This will ease your operations and automate them regarding shipping. For example, printing labels, orders entered into the system, order delivery status, etc.
That’s all folks, I will be discussing more on this and also welcome your comments on this post. Please share your valuable thoughts in the comments section. Furthermore, I will discuss how you can start with digital marketing to promote your website and products easily in the digital world. Please share this in your circles to help as many people as you can. For more similar posts keep an eye on the Business related posts on the website.