8 steps to setup your online store?

A frequently asked question that we get from our friends and website visitors is – “How do I build an online store?”

Here are just a few questions (out of many more) that overwhelmed and pretty much paralyzed us from moving forward and taking decisive actions:
  • Should we use PayPal? What other options are there?
  • How should we price our products?
  • What should our color scheme be for our brand? What about the logo?
  • Which domain name should we get?
  • Where do we get customers? How do we use advertisements?
  • Do we need to hire a coder / designer to help us?
  • How to build an online store from scratch?

The list goes on and on and the ones above are just a very small list of what was overwhelming us. Setting up an online store can be daunting task, so we’ve created a guide to help you get your shop up and running.  With the right tools, you can create an ecommerce website quickly and easily.

1. Invest a Domain Name
Your domain should be as close to your store’s name as possible, making it easy for your customers to find your website. There are lots of different TLDs for you to choose from, including .com, .net, .co, and .biz,..

2. Purchase an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate allows your customers to purchase items from your store safely and securely, and they are a must have for almost every ecommerce website.

3. Choose an Ecommerce Application
Some of out most popular open source ecommerce applications include PrestaShop, Magento, and OpenCart, but you can even use applications like WordPress and Joomla to build and manage online stores. Each of these applications offer different features, so it’s important for you to take the time to choose the right application for you and your store. And I chose Magento.

4. Find a Theme
After you’ve chosen your ecommerce application, you can customize the look of your online store with the help of a theme.  There are lots of free and premium themes and templates available for open source ecommerce applications, so you just have to find the right look for your company’s branding. Though you're already chosen Magento platform for your store, I still recommend you to reference these themes: Templates for Magento

5. Customize your store’s appearance to match your branding. 
Once you’ve customized the look of your site using a theme, you will need to add your logo, edit text and images, customize emails and contact forms, add important pages to your website, and more. Choose your required plugins and extensions that make your store became friendly and transparent to customers. There are so many different extensions and plugins available for open source applications, allowing you to customize your online store to meet the needs of you and your customers.  There are plugins available to help you manage various aspects of your ecommerce website, including SEO, social media, invoices, customer service, accounting, and much more.

6. Choose a Payment Provider
In order to receive credit and debit card payments from your customers, you will need to decide on a payment provider.  There are lots of payment providers for you to choose from, including PayPal, Authorize.net, Sage Pay, and Stripe, so it’s important to find the right service for your store.  Not all payment providers are compatible with all ecommerce applications, so be sure to choose a service that can be integrated into your chosen application.

7. Set Up Shipping
You will need to decide on the methods of shipping you will offer to your customers, as well as the amount you will charge clients for different shipping options.

8. Maintain Your Online Store
In order to keep your store secure and functional, it is important to keep not only your ecommerce application up to date, but also your theme and any extensions and plugins you install.  Out of date applications, themes, and plugins leave your website vulnerable to hackers, putting you and your customers at risk.


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