Build A Website On A Budget
Building a website may be the most confusing aspect of starting an online business, so we’re going to make it as easy for you as possible. Remember that the most important thing is sales. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you can generate if that traffic generates no sales.
It may be tempting to build a website with a beautiful, complicated, unique design for your store. You may want to spend money on fancy widgets, a custom template, and all the bells and whistles. However, the best thing to do is keep it as simple as possible. All those bells and whistles may make you feel fancier on the website’s back end, but do most of them make any difference at all to a potential customer? The answer is no.
It’s best to build a website by creating a simple website from a template. The most popular websites to do this are Shopify, Wix, and SquareSpace. They will provide you with an easy-to-customize template and free tools to help get you started. By going through these websites, they help you set up your domain and hosting as part of the deal, freeing you up to deal with the fun stuff: making sales.
When you build a website It’s important to not put in too much time or money in the beginning because you don’t know how your business is going to do in those first couple years. Ideally, it will be a smashing success, but that isn’t guaranteed. It is not good business sense to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars making a fancy website for a business that may not succeed and isn’t yet turning a profit.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should build a shoddy website. It is perfectly possible to build a polished and professional website on the cheap, so that’s what you should do, at least in the beginning. When your business has some years under its belt and is turning a tidy profit, it has earned an extra investment into its website. Until then, it just has to be functional, not fancy.
Hosting & Cloud
As we discussed, to build a website you need a host and domain. The easiest thing to do is pick a service you can build your business on, such as Shopify, Wix, or WordPress. With these, you can purchase hosting and a domain name all in one place. For the sake of this article, let’s say you choose Shopify, but these tips apply to all of them.
Since this is our first business and we want to keep it simple for now, let’s go with a simple template and a dropshipping-based store on Shopify. You’ll need an extension like Oberlo to import products into your store. You can set prices and create descriptions for your items. Make sure each item fits a certain theme. You don’t want your website’s products to be unrelated to one another, or you’re an online Wal-Mart.
We will create a website that matches what you want to sell. Pick a basic free theme to customize. You can customize fonts, categories, images, and colors, all for free. Even with a basic template, you can create a stunning website. You can create pages for certain collections, upload a logo, and more.
If your build a website for E-Commerce you’ll also need to set up payment settings. Shopify makes it easy by connecting you to payment providers and PayPal to receive payments. PayPal is the easiest payment gateway due to being able to use it with all cards and even checking accounts. You’ll also need to set up taxes, and know each transaction will have a small fee.
Product Descriptions & Prices
Once you build a website and set up your online store, you can set it so that all your products are imported into your shop with a certain percentage of markup, or you can price each thing individually. You don’t want to price so high that no one will want to pay it, but you also need to make sure you’re making a profit.
Give your products catchy titles and descriptions that include your target keywords. If you copy paste a description, search engines will know and you won’t know up in searches. You can even pay a freelancer to write descriptions for you. Your items must also contain pictures of what you’re selling. In the beginning it’s fine to use the stock images, but it would be a good idea eventually to order the product yourself and take a professional and unique image, or hire someone to do it for you. Unique images will award you higher search results.
When you import your items, you can choose shipping methods. To keep costs low, always use ePacket shipping if available, because it’s the cheapest. Disclose on your product pages how long shipping time will be.
Some Web Tools
Though it’s tempting to buy all the fancy extensions and apps that Shopify has, stick to the basics. Anything you can pay for, there’s likely a free version available. Once you have build a website and start to make money, you can invest that back into your company and start to get professional images and apps. Until then, stick to the basics. Stock images and basic tools can be amazing if you’re creative enough.
Here are some great apps to have on your website:
1. Mailing list
2. Social sharing buttons
3. Dropshipping app like Oberlo
4. Marketing apps like Kit
5. Product reviews
6. Announcement bar, such as one advertising free shipping or a sale