lady on a laptop using a credit card to make a purchase on an ecommerce website

Requirements for a solid ecommerce store

So you’re wanting to build an ecommerce store for your business but don’t quite know where to begin.

That’s perfectly fine. Everyone has wanted to try something out for the first time only to be left standing figuring out what the heck they need to do to start out.

Creating an ecommerce store isn’t the hardest thing ever (especially if you hire a developer), but you do need a few things before you start that will make building the store much easier. These will give your website a strong foundation from which you can build everything else. And the end result will be a website that you and your customers are happy with and a great tool for your business.

So, here are some requirements for building an ecommerce store. Keep in mind that these aren’t the only things, but they are the biggest things that can make life much easier.

Solid, steady web hosting

The first thing that you have to have for an ecommerce website is a solid and steady web host. This means no cheap or shared hosts, but rather a reputable company that can give you dedicated space and powerful service.

Cheap hosting has its place. If you’re just looking to have a simple website where people can find you online and maybe fill out a contact form, then yeah, a cheap host is probably all you need.

But if you’re going to be selling, then it’s time to find something more premium. For starters, premium web hosts, like GoDaddy or WP Engine, cost more (obviously), but have a stronger product. You’re less likely to have your website go down because of server issues. Plus, your page speed times are likely to be quicker since they can offer more power.

Plus, the security protections are paramount if you’re selling online. While your website on a cheap host might be as protected as you can make it, if a hacker gets into someone else’s website on the same host, they could potentially backdoor their way into your website. Premium hosts contain each website to prevent this from happening. So you can feel a bit easier about your site’s security.

I’ve written before about my top web hosts for WordPress websites, but I can definitely recommend Bluehost and GoDaddy for all websites and Liquid Web, Kinsta and WP Engine for WordPress websites.

A platform that can sell products

Next, you’re going to want to select a platform where you can start to sell your items. This could be something like Wix, Squarespace or Shopify or a full-on content management system like WordPress or Drupal.

To be perfectly honest, basically all of my experience has been with WordPress, so that’s what I typically recommend to small business owners. WordPress plus the WooCommerce plugin plus a theme built to support WooCommerce makes for a pretty powerful platform that can allow you to do a lot of things other platforms might not allow you to.

No matter which route you go here, you need to make sure that it’s something that’s going to work for you. Can you upload your own branding? Can you make your website standout from the multitude of other websites out there? Is there a community where you can fall back to for support? Those are some of the questions to ask when figuring out what platform to use.

Pick what works and go with it.

Tell the Story of Your Small Business With a Website

Every small business has a story. And every small business needs a website to help tell it. A website allows people to find you online, serves as a home base for any marketing effort and can help you tell the story of your business. So if you’re ready to give your business its first website or are ready to take your site to the next level, let’s get started on making that happen.

Let’s Get Started on Telling Your Story With a Website

A plan to make sure everything runs smoothly

Finally, you need to make sure you have a plan in place to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible and to quickly fix problems should they arise. I say it all the time because it’s true, but if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. That goes for everything, by the way.

You’re going to need to plan out how the website is set up and what the settings should be. You’ll also need to write down how products are added to the website so that you can reference it when needed. And obviously plan out how you’re going to market the website.

And then you need to think about what could go wrong. What would you do if the site goes down or if a client couldn’t submit payment? What happens if an order gets lost in the process or shipping becomes a problem? How are you going to solve those problems?

Those are the questions you need to answer in your planning. Having these things written down before you start selling is going to make your life so much easier. You’ll know exactly where to go and what to do if something goes wrong. And then you can fix the problem quicker, a win for everyone.

How you plan these things out is up to you. The important part is that you actually develop these plans.

So if you’re looking for to build an ecommerce store for your website, these are some of the biggest items that you’ll need. If you take care of these things, you’ll be well on your way to selling online successfully.

Keep Learning with the Small Business Websites Newsletter

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to websites. How do you build a website that’s going to help your business grow? How do you manage a website to help your business grow? What’s the latest website news that you should know about? What are some websites you can look to for inspiration?

The Small Business Websites Newsletter helps you answer each of these questions. The biweekly newsletter will take a deep dive into some website-related topic, like SEO, WordPress, how to plan a website and more, to help you learn more about websites. I’ll also include some website news that you should know about as well as add inspiration I’ve found that might help you. And you’ll even get discounts for various products I offer. And all of this is for free.

So if you want to be better at building or managing your small business website (or any website for that matter), then you’ll want to sign up today!

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