Are you looking to build an online store but feel like you’re not sure where to start? You may already know the product or service you’d like to offer, but other than that, you’re drawing a mental blank.
For first-time online entrepreneurs, this is a common problem and it is often visible when users see your site for the first time. In order to avoid looking like a complete novice, we’ve put together 4 key components to help guide you through building your online store and making it as successful as possible.
Keep reading below for more information!
Finding the Perfect Domain Name
Your domain name will be how people and search engines find you, so you’ll want it to be a good one. Unfortunately, finding the exact domain name you want will likely come at a price due to cybersquatters.
In order to find the cheapest domain name that is specific to your business, there are a few tips to follow:
- Do use your company name if it is available;
- Avoid strange spellings, odd punctuation (like hyphens and underscores);
- Aim to use .com as it is a top-level domain and highly recognizable but don’t shy away from other options (.co, .net, .org) if your domain name is available there instead;
- Choose something that is unique to your business – your business name might be the perfect option;
- If using your business name isn’t an option, consider a short descriptor of what you do – if you sell pillowcases, you might consider something like bestpillowcases(dot)com
- Don’t be afraid of throwing an article (the, a, an) or pluralizing if you need to do so in order to get the domain name closest to your ideal
It will take some time to come up with a domain name and can be tricky because a lot of the great ones are already taken. Don’t let this discourage you, you’ll find something that works and maybe even be able to buy the exact one you want at a later date!
Contacting Your Business Should Be Easy
When you begin building your website, make sure that your contact information is readily available and easy to see! There are several options that you might consider, including listing an email address, phone number, or having users submit a contact form.
While you might think that these are all relatively generic forms of communication, there are other options available! One is opting for a live chat but this can cost some money to keep running – even if there aren’t any requests for support.
There’s another option that is similar to a live chat but is more cost-effective for new website owners. This option is called a conversational contact form. This allows users to get in touch with the designated person quickly and can avoid a long string of emails back and forth or customers waiting on hold. A conversational contact form allows for a chat-like experience without requiring someone to constantly be available.
Whatever contact option you choose, just be sure that it is easily found and that inquiries receive responses in a timely manner!
More Than Just a Blog
Blogs are supposed to be fun to read and informational, helping potential customers discover your brand, products, and offering industry insights. While these are all great purposes for a blog, having well-written, SEO-friendly content is just as important.
SEO is short for search engine optimization; it’s important because it will help your website be found by new customers when they search for specific phrases or words on their preferred search engine. The goal is generally to be ranked on the first page of results so that people find your business with ease.
To rank highly in the search results page, your website must match a portion of what the customer is searching for (keywords) and have great domain authority. There are several factors that are considered when determining a website’s domain authority but they generally have to do with links – are other reputable websites linking to your page (backlinks) and are you using internal links (linking within your own content)?
Overall, domain authority looks at whether or not the general public can trust your website, whether it’s easy to use, and of course, search engine optimization/keyword placement. And yes, SEO can increase your domain authority which will increase your traffic, which increases your ranking – it is all related!
Grow Your Email List (and Actually See Conversions)
Chances are, you’ve shopped online for a few items before and have noticed that some websites have a pop-up window that asks for your email in exchange for a promo code, free shipping, or some other discount. If you opted to give that company your information, you probably have received a few emails from them (and probably hit ‘open’!)
This is a simple tactic that companies of all sizes use to build their subscriber list and create repeat business. You may also offer gated or exclusive content in exchange for a user’s email address or simply ask your current customers for referrals.
Growing your email list is only half the battle – you need users to actually open the email and complete your call to action. You may opt to increase the sense of urgency by limiting the time an offer is good for or you may choose to break your email list into smaller segments to send more personalized promotions.
Choosing to segment your email list is a great way to appeal to each individual and make readers feel as though you’re speaking directly to them. You may wish to mention sales on items they’ve previously bought, reach out to users after a period of inactivity, or even ask them about their abandoned shopping cart.
Typically, these emails are well-received and ultimately cause the reader to make a purchase or complete your chosen call to action.
Seeing Your Store Succeed
The tips listed here are by no means a comprehensive list of every single item you’ll need for your online store – in fact, they are meant to be a foundation from which you can build. In order for your store to see the most success, it is advisable to implement all four of these components (even if you have to do so over time.)
The best part about each of these tips is that they are cost-effective and can either be completed by you or a hired professional! It may take some time to learn the finer points of each component but having a general idea can lead to more conversions than you’d initially expect.
Just remember: building an online store won’t be easy but it’s entirely possible with the proper planning!