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Step By Step Guide To Setting Up An Ecommerce Website For Your Business

Step By Step Guide To Setting Up An Ecommerce Website For Your Business

Business and ecommerce have become inseparable terms today. Over the years, ecommerce has virtually become the most significant aspect of the retail industry. The world has taken to the trend of doing business online.

According to some estimates, more than eighty five percent of internet users have purchased something on the internet at least once and half the number of internet users shop online regularly. That means, the online market is big and is ever expanding. So, why not set up an ecommerce website if you have something to sell?

While setting up an ecommerce website may seem like a daunting task at first, with all the tools and services readily available in the market, it really is easy setting up any kind of website on the internet.

That being said, you certainly need to pay attention to a few key issues to avoid pitfalls. Here we have tried to make this article a step by step guide to creating a perfect ecommerce website for your business.

Step 1: Lay out an ecommerce business plan.

Planning is a must in every venture if success is the goal. You need a plan to setting up a website. A plan doesn’t need to be a long detailed document with series of tasks but at the least a rough idea about how and where to start and end.

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Do a fair amount of brainstorming and don’t hesitate to take notes of every possible question that pops up in your mind. What will you be selling on your website? Who are your target customers? How should your website’s UI look? How much will it cost you to set up a decent ecommerce website?

Do some research – a good lot of learning is required to lay a good ground work for your ecommerce project. Do some math away from your computer if need be and build on your idea; dig a little deeper into it. You sure do need to spend some time on the drawing board. You most certainly cannot expect to get anywhere without a plan.

Step 2: Get a domain name.

A domain name is what identifies your website on the web. Once you’ve identified the products you’ll be selling through your website, choose an appropriate domain name for your website that represents your business accurately.

A good name has the chances of making it big on the internet. A domain name which is short, easy to remember, easy to spell, catchy and unforgettable is likely to draw more visitors to your store. You can purchase domain names through hosting companies or domain registrars.

Step 3: Choose the right web hosting service.

All websites need to sit on a server somewhere to be available on the internet and the server configurations has a large part to play in overall performance of your ecommerce websites on the internet.

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How your website is hosted determines, to a large extent, its speed, uptime and performance. It is absolutely essential that you host website through the right host.

An online store should be able to handle a lot of traffic and should have maximum uptime. Google has hinted that website uptime and speed are important factors to acquire a good ranking on search engines.

There are hundreds of web hosting companies in the market that offer different kinds of free and paid hosting services or packages with a variety of features. Since free hosting services provide limited features, a paid hosting is advised for a reliable service. Choose the right webhost that allows growth and flexibility. Some webhosting companies also offer domain registration service and tools to build website.

Step 4: Choose the right ecommerce platform.

Ecommerce platform is the key component of any ecommerce website. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to choose the right ecommerce platform. Choosing the right ecommerce platform can be an overwhelming task but it is the most crucial step and cannot be compromised for anything. One great way to choose the right platform is to check out the platforms of the best ecommerce websites similar to the one you are trying to set up.

Choose an ecommerce platform carefully that most suits your business needs, as having to move to another platform later can be costly and time consuming. There are many vendors out there who provide you shopping cart software and other ecommerce tools to give you the best ecommerce solutions.

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The best ecommerce platforms provide you with all shopping feature – carts, payment options, website performance statistics, security and more. They can be purchased in a bundle which offers all features from hosting to security certificates (hosted solutions) or can be purchased separately and integrated into your ecommerce websites plugins (standalone solutions).

The kinds of ecommerce solutions you find in the market are categorized as off-the-shelf software, bespoke software and Software as a Service – SaaS. They all have their advantages and drawbacks, so choose the one that best fit your needs. Some of the top ecommerce solution providers in the market are Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Wix, and Sellr.

Step 5: Make sure to obtain a secure certificate.

A secure certificate (SSL) secures the connection between a visitor’s web browser and the web server hosting your website to ensure a secure transaction. If you have opted for a bundled pre-packaged ecommerce solution, then it is likely that your ecommerce solution provider takes care of the security. But, if that’s not the case, you should most definitely obtain a secure certificate (SSL) alongside the domain name.

You can purchase a secure certificate from SSL certificate providers like Thawte and Symantec for example. Also some hosting companies take care of SSL certificate for you charging you separately for the certificate.

Step 6: Design an easy to navigate ecommerce website.

Let’s come down to the actual website building task. How your products and services are presented on your website makes a significant difference between success and failure of your ecommerce venture, so your website cannot afford to look clumsy. Design a website that properly showcases your products, poorly showcasing your products makes you lose sales.

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You lose valuable customers if it is not easy to steer around your website. Keep it simple yet elegant and make it easy to navigate intuitively. Also optimize your website for mobile devices.

Step 7: Choose ecommerce payment methods.

To facilitate online payments, you need to secure an internet merchant account (IMA) that lets you receive online payments. There are banks that can set up IMA for you. Almost all ecommerce platforms support a wide range of payment methods and give you options to integrate other customer-friendly payment gateways with your ecommerce website.

Although digital payment gateways like PayPal and Google Checkout are cornering the market, credits cards still remain the simplest and easiest ways to purchase things online. Also make sure that you meet the appropriate level of PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council) compliance.

Step 8: Create a marketing strategy for your ecommerce website.

Once your website is up and running, you need to drive visitors and customers to your site. For that, create a marketing strategy. Spread the word and attract customers. Set aside some budget for advertising and make use of banner ads, Google AdWords, PPC.

Optimize your websites for search engines so that it gets noticed. Promote your website on the social networks. Start creating content, do a good amount of blogging.

Featured photo credit: http://getrefe.tumblr.com/ via 66.media.tumblr.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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