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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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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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