Introduction To Ecommerce


 Introduction To Ecommerce

This blog post is for people who are either looking to get started in ecommerce, or those who have been doing it for a while and want to get up to speed on the latest trends and what's working best.

We'll cover everything, from site design, to conversion rates optimization, the best platforms for your particular needs such as WooCommerce or Shopify, how to think about social media marketing on platforms like Facebook and Instagram - even some recommendations on tools that we use every day.
We also have a short video on this topic if you'd rather watch than read:
Carry on reading for more in-depth info.
What is Ecommerce?
It's basically the same as any type of business except that ecommerce uses the internet as a medium to sell your wares.  It can be from a simple ad on Facebook, to owning your own website, and everything in between.  Everything it takes to get people to buy what you're selling online comes under ecommerce. This article looks at ecommerce from the angle of someone who owns their own online store or site, so we'll cover a lot about how to drive traffic and convert visitors into customers. We'll also get into some of the basics of the technical side of building things like a WordPress website, though most of these post will hover around what a business owner needs to know from an ecommerce perspective.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an extension that can be installed on your WordPress site. It's the preferred plugin for almost all ecommerce platforms - so why not use it? It's lightning fast, has tons of features to help you with all kinds of functions for your store, and really makes it easy to ship orders or manage customers. It's also free! Most businesses out there are making up to $100 dollars a month from their online store. That's not a lot of money, but it's enough to get started - and grow your business from there.
Woocommerce Checkout Review
When you set up your store, the checkout process is going to be one of the most important things when it comes to converting customers. You want as few bumps in the road as possible for people buying from you - and this can be achieved by making sure your cart and checkout pages are designed right. It'll stop people abandoning their cart and speeding up the overall process.
What you also want is something that is easy and fast for you to process when people are paying for their products.
A Quick Note On Payment Gateways - Stripe Vs. PayPal
Most of the time, your bank will take a small percentage of every transaction when you use credit cards to process transactions. If you have some cash flow problems, this can be really annoying. A newer payment gateway called Stripe offers no cost processing for low volume merchants , which is great if you're just starting out and want to avoid any extra costs than necessary. It's also way faster than PayPal and doesn't require users to have a PayPal account to pay through it. There's an easy setup guide here on How To Monetize Your Website With Stripe .  There are also a lot of other payment gateways out there, but these are two of the most common. 
That's it. Let's get into some of the nitty gritty!
Starting Your Business: Is It Worth It?
The first thing to think about is whether or not running your own store is even worth it. We'll talk about that more in a minute, but for now - start your own website or blog on WordPress and set up WooCommerce (click through those links if you don't know what they do). 
Is It Worth It? - Pros & Cons of Self-Hosting
Pros of Self-Hosting: You're in full control over every aspect. You're in complete control of your data and transactions. You don't have to pay any monthly fees. You can set up multiple stores. You can choose to go with a more customizable store, or a more traditional store like Shopify and WordPress.
Cons of Self-Hosting: Dealing with customer support if something goes wrong is a pain. That includes dealing with errors too - even if you're using Yoast SEO to help out with SEO (more on that in the next section) it's going to take away from time you could be spending actually making money on your site. You may not know how to do everything, or need to hire a developer. This is going to cost you money up front. You're going to be dealing with some technical aspects that you probably aren't familiar with at first - and it can be difficult to get help if you're stuck in some kind of loop.
When you look at the pros & cons, self hosting can seem like a big hassle - but we'll show you how to set it up step by step for free (except for the domain, which is $12-$15 from most places). We'll also talk about ways we've found that make it easier and more streamlined.
The Step-By-Step Guide to Building a WordPress Shop
(This is the guide we followed, and I highly recommend it as a starting point)
Setting up WordPress and WooCommerce is really straightforward. It's something you can do in about 15 minutes from your computer - which you could also do while shopping or while doing something else online. There are tons of tutorials out there on this if you need help.  Something I love about setting up your own store is that it's completely web based . This means you can do everything from your laptop, your phone, or even your tablet if you're on the go. It's up to you.
Setting Up Your Domain and Web Hosting
The first thing you need to do is get a domain name for your online store. So for example, let's say I'm opening an online shoe store and trying to sell high end running shoes. My domain name would be something like this:
This is one of the most important parts of setting up your site, because it's a big part of what people see when they come looking for what you're selling online - and it makes sure they don't get lost along the way.

You can run your own store for free, and you can get started with some great tutorials on how to do exactly that - so do it! I used this exact process to start my own store and it's one of the best things I've ever done. It really takes the pressure off of trying to figure out how you're going to make money from your site and just lets you focus on what it is that you love most - writing about fashion, making new designs, or whatever it is you're passionate about.
The next thing we'll talk about is SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

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