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Building an Online eCommerce Store – The Necessary Components – Part 2

In this blog post, we will focus on the necessary components of eCommerce What you need to Build an Online Store:

What You Need to Build an Online Store:

open-shop-graphicNumber One:  You Need a Product or Products:

  1. You need to have a viable product or a viable service,  some thing or service a person can purchase.
  2. Every product or service needs a product name, product description, product price, item number (optional), category (for website seo and organization), and a list of variables (small, medium or large; red, yellow or blue, etc)
  3. Every product will need a method and price of delivery; for example:  online courses are downloaded, while widgets are packaged, shipped and mailed.  (Most eCommerce designers will be able to guide you on the many shipping and downloading choices)
  4. It is also best to decide ahead of time how you will access and use client/customer information that is gathered in the purchasing process in email marketing going forward.

Number Two:  Choose an eCommerce Platform:

Shopify:

shopify-logoEvery online store needs an eCommerce platform, a system of gathering ordering information on the website, relaying the payment information through  merchant account (paypal, authorize.net, shopify, etc.), adding that information to your own database for future access, and thanking the customer and sending them either back to the website or back to a thank you page.

eCommerce Platforms need to be “managed”.  You may have changes on products, need to add new products and remove old products, plan sales and specials, add holiday coupons and this is why your eCommerce website will need to be managed.

If price is not an issue and you have some capital to invest in the building of your website, you may want to build on Shopify.   This link will give you a 14 day free trial so you can get a feel for how it works.   Their system is build with website management in mind.  They offer various packages and it will run anywhere from $10 up to $100 a month, depending upon how many products you have and what type of service you want.

Paypal:

paypal logoIf you are starting small with limited investment, you may want to think about Paypal.com.  You can open an Paypal.com account for free, and you only pay a commission on items that you sell.  It is still the most popular option out there today.  It is very easy to hook up and most website development systems have a pretty easy setup to add paypal merchant accounts to a website.

If you will only have a few items for sale, you can use paypal buttons on any standard website and they will work.  In other words, paypal has an option where you can copy html code for each product and put it on any web page and it will work.  This is a great option for someone who wants to sell a small menu of services or products and is building and managing their own websites.

Other Merchant Account Choices:

The amount of other choices is long and could become pretty complicated.  Google wallet, authorize.net, bitcoin, etc.  Just search “merchant accounts” and you will come up with lots of them.  Bear in mind that they will all need to be added to your website.  If you plan to contact a web designer to build your web store, hold off and go with one of the choices that your web designer is familiar and comfortable with.  Otherwise, if you open your merchant account on your own, you may create a situation where you have the account, but lack the know-how or professional to make it work.

Number Three – Every Online Web Store Needs to be Hosted:

bluehost-iconEvery website or online store needs to be hosted.  Web hosting companies pay for, maintain and troubleshoot multiple “servers” that you rent out on a yearly basis.  They advertise a monthly price, but hosting always has to be paid by the year – at least all professional web hosting companies work that way.

As part of your hosting package, you will get to host your website on that server where it will be delivered by anyone who types in your address, and also, anytime a search engine pulls it into its search results.

The hosting package also offers many other perks like the ability to create emails with names that match your website.  For example:  If you purchase the name www.mynewbusiness.com, you can set up multiple emails like this:  info@mynewbusiness.com, inquiries@mynewbusiness.com, jim@mynewbusiness.com, whatever you want.

The hosting package also “hosts” all of your pictures and documents that you will be linking to from your eCommerce or blog.

Number Four – Security – SSL Certificate – It’s Almost Mandatory:

ssl-certificate-iconSSL Certificates used to be optional, but they are really mandatory right now.  Google Search gives precedence to websites that are mobile-optimized as well as have the added security layer of an SSL certificate.  Facebook requires an SSL certificate to pull in your store onto Facebook. Since Google and Facebook are both the largest search options out there today, it makes sent to add the SSL certificate to your cart when opening your hosting account.  You will be very glad you did.  They can be free (as of this writing, bluehost.com is offering free ssl certificates with their hosting packages) to $80 to $100 a year.

 

Number Five – Pick a Powerful URL Name:

The days of naming a business Atlas Products or Destiny Travels are gone.  Both of these names do not contain one clue as to what type of business they really do.  You need to choose a keyword-laden name.  For example:  If Atlas Products is in the automobile tire business, a better name would be Atlas Tires or Atlas Car Tires.  Destiny Travels may be a travel agency that specializes in cruises and vacation packages.  Their name would be better as Destiny Cruises or Destiny Cruise and Vacation Packages.  You get the picture.

Choose your eCommerce business name and website address smartly.  Use descriptive keywords and a descriptive url address.  For absolute beginners a URL address is your web address, for example:  www.mynewbusiness.com.

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Building an eCommerce Online Store | Step by Step | Part 1

Online Stores Are Growing Leaps & Bounds Over Brick & Mortar:

us-small-business-administration-iconAccording to the U.S. Small Business Administration, online businesses are leaps and bounds faster than traditional brick and mortar stores. Those of us that live in urban and semi-urban areas see store closings every week. The good news is that there are many, many more purchases being made online!  Sometimes the same companies closing their doors are focusing 100% on online sales.

 

baby-boomers-iconThe demographics of the USA are changing too. Just think, the largest group of “purchasers” are now either approaching 60, already-60 or older. These people no longer want to “stroll” malls that would require 5 miles to get 5 different items. No wonder the shopping malls are closing at record speed.

Even the way people socialize and join communities has changed. Facebook, Twitter, Meetups and online interest groups have given people a new way to shop. They read trusted blogs, who review products and even demonstrate them. With an affiliate link, they go off to Amazon.com or Walmart.com or some other online ecommerce store, and they make a purchase based upon “recommendations”.

So if you are planning to open a business of any kind, don’t forget to build an online ecommerce website alongside of it. You may find out that it becomes your main business. You cannot beat the overhead of an online ecommerce shopping cart.

What Kind of Client Are You?

I have been building websites and eCommerce websites for many years. In my opinion, there are two types of clients: One type wants to deal with a local business and sit face-to-face while planning the website and learning how to maintain and manage their website. They do not like the idea of having someone far away that could disappear tomorrow.  If you relate to this type of client, you should build your website with a local website design and development company or a local web design freelancer in your area.

The second type of client is someone who is starting a business “on the side”.  They have a full time job and sometimes a family too. These clients want a stress-free, hands-off, I-pay-you-to-do-it-all approach to starting an online business. I cater to both types of clients and so do most other web design firms.  You will benefit from someone who has great website design skills, great prices, and can use screen-sharing tools for all conferences.

So if you are a local person, call the website designers in your area. If you are looking for a hands-free approach to starting your business, you need to find someone who will give you phone and screen-sharing support.

What is Screen-Sharing Support?

team-viewer-iconjoinme-iconScreen-sharing support is done with a few different softwares that are free and available online. One is called TeamViewer and another one is called JoinMe.  They both allow both the Website Designer and the client to share one computer screen, so you can both look at the website together to discuss design implementation as well as design changes.

This works well too in a “first-meeting” scenario, so you and your designer can both get “on the same page” regarding what type of designs you like. You can rifle through 20 websites together and pick and choose the functionality, design ideas, headline ideas, marketing strategies and seo implementation. It makes conferences very easy and much quicker.

Building an eCommerce Website – Should You Choose to DIY?

Are you a seasoned DIYer?  Building an eCommerce website can be done by a DIYer with a little online guidance.  There are many YouTube teachers showing you how to build your own eCommerce.  I have many free courses myself that you can see on my YouTube Channel.  The best tip I can give you is to choose one teacher and stick with them.  If you just watch random videos that “look interesting”, although the information is contained in the videos, the information is not curricularized in any way.  You will not understand what you need to do first, second, third.  You will not know the basics from the add-ons.  And you will not know how to proceed without a clear understanding of how to proceed step-by-step.

dwd-playlist-teach-yourself-html-css-landing-pageAbove is a YouTube playlist that has about 5 videos that teach you how to teach yourself HTML & CSS, just enough, to put up a landing page.  This is a good test to know whether you can be a DIYer and build your own website.

 

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eCommerce – What You Need to Sell Online

What You Need To Sell Online:

open-shop-graphicSelling online is not as easy as it may seem to be. This is because you will be relying solely on text, video and audio.  Unlike a brick & mortar store, there’s no such thing as a great location.  Text, video & audio are important channels to incorporate into your online marketing campaigns if you want to succeed in selling anything online because they will all drive the traffic to your eCommerce website. Having a great web design is not enough for you to sell online.  There are a number of strategies you must employ for you to successfully run an online business. The use of social media and the use of SEO service are just some of the strategies and are now, in 2017 and 2018, crucial.

Have a functional and responsive website:

Create a great website design for your online store that will enable you to show your visitors what you have in store for them.  We at DeerfieldWebDesigner.com offer packages that include many upscale design features that are packaged into basic eCommerce websites.  You can also seek the services of a professional web designer in your area is you prefer to design and create a professional business website for you.

Your eCommerce Website Must Be Responsive:

responsive-web-design-companyA responsive website is one that shrinks and expands depending upon what viewport (mobile phone, tablet or desktop) the online viewer is using.  Everything on the page needs to be designed with “collapsing” in mind.  This is something that most (but not all) web designers will be aware of and know how to do.

Google now “rejects” websites that are no optimized for mobile viewing; the reason being that over 50% of searches are now done on smart phone.  Since Google’s focus is delivering the best content to its users, they don’t want users pulling up old websites that users have to scroll up and down and then side-to-side.  Responsive websites scroll up and down, but not side-to-side.

For a clear perspective of what a responsive website is, you can watch this short video I made explaining it visually:

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=4Pi1jySP-Bw

Remember – Content Is King – Even in eCommerce:

When it to comes to tips on how to sell online, it is important to remember that what you present or offer to your audience is what they see and perceive. This means that if you want your products to sell, you need to provide illustrations, pictures, very descriptive written content on how that particular product is going to solve their problems.  If you are selling functional items, it is even best to show a video on how to use, how it works, etc.  Be sure that you explain how effective your products are and how functional they can be in addressing the issues of your customers.

Do not be afraid to use videos, pictures and audio files:

If you are offering professional services, it is a good idea to explain in detail what your services are and how these services will help your customers. If you are selling products, you can use images of those products to illustrate to your potential customers what you have in mind for them.  It is important to point out that most people looking for products online are attracted to the images and videos they see online.   If you are providing services, it gives the potential customers a preview of who you are, they get to see you explaining things, and they will feel more comfortable setting up an appointment or clicking the Buy Now button.

Getting Customer & Client Reviews is Crucial:

You should always encourage your customers to leave reviews about the different products you offer. The reviews will not only give your viewers some additional vital content about that particular product but they will help in encouraging potential customers to go ahead and make purchases.  Reviews are now something that Google and Facebook take into account in their search criteria, so make requesting client and customer feedback and ratings part of your overall marketing strategy.

Use simple shopping cart system:

Your online store should have a simple shopping cart and payment system. If the system involves a lot of pages and complicated modes of payment that are not effective, your customers will abandon what you have and look for an online store that has a website that is easy to use and has a seamless payment system. Include various payment methods including PayPal, and credit card payment systems.

If you have only a few items and are on a limited budget when building your online eCommerce, you can use Paypal buttons.  Here is how to add PayPal buttons:

In Summary:

Running a successful online business requires patience, consistency, research, customer interaction and offering customers what they need. Having a professionally designed eCommerce website, optimized product & services content, and an easy-to-use checkout system are just some of the things you need to succeed in e-commerce.

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How to Optimize Your Facebook Business Page

Tips on How to Optimize Your Facebook Business Page:

facebook-business-page-example-from-dwdFacebook is the most popular social network today with over 1.09 billion users logging in on a daily basis. This is simple indication of what this huge platform has to offer in terms of business opportunities.  Ecommerce websites and blog owners have realized the potential presented by this social media platform and are using their business pages to engage, interact with their customers and visitors to drive them to their websites and convert them into leads. Here are tips for the successful optimization of your Facebook business page:

Create a business page not a personal profile:

You need to create a business page that represents your brand not a personal profile.  This is a common mistake done by a number of business people, especially those just starting out.  Facebook pages normally look like personal profiles, but they have unique tools now for brands, organizations and businesses that can make you stand out.

Get a vanity URL for your page:

Once you have successfully developed your business page, Facebook will randomly assign a unique number and URL for your facebook business page; for example:  facebook.com/yourbusinessname/254322.  You should then customize this URL to make it easier for you to share in online marketing, facebook ads, and even email marketing campaigns.  Your visitors and audience will be more likely to find your page if your URL is customized to fit your business name and/or overall theme.  Your visitors will also find it easier to share the information they find on your page by simply copying and pasting the URL, not to mention how much easier it is to remember a url if it is associated with your business name.

Include a great cover photo:

Facebook allows you to include an 851 X 315-pixel picture as the cover photo of your business page. Ensure that you upload a great picture that represents your brand.  The cover photo should capture the attention of your visitors and encourage them to check out what the page is all about and to learn more.  You can link pages from your WordPress Library and to learn more about a WordPress library, how to upload pictures from your computer, click on the video below.

Include a recognizable profile picture

On top of including a beautiful cover photo, you should also upload a recognizable profile picture. It is good to use a picture that your visitors can easily recognize or associate with.  If you are in the beginning research stages of building an online business from scratch, keep in mind that you will need a banner, a profile picture and a logo type picture.  It is good planning to incorporate these in your initial branding designs.

If you are the business and you will be self-promoting your service, you can use a professional headshot of yourself.  If your business is branded with a color scheme and logo, you will want to use your logo as the profile picture.  This picture will appear as a thumbnail image next to all your updates on Facebook, therefore choose this picture wisely.

Optimize your ‘About’ section:

The about section is where you let your audience know what your Facebook Business page is all about. Therefore, be as short and concise as possible.  Give a brief description of what your page is about and do not exaggerate anything in this section.  Be sure to list your services, product line, short mission statement, anything that your clients and/or customers will want to know about you as well as anything unusual about you that sets you off from the competition.

Earn the Very responsive to messages badge:

This badge is only earned if you respond fast to the messages sent to you by other users.  This badge is important because it will encourage your visitors to contact you and even get to know more about your brand.  It is one of the first things you can do as a new business getting started on Facebook.

If you do not have a Facebook business page for your online business, you are missing a lot of opportunities to effectively market your brand.

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Deerfield Web Designer is the Best Web Design Company in 2018

Deerfield Web Designer.com is the go-to company for web design in 2018.  Why?  Let’s take a look at the qualities necessary to make the claim of being the best WordPress Web Design Company.  What are these qualities?

  1. best-web-design-of-2018How well does the website design company and web design programmers know WordPress?
  2. How visually appealing are the websites this company has built?
  3. Is there a portfolio you can look at?
  4. Are the websites built with the latest and best design guidelines?
  5. Are the websites built using the best and latest seo strategies per Google’s requirements?

WordPress is our Specialty:

Wordpress IllustrationDeerfieldWebDesigner.com specializes in building WordPress websites and eCommerce websites.  It also specializes in start-up business builds.  Every website, although it begins with a WordPress template, is customized to each client’s needs and desires.  We can bring a concept to completion with simple drawings or a combination of a client’s favorite “similar websites”.

DeerfieldWebDesigner.com does not sell cookie-cutter websites that are thrown together using templates and plugging in different text and different pictures.  It starts with a google keyword search, a future marketing strategy, and starts customizing the website build from there.

How Well Does DeerfieldWebDesigner.com Know WordPress?

We have been using WordPress from the beginning.  We are way beyond the 10,000-hour point of reaching expert status.  It is our stock and trade.  Sure, we can build hand-coded websites, but by building on WordPress, the client “cashes in” on WordPress developers keeping up with the latest in coding changes, WordPress developer changes, plugin software changes, and security changes.  Just by using the WordPress platform, you are getting a whole developer team in the background for free.

The question a client should really ask a website design company is:  Why wouldn’t you build on WordPress?

How Visually Appealing and Customized Do the Websites Look?

When viewing a companies portfolio, check to see if all of the websites look the same.  This is a big clue that they are producing template-based, non-customized websites.  Each website should look completely different, as each client and business has a different feel, a different goal and different needs.  The portfolio will reveal whether the company is capable of this type of customization.

Are They Using the Best Website Design Guidelines & Google Search Criteria?

google-search-graphicNot only does DeerfieldWebDesigner follow best-design guidelines and latest changes in WordPress, with the latest in design changes, but it also keeps up with the ever-changing Google Search Criteria.  SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is crucially important in building a website.  It is not going to help you if you have a beautiful website, but no one will ever see it.  SEO is needed in order to allow the Google search engines to understand what your website is about, what services you are offering, what products you have for sale.

For this and many more reasons, DeerfieldWebDesigner.com is the Best WordPress Web Design Company in 2018!  With our long list of satisfied customers and 5-star ratings on Google & Facebook reviews, we will do everything in our power to make you the best website.  We strongly believe that no one else will make you as happy or be as willing to go the extra mile than us.

Check out our Portfolio, our Web Design Packages and eCommerce Web Design Packages.

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