There are tons of tutorials, articles and blog posts about how can you start an online business. With so much information out there, this sometimes leads us unable to choose which track to follow. On this post, I distilled and specifically choose the steps that you will only need just to get started. These are what I believe the “lead” dominoes that once knock down it will push you to follow through the other tasks of your eCommerce venture requires.
On this article, I assume that you’re a new entrepreneur that doesn’t have any idea how to set up a website. But do have a product in mind that you think have the potential to be sold online. These steps will require no coding skills and you will not need help from developer to do this. Common sense and basic computing, of course, is essential.
None of the fuss, just 3 steps to take action for. Let’s do this.
1. Get a domain name
It’s only a URL, your address on the internet, not a tangible stuff you can hold or display on your wall. The domain name is the internet address that your audience will type in their browser to get to your website. E.g www.yourbusiness.com, the your business here represents your business. the .com is an extension that tells about what website category is your website about. On this example, it’s .com that which represents top-level domain for Commerce.
The domain name you choose can be your business name too but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. You can have a different domain name to represent your business.
Here’s an example: Our small business is named; “Charm’s Cakes and Cupcakes” this business name is very long, though it sounds very sweet and charming, users will not bother to type i in their browser if we choose www.charmscakesandcupcakes.com. Lucky enough, we were able to secure www.charmscakes.com, pretty neat huh.
Now get yours. Come up with the coolest name you can have, brainstorm with your team, See what your competitors are using. Spend enough time to think about it. I got short guidelines here for you on choosing a domain name.
Must be short and easy to remember
Easy to type with, avoid hyphens and numbers
Memorable and resembles your business
Use appropriate domain name extension, e.g. .com for business, .edu for education institution
Where to buy? Here are three websites you can go to, we call these name registrars.
- Dot.ph (for my fellow countrymen who wants .ph for their domain name extension)
I highly recommend getting your domain names exclusively. Not bundled with your hosting provider. With that, Namecheap.com is the best I can recommend. These name registrars, have this facility to check if your chosen domain name is already taken, so take advantage of that tool.
That’s it. Not only you made the first step, but you also protected your idea from being taken by other people. Remember that anyone can register a domain name as long as it not yet taken.
2. Get a Web Hosting service
Now that you have the domain name its time to get a web hosting for it. A web hosting is where you will place your website. A website is composed of files, HTML pages, images, etc. Simply speaking – You’ll need a space to put those files and a Web Hosting specifically does the job.
There are thousands of web hosting provider on the internet. They’re offer varies. Some also cater to what you only need at the stage of your business. But for you – one who just starting, and have no idea yet how are you going to run this online business, no idea yet with online marketing, social media advertisement or basically gaining any traffic – Spare your sell and save time and money and go for the cheapest. The cheapest, look for shared hosting. Migrating or upgrading can be easily done down the road. But the key here is you are not burning too much capital on services that you used to on using. In no time, you will learn the ins and outs so don’t rush with the spending and focus on what you can learn along the process.
Where to buy? Here’s are some. Some service sells the domain name and hosting together.
Lower your expectations. These are not worlds no. 1s when it comes to quality. But these are enough to let you test the waters.
3. Install an open source e-commerce solution.
This is the software that your e-commerce store will run on. On the internet today, there are hundred of open source software, free to download and free to be used by everyone. Not because these are free means that these software’s have poor quality, no, what I’ll be suggesting to you are used around the world and in fact, some are used by some high-grossing online stores. You can easily find one that can suit your needs simply searching on google “Open source E-commerce Solution”. To save you time, here are my top 3 suggested FREE solutions for new entrepreneurs venturing to sell online.
Choose one of these, download it and install it. I searched too for you the best installation “how to” video for each of these.
There is more stuff to do. We are basically just scratching the surface but make sure to pat yourself on the back and celebrate this moment. You now have your online store.
Building an online store is not 1 week or 1-month job. It’s actually a continuous process you need to love doing in order to pull it together and succeed.
If you do have any questions or you need help, feel free to leave it in the comments.