CREATING AN E-COMMERCE WEB SITE:
A DO-IT-YOURSELF GUIDE
Creating an E-commerce Web Site: A Do-It-Yourself Guide
Over the past 10 years, e-commerce has been one of the fastest growing segments of the retail industry. That may seem obvious to anyone who has ever shopped online, but the size and speed of the boom has been truly astounding. There are already hundreds of thousands of online stores around the world wide web, and according to some estimates, merchants open 20,000 new e-commerce storefronts every week.1
The popularity of the online marketplace shows no signs of slowing, so now may be the perfect time to start selling on the web. There are more options for creating an e-commerce site than ever before. You can work with an e-commerce platform provider to set up an online store, or you may want to let web professionals handle the design and development of your site from start to finish.
Working with services like these offer some convenience, but if you want additional flexibility and control, your best bet may be to create your site on your own. With a little know-how and some easy-to-use tools, you can develop an e-commerce site that looks and functions exactly the way you want, helping you meet the needs of your customers and your business more effectively.
In this guide, you’ll learn about what goes into creating your own do-it-yourself (DIY) e-commerce web site, from picking the right tools and services you’ll need to create your web pages, to selecting the best hosting provider and payment solution to fit your business, to figuring out the best security for your site.
Before You Start Creating
Step 1: Create Your E-Commerce
Business Plan. What are you selling?
Who is your target market? How
much money will you need to
invest to get your e-commerce
business off the ground? Do you
want to incorporate or operate as a
sole proprietorship? These
questions may seem like
no-brainers, but it’s worth taking
some time to sit down and map
out a strategy.
Depending on the size and
complexity of your business, this
could take anywhere from a day or
two to several months.
Choosing Your Web Design Tools
After you have your business plan in place and are ready to focus on your new online venture, it’s time to start creating your e-commerce web site. The first step is selecting the tools you want to use to design and code your site.
You can start from scratch and code everything by hand, but this requires solid knowledge of HTML, PHP, MySQL, and other programming languages. To shorten the learning curve, you might want to invest in web design software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web. Depending on what version you buy, these programs can run anywhere from $50 to $300. If you don’t have the budget to spend on software, there are also several free open source options to choose from, including KompoZer and BlueGriffon (formerly Nvu). While they may not offer all of the sophisticated features that paid software does, these open source programs are still powerful and easy to use.
Everyone likes different web tools for different reasons, so it’s hard to say which will be the best program for you. However, there are some key elements you should look for in any software.
An easy-to-use interface is important, especially if you’re less familiar with HTML and would prefer to work with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) application. WYSIWYG HTML editors allow you to design your site by clicking and dragging elements and inserting text
Learn the language(s) of the web
HTML, PHP, ASP, SQL, CSS, AJAX —
today’s internet encompasses an
alphabet soup of different
programming codes and tools.
While you don’t need to be an
expert in any of them to create a
web site on your own, you should
at least familiarize yourself with
these technologies. There are a
wide range of resources available at
your local library, bookstore, and of...
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