Summary (TL;DR): In this article, we are going to explain how to create an E-Commerce website. We’ll go over things like the best website-building platforms for building an E-Commerce website, what pages to include, and the steps to building a website.
Navigating the world of e-commerce can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re just getting started. You’ve got a great product and a well-structured business plan, and now you’re ready to take the next step: building an e-commerce website. But where do you begin?
This may seem like a challenging task but don’t worry. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process in a straightforward and digestible manner. We’ll demystify the technical aspects and provide you with a step-by-step guide to creating your own online store. So, find a comfortable spot, settle in, and let’s delve into the world of e-commerce website creation together.
What is an E-Commerce Website?
An e-commerce website is a digital platform designed to facilitate business transactions over the internet, essentially acting as an online storefront. These websites enable the buying and selling of goods or services, with transactions conducted electronically. Their functionality often includes product listing, a virtual shopping cart, secure payment processing, and customer service features.
E-commerce websites can offer an extensive range of products, from physical goods like books, clothes, and electronics, to digital products such as software, music, or e-books. Moreover, services such as flight booking, hotel reservations, or professional consultations can also be bought and sold.
The power of e-commerce lies in its convenience and accessibility—providing businesses the ability to reach and serve customers globally, 24/7, from the comfort of their own homes or offices.
What Should an E-Commerce Website Include?
1. A Homepage
The homepage is the main page of a website, and it serves as an entry point to the site’s content. For this reason, it’s one of the most important pages on your website.
Since it’s the first page your visitors will see and as it sets the tone for the rest of your site, it’s prudent to consider its design, your branding, and how it will be represented, including colors, fonts, logos, and taglines.
With a well-designed homepage, you can create a positive first impression and encourage visitors to explore your website further.
A homepage usually contains the following elements:
- A site navigation menu with links to important sections and pages that will allow users to easily navigate your website.
- Call-to-action buttons (CTAs) that will be clearly visible, with a clear call-to-action text that will encourage users to click on it and perform the desired action, like, for example, signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
- Many homepages contain a hero section to immediately catch the user’s attention and nudge them towards performing a certain action.
Note: Common Ninja has a wide selection of call-to-action buttons that you can easily add to your website.
2. An About Us Page
Another important page to have on your website is the “About Us” page. This page is crucial to establishing credibility and building trust.
The about us page often contains information about the organization, its mission, its history, and the people behind it, enabling users to establish a connection with the company and learn more about the organization and its values.
Note: Common Ninja has a great selection of widgets that can enhance your “About Us” page.
3. A Contacts Page
A “Contacts” page is another, very important page to have on your website. It provides visitors with a way to get in touch with the website’s owners or administrators. Typically, it will include contact information about the business (like a contact email address, phone number, and physical address), as well as a contact form that a visitor can fill out and send to contact the website’s owners.
This page helps to further build trust, improve user experience, and enable other businesses to contact the website owners regarding open new business opportunities.
Note: Common Ninja can improve how users contact you via a free and easily customizable Contact form.
4. A Header & Footer
Headers and footers have become an integral part of website design, and anyone building a website should add them to their website.
Having a header and a footer on your website will improve navigation, create a consistent look, support your branding, provide important information, and improve conversion with CTAs.
The header typically includes branding elements (like the colors, logo, company name, etc.), and navigational menus (to other pages, login options, etc).
The footer will also include branding elements, as well as links to other pages, but its design enables adding more links, CTAs, and other information, in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner.
While the above elements are true for all websites, an E-Commerce website requires a few more elements.
This is the heart of any e-commerce website. It’s where customers browse through the selection of items available for purchase. A well-organized and visually appealing product listing can inspire customers to explore more and potentially make a purchase.
Think of the shopping cart like the trusty basket you tote around in a brick-and-mortar store. It’s a personal space for shoppers to stash goodies they’re considering. The magic of an online cart, though, is its ability to hold items for as long as needed – no heavy lifting required!
Remember the joy of walking into your local bookstore and the owner knowing your name and your favorite genre? That’s what user registration and login can do on an e-commerce site. It’s a way to make customers feel seen and remembered, while also making their shopping expeditions more swift and smooth.
With possibly thousands of items on an e-commerce website, a robust search functionality is key. It helps customers find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently, improving user satisfaction and potentially increasing sales.
Product Details Pages
These are the online equivalent of picking up a product in a store and turning it over in your hands. It’s a place where shoppers can delve into the nitty-gritty – examining pictures from multiple angles, reading about the features, or learning about the materials and care instructions. It’s all about giving customers the info they need to click “Add to Cart” with confidence.
Reviews and Ratings
Customer reviews and ratings provide social proof, an essential element in online shopping. They build trust and credibility, encouraging new customers to purchase products that have been positively reviewed by others.
Secure Payment Gateway
Online shopping should feel as safe as handing your card to a cashier in a store. A secure payment gateway is the online padlock that keeps customers’ private details, well, private. It’s like a silent security guard, ensuring every transaction is safe, sound, and worry-free.
This feature provides transparency by letting customers track their order’s journey from the warehouse to their doorstep. It enhances customer satisfaction and eases anxiety about when and if their purchase will arrive.
This delightful feature is like a dream closet or a private treasure chest. Customers can tuck away items for future consideration or as a hint for gift ideas. It’s a fun, no-pressure way for customers to engage with a site and plan for purchases down the line.
Social Media Integration
Social media in e-commerce is like the chatter of a bustling market. It’s where news of hot items can spread like wildfire, or customers can show off their latest finds. By connecting an e-commerce site with social platforms, businesses can join the conversation, reach more people, and create a vibrant, engaged community around their products.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page
An effective FAQ page addresses common customer queries about things like shipping, returns, and product care. It can save both the customer and the business time, while also improving the overall shopping experience.
Providing multiple avenues for customer support, such as live chat and email, ensures that customers can get help when they need it. Excellent customer service not only resolves issues but also builds long-term relationships and trust with customers.
How To Create an E-Commerce Website?
Step 1: Choose Your Website Builder
There are lots of available website-building platforms today. How many you ask? Well, there are well over 200 website and e-commerce builders.
Clearly, not all are on the same level or for the same purpose, but the sheer amount is both fascinating and scary. Fascinating because it means that there’s a lot to choose from, and scary because there’s too much to choose from.
Luckily, there are around 20 that truly stand out in terms of the features they offer, how easy it is to use them and their prices. We have a great article about the best website builders out there that you should definitely take a look at.
Great Website Builders for an E-Commerce Website
While the above gives you a broad overview of website building, here are some website builders that could be great for building an E-Commerce website:
Shopify is like your best buddy when it comes to launching an online store. It’s easy to use and fully hosted, so you don’t need to worry about techy stuff like server maintenance. It provides a full suite of features for you to display your products beautifully, manage your inventory, and connect with your customers. Plus, it’s got a vibrant app ecosystem, so you can extend your store’s functionality as you grow. It’s the go-to choice for many entrepreneurs for its simplicity and reliability.
Picture your trusty WordPress website, now imagine it supercharged with e-commerce power – that’s WooCommerce for you. It’s a free plugin that seamlessly integrates with your site, transforming it into a customizable online store. It’s kind of like your favorite outfit; you can accessorize and tailor it to fit your style perfectly. Plus, with a vast range of extensions, it’s ready to evolve with your business.
Think of Magento as the e-commerce platform on steroids. Built for businesses that mean business, it’s a powerhouse that can manage thousands of products and customers. It does require a bit of tech-savviness, but the payoff is a highly customizable and scalable platform. Imagine having a blank slate to create your dream e-commerce store – that’s the freedom Magento provides.
BigCommerce is a fully hosted e-commerce solution that’s all about ease and growth. It comes packed with advanced features like multi-channel selling, SEO tools, and a plethora of payment gateways right out of the box. Plus, it’s designed to scale with your business, so you won’t outgrow it anytime soon. It’s like having a strong and reliable team behind your online store, helping you sell more and worry less.
Squarespace is like your super artsy friend who also happens to be incredibly organized. It’s famed for its drop-dead-gorgeous templates that make your products pop on the screen. But it’s not just about looks; Squarespace also gives you solid e-commerce tools for selling products, taking payments, and tracking inventory. It’s a great pick if you want an online store that’s as visually stunning as it is capable.
Coincidently, we have a detailed guide on how to build a website with Squarespace, so if you are leaning towards choosing Squarespace, be sure to check out.
Volusion is the jack-of-all-trades in the e-commerce world. With an arsenal of integrated features, it helps you navigate the online selling landscape, whether that’s boosting your visibility with SEO tools or managing your stock levels. It’s like your very own e-commerce Swiss Army knife, making it a breeze for small- to medium-sized businesses to set up an online shop without the tech headaches.
Choose a Hosting Plan (Optional)
Depending on what website builder you chose, you may have to get a hosting plan separately. We have a great guide on the top 10 hosting providers available on the market. Mind you that many of these offer the option to get a domain name, too.
Choose a Domain Name (Optional)
Depending on what website builder you choose, and on what hosting plan you choose, you may have to get a domain name separately.
Step 2: Start Designing Your Website
Choose a Template (Optional)
Some website builders offer pre-made templates that you can choose from for specific website types. This is a great way to save time on design.
Choose Color Schemes
Color schemes are super important in website design and branding. They’re not just for show—colors can really affect how we feel and react. If a brand chooses the right colors, it can guide our eyes where they want, make us feel a certain way, and even get us to take action.
This is where color theory comes in. It’s basically the science of how colors work together and how they make us feel. For instance, blue usually makes us feel calm and trustful, red stirs up energy and passion, and green symbolizes growth. So, when a brand chooses colors that match its vibe and the feelings it wants to evoke, it can really boost its recognition and trust with customers. Super cool, right?
Font pairing is like the secret sauce in website design and branding. Just like colors, the fonts you choose can really set the mood and deliver your brand message. You’ve got to think about the vibes different fonts give off. A fancy script might feel elegant, while a bold, all-caps font can scream confidence and power.
The trick is in finding fonts that complement each other without clashing or looking too similar. That’s why we do font pairing. You want your headline font to grab attention, but it needs to work well with your body text font, which should be easy to read. So, for instance, you might pair a decorative font for your headers with a simple, clean one for the body text. Get it right, and you’re on your way to a website that looks super professional and keeps your visitors reading. It’s a bit like a good music duo—each part’s got to be good on its own, but together they create a whole new level of awesome!
Add a Hero Image
The hero section of a website is like the opening scene of a movie—it sets the stage and grabs your attention. It’s that first big chunk you see when you land on a website, often with a big image, a catchy headline, and a call to action. It’s there to quickly show you what the site or the brand is all about and, hopefully, make you want to stick around.
Choosing the right elements for your hero section is key. A stunning image or background can draw people in, while a powerful headline can spark interest. Then there’s the call to action, which could be a button or a link, nudging you to do something—like shop now, sign up, or learn more. So, think of the hero section like your website’s elevator pitch. It’s got to be punchy, engaging, and super clear about what’s on offer. If it’s done right, it’s like a friendly welcome mat that invites visitors to come in and explore more.
Call to Actions (CTAs) on a website are like your friendly tour guides. They tell you where to go next and what to do. You’ll often find them as buttons or links with words like “Buy Now”, “Sign Up”, “Learn More”—you get the idea. They’re super important because they help guide your visitors and encourage them to take the actions you want them to.
But here’s the thing: all CTAs are not created equal. A good CTA is clear, concise, and compelling—it tells you exactly what you’ll get and why you should click on it. And where you place them can make a big difference, too. You want to position your CTAs where they’ll be noticed, like in your hero section, at the end of a blog post, or even in a pop-up. So, think of CTAs as your website’s friendly nudges, steering your visitors in the right direction and getting them to engage, interact, and hopefully, become customers. It’s like having a good salesperson right there on the page.
Step 3: Publish The Website
When you are done designing your website, publish it. And that’s it.
How To Enhance Your E-Commerce Website?
Enhance Your Website With Powerful Widgets
While many of the website builders we recommended are great for building your E-Commerce website, they are somewhat limited in the features and tools they offer, and, in a competitive world, every additional feature that you can add to your website can be a game-changer.
That’s where Common Ninja comes in to save the day.
Common Ninja offers an extensive, ever-growing collection of professional and reliable widgets that will help you save time and money and improve your website beyond what your current website-building platform offers.
Common Ninja’s widgets are free, fully customizable, perfectly responsive, and easy to use (just check our YouTube guides), so be sure to check them out, and greatly improve your website.
Content is an important part of any website, no matter what niche it’s in. Content can include anything from text, images, videos, and other media that informs, educates, or entertains the audience, and we highly recommend that you add good content to your website.
It is crucial for several reasons:
- It provides value to visitors — good content, can provide value to users, whether these are guides, service or product comparisons, tips, tricks, or other equally helpful content.
- It builds trust and credibility — by creating good, well-written, and well-researched content, you can increase trust in your brand and improve its credibility.
- It improves SEO: Search engines like Google prioritize websites with high-quality, relevant content, so by creating content that includes relevant keywords and provides value to your audience, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
- It drives conversions — well-written content that addresses pain points, with strategically placed CTAs can drive conversions, such as sign-ups, purchases, or inquiries, up.
- It establishes your brand’s voice and identity — the content on your website is an opportunity to establish your brand’s voice and identity. Consistent and high-quality content can help your brand stand out and create a memorable impression on your audience.
Optimizing a website is essential for improving its visibility on search engines, increasing traffic, and improving the user experience. Here are some effective ways to optimize your website:
- Remove unnecessary distractions
- Improve page speed
- Optimize for mobile
- Optimize forms
- Write good copy
- Write good CTAs
- Define and communicate your value proposition
- Localize content
Promoting a website is essential for increasing its visibility and driving traffic to it.
It requires time & effort, and here are some ways that can help you promote your website:
- Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are great for promoting your website, building a following, and driving traffic to it.
- Email marketing: Building an email list is an effective way to promote your website, reach your audience directly, and keep them updated on your latest content or products.
- Paid advertising: Paid advertising through platforms like Google Ads or social media ads can help you reach a larger audience and drive targeted traffic to your website.
- Collaboration: Collaborating with other websites in your niche can help you gain exposure, drive traffic to your site and improve your SEO via backlinking.
- Incentives: Offering incentives like discounts, free trials, or giveaways can attract new users to your website and encourage them to share it with others.
Alright, guys, that’s the lowdown on building an e-commerce website. Yes, it might seem like a huge mountain to climb, but really, it’s all about making your online shop a welcoming, easy-to-navigate spot just like your favorite neighborhood store. Each feature you add is like a magic ingredient that makes the shopping experience even better. So, dive in and enjoy the process! Remember, when your customers are happy, your business is thriving. Here’s to your e-commerce adventure!