In their pitches, gurus will tell you that you can do it in half an hour if you just follow their advice.
Perhaps they can, seeing as how they’ve built so many profitable ones, but for the average person looking to launch a side hustle online, things aren’t so simple.
However, if you take your time and construct it piece by piece, you won’t find it difficult either. It’s not difficult to set up an online shop; you just need to be persistent.
Exploring Your Options
Choosing what to sell is the most challenging aspect of opening an online shop.
Some people are born with a predetermined interest that guides them to their chosen field. If you have a particular passion, say for fishing or golf, you might seek out communities devoted to that activity.
Many people have difficulty narrowing their focus, or they discover that their passion isn’t viable (for example, the market for taxidermied mice dressed in dresses is probably not very large).
However, if your interest is fairly common, you can make money off of it. Consider the kinds of things you look for when shopping online. Quilters require a steady supply of patterns and fabric. Indeed, many others share this view.
Like you, I spent months in the “paralysis by analysis” state where I felt like I didn’t have a passion for anything. Then, on a particularly dreary day, I was engaging in one of my favorite pastimes—a leisurely stroll through a hardware store, perusing the latest offerings in each section. This was my calling; I get such a kick out of learning about cool new things that people smarter than me have invented to address common issues in people’s lives.
Spend a day or so with a pen and notebook writing down everything you can think of that can be purchased online; this will help you narrow your focus. Even if you end up with several pages of products, you can narrow down your options by categorizing them.
Part of the last list I made while searching for my calling was this:
- Alternative power sources/off-grid dwellings
- Products that break down naturally
- Treatment of Water
- Boomers (old people)
- Preppers (for an apocalypse)
- Spas with steamy soaks
Everyone won’t have the same “aha!” moment that I did, but I promise that if you narrow your options down, you’ll find something that piques your interest, and anything that can be shipped can be sold online. You probably shouldn’t try to sell bridges or airplanes.
How to Pick a Web Host
After settling on a market segment, you must next select a commerce platform. Simply put, a platform is a website with fancier name-calling. You should have a website, but there are numerous options.
Stick with the tried-and-true favorites, please.
Some examples of these are:
WordPress with the WooCommerce extension
Except for WordPress, each of the aforementioned options comes with a pre-designed theme that you can customize by inserting your own brand’s colors, fonts, and images. While WordPress also supports themes, you must begin with a blank template and construct your shop from there, giving you far more leeway to look different in the marketplace but also presenting a much greater learning curve.
If you’re opening a brand-new online shop, picking a service that offers first-rate customer support should be your top priority. When you run into trouble or simply don’t know how to do something, having access to responsive and helpful customer service is crucial. You need to know that you can reach them at reasonable times. When you get stuck, you’ll want assistance no matter what time of day it is.
Check out this post for an excellent summary of the various e-commerce platform prices.
Once you’ve settled on a specific market and distribution method, the real fun can begin.
There are prerequisites for adding products that must be met on every platform.
You need to settle on a topic first.
Both free and premium themes are available. In general, a paid theme will include more features and functionality than a free one. To get the most out of a free theme, you’ll need to install some third-party software. There will be both free and paid options for apps. Depending on the system, these programs may also be called plugins.
Common add-ons for an online shop include:
- Reports from the Field
- Cuisines like Multi-level or mega menus
- Add-ons for point-of-sale systems (point of sale)
- Transport and Traceability
- SEO (search engine optimization) (search engine optimization)
- Photo retouchers
- Internet search results and news feeds
- Chatbots that can interact with your clientele
- Products can be upsold, crossed-sold, and bundled to increase sales.
- Management of Inventory Frequently Asked Questions
- Currency exchange rates for shipping
- Including New Items
Having finalized your online shop’s foundational configurations and plugins, the next step is to stock it with goods.
If you sell handmade items online, you’ll need to take professional photos and compose engaging product descriptions.
You must prepare thoroughly for any dropshipping operations. Many business owners make the blunder of lifting the manufacturer’s or supplier’s wording directly onto their product pages. Google dislikes this because it shows they are being lazy (and because they are not the best).
Google prefers unique material.
Crop or invert images so that they don’t look like they could have come from any of the thousands of other online stores out there. Also, for the sake of consistency, make sure that the product images on your site are all the same size.
If at all possible, you should buy the product and commission original, high-quality product shots that set you apart from the competition. You can do this on your own with a high-resolution mobile device, or you can hire someone on Fiverr or Upwork to do it for you.
In addition to the photographs, you should investigate any and all sites that may contain information or specifications about your product. Then, you’ll be able to describe the product in a way that stands out from the crowd.
Your title is the most crucial part of your product description.
Brand, model name (if applicable), and any other distinguishing features should all be included. The ideal product title is descriptive, brief, distinct, and search engine optimized. (see below for additional information regarding SEO)
Name your product after words that people will likely be searching for. While you want your title to stand out from the crowd, you don’t want it to be so different that Google can’t assign it to the appropriate online category.
Use vivid language to describe the situation. Emphasize the most important aspects in terms of the problems they solve for the target audience. You aren’t looking for a laundry list of technical terms. Specifics about a product should be mentioned if they are important. It’s recommended that you read this article by Shopify: How to Write a Product Description That Sells in 9 Easy Steps
The next step is to incorporate customer feedback. You can get these from the manufacturer or from a competing company’s website. You should not create fake testimonials.
There are add-ons available that can manage feedback from customers on your site. Product Reviews is a free option offered by Shopify, and Loox is a paid option that has proven to be quite popular. The WooCommerce review plugin is available for WordPress.
You should consider whether or not review plugins are a priority for your business because not all e-commerce platforms provide them.
Optimize for Search Engines
It’s time to implement SEO optimizations on your website (search engine optimization). Your site’s visibility in natural searches will increase as a result.
Your site’s Meta descriptions should all be written from scratch.
Crawling your website and indexing the content it finds is how search engines locate your product.
Meta descriptions, brief descriptions of your product, are sought after by search engines.
Let’s pretend you’re in the business of selling tire wheels. Customers’ search terms should be incorporated into the post’s title, description, and URL.
You want to be as specific as possible in the title, using words that people will use to find your product in search engines, but it still needs to make sense.
To ensure that search engines index and categorize your product appropriately, providing it in relevant searches for potential customers, the URL should be descriptive and topical.
Your platform may automatically save the Meta Description as the first portion of your product description, but you should always replace it with something more compelling.
If you want customers to click on your link, you need to convince them in the meta description that your site has what they’re looking for.
Avoid having your title or URL reveal any of your content. Avoid writing in run-on sentences or using a lot of punctuation to ensure your description is easy to read. A brief paragraph outlining the product’s features and benefits is recommended.
Your site will now be submitted to “Google Search Console” to be crawled and indexed. Don’t wait until your site is perfect before submitting it, even if it only has a few products on it. When it comes to Google, time is of the essence.
But how do I get people to come to my shop?
Finally, once your shop is finished and decorated to your liking, you must attract customers. Traffic is the term for this situation.
Placement on the first page of major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo is ideal. Paid advertising is something else you should think about. The best places to advertise your product could be on:
- PPC Ads on Google Shopping (pay per click)
Did you find that simple?
Some people will give up on their dream of financial independence and leaving their day job if they try to build an online store because they can’t get past a certain stumbling block.
You’ll make it if you don’t stop working at your shop.