Most people have thought about selling products online. Some of us want to earn extra money, while others want to find an escape from the daily grind of working for someone else. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of ways to get started with an online business. Follow these steps and you’ll be off to a faster start with better results than if you were to try and figure things out on your own.
Pick a Product
The first step in selling a product online is to pick a product. This requires a lot of thought. If you pick the wrong product, you could end up wasting money on something that isn’t marketable. You’ll end up losing money on the inventory, as well as the cost to store the items until they are sold or destroyed.
It’s generally a good idea to pick a product about which you have some knowledge. Think about your hobbies and other interests. Are you into computers? Fashion? Cars? Figure it out and then think about the sorts of products in which other people who share your interests would be interested.
Besides selling what you know, think about the profit margins. You’ll need to reach out to a number of suppliers to find out the wholesale prices for your products. Make sure you’ve got a business registered before you make these calls, as many suppliers will not release their price lists without it. As you reach out to suppliers, make sure you ask about terms, too. Sometimes you can get a line of credit to stock your online store with more items. You might also consider drop-shippers. The margins will be slimmer, but they’ll handle the shipping and receiving of orders for you. This can free up your time so that you can focus on the marketing of your business.
Build a Website
You have a number of options for building an ecommerce website. Think about your technical skills. If you’re intimidated by the technical side of managing a website, then go with a low-tech solution like Shopify or BigCommerce. You can generally have your shop up and running quickly, with very little technical knowledge. However, these options won’t give you the flexibility that other platforms offer.
For example, you could build your website on Magento. They offer free ecommerce software that’s highly configurable. The problem however, is that development can be a challenge. Furthermore, Magento websites are very resource-intensive. This means that you’ll need an expensive hosting account that’s optimized for Magento websites. A happy medium is to build your website on WordPress, using the Woocommerce ecommerce plugin. You can get started without much technical knowledge.
Plus, some hosting accounts have one-click installs of WordPress to make things easier for you. One such hosting company is SiteGround.
Start by reading these Siteground hosting reviews and pick a plan that matches your needs. You can start with a basic web hosting plan for just a few bucks a month, and then upgrade when your traffic increases.
Create Written Content
Once you’ve got your website up and running, it’s time to add some written content to it. Start with your product descriptions. Think about the keywords that people will use to search for items like yours, and make sure they’re on the page. But, don’t overdo it. Generally, you should have one keyword in the product name. This can be repeated once or twice in the description, but not much more than that. You can add a few more keywords on the page, too, but again, don’t overdo it. Keyword stuffing will result in lower rankings, rather than higher rankings. So, keep your writing natural.
After you’ve finished writing your product descriptions, you can build out other content on your website. A blog is a great way to get started. Think about topics that people want to learn about, which are related to your products. Put up at least one article per week, and more if you have the time. Remember, content is king, and the more that’s on your website, the better. However, it must be written well, and it should solve a problem for the reader.
Create Rich Content
It used to be that written articles were enough. Not any more. Today, most people browse the web from their phones, and they want a rich experience. Customers expect to see images, videos, and other rich content. A good first step is to launch a YouTube channel. You can start by writing reviews of all of your products. Start with the top sellers and go from there.
Besides product reviews, you can do some how-to videos. Show people how to use your products in creative ways, and try not to reinvent the wheel. Unique content is where it’s at, so come up with something original.
Promote Your Website
Now that you’ve got a website with products and content, it’s time to get it out to the world. The easiest way to get started is with social media posts. Start a Facebook page. Put up profiles on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and other websites. Post to them regularly with hashtags and engage other users so that they share your content. To get a boost, reach out to your friends and family. Ask them to follow your profiles and to share your content. Get them to sign up for your newsletter, and email them a special friends and family discount to buy your products.
Social media and your personal network are a good start, but it won’t help your website much with ranking on Google. For that to happen, you need inbound links to your website. Reach out to blogs and other online publications with article ideas. Think about how to make your company newsworthy and contact local news outlets.
When you’ve exhausted free resources, it’s time to do some paid advertising. Set up an account on Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. You’ll be able to put your product in front of new users. Just watch your spending, so that your advertising produces a return on investment.
Ready to Get to Work?
Now that you know how to build a website and promote it, it’s time to get started. Pick a hosting plan and put up your website. Get to work on content and social media posts. Reach out to blogs to link to your website. Before you know it, the sales will come in and you’ll be on your way to having a successful online business.