Why you don’t have to be a ‘techie’ or a ‘designer’ to create your own website…
In February I asked for your suggestions on topics you would like to see covered in my weekly eletter and blog posts and so far I’ve covered two requested topics which were, buyer expectations and the theory of being unique. If you missed either of those recent posts or you would like to recap, you can find them over at The Source Report Blog page.
This week I’m going to cover a topic request from Colin who asked for more on eBay Shops and also creating a website. So, I promise there will be more on eBay shops another time and today I’ll provide some useful information on websites. The topic of ‘creating a website’ is absolutely huge and is far too detailed (that doesn’t mean complicated – just detailed!) to go into in full here but I hope by providing you with some easy steps you should take, it will help you at least get started.
When you first considered creating an eBay business, other scary things like expanding into selling on Amazon or creating your own website were probably the last things on your mind, simply because you weren’t thinking that far ahead and everything was so new to you. And that’s fair enough – one step at a time after all. But once you have your eBay business running like clockwork and you’ve started listing on Amazon too, then this is the time when you should be considering branching out further – and that’s where websites come in.
Of course, as I mentioned, eBay offers a place for you to create your own online shop through eBay Shops, but the tools provided there are limited and simply don’t provide the freedom that you can gain from having your very own website. The words ‘create a website’ often provoke complete panic in many people, but honestly, in these modern times you don’t need to be an expert at all things technical or a super-duper designer for this to work.
So, I’m going to give you some steps and pointers and hopefully I’ll be able to convince you that it’s easier than you thought to maximise your potential online profits.
Creating your own website needn’t be a difficult task
Once upon a time it was almost impossible for someone without a whole heap of technical knowhow to create a website. It’s not the same these days as there are a multitude of different tools that you can take advantage of to help you along your way. There are a range of different content management systems available now which means that you can have a website set up and ready to go literally within a few hours, so please don’t be put off by the thought that you don’t know enough about it all to give it a go.
If you want to create your own website from scratch then in my opinion WordPress is the way to go. Usually associated with ‘Blogs’ you can in fact use WordPress to create your own e-commerce site but you’ll need to go to WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com
This way you can host your website yourself, choose your domain name and add any amount of widgets, custom themes and plugins so that your site really is unique.
There are literally 7 steps to this process which I’ll go through today:
Step 1: Register a domain name
If at all possible the domain name (that’s the name of your website) should match that of your eBay user ID, and both should be memorable enough for a previous buyer to remember. This increases the likelihood that they will come back to your store in the future. If they enter your ID into eBay they will find your eBay store, and if they enter the same ID into Google they will find your website. Have a think about potential names and then use a hosting site to check whether the name you want is available. This is a direct link to an easy way to check your chosen potential name and the cost involved:
Step 2: Set up your hosting
This is where your website will be ‘hosted’ so that it actually appears on the internet. There are literally thousands of options available but going on my personal experience, take a look at the following three:
You’ll only need a basic package to get started so have a look at what’s on offer and choose according to your own individual requirements.
Step 3: Install WordPress
On the majority of website hosting packages, installing WordPress (and most other content management systems) takes just a few clicks of your mouse. It really is a very simple process. You’ll need to return to your hosting company, open your account and look for the ‘one click installation’ button which most hosting sites will have within their ‘software’ section’. This is where you install WordPress. Simply follow the instructions from your hosts.
Step 4: Start creating your site!
One of the benefits of WordPress is the ability to plug in pre-made themes into your own website. By ‘plug in’ I really mean plug in. Installing a new theme is as simple as plugging a power socket into the wall because online there is an enormous ‘department store’ of WordPress themes just waiting to be purchased – and lots of free ones too. So this is when you’ll need to think about your branding, your colours and the appearance of your site. Take a look around online and to get started with some ideas take a look at some of the free WordPress themes available to you here http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ A selection of WordPress plugins can be found here
There are thousands of themes and plug ins that you can add to your site to suit your own taste and requirements so take your time browsing through and choose the best ones for you.
Step 5: Add a shopping cart
You should do this before you add your products so that it’s all set up beforehand. Again this can be done with a simple plug in and is very straight-forward. Just open your administration panel and choose the e-commerce plugin you want to work with. You’ll need to install it and activate it. Once activated you can literally drag and drop it to where you want your shopping cart to be seen on your site.
Your shopping cart will need to be connected to your payment processor – in this case the easiest way to go is with PayPal – you are likely to already have an account and can link this with your shopping cart using the ‘Payments’ button on your ‘Store’ sub-menu.
Step 6: Add your categories and products
First you’ll need to create your categories using the ‘Products’ menu that you’ll see within WordPress. You can add or delete categories at any time so don’t worry if you need to make changes. To add a product simply use the menu system in the administration panel to navigate to the Products button, and then to the Add New option used to create an all new product. You then follow the steps and create a title, description and of course add an image and price.
Step 7: Publish
Click the ‘publish’ button and your product will immediately appear on your site. Yes it’s that simple.
This is a very simplified version of steps as there is too much detail to go into today, but this does give you a solid starting point from where you can have a play around with WordPress yourself. And remember that however scary it might appear, sometimes it’s good to step outside your comfort zone and embark on a new challenge. Good luck!
As always I wish you the best of success
This article first appeared on The Source Report» Blog. Read more and comment here