Building a website is more than just setting up a blog or a static web page. It often means building yourself an eCommerce website. This means setting up the ability to sell products directly online from your own store. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to do just that. Here’s what you need to know:
Start By Choosing Your Niche
This may be a moot point if you are simply expanding an existing business that you have been running as a traditional bricks and mortar business (for example, if you run an antiques shop and want to start making your offerings available online). However, if you haven’t yet chosen a niche for yourself, then you may want to take a while to think about what you want to sell.
You can sell virtually anything in your eCommerce store that you’d like to sell and you can add just a few items or tens of thousands of items. The choice is entirely up to you, however I highly recommend that you choose a niche rather than offering everything under the sun. Trying to create a new Amazon.com is likely to cost you more than you can afford after all.
Choose Which System You Want to Use
The choice of how you will run your eCommerce website is largely dependent on what you plan to offer for sale. If you don’t happen to have products that you’d like to offer for sale of your own, you may want to create a site which sells affiliate products.
The nice thing about doing this is that you don’t need to sell anything at all on your own. You simply sell products that others have for sale and you make your money from commissions. Here are two of the more popular options for setting up an eCommerce site based on affiliate links:
If you can’t beat ‘em, join em, right? In this case, it’s the Amazon.com affiliate program, which I’ve written about here in the past. The nice thing about Amazon is that they sell lots of products so you have your choice of niche. The bad part is that the commission is pretty low – around 4% on most purchases so you do need volume.
I’ve never been particularly enamored of ClickBank because they have a lot of products that are pretty scammy. However, they also have tons of other stuff which is great and the commissions are often quite good. Check them out to see what they have for sale and see if any of their products fit the niche you’d like to work in.
Selling Your Own Products
If you want to set up an eCommerce store to sell your own products, there are two excellent solutions that you may want to consider buying into. One of them is E-Junkie and the other one is DLGuard.
DLGuard is a plugin for WordPress that creates an eCommerce site on your blog. You can use it to accept payments from PayPal and to set up a shopping cart on the blog. The cost is quite reasonable as well, offering a two site install for $147.
For those with very small eCommerce needs, E-Junkie may be a better choice. It also integrates with PayPal and lets you set up shopping carts on your website. The difference is that for a site which offer just a handful of products, it may be a better choice. You can get set up for as little as $5 per month for up to 10 products.
Be sure to search for some coupons though as you can often get months off or even some discounted pricing for the long term when setting up your e-commerce site (for example, I found a coupon on the Warrior Forum, PAYPAL111 which gives you three months free and 25% off on their services after that if you pay with PayPal).