8 Steps On How To Build An E-Commerce Website (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

E-commerce businesses depend on user-friendliness and quality website design to convince their customer to buy their products over the internet. An e-commerce website can drive significant traffic and increase customer recall rates by creating secured payment channels, detailed yet easy to consume product pages and efficient website navigation frameworks. Understanding how to build an e-commerce website can help you successfully grow your online business by generating a consistently increasing revenue and offering your customers long-term online shopping benefits. In this article, we'll explain an eight-step process for developing an e-commerce website.

How to build an e-commerce website

If you are wondering how to build an e-commerce website, here is an eight-step method to assist you in creating one:

1. Decide a brand name and purchase a domain

Your e-commerce website's domain name typically explains to visitors what products or services you offer. Choosing a relevant domain name can make it simpler for your customers to recognise the business amongst its competitors. Try to include keywords that increase the chances of your website ranking higher in the search engine results page (SERP). Also, remember your overall branding goals when deciding on a domain name.

You can also choose a niche-based name that includes the product category you sell. As there are additional features, such as acquiring unused email addresses and tracking visitor data, try to combine them for a better discount.

Related: What Is An SEO Analyst? (With Skills, Duties And Salary)

2. Choose a suitable platform

Your e-commerce website might demand specific features for efficient product showcasing, enhanced user experience or database management hacks to reduce time spent on uploading content. Amongst the many e-commerce platforms available, choose a website builder which specialises in a department that can assist you. For example, if your e-commerce business requires plugin flexibility for calculating region-based shipping costs or AI-based data analytics tools, pick a platform having a desirable track record for such requirements. Ideally, be patient and test-run your hosting platform options to study their responsiveness and cross-platform compatibility.

3. Create a sitemap

E-commerce retailers can benefit from a comprehensive sitemap that assists web crawlers, also known as AI bots, to track their website's hierarchy and page-wise categorisation. A sitemap improves your search engine optimisation efforts and allows such crawlers to get alerts for content updates, page modifications and any changes to your website's core structure. Once these crawlers conduct their audits, your e-commerce website gets its updated rank. This rank helps search engines decide the visibility the page gets and generate more visitors. As e-commerce websites might have a slightly complex template, look for automated sitemap generation tools and plug-ins.

4. Design the website

The design elements of an e-commerce website can excite customers and bring them closer to the end of your sales funnel. All aspects starting from your landing page, icon design and relevance, drop-down menus to the quality and placement of graphic content, can influence consumers to spend more time on your website. e-commerce professionals usually invest more resources in logo development and brand image development to narrate the brand's objectives clearly. Ensure you strategically place the footers and sidebars that promote customer interaction. You can create attractive and clickbait-like call-to-action buttons which directly redirect the reader to the checkout page.

Related: What Is A Web Designer? (With Duties, Salary And Skills)

5. Write engaging content

When building an e-commerce website, brand owners prefer writing content that drives conversions. It may help to provide a combination of informational and sales-based content. The motive is to present content in a manner that convinces your customers to scroll further and establish a dependency on your brand's products. Experimenting with variations in product taglines and headings can help you identify which communication style increases click-through rates. E-commerce business can grow better if the brand's story and overall marketing strategy are visible across all textual sections on the website.

6. Enhance product pages

Many e-commerce business owners may look for product page specialists to increase the chances of a page visitor converting to a potential buyer. Make your product-specific copy, be it on images, videos or guides, serve the user's search intent and encourage them to trust your services. Try to incorporate persuasive copywriting techniques on location pages of your product that receive maximum attention from your customers.

Detailed product pages can resolve any queries a prospect may have, which can reduce the time spent catering to customer support. Another factor is ensuring pixel clarity and detailing is maximum in your product's photographs, whether through angling or lighting.

Related: Frontend Vs. Backend Development: What Is The Difference?

7. Set up payment and marketing tools

It is also essential to ensure that the e-commerce website's back-end can perform automated tax calculations, shipping costs and other payment processing functions. Integrating plug-and-play solutions can be an economical choice based on the volume of sales you expect. You can choose between third-party software or a built-in shipping calculator. Plan your social media launch and email marketing campaigns to generate maximum visitor engagement digitally. There are dozens of marketing tool kits available for use on e-commerce platforms.

Plan your content calendar in advance and you may benefit from your marketing process becoming streamlined. Remember to research well before you invest in paid marketing forms.

8. Test your website

Look for bugs slowing the load speed or making it challenging to achieve your e-commerce website's usability and user experience goals. Perform a few tests to verify that users do not experience lags or lose purchase information. This step ensures your website is ready for launch before search engines begin indexing your website.

If not in the website's back-end functionality, there may be front-end flaws such as overuse of pop-ups or inability to function optimally on mobiles. It is then essential to gather data on the website's performance, whether related to data loading rates or an inadequately designed content management system and improve them accordingly.

Related: What Is A Brand Manager? Requirements And Job Description

6 tips for developing an e-commerce website

Here are six tips to boost the performance and conversion rate of an e-commerce website:

Create scannable content

The average attention span of website visitors is not always enough to go through product pages or the entire website. Making your content scannable by placing multiple bolded headings and sub-headings every two to four lines might educate your customer with more precise information. When they are aware of your product's key features and unique selling point, your checkout page call-to-action has a higher probability of getting a click. Write short sentences and use the aesthetics of various font sizes to enhance how easily your website can be scanned.

Use the right colour scheme

As different colours indicate varied types of emotions, e-commerce website owners can leverage the flexibility of colour schemes to improve sales. Staying relevant to your website's overall colour palette and yet diversifying colour choices for product-specific backgrounds and different areas of your website could improve your website's session duration rates. You can work on assigning emotion-based colour choices for various steps during your customer's buying process, whether during their product study or final payment phase.

Include customer testimonials

Highlighting positive testimonials by either customers or renowned e-commerce experts can attract the loyalty of your prospects. Place these testimonials after a call-to-action or on your website's home page. If you acquire reviews from industry experts or partner platforms, ask for a feature or experience-specific review which may make your customers feel confident of your services.

Think like a visitor

Ask yourself the basis you may judge the e-commerce website on if you were a visitor. Visitors usually examine factors like the duration it took to find the desired product through the website's categorisation and product listing features, the convenience of the cart management and checkout process, along with the load speed of product images. Ask yourself questions from a visitor's perspective, such as changing shipping address, finding a particular category of products, among others. You can then check the relevance of the auto-generated answers by the chat box.

Prioritise branding

An e-commerce website with clear branding may make visitors aware of the consistency in tone of voice, values and the connection it is trying to build. Create a website navigation funnel that flows systematically from the home page and listings section to the order processing and payment acknowledgement page. By keeping the colour theme and choice of copy synchronised with the brand's communication guidelines, your visitors may feel familiarised with the website.

Include social proof

Any e-commerce website's customer retention and engagement rates may benefit from trustworthy social proof. Add links to the company's social media handles to prove its legitimacy and interact with visitors and potential buyers. Try including updates about new products, partnerships and satisfactory customer experiences on your social media. You can even release content explaining special features and sections of the website. This guides your audience to understand the usability of the website and helps generate more visitors.

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