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Setting up a shop online is tough, and it is difficult to be sure whether you are doing it right and whether you will actually be able to make any money once it is up and running.

I’m not going to talk about the technical specifics of setting up your website. If you happen to be pretty computer literate you should be able to find some good tutorials for the popular open source options such as zen-cart, oscommerce, wordpress (with wp-shopping cart plugin). But if this seems like too big a challenge, you should consider hiring a freelance developer.

No, the website is actually the easy bit. The biggest pitfall that most aspiring entrepreneurs fall into is not actually thinking about how they are going to get customers. So here are 5 things to consider before you even build your site:

1: SEO

This won’t be a big source of sales right away, but SEO offers a fantastic ROI over the long run. You should seriously consider planning the SEO of your site whilst you actually design and plan it. Think carefully about product categories – do some research and find out what people are actually looking for, set out your site navigation accordingly.

2: Users first

Most e-commerce platforms have a wide range of display options, which makes them suitable for most businesses – don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you should use them all just because they are there.

Think carefully about how your users will actually want to use your site and make it easy for them. Emphasize your most important navigation. It is amazing how many sites give first time users information overload. Keep it simple and you will keep more customers.

3: PPC

Think about how you are going to advertise your site. One popular option is Adwords, but this is done really badly more often than not. A well planned campaign can be the difference between making a loss or a profit.

Start by targeting very specific keywords. People who are searching for specific products are probably much closer to being ready to buy, so you are more likely to make a sale. They are also more likely to be shopping by price though, so first consider whether you can compete effectively.

4: Landing pages

However you are advertising, you need to think about which pages of your site users are going to arrive at. Don’t assume that every user should be coming in via the home page. Users who land on a category page will be shown products that match what they are looking for, this means they are more likely to convert.

5: Long term

Making money from your website may not happen right away. You will need to work hard to get your business established, build up a customer list, generate repeat custom and invest in SEO. Your first 3 or 4 months might well be spent trying not to lose money. If you can do everything well, and actually get customers to come back though, you will eventually start turning a profit.

 

About the guest author: My name is Muzammil Bashir. I’m working with the Senior Editor of Net Effekt – A leading email marketing reseller.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

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