Website Design 101 : How To Build An eCommerce Website From Scratch

The eCommerce market in Australia has seen rapid growth during the Coronavirus pandemic, with online shopping contributing to 16.3% of all retail spending in 2020. This significant shift in Australians’ spending habits brings to the attention of many business owners and retailers to take advantage of online shopping and invest their money to build an eCommerce website

Similar to any other marketing activity, when it comes to designing and developing your website, there are several key elements that you can’t overlook.

Not only do you need to understand your industry and market, but you will also need to consider branding, website design and features, products, shipping costs, return policies, content strategy and much more. Most importantly, you must create a frictionless and pleasant user experience that encourages site visitors to make purchases and revisit your website.

However, it’s not a simple task to build an eCommerce website. We’ve broken it down into a step-by-step guide that will help you design and develop your eCommerce website from scratch and take your online store to the next level.

The 10 steps that will guide to build an eCommerce website

  1. Know your audience and competitors
  2. Create your branding
  3. Purchase a domain name
  4. Define a sitemap/website navigation
  5. Design your website
  6. Create a content strategy
  7. Take professional product photos
  8. Integrate shipping system and payment gateway
  9. Make your website mobile-friendly
  10. Optimise your website for SEO

1. Know your audience and competitors

Before your build your eCommerce website from scratch, you’ll need to research your audience and competitors. Even if you already know what triggers your audience to purchase and how to differentiate from your competitors, doing a bit of research to understand them better will help you figure out your website navigation and create a website that is tailored to your target audience needs.

Create your branding

If you are opening a new online store, you will need to think about your brand name, logo, slogan, colours and fonts. This is the part where you need to think creatively about how you want your customers to think of you as a brand and how easy will it be for them to remember you and share your business with their friends and family. 

To build a strong and trusted brand-customer relationship, your branding should be consistent throughout your website. If you have an existing physical store, make sure you use the same branding in your online store. 

3.Purchase a domain name

Now that you have decided on your brand name, check if it hasn’t been registered in Australia and if the domain name has been taken on GoDaddy. Choose a memorable domain name that your customers can use to find you online.

Please read Tips for Choosing a Domain Name for Your Business.

4. Define a sitemap/website navigation

User experience is crucial for any website, regardless of whether it’s an eCommerce store or a professional service business. Ultimately, your website should be easy to navigate and provide a frictionless shopping experience from browsing to checking out.

Imagine yourself as the customer and plan how you would navigate your website. For example, if you were searching for a specific product, where would you look first? What information would you want to see? Would you want detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, or comprehensive shipping and returns policies?

Make sure you also avoid these common eCommerce UX problems.

5. Design your website

Now, here’s the fun part – design your website. Even if you are hiring a website designer to customise your website, you should have a solid understanding of what to expect in a user-friendly website design. 

A golden rule with eCommerce website design is to keep it simple and professional. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your customers: would you browse a website that has no clear product categories, complicated and shady-looking checkout process? Probably not. 

So, make it easy for your customers to choose colours and quantities, change items in the cart and add a product search tool that helps shoppers quickly find what they are looking for.

6. Create a content strategy

When writing your product descriptions, the About Us page, blogs, or website content, you must not overload the page with words. In the busy world today, online shoppers only have time to skim read. So, make sure you write content that is informative, engaging and short. 

Break up large blocks of text with images, animations and bullet points so it’s easy for your customers to absorb key information. Include enticing CTAs to encourage customers to make a purchase. For example, a CTA that reads, “Hurry, 20% sales end this Sunday. While stock lasts” is more likely to encourage sales than a CTA that simply reads, “Add To Cart”.

7. Take professional product photos

Using professionally taken photos allows you to build trust with your customers, which is critical in creating a successful eCommerce website. You want your customers to be able to imagine themselves using your product by looking at the high-resolution photos. 

Your photos shouldn’t look like they were taken by a smartphone in poor lighting and out of focus. Instead, they should be taken by a decent camera that captures all the fine details of your product, with a consistent, clean backdrop. 

8. Integrate shipping system and payment gateway

Remember how we say we need to provide a frictionless user experience for online shoppers? Well, that also means you need to use a reliable shipping system that takes care of your shipping and returns and tracking information.

Plus, make sure you have a transparent checkout process with secured payment gateways. Your customers will be entering sensitive information such as credit card details and shipping addresses, so you need to make sure your website is secure to encourage trust in your shoppers.

9. Make your website mobile friendly

With 26.4% of all online shopping occur via mobile in Australia, it is no surprise that mobile friendliness is one of the major factors you need to consider when building your online store. If you want to capture online shoppers using their smartphones or tablets to browse, you need to make sure that your web developers build your eCommerce website for mobile devices. 

10. Optimise your website for SEO

Your website is almost done! You’ve got an appealing and functional website, and now you need to build your online presence by optimising your website in search engines. SEO or search engine optimisation is the most important step, yet often overlooked, to rank your website higher on search result pages. 

Here are 8 eCommerce SEO tips your should know to boost your website visibility and improve your organic traffic: 8 Ecommerce SEO Best Practices: SEO Tips for Ecommerce

We love helping Australian business owners

While it can be a bit overwhelming to build an eCommerce website on your own, you can always seek the help of a professional website design and development agency. From conducting market research on your target audience and designing your website to developing a flawless eCommerce site that generates endless sales, the team here at KWD Australia has you covered. 

Contact us today to build your professional eCommerce website. 

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