The 10 Steps to Building a Successful Ecommerce Website

10 tiny steps to building a successful e-commerce website – A true “dummy’s guide” that guarantees online success.

Shannon runs a successful pizza joint on Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn. He specializes in exotic varieties of Kosher Pizza and after repeated requests from office goers for a website through which they could place orders, Shannon finally relented and got a beautiful ecommerce website. He also installed a computer at the cash counter. Each morning, Shannon would just login at the site and keep the admin page open. The moment a pizza order was placed, the details of the order and address would be flashed on the screen. Shannon would hit the print button, prepare the pizza and stick the printed order on top of the pizza box. Today, Shannon also owns the adjoining shop, has installed more pizza baking units there, and has eight delivery boys working for him.

So how did he do it? I love the Pizza but have no idea how he makes them. But, as his friend who helped him build the website and online business marketing plan, I can tell you about the ten steps he took to build a successful ecommerce web site solutions. I’ll leave out the name of the pizza joint lest you think I’m advertising for Shannon.

1. Know thy name

Shannon paid $9.99 and booked a domain name selecting the same name as the existing pizza joint. This makes name recollection really easy and is one of the important steps in building an online store or online presence.

2. Know what you want

He visited a few existing ecommerce store management websites that take orders for pizza. This gave him a good idea of what was possible. It also gave him some ideas on how he wanted his website to look like.

3. Take the right foot forward and be careful where you place it

After seeing a few advertisements that promised instant online nirvana, Shannon paid $72 and opted for one that promised to “instantly build ecommerce site by reputed web development Richmond Company at the click of a button”. In Shannon’s own words, “the result was identical to my first attempt at making pizza when I was 6 years old – a total disaster”.

After much thinking and reading various white papers on how to build an ecommerce web site, Shannon visited a few websites which provides ecommerce web development services and freelancing web experts. He finally decided to work with elance.com because of the sheer professionalism displayed there. He posted his request for a website mentioning his requirements and invited freelancing web designers and web masters to bid on building an ecommerce site.

4. Select your ecommerce consulting services partner with care

After carefully scrutinizing the various bids he received, he opted for one bidder who had several years of experience in building ecommerce websites as well as a good feedback from previous customers.

5. Heed sound, professional advice

Shannon heeded the advice of the freelancer, and purchased hosting space from the recommended web hosting provider. It cost him $99/year. It had loads of space, guaranteed 99.99% uptime, high speed connection to the internet and every resource (such as database support and other things) that the webmaster required.

6. Attention to detail

As the website was being developed, Shannon would visit his website and observe the development as it happened. He could do so because the webmaster would upload the completed sections each evening. If Shannon thought some part of his website or webpage did not look right, he would inform the webmaster who would quickly carry out the changes. Shannon supplied the webmaster with all the content that was required. Which basically meant a list of kosher pizzas, toppings, photographs, prices, seasonal offers, other discounts, time required for delivery, delivery area and so on.

7. Take it for a spin

Once the site was ready, Shannon, I and two other friends tested the website. We would select a pizza, toppings etc. and once in the shopping cart, make changes to the order, remove it altogether, add another selection and so on. You could say we “stress tested” the website. On the third and final day of testing, we went the whole nine yards and paid for the pizzas that we had ordered. This way we also ensured the payment procedure worked smoothly. Shannon, would login at the admin panel of his website and check to make sure the order details were correctly displayed. Shannon’s ecommerce website was now ready.

8. Let the people know

On inaugural day, Shannon displayed a few large posters on the sidewalk as well as in the pizza joint. He also inserted a few ads in the local editions of various newspapers, magazines and made dozens of calls to clients who he knew would be interested. The first day he received a grand total of 5 orders from his website. Even that delighted him no end. He was as happy as a little child with a candy bar.

9. Let the World know

The next day Shannon remembered the $49 Google AdWords gift voucher he saw in his web hosting account. Not knowing how to use it, “Googled” for details, got the gist of what was involved and once again visited elance.com. This time he put up a project for ecommerce internet marketing his ecommerce website on Google.com using Google AdWords. This was February 2009. Between then and today, Shannon says he spent about $1,500 or so on Google Ads. Today he receives in excess of 300 orders per day from the website alone.

10. Keep it ticking

Shannon has hired the webmasters that initially designed and developed his site to also maintain his site. Maintenance usually meant changing various offers and schemes or adding new varieties of Pizza and toppings.

Whether it’s Pizza, cabbages, EPABX, auto accessories or online consulting, it makes no difference to the procedure. Shannon’s success is proof that the 10 steps he followed were the correct ones. The path has been revealed. Whether you choose to follow the successful one or not is up to you. Use it to your advantage when you build your ecommerce store solution or online office. Shannon and I would be delighted with your success.