how to start an online store free ebook

Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to set up shop (virtually) and run a business! After all, ain’t nobody got time for dragging products into an empty store front. Amiright? Plus, you can reach more people in more places than a local brick-and-mortar shop can on its own.

So, are you ready to start your own online store? Sweet! But to be fair, starting an online store isn’t the easy way out.

Setting up an online store is still hard work. And if you want that work to pay off, you need a plan. From the basic outline of your eCommerce dream to the nuts and bolts of business permits, to choosing eCommerce platforms and marketing plans, we’re here for you. 

First you need eCommerce web hosting and a website

Then grab this FREE e-book from HostGator with your strategy guide for how to start an online store, including a step-by-step tutorial for how to use WooCommerce in WordPress.  

We’ll show you how to:

  • Make critical decisions for the foundation of your business
  • Plan your products and store strategy
  • Set up your online store with this step-by-step guide to using WooCommerce
  • Create marketing plans 
  • Launch your new online business

Chapter 1: Get your business ducks in a row

So you’ve got a great product idea…but what about the rest? Chapter 1 will teach you how to price products, position them, and how to write a really great product page. After you’ve got a solid eye on your product, we’ll write a business plan and define your brand strategy. Yeah, we got you covered here too! 

Don’t forget the “legal stuff” – return policies, shipping policies, and what type of permits or licenses you might need. 

Excerpt from the FREE e-book:

Picking the right products to sell on your eCommerce website is essential to your success.

Even if you’re confident the product you have in mind is an awesome idea, if there’s not a market for it, your business won’t get off the ground. A CB Insights analysis found that 42% of startups that fail do so because they’re trying to sell a product that no one needs. 

We’ll show you how to do some consumer research to make sure there’s an audience that will buy the products you want to sell—or to find other products that will sell. 

Chapter highlights include: 

  • Visual branding
  • Returns & shipping policies
  • Business licenses & tax ID
  • Website security & accessibility

Chapter 2: Plan your online store

Think of this as planning the layout and floor plan for your store! We’ll cover the 5 pages every business website should have and how to write great product pages. 

Product pages can be daunting. But we’ll show you how to maximize your time to create product pages on your eCommerce store that SELL! 

Learn how to create product pages with these essential elements:  

  • Product name
  • Product description with keywords
  • Photos and videos
  • Price
  • Customization options
  • Metadata
  • CTAs
  • Contact information
  • Shipping & return policies

And don’t forget SEO! Chapter 2 also has a section on search engine optimization for product pages, including how to submit your products to Google. 

Pro SEO Tip! Excerpt from the FREE e-book:

Unlike keywords you would include in a blog post or publication, keywords in product pages should be transactional in nature. Your product page keyword research needs to be hyper focused on the intent of the user.

As you research, keep an eye out for keyword phrases and questions including words like buy, purchase and find. The people searching for these types of keyword phrases are further along in the purchasing funnel and are actually looking for places to purchase the product in question. 

Finally, we’ll cover the blueprints – your site’s navigation so customers can easily find products on your website!

Chapter 3: Create your store in WordPress

WordPress is the #1 most popular content management system in the world. In fact, WordPress powers more than 30% of websites worldwide! So we’ll just go ahead and assume that you’re using WordPress. 

WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress that manages the entire eCommerce function. This chapter is your step-by-step guide to set up your online store with WooCommerce – screenshots included!

Here are a few reasons why we love WooCommerce for your online store:

  • WooCommerce is entirely free to install on your site, just like WordPress.
  • WooCommerce is also open source, like WordPress, so you’ll find a massive library of free themes, add-ons and more.
  • WooCommerce is straightforward to use and built with complete beginners in mind.
  • You have control over the final design, via a full library of WooCommerce themes.
  • Your store is mobile-friendly right out of the box, so it will look and perform great no matter what devices your visitors are using to shop.
  • You can add a ton of different features via the WooCommerce plugin library, just like how you usually add features to a standard WordPress site. 

This entire chapter is dedicated to teaching you how to use WooCommerce. 

Chapter 4: Go live and keep going!

You did it! Now let’s focus on officially launching your eCommerce website. Sure, you can hit publish and be done. But you want better, right? This chapter covers how to make your launch successful with how to: 

  • Get pre-launch feedback
  • Prepare your grand opening announcements
  • And make your store work harder for you with analytics!

Chapter 5: Marketing your online store

Now that your online store is published, it’s time to focus on your customers. You’ll need to invest time, money, and effort to gain each new customer – and keep them coming back for more. 

Follow this marketing plan to: 

  • Find customers for your online business
  • Scout out interested customers on social media 
  • Turn visitors into customer via email
  • Keep the customers you attract

Excerpt from the FREE e-book:

When building your marketing plan, don’t forget the power of relationships. That can mean connecting with other local businesses for cross-promotions. It can also mean highlighting your customers’ stories—something they can share with their followers. 

We’ll walk you through some ideas to consider – such as special promo deals or loyalty program discounts – and you choose the strategy that works best for your business!

When you start an online store, there’s always more to learn. This guide to how to start an online store will help you make the plans AND stay on track. 

You got this and we’re here to help!

Blair Williamson avatar

Blair Williamson is the content marketing manager for HostGator where she comes up with great ideas for blog content, webinars, and emails to help you rock your business.

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