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The idea of a fresh start is usually an enticing one. Of course, it’s going to depend a lot on the context, but in general, most of us wouldn’t be afraid to start something fresh if given the chance. This is something that a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with when it comes to their businesses or their website. Since entrepreneurship is a lot about trial and error, a lot of us would prefer to sweep our mistakes under the rug and start from scratch.

Nowadays, starting up a new website is easy. You sign up with a service, you load up a template and you can start adding features like eCommerce. This is great for first-time entrepreneurs or people that are starting from scratch, but it can be a trap for a lot of more experienced business owners that already have a website. If you’ve invested even a little bit into your website or online store, then it’s possible to give it a quick update to begin selling online without the need for a fresh start.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/744oGeqpxPQ (CC0)

The importance of keeping your current customer base

It’s tempting to start fresh with your website, but there are a couple of things that you could lose if you decide to build a website from scratch.

  • A new domain name means you’ll be forced to redirect, harming the user experience and breaking many external links
  • If you’ve already invested resources into your website, then you want to make the most of their investments instead of throwing them away
  • Building a website can take a lot of time. If there’s nothing particularly wrong with your current website, then it can be a waste of time and money to build a new one for the sake of change.
  • Changing underlying functionality is more cost-effective at improving the customer experience compared to a design overhaul
  • Your solutions provider will likely be able to add eCommerce functionality to your website for a relatively low cost

The last thing you want is to upset your customers and propose a wild change such as rebuilding your website or rebranding. It takes your website down for a while and subjects your audience to large changes that they might not be comfortable with. It’s not effective at attracting new customers and frustrates your existing audience–it’s a lose-lose situation.

The only time we could recommend investing in a brand new website from scratch is if you haven’t already invested any resources into your website. For example, if you’ve literally just registered your company name or are still in the planning stages of your business, then it’s acceptable to go from your current mockups and cheap template websites to a fully-fledged custom-designed website. However, if you already have a website to work with, there are ways to improve it and prepare it to start selling online.

Updating your website to be eCommerce ready

It’s surprisingly easy and quick to update your website so that it’s ready for eCommerce.

Speaking to your solutions provider

Most solutions providers will likely have some kind of additional service that can add eCommerce functionality to your website. It doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your website and it likely doesn’t cost much to add. It’s worth contacting your solutions provider or even a web host to see if they provide a service that allows you to add eCommerce functions with their guidance.

Do keep in mind that you may need to change your subscription tier to gain access to eCommerce features. This isn’t the case for every website solutions provider, but it’s worth keeping in mind that some do consider it a premium feature. For some providers, it’s as simple as turning on a few settings in your dashboard to enable eCommerce support.

Support can vary from service to service, so it’s best to speak directly to the solutions provider that you’re working with. There are also third-party tools that can add eCommerce features to your website, but these will vary from platform to platform. One thing to note with these simple solutions is that they won’t require you to restructure your website into an eCommerce model. However, they’re not exactly the most scalable options. This means they’re good for a couple of purchases, but if you want additional features such as stock management then a fully-fledged eCommerce system is a must.

Preparing your website for eCommerce success

Let’s now take a look at a couple of ways that you can prepare your website for success. This section will be all about the practical changes you can make to your website to make it sell products better and generate more profits for you.

1. Do your technical research

To operate a successful eCommerce website, you need to be more aware of the data that can point you in the right direction. A great example of this is looking at the search volume for products that you plan to sell. This will help you understand the amount of demand there is for that product, and from there you can decide if it’s something worth adding to your store. If there isn’t enough interest in a product, then it’s probably not worth your time and money.

Technical research will help simplify your decision making processes. When you have statistics and reliable sets of data at your disposal, you’ll find that it makes running your business a whole lot easier.

2. Understanding the difference between paid and organic advertising

We use a range of different marketing strategies to get our businesses in the minds of our audiences. The best way to categorize these is to split them into paid and organic advertising strategies.

Paid advertising refers to anything that costs money to purchase. This could be advertising space on a website, shoutouts on social media or pay-per-click advertising spots on Google and other major search engines. Paid advertising is much quicker when it comes to producing results and it often attracts high-quality prospects. It’s also very easy to scale as you can invest in advertising space on multiple websites. Unfortunately, it can be quite costly if you’re competing with larger brands and you might occasionally attract the wrong audience.

Organic advertising doesn’t necessarily have to be free, but it does need to focus on creating a long-term plan for your exposure instead of essentially buying it. Organic marketing is usually much cheaper (often to the point of being free) and tends to have much higher conversion rates because you’re creating content that specifically targets certain audiences. It also provides more value to your customers, meaning they’re more likely to come back in the future or share your website and products with others.

The goal is to mix both paid and organic marketing strategies to get the most out of your business. Paid advertising should be used to establish yourself and create a solid foundation. This is often supplemented with organic advertising which aims to provide value-oriented content to users and attract higher-quality leads that are more likely to stick with your brand.

3. Creating content that provides marketing value

Next, it’s a good idea to focus on creating content that provides marketing value. This could be virtually anything from business blog posts to videos on YouTube and even social media interactions. This is known as content marketing and can be tricky to grasp but the gist if simple; it’s about creating content that provides value to your customers, convincing them to visit your website and ultimately converting them into a potential lead.

This could mean articles describing how your products work, videos explaining the inner workings of your products or even an informative knowledge base that covers most of the concerns that your customers might have.

4. Making your products pop

It’s also important to revise how you display your products on your website. This will depend on what you have available, but here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Take flattering pictures of your products to show them off
  • Then use lifestyle pictures to showcase what the product can be used for
  • Incorporate the use of human models when appropriate to describe more about the product
  • Keep descriptions short and sweet to avoid boring your users when they come to browse your wares

Whenever you set up a new product, it’s important to go through these steps to make it stand out. This is especially important for eCommerce sites that use stock photographs provided by the manufacturer.

Where to go from here

While these tips are great for helping you get started in the world of eCommerce, it’s difficult to describe how to take the next steps for your business. Everyone has different goals for their company and what you want to achieve will greatly change the approach you take.

The idea of a fresh start is usually an enticing one. Of course, it’s going to depend a lot on the context, but in general, most of us wouldn’t be afraid to start something fresh if given the chance. This is something that a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with when it comes to their businesses or their website. Since entrepreneurship is a lot about trial and error, a lot of us would prefer to sweep our mistakes under the rug and start from scratch.

Nowadays, starting up a new website is easy. You sign up with a service, you load up a template and you can start adding features like eCommerce. This is great for first-time entrepreneurs or people that are starting from scratch, but it can be a trap for a lot of more experienced business owners that already have a website. If you’ve invested even a little bit into your website or online store, then it’s possible to give it a quick update to begin selling online without the need for a fresh start.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/744oGeqpxPQ (CC0)

The importance of keeping your current customer base

It’s tempting to start fresh with your website, but there are a couple of things that you could lose if you decide to build a website from scratch.

  • A new domain name means you’ll be forced to redirect, harming the user experience and breaking many external links
  • If you’ve already invested resources into your website, then you want to make the most of their investments instead of throwing them away
  • Building a website can take a lot of time. If there’s nothing particularly wrong with your current website, then it can be a waste of time and money to build a new one for the sake of change.
  • Changing underlying functionality is more cost-effective at improving the customer experience compared to a design overhaul
  • Your solutions provider will likely be able to add eCommerce functionality to your website for a relatively low cost

The last thing you want is to upset your customers and propose a wild change such as rebuilding your website or rebranding. It takes your website down for a while and subjects your audience to large changes that they might not be comfortable with. It’s not effective at attracting new customers and frustrates your existing audience–it’s a lose-lose situation.

The only time we could recommend investing in a brand new website from scratch is if you haven’t already invested any resources into your website. For example, if you’ve literally just registered your company name or are still in the planning stages of your business, then it’s acceptable to go from your current mockups and cheap template websites to a fully-fledged custom-designed website. However, if you already have a website to work with, there are ways to improve it and prepare it to start selling online.

Updating your website to be eCommerce ready

It’s surprisingly easy and quick to update your website so that it’s ready for eCommerce.

Speaking to your solutions provider

Most solutions providers will likely have some kind of additional service that can add eCommerce functionality to your website. It doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your website and it likely doesn’t cost much to add. It’s worth contacting your solutions provider or even a web host to see if they provide a service that allows you to add eCommerce functions with their guidance.

Do keep in mind that you may need to change your subscription tier to gain access to eCommerce features. This isn’t the case for every website solutions provider, but it’s worth keeping in mind that some do consider it a premium feature. For some providers, it’s as simple as turning on a few settings in your dashboard to enable eCommerce support.

Support can vary from service to service, so it’s best to speak directly to the solutions provider that you’re working with. There are also third-party tools that can add eCommerce features to your website, but these will vary from platform to platform. One thing to note with these simple solutions is that they won’t require you to restructure your website into an eCommerce model. However, they’re not exactly the most scalable options. This means they’re good for a couple of purchases, but if you want additional features such as stock management then a fully-fledged eCommerce system is a must.

Preparing your website for eCommerce success

Let’s now take a look at a couple of ways that you can prepare your website for success. This section will be all about the practical changes you can make to your website to make it sell products better and generate more profits for you.

1. Do your technical research

To operate a successful eCommerce website, you need to be more aware of the data that can point you in the right direction. A great example of this is looking at the search volume for products that you plan to sell. This will help you understand the amount of demand there is for that product, and from there you can decide if it’s something worth adding to your store. If there isn’t enough interest in a product, then it’s probably not worth your time and money.

Technical research will help simplify your decision making processes. When you have statistics and reliable sets of data at your disposal, you’ll find that it makes running your business a whole lot easier.

2. Understanding the difference between paid and organic advertising

We use a range of different marketing strategies to get our businesses in the minds of our audiences. The best way to categorize these is to split them into paid and organic advertising strategies.

Paid advertising refers to anything that costs money to purchase. This could be advertising space on a website, shoutouts on social media or pay-per-click advertising spots on Google and other major search engines. Paid advertising is much quicker when it comes to producing results and it often attracts high-quality prospects. It’s also very easy to scale as you can invest in advertising space on multiple websites. Unfortunately, it can be quite costly if you’re competing with larger brands and you might occasionally attract the wrong audience.

Organic advertising doesn’t necessarily have to be free, but it does need to focus on creating a long-term plan for your exposure instead of essentially buying it. Organic marketing is usually much cheaper (often to the point of being free) and tends to have much higher conversion rates because you’re creating content that specifically targets certain audiences. It also provides more value to your customers, meaning they’re more likely to come back in the future or share your website and products with others.

The goal is to mix both paid and organic marketing strategies to get the most out of your business. Paid advertising should be used to establish yourself and create a solid foundation. This is often supplemented with organic advertising which aims to provide value-oriented content to users and attract higher-quality leads that are more likely to stick with your brand.

3. Creating content that provides marketing value

Next, it’s a good idea to focus on creating content that provides marketing value. This could be virtually anything from business blog posts to videos on YouTube and even social media interactions. This is known as content marketing and can be tricky to grasp but the gist if simple; it’s about creating content that provides value to your customers, convincing them to visit your website and ultimately converting them into a potential lead.

This could mean articles describing how your products work, videos explaining the inner workings of your products or even an informative knowledge base that covers most of the concerns that your customers might have.

4. Making your products pop

It’s also important to revise how you display your products on your website. This will depend on what you have available, but here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Take flattering pictures of your products to show them off
  • Then use lifestyle pictures to showcase what the product can be used for
  • Incorporate the use of human models when appropriate to describe more about the product
  • Keep descriptions short and sweet to avoid boring your users when they come to browse your wares

Whenever you set up a new product, it’s important to go through these steps to make it stand out. This is especially important for eCommerce sites that use stock photographs provided by the manufacturer.

Where to go from here

While these tips are great for helping you get started in the world of eCommerce, it’s difficult to describe how to take the next steps for your business. Everyone has different goals for their company and what you want to achieve will greatly change the approach you take.

Some companies would prefer to specialize further into their industry, potentially carving themselves a niche that can attract more loyal customers. Others prefer to branch out, utilizing their newfound marketing prowess to diversify their operations and reach into new audiences. Both of these options can work, so it depends on what type of approach you want to take as the owner of a business.