OK so 3 months since the launch of the website and I have decided to try and document the journey. I am doing this to try and help other people in my position, who are maybe thinking about or wanting to start a website on a budget. To get to this point has been a long and sometimes tedious affair but ultimately quite rewarding. There have been ups and downs, a lot of downs but the ups make up for it lol
Please bare in mind I have never designed or run a website let alone a fully functional ecommerce website in my entire life and have absolutely no experience of SEO (search engine optimization). I do have a sales and marketing background but nothing to do with online or website related.
I guess my journey starts about a year ago. First I will give you some background as to how I got to the point of launching this website. I opened my computer shop in County Durham in 2014, for the next couple of years I had a standard brochure website for Blue chip Computers, I did this through GoDaddy. After a while I enquired about upgrading this to an ecommerce website selling computer related products. The prices I was quoted were silly money, not just by Godaddy but independent web designers were quoting me up to £5k!!
This put me off massively as the computer products market is very crowded and competitive and the risk of losing all of my investment was very high.
Around this time I had started to sell E-cigarettes and E-liquids in my shop to bring in extra revenue, over the next 2 years this side of the business just grew and grew until it got to the point where vaping sales in my shop outstripped retail sales for computer products.
This got me thinking about online sales again. I looked at Ebay and Amazon etc but was put off by the amount of fakes your competing against, which ultimately means you are making very little margin. People are selling items on Ebay cheaper than I can buy them in and still making a profit, so how can I compete? I will come to that in a later blog.
I started shopping around again for an ecommerce website to be designed. I looked at various options but they all wanted there money upfront. Then I came across Shopify, looked at it and abandoned it as I didn't understand what they were offering. then someone recommended Shopify, so I looked again. They were offering full ecommerce website for just under £30 per month. I rang them to clarify I could have a fully functioning website for that monthly fee no catches, yes was the answer I got.
This was exactly what I was looking for a chance to get online without forking out thousands, only downside I would have to do all the work myself!!
I have to say I made a good choice with Shopify. It was a bit daunting at first but there support is fantastic. The staff are very helpful, knowledgeable and easy to talk to. Most of them run there own websites so know exactly what your going through.
My first task was to design the site, but actually ended up choosing one of there hundreds of templates, which is the one I am using now. After just 2 days of hard work and constant calls into Shopify help I had got myself a fully functioning website, well almost but certainly enough to go live. The question was should I go live or wait until it is perfect? I decided to go live straight away, even though I had tons more content to add. My reason for this, is that I read about SEO (search engine optimisation) and one of the things Google likes is new content being added and updated regularly. So as I had loads more stuff to add figured it would help in my ongoing SEO, plus when I first launched no one would visit my site as I would be so far down the google rankings it would be virtually impossible to find, therefore any errors on the site would be gone by the time people start to visit!
So after just 2 days of hard work my website was launched with Paypal as the only payment option and a limited number of products and no idea about SEO.
So how the website is launched and I am ready to sell to the unsuspecting public, what do I do now?
I will follow this up with another blog in a week or so with the next part of the journey