The Low-Cost Ecommerce Website Design Solution
Do you want to sell goods or services online? Or are you tired of paying for a ‘done-for-you’ online selling service that costs you a bundle every month, but you don’t have much control over?
If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then this article is for you.
A sophisticated ecommerce website design solution might be necessary if you grow to a large operation. But for those starting out selling online, WordPress is an excellent low-cost option with great flexibility and blogging capability built in. It is also my preferred option for selling online.
Although WordPress is free to use, you will have to pay to host your WordPress e-commerce website. You will need a web hosting service that is reliable with good customer service.
Unless and until you grow to a big operation with huge sales and web traffic, the solid beginner business hosting services I list below are fine to start out with.
I use, recommend, and am affiliate for BlueHost.
Your Ecommerce Website Design
You need to think about your ecommerce website design as an online storefront.
Presentation of your online store matters
Think about when you go into a physical shop. Consider the shop appearance. The way it welcomes you affects your impression about what’s on offer, and how easy it is to buy.
If you need inspiration, browse some ecommerce website designs that you use, like or find interesting. Think about what elements appeal to you, and why they are easy to use.
For online stores, consider factors such as:
- Ease of navigation
- Availability of contact details, and FAQ information
- Privacy and Returns policies
- Ease of checkout
- Payment options
- Mobile-Friendly design for browsing and buying from a mobile device
- and design qualities including use of colour, fonts, product images (very important to have beautiful, crisp product images), payment and contact forms
To help you build your online store, I recommend you use a Page Builder. There are a few very good ones, including Elementor and Beaver Builder. The Page Builder software I use and recommend is Divi, from Elegant Themes (affiliate link).
If you want to learn how to use Divi, Elegant Themes has a wealth of free online tutorials at: https://www.elegantthemes.com/documentation/divi/.
Any shop needs traffic. Without customers stopping by your online shop, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it looks or how well you put it all together. Your shop will be a ghost-town. No traffic means no sales which means no business.
Some good sources of free online traffic include:
- Blogging, including writing guest-posts for other blogs
- Online videos – YouTube and Facebook
- Social media posts
- Online forums to answer potential customer questions, such as Quora
Some of the best sources of paid-for traffic includes:
- Facebook ads/paid posts
- Google ads/Google Adwords
- ‘Influencer’ sponsorship (paying social media ‘influencers’ to promote your products or services)
- Affiliates – paying a commission per sale to other online businesses as affiliates to promote your offerings (not recommended for beginners)
For your ecommerce website design, you will need to use additional applications called ‘plugins‘.
The best, free ecommerce plugin for WordPress is Woocommerce.
WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with WordPress. WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce solution that gives both store owners and developers complete control.
You will enjoy endless flexibility and access to hundreds of free and premium WordPress extensions with WooCommerce, which now powers 30% of all online stores — more than any other platform.
With other plugins extensions for Woocommerce, you can easily accept safe, secure online payments with credit cards, PayPal and others – for no cost other than a small percentage per sale.
Setting Up Your Online Store
In the back end of Woocommerce (once you’ve installed it), you’ll need to define the settings.
You will need to define settings including:
- Your address and location (city/country)
- The main currency you’ll be trading in (UK pounds, US dollars, Aussie dollars etc)
- Shipping – if you’re shipping physical products to certain countries you’ll need to specify this, but if you’re only selling digital products you won’t need to worry about it
- Payments – it is very important to make online payment options accessible and easy for your customers (the main payment options I use are PayPal and Stripe – for credit/debit card processing)
- SSL – you will need to have a secure site with an SSL certificate, starting in ‘https’ for using payment plugins and for promoting trust amongst your website visitors and customers
- Add products – add either physical or digital products
- Make sure you include appropriate product descriptions, including price and shipping costs (if applicable)
There are other considerations when setting up your online store. These include adding categories to related groups of products; sale or discounted items, coupons for special offers, different shipping costs and building or designating a special ‘shop’ page. This can be put together with the help of a WordPress theme like Divi with its own page builder software.
You should also consider the individual product pages and ensure that the item photo and description are as compelling and linked to relevant search terms as possible.
You can pay someone to set this all up for you, or you can teach yourself. This article is intended to give you an introduction to setting up an online store using WordPress, but of course there’s more to learn.
There’s plenty of online resources to learn this. Some of the better resources to learn setting up an online store with WordPress and Woocommerce include:
- WP Beginner
- Website Setup
- WP Crafter
- Darrel Wilson
- WP Explorer
- MAK – using the WooCommerce Builder with Divi
How about you? Have you thought about selling online, or have you tried this with WordPress or an online platform like Shopify or Etsy?
Let me know in the comments, or drop me a line at email@example.com.
To your online success,