Transitioning a Good Informational Website into a Good E-Commerce Website
It’s no secret that eCommerce is booming. Consumers are frequenting brick-and-mortar stores less and are choosing the savings and convenience associated with online shopping. If you’re interested in monetizing your informational website, now is an exciting time. Transitioning over to eCommerce can be a daunting prospect, but it’s usually not as demanding of a project as you might assume initially. Here’s a guide to help you get started:
Select Your Approach
Your first step is to decide how you want to enter the eCommerce world. Do you want to use a third-party website such as eBay or Amazon? Or, would you rather keep your current website and add products and a payment gateway? Or, would you prefer to retain your information and content, but migrate it over to an eCommerce site such as Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento? Each option has unique benefits, so it really depends on your goals.
Using a third-party website is the easiest option as you’ll already have a built-in audience. However, sites like eBay or Amazon aren’t ideal if you want to be a source of information as well as products or services. If your website already has a fan base, it may be in your best interest to simply add your products and a payment gateway so you can start monetizing your current traffic. Making your own store on an eCommerce platform tends to look more professional, and you can always link it from your current site, so I recommend taking that route.
Update Your Content
Now is the time to get rid of the old and embrace the new. If your content needs to be rewritten, do it yourself or hire a professional. You may also want to take some new photos and videos. According to Entrepreneur, video content may account for nearly two-thirds of online traffic by the end of 2016, plus videos are perfect for sharing additional details about a product that you simply can’t get from product descriptions and images. For example, you can zoom in to show details, record audio, and show the product being used.
Choose and Customize a Platform
Next, you’re going to want to select an appropriate platform for your website. This step is irrelevant if you’re choosing to stay on your current site. Shopify tends to be one of the most popular options, but you may find that other platforms work better for your niche.
Once you’ve decided on a platform, you should customize it to fit your brand. Plenty of platforms offer free templates that are easy to customize even if you’re not exactly web-savvy. You may also want to consider hiring a professional to build your eCommerce outlet, as a professional store is naturally going to instill more trust in potential customers. According to Forbes, today’s web users are expecting one-of-a-kind experiences tailored to their preferences, so don’t overlook this opportunity to make your website stand out from the competition.
Implement a Payment Gateway
You’re going to need a way to process all of that money you’ll (hopefully) be making. A payment gateway is a service that allows you to accept credit cards. You’re going to have to pay either a small percentage per transaction or a monthly fee, but it’s undeniably worth it, as being able to accept credit cards is absolutely crucial. Make sure your payment gateway is secure and reliable and spend some time shopping rates.
Don’t just stick with the in-house payment service provider that comes included with your platform. A good payment gateway will improve security and streamline the checkout process, both of which are major factors in your customers’ overall satisfaction.
Hire a Professional Whenever Necessary
Throughout the migration of your informational website to eCommerce you’re probably going to run into obstacles. While some may be easily solvable with a quick Google search, others may require professional assistance. Minor problems can turn into major problems, so don’t take the risk of DIY unless you’re confident that you know exactly what you’re doing. When in doubt, hire a pro – your long-term success is worth it.
Amy Trotter is a freelance writer who has contributed his knowledge on internet marketing to numerous online publications, including Allied Wallet, a payment gateway service provider. When he’s not in front of his computer, Brian enjoys hiking, camping, and anything else outdoors.