This is part 5 of a 5 part series on how to create a profitable online store. If you’ve followed steps 1-4, you should now have a webhost and domain, products to sell, an online shopping cart and a way to process credit cards online.
It’s now time to put on the finishing touches to your online storefront.
As you may have noticed, the default installation of your online shopping cart is plain, bland and boring. If you stick with the out of the box look, you aren’t going to be attracting many customers let alone selling any product.
5 Easy Steps To Follow
The lack of graphic design skills often discourages would be online shop owners. In fact, most people look at the out of the box template and think to themselves, “Man, I’m not a web designer, how am I going to create a professional looking store front?”.
The good news is that you don’t really have to be a designer to obtain a great looking store or website.
The Template System
The look and feel of all of the free open source shopping carts I recommended can easily be changed by modifying the store template.
The nuts and bolts of your shopping cart remain the same, except the skin changes to suit the look that you are trying to create for your online store.
One of the main criteria for my shopping cart recommendations in part 3 was the availability of 3rd party templates. Because the shopping carts I’ve recommended have become very popular, many talented web designers have already created many beautiful looking store templates for sale at very reasonable prices.
All of their templates are of very high quality and they offer 24/7 support on any template that you purchase. Furthermore, they are all fully tested and guaranteed to work on the platform that you choose.
Should I Try And Design My Own Template?
Even if you are tech saavy and familiar with HTML/CSS, I would still recommend getting a pre-made template. With our online store, I spent 3 straight weekends designing my storefront when I could have just paid 100 dollars, but I was too cheap.
If you work out the number of hours I devoted to tinkering with my store, I was effectively working for 2-3 dollars an hour and it’s debatable whether I did a better job.
The time I used up working on aesthetics could have been better utilized working on our core business which has nothing to do with web design.
That’s not even counting the number of hours I devoted to testing my changes to make sure that there were no bugs. Not worth it I tell you!
I Got My Template, What’s Left To Do?
Once you have purchased your template, you still have to tinker with the following things
- You have to create your own unique store header
- You have to play around with the colors to suit your style
Your store header is just a banner that goes across the top of your store. You will have to use Photoshop or any popular image editing software to create your own unique brand.
All of the professional templates offer the ability to tweak the store colors via the CSS stylesheet. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s very straightforward.
Basically, there is one single file that outlines the fonts and colors used for various parts of the store. Tweaking your color scheme is just a matter of editing the file and loading up your webpage to see the difference.
It takes a bit of time to get things right, but it’s not difficult at all. In many cases, the default color scheme is more than adequate.
So there you have it, 5 easy steps to create your own online store. If you tally up all of the costs involved…
You can realistically get started for only $65 with a recurring cost of only $4.95 a month. This is just a fraction of the cost of running a traditional brick and mortar store and you don’t even need anyone to run the cash register.
I hope that you found this tutorial useful! If anyone has any further questions, feel free to drop me a line anytime and I will do my best to answer.
If you would like to know more on what it’s like to run an online store, please checkout my online store tutorials
Next Up…More Online Store Tutorials
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