Do-It-Yourselfers: 10 Considerations Before Making An E-commerce Website

Posted on April 14, 2010


Creating an e-commerce website on your own is tough for the DIY crowd; very few accomplish this feat. Often times they get stuck in the technical aspects and ignore the business aspects such as “what’s our marketing strategy” or “is our business  model sound?” When this happens, usually they:

  1. Quit entirely (75%)
  2. Hire a web developer(23%)
  3. Stay the course and finish the site themselves(2%)

If you decide to invest into a web hosting company that will handle your domain, hosting space, and all the technical aspects of an e-commerce web site; this blog post is for you.

When you buy a domain through a web hosting company, they will usually upsell you on a web design package. The initial down payment varies but generally go $199+ for a very small e-commerce site (1 to 5 products) and $500+ (5 or more products). You get the flexibility of 1 year financing with no interest (usually). This is advantageous for you because you still have cash to invest into other aspects of your business.

What is nice:

  1. All your services are all-in-one (hosting, domain registration, billing, web design, cPanel access, SSL, payment gateway, etc.)
  2. You don’t have to pay for all the labor upfront (although there will be a down payment), you can pay it down monthly for 1 year (usually)
  3. After signing a contract, you collaborate with their web design experts and work beings right away
  4. Often times your site is finished in 1  to 3 months (requires that you be very exact in what you want)
  5. You get an installed CMS – Content Management System (you can just login and administer your site, they will teach you how to operate it)

The reality is:

  1. Your website concept must be 99% finished before you call them (mission statement, colors, layout, pictures, competitive advantage, business model, etc.) DUE DILIGENCE MANDATORY
  2. Miscommunication often occurs, be sure to ask lots of questions, DON”T ASSUME
  3. If you go with a template design, you have limited options (however some templates are really nice) and you save money
  4. If you go completely custom, it will cost you $$$ (of course because its a custom design, like a custom paint job for  a car)
  5. Be on top of communicating with the designers (if  you lag, you prolong the process)

The bottom line is that your idea needs to materialize, otherwise its just another idea.

I’ve talked with hundreds of entrepreneurs seeking to have there websites up and running in a month or less but they don’t know the realities of building a website. I introduce them to those realities, they get acclimated to the process, and they scale their plans accordingly. In the end, the website is up, you can focus on business, and you can start making money.

– Jae