A Beginners Guide to Building Your Own E-Commerce Website

Episode 23

On today’s episode we break down the steps to build your own e-commerce website.  Provide the resources and tools we use to build websites.  You will walk away from this podcast with actionable steps to go and get your own ecommerce website designed, built, and selling!  We have listed the tools and resources we prefer and links to get you started. 

Preferred WordPress Web Hosting –> Siteground




Top 3 plugins: Yoast, Google Analytics, Hotjar 

  www.Firing The Man.com
Email us –> support@firingtheman.com

Ken 0:00
Try not to get into the shiny object syndrome with plugins because there’s a lot of plugins. Another thing too is the more plugins you add to your site, usually the slower your site’s going to run. You want to run you want to operate lean. Whenever your customers come to your website, you want it to be responsive and fast, right? You don’t want to sit and spin in a circle is they’re gonna they’re gonna take off they’re gonna go to next competitor’s website.

Intro 0:23
Welcome, everyone to the www.firingtheman.com podcast, a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more, then join us this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income stream in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

David 0:47
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we break down the steps to build your own e commerce website. We’re going to provide you with resources and tools that you can use to build your own website. You walk away from this podcast with actionable steps to go out and build your own e commerce website. Be sure to stay tuned for our top three must have WordPress plugins. So welcome to the show. Ken. What’s going on man?

Ken 1:12
David, how are you?

David 1:13
I’m doing great. I’m doing great. I’m really glad that we’re doing this episode. It’s something a question that comes up a lot like, Hey, I have my own brand. I need my own website. Right. And, and I couldn’t think of a better person to talk about this than you. I would say I’m still in the minor leagues when it comes to make my own website. And I consider you in the major leagues. So let’s get into this.

Ken 1:36
Yeah, yeah, no, I appreciate that. And I am in the minor leagues to David. I’m learning every single day but uh, you know, a couple of a couple of websites deep and you know, I really enjoy this stuff, building websites and, and branding and everything in there. So let’s get right into it. So for the listeners, whether you have A brand or you have or you haven’t even started a business yet, you know, one of the first things that you’re going to want to do is grab a domain name and get it registered. So domain name is sort of like your real estate on to you on the internet. And, you know, everybody is familiar with the internet www dot firing demand calm, that’s our domain name is firing the man.com in that domain. So you know, like I said, If whether you have your you already have an existing business, then this is a super easy part, you just take your brand name and that’s going to be your domain. And hopefully the.com is available. Now if it’s not, you’ll have issues you might have, you’ll have to figure something else out something that works. But let’s hope that if you do have one you look at that and the.com is there and you might already have registered. So

David 2:56
I do think that this is something when you’re picking your company name, you want to go see if that is trademarked if that name is trademarked, and you will also should go see if that URL is available?

Ken 3:08
Yes, that’s very, very good advice. And, you know, that’s, that’s before we even get to the website portion. Yeah, for sure. So if you have not started your company yet, Square One would be when you decide on a brand Yeah, like David said, check the.com and make sure you know, there’s the trademark is available the social media the.com you know, that So, and and also, if you if you don’t have it yet, so there’s a couple ways you know, one of the one of the ways that I use prior to my first website was I outsourced picking a domain name, a brand. Now, like I spent weeks on, I’m like, What the hell? I’m like, how am I gonna figure that you know, so I outsourced it and I got some brutal Really good results actually, one of my brands is, is from an outsourced agency so you can hire that out if you’re thinking about it and you’re in, you know, analysis paralysis, you can figure something out, just outsource it and and, you know, their services I use Fiverr free up in Upwork. And so that’s the you know, it’s the first way if you get stuck, just just outsource it. Now, if if you are DIY or you like to, you know, do everything or if you if you want to challenge there’s a really cool website domain we’ll calm Now what this does is if you go in and in it, let’s say David’s got a Yeti coffee cup here, so you know you have this brand. And let’s say you want to find a website for coffee cup, right? You just, if you’re selling coffee cups, and that Your that’s your main keyword coffee cup, well go and put that into domain, we’ll coffee cup, and it’s going to give you tons of ideas for for domain names. Now it’s a little bit different for branding. But for your website, you know, if you wanted to have your brand and then coffee cup, let’s say, yeah, it was taking, then you could you could use that. So that’s another it’s a great resource. It’ll tell you if that whatever dot coms are there, it’ll give you suggestions for new ones and all kinds of stuffs pretty cool resource. And then lastly, you want to get it registered, you know, so once you once it’s available, then you want to get it registered. What does that entail getting it registered? What does that mean? Getting your domain name registered mean? It’s basically registering that, you know, your internet real estate to your entity and saying, Hey, I own that. And there’s an official registrar that lists it. So that’s kind of a another whole topic in itself that you know, your your Your hosting company, whoever you pick for your hosting company, I would suggest using them to register your domain name, okay. And then you can also use them to hide your entity from, you know, you don’t want everybody on the internet, knowing who you own that you can kind of put a buffer there between yourself and your visitors, anybody can research that.

David 6:20
Okay, before we, we go into the next chapter, I would like to talk about this now I’ve bought and domain names that have cost, you know, nine bucks, that seems to be like the standard cheap URL, but I’ve also shopped around for for domain names, and you can spend quite a bit of money here, you know, upwards of, you know, $10,000 if it’s the right keywords, and so what what would be your advice there,

Ken 6:44
you know, so I have not spent tons of money on on domain names, but you are right, there are domain names, you know, that sell for a lot of money. And, you know, if you have an opportunity and you have the capital to do that, it might be worth it. In the long run to let’s let’s just take, you know, hotels.com, for instance, right? If that was available, and you were in the hotel space, and you had enough capital, it might be worth it. But starting out, you know, kind of on a shoestring budget here, we’re probably not gonna want to go that route. But you’re right, like you can kind of jump the line by buying a higher end domain that has authority and that and that’s a single word, right? But they’re, they’re kind of exclusive.

David 7:31
The one that comes to mind is capitalism.com I’ve heard Ryan Daniel Moran talk about how he spent upwards of $100,000 on that. And the person that owned that domain was very selective in who he wanted to sell that to. He wanted capitalism.com to be in the right hands. And so that’s one that I think about when I think of expensive domain names. But yeah, I would agree with you. I don’t think you know, expensive domain name does not equal a profitable business. And I would argue that if you start with a $50,000 domain name, out of the gate, you’re in the red by 50 grand. And so going with a lower price one might be a better option.

Ken 8:13
Yeah, I definitely agree. And my response to that table would be a couple things one great job to Ryan for doing that jumping ahead a line and I think he you know, he’s building an empire around that, you know, that around capitalism.com, and it wasn’t his first rodeo. So he had, you know, he had a hit a, I guess, I don’t know, eight figure exit, and he had some capital to work with. And that was kind of his, you know, Chapter Two chapter three. So, but yeah, for if you’re just starting out, I would recommend kind of, you know, shoestring pick up your own domain name and, you know, don’t spend a ton of money on there unless you come in and have some capital to spend.

David 8:54
So you had mentioned hosting provider what, what is that?

Ken 8:57
Yeah, so the hosting provider in the simplest term hosting providers that come to you that’s going to store your website files and their servers. And they’re going to show them to your visitors coming from the internet when they visit your new website. They do much, much more than that. But in terms of this show, and at the beginner level, the hosting company basically stores your website and serves it to visitors on the internet. Some examples, you know, we use siteground for firing the man. And I use siteground. For my other brands and my other websites, they’re consistently ranked in the top five. You know, Hostgator is another one that I’ve heard really good things, I haven’t used them, but I have, I have friends that have used them. So those are the only two that I will recommend because I normally recommend stuff that I don’t use, but siteground is huge. And you know some of the stuff that when you go to choose a hosting company, there’s a lot of things you want to think of. It’s not that’s not a decision that you want to make lightly because once you’re in, it takes a little bit of work. If you ever want Want to switch? You know, you have to move your sub website and it’s it’s this kind of a, it’s kind of a pain in the ass. I’ve had to do that before. And I wouldn’t want to do it again. speed, speed of the site. Speed is huge. So whenever you’re considering a hosting company, that’s one of the things that’s really high on the list of speed, you know, that they have, do they? What kind of equipment do they have? What kind of bandwidth connections? What are their rate? What are their, you know, speed ratings, Google is going to rank your website, your you know, I mean, not even Google, but your customers, whenever your customers come to your website, you want it to be responsive and fast, right? You don’t want to sit and spin in a circle because they’re gonna they’re gonna take off, they’re gonna go to next competitors website. So speeds huge uptime, and I work in the IT space. So a lot of these terms, you know, are second nature to me. But uptime is basically it’s a any kind of a machine device that’s running consistently. That’s uptime. So let’s Say your Wi Fi at home, I think everybody can relate to this, your Wi Fi at home. If the if the internet connection goes down for 10 minutes, then and in the day during the during the day, that’s 10 minutes of downtime, right? So you want uptime as high as possible. five nines is what we like to refer to it 99999 like that you want five nines for uptime, or as high as possible. Okay.

David 11:30
Okay. Now, before we move on, in terms of picking a hosting provider, I have a WordPress website, and I use siteground as the hosting provider. I also have a square space website. And I also have a Shopify website and I don’t remember ever having to use a hosting provider. For some of those like plug and play website designers. Do we need to be involved in this step?

Ken 11:57
So yeah, I mean any any website Whether you have a server and your place of business, and you host it yourself, or you choose a hosting provider, you have to have a host to host a website. So Wix, Shopify, any of those are just platforms that that the website is built on. So all of them need a hosting.

David 12:18
Okay, Okay, got it. Got it.

Ken 12:21
The next consideration when you’re looking at for a hosting company is a lot of them offer a free.com registration. So like we just covered you know, picking a domain name and getting it registered. So before you register it, if you want to kind of do the hosting company at the same time, kind of research it and pick your hosting company, then you might be able to snag up a free, you know, a free domain name, registration. So that’s something that’s something to really consider. And I do believe that siteground offers that email accounts, you know, support at firing demand calm, that’s hosted on our hosting provider. And we map that out and, you know, a lot of hosting providers Some of them offer five email accounts, some of them offer unlimited email accounts. So that’s also something to consider too. That’s a kind of a huge benefit.

David 13:08
Yeah. And I think that just comes off as way more professional, you know, when you support@firintheman.com as opposed to support firing the man@gmail.com I think it just comes off as a lot more professional. And after going through that, it’s really not that difficult to have your own custom domain email.

Ken 13:29
Oh, yeah, it’s super easy. You know, I can set those up in two minutes. You know, so yeah, it’s once once you get in there, and depending on which, which platform you pick, yeah, that’s super easy. And I definitely agree with you. It’s very professional, versus having a Yahoo or a Gmail or, you know, outlook.com. So, lastly, customer support, and I saved this one for last because it is huge. You know, whenever you’re dealing with with anything with a website, unless you’re an expert, and I’m not like, I’m learning every day, and whenever I, whenever I need help on something, especially at the website, it’s usually an emergency like something’s broken or, hey, this is not working right? How can you help me and siteground is predominately known for their, their help desk or support. It’s, it’s amazing. So I actually transferred the siteground three websites in 2019. And they they helped me migrate to websites, they helped out on any issues I’ve had, you know, they’re just there, their customer support is really top notch. And, you know, it’s one of the reasons I really like them.

David 14:42
Yeah, I’ll second that. Anytime I’ve built a website, there’s 100% chance that I will have a question that I need answered, and it’s, it really stinks to get in the customer service chat window, and get responses from a bot. And that’s one thing I’ve noticed about siteground is They may start with a bot, but they’re gonna turn around and answer, usually within an hour. And that’s nice, especially when you have multiple questions. In a day when you’re building a website, it sucks to be on Step three, and not be able to go to Step four, because you don’t know what to do. And so having that Quick, quick response time is huge. Yeah,

Ken 15:19
yeah, absolutely. I’ll second that. And I have a whole host of questions anytime I’m doing something like that, which is, which is good. You know? Yeah, that’s how you find out answers. We’re trying to keep this as kind of, at the beginning, a beginner’s guide to building a website, but I did want to cover a few more things. You know, in terms of the hosting providers now, I only can speak to siteground specifically because I use them exclusively, but most of them are comparable in terms of other services they offer, you know, like backups, you want your website backed up, you know, like your images or anything you want that backed up. So if it fails, or you know, you break it or you delete it or whatever, you have a backup email account management, you’re going to be able to go in there and add new emails, you know, delete emails forward emails, caching, which is for another whole topic, but let’s just say that’s for speed, you know, kind of higher end speed and site migrations. You know, siteground has built in site migration tool, which is nice. So if you’re moving from another hosting provider over you can you can use their site migration tool. So it’s kind of a more advanced stuff, but stuff you kind of should look at when you’re picking your hosting provider, you know, hey, do they have room to grow? Right? Do they are they gonna offer all the services I’m going to need maybe in in two years or in five years. Next step is the fun one. You get to design and build and create your website. The websites that I currently manage and maintain are our WordPress websites. Now I have used Shopify in the past, for e commerce and for dropshipping and It’s pretty, pretty useful. I the drop shipping I, I don’t like that drop. I don’t like that model anymore. So I’m not doing that. But the other alternative is Shopify. And but but for specifically we’re we’re talking WordPress on this and WordPress has been around since 2003. And literally 35% of the internet is powered by WordPress, that’s pretty significant. So there’s a lot of WordPress websites out there. So so when you get in when you when you start talking about building your website creating it, that’s kind of scary if you’re not super technical, or you have a design background or if you don’t understand. Now my recommendation is what I did for my first website, I outsource the entire process of building it. Now. You know we’ve talked before Fiverr, Upwork, free up lots of places to Go and find a, you know, website designer for a reasonable cost. You know, I think I’ve paid you know, anywhere from 250 bucks to 500 bucks to just get a basic website built on those platforms.

David 18:13
So let me ask you this, you’ve built your own website and then you’ve outsourced it. Is the juice worth the squeeze on outsourcing? Do you think it’s worth it?

Ken 18:21
Yeah. If I want something built quickly, and I and I don’t know how to do it, you know, if you’re just starting out and you want your website up quickly, in your you have no you don’t even know where to start. outsource it. That’s what I would recommend. So if you’re not going to outsource it, if you’re going to try it yourself, one of the first things you’re going to want to do what you you have your domain name, you have it registered, you pick the hosting provider. Next is you’re going to install WordPress and pick a theme. And you want to since this is going to be based around ecommerce WooCommerce you want you want the theme to be WooCommerce friendly. And what WooCommerce is, it’s a free WordPress plugin, and it adds ecommerce functionality to your WordPress website. So basically, you can have your online store, all integrated in with your website, and WooCommerce the plugin is a, it’s it’s super easy to set up. And while we’re on the topic of plugin, a plugin is it’s a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. Now, the functions can enhance the website or they can add features. And all of the WordPress plugins are written in PHP, from what the research that I’ve done in in terms of if you want to, you know, so what I think of as an analogy, so it’s let’s say it’s a the App Store for the iPhone. So if you go you know, you’re you’re downloading these apps, it’s kind of the same concept. So, in WordPress, there’s you know, hundreds thousands of plugins that you would use for any kind of you know, if you want to add social media icons to your website if you want to add specific buttons or features or functions, these are plugins that you go and search for download install.

David 20:13
Okay, so can when you’re building your websites, I’ve noticed that some of the plugins are free. And some of the plugins are expensive, you know, some are 99 bucks, some have a monthly subscription. When you’re first starting out, do you do you generally stick with the free plugins? Or is it necessary to install some of these paid plugins?

Ken 20:33
So good, very good question, David. And then and specifically speaking on WordPress, I would recommend going with the majority of free plugins if not all of them when you’re first starting out and then when you find out that you have a gap somewhere in your in your process or your you know, product fulfillment, then then plug those gaps in with paid plugins if you can’t, if you can’t find a free one, or if the paid plugin adds that much value to your business and it’s worth that expense. That’s kind of how I look at it. Now I have before, especially when I was on Shopify, I have before bought all kinds of extra gadgets on, you know, shiny object syndrome, right? I bought a bunch of those and they didn’t add didn’t, there was no ROI. So try not to get into the shiny object syndrome with plugins because there’s a lot of plugins. Another thing too is the more plugins you add to your site, usually the slower your site’s going to run, you want to run you want to operate, lean, minimal amount of plugins, and free if possible, is a great way to start and then slowly build on as you go,

David 21:41
for sure.

Ken 21:42
Back to designing your website. So you have a theme, you choose a theme, we’re not gonna really get into that there’s hundreds of themes out there. So just do a little bit of research on e commerce themes that are WooCommerce you know, designed around WooCommerce and Pick ones that’s good for, you know, whatever, whatever niche you’re in whatever products brand you’re in, just kind of look around and, and get one that’s good for you. There’s free one and there’s paid ones, I would recommend starting with free first, you know, unless you see something that you, you know, you have the money to purchase it, but start with free. And the last thing I’m going to add here is, you know, during the design phase, and it’s something that we’re going to talk about on another podcast is you want to kind of design the website around content serving content to your customers, obviously you’re going to sell them products, that’s kind of what the websites for but you’re there’s also need to provide value. And by by being able to post content, then you can provide value and you can generate you can generate traffic, you can get traffic to the website, so kind of have that on the back burner. We’ll cover it in a future episode on how to get traffic to your website. So you have a theme You have the the structure, set up your website. And you’re going to go in and add the plugins that we talked about minimal plugins, you got WooCommerce there’s a few other plugins that you’re going to want to add but keep the plugins down to a minimum, if possible, and your store so whatever, whatever product you’re selling, so you need to load up your, your WooCommerce store, you need to add, you need to create products, add images, add your pricing, add shipping models, kind of get that dialed in. We’re not going to go too deep in on that but it’s not. So if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking Holy shit, there’s so much going. It’s fairly easy to do that. And there’s a lot of tutorials out there WordPress has got a lot of training videos and a lot of stuff like that so it’s not too hard. And lastly, you’re going to want to however you are fulfilling your products if you’re manually shipping them yourself. If you’re using a three PL If you’re using Amazon, there’s lots of plugins to cover any of that WooCommerce Amazon fulfillment as a plugin that will link your Amazon inventory directly with WordPress, you with WooCommerce you can fulfill your orders there. shipstation is another one that I’ve used shipstation links to anything, three, pls, Amazon, whatever, whatever you want shipstation to do Walmart. So once you have the products linked to your fulfillment, that’s kind of the last step you’ve kind of got all your nuts and bolts put together and you’re kind of, you’re kind of ready to go here. So the next step is you want to test your website for for functionality, see if it works, you know, so run a couple tests orders through one thing I did forget and you have to connect your payment processor with WooCommerce. So whatever processing you’re using credit card processing, bank accounts, stuff like that, you have to get integrated into WooCommerce and but once that’s done, run some test orders Make sure your shipping is good, make sure the fulfillment functions and flows through, make couple test orders. So it works and then make make any corrections and adjustments as needed. You know, then you’re ready to roll.

David 25:13
All right. Sounds good. How much time should somebody budget to build their own website? And I know this varies, but how long does it typically take you to set up a website?

Ken 25:24
Wow. So, you know, I’ve set up a few now, so I can run through it pretty quickly. But I mean, it’s a really, in depth process of pride take you over a course of, you know, a week. I mean, I don’t know five hours, maybe from start to finish. That’s, I guess, a good estimate.

David 25:42
Yeah, I would agree with that. I think to get your basic shell set up. You know, if I look at some of my websites, I’ve spent hundreds of hours on them. Right. But I think just to get you out of the gate, get you set up with the nuts and bolts that you need to have a website. I think five hours is pretty good estimate.

Ken 26:00
Yeah, I would agree. And your first one just like anything you do, you know, it’s he did. The last item that I have here to hit is its maintain and optimize, right? So that kind of fits in with what we’re just talking about. So once your website’s fully functional, you’ve tested it, you’re in the you’re in the maintain and optimize phase now, so you want to go in and tweak things and add more products and, you know, add new plugins make it bigger, better, fancier. That’s the phase you’re in at that point.

David 26:34
Now, Ken, when I started my first WordPress website, I thought it was difficult to use. And that was, because I’ve realized that I wasn’t using the right plugins. And so you said at the beginning of the show, that you’re going to go over your top three WordPress plugins. So let’s hear him.

Ken 26:50
Absolutely. And, you know, I have a long long list of WordPress plugins that I like and so I wanted to come up with three that would add tremendous amount of value, starting out of the gate that I it took me a while how to find these. So the number one is, Yoast. Now Yoast is a plugin specifically designed to enhance your your SEO, Search Engine Optimization. And what it does is it. It’s basically a template of SEO, it overlays your website and it does a lot of stuff in the background that you don’t even have to worry about. So Yoast is a must have for me. And I would recommend installing that. Going through some of the some of the free tutorials they have on there, how to how to function with Yoast, how to plug it in, and yeah, it’s it’s tremendous amount of value. Number two, Google Analytics. That’s huge. Yeah, it’s huge. So you definitely want to have ga Google Analytics or monster insights. Either one any any of those plugins will link Google Analytics to your website. And you’ll understand this down the road when we start talking about getting traffic and conversions and audiences And so that’s a must have and the earlier you get that linked up, the better off you’re going to be. Lastly is hot jar.

David 28:07
This one is creepy, but awesome. Yeah,

Ken 28:10
this is one that I’m not gonna say his name but David knows I’m talking about he’s a developer and he he showed me hot jar and, and I was like I was super shocked. I was like, This is insane. And what hot jar is is it tracks customer movements and with heat maps, and you can really dial in your conversions, find out what people are doing on your website, are they bouncing because something doesn’t work are you know, should you add something somewhere should you not like it’s a really a great tool to enhance your customer experience on your website.

David 28:48
Just to expand on that you can with the hot jar plugin, you can watch a customer and how they interface with your website. I mean you can see what pages that They click on what articles they’re watching in reading essentially records their activity on your website. And I thought that was nuts. But it it does expose some of your weaknesses on your website. So for instance, if if you have your first page all content, but people are not going to the shop page, right and that’s how you that’s how you make money. Maybe you need to have your shopping page on your landing page and mix in in your content. But watching people use your website is it’s crazy.

Ken 29:37
Yeah, it is. It is kind of crazy when I when I saw that, that it actually takes people and then it also provides an aggregate heat map of where people click you know where your your users click so it’s a it’s pretty useful tool. Awesome.

David 29:52
Well, Ken, that was an awesome episode and I think we gave our listeners a high level look at how to build their own WordPress website. Now Kenny mentioned a lot of very specific tools and plugins that he uses in his day to day business. I would encourage you to go to www.firingtheman.com And check out the resources that we have for you there. Everything mentioned in today’s episode will be listed out in the show notes and we wish you the best of luck as you build your first WordPress website. Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s www.firingtheman.com podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to www.firingtheman.com And check out our resource library for exclusive www.firingtheman.com discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is www.firingtheman.com/resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business or that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at firing the man you know on YouTube at firing demand for exclusive content This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out

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