How Do I Start Selling Products Online

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How Do I Start Selling Products Online?

Pot of gold

Successful online e-commerce businesses spend thousands of pounds to build and maintain their websites – so hoping to copy them on a smaller scale is wishful thinking and not a lot more.

I occasionally receive calls from people who would like to cheaply turn their hobbies into profit-making businesses. Last week a ceramics artist contacted me to enquire about the cost of setting up a 'simple website' – just 3 or 4 pages with a little information about him - and some pages featuring his latest pottery and offering the items for sale. He also asked how much I'd charge to teach him how administer and update the site himself.

There are many web designers who'd welcome his call and happily offer to build him a Content Management System website like WordPress, give him an hour or two of tips and send him on his way in the land of E-commerce.

I would not do this.

Don't Waste Your Money

The reality is that selling online is not as simple as it sounds. Getting a website with just a few pages to show up in Google search results is almost impossible in competitive markets. All websites now need substantial well-written content to stand any chance of being on the 1st page of Google search results. This takes time, effort, professional skill – and money. Putting up a handful of pages and e-commerce software is unlikely to work.

If a web designer does offer to do this for you, be suspicious – you'll be calling them in 6 months to ask why your site isn't showing up in search results. Probably, you'll be asked to pay for search engine optimisation.

Content Management systems allow you to make basic changes yourself but unless you're prepared to invest a lot of time in research you'll soon be calling your web designer for help.

Become a Web Designer Overnight

Running a content management system properly requires professional web design knowledge - it's complete nonsense to expect anyone to learn the skills of a web designer in a couple of hours.

I've had dozens of calls from people with WordPress sites asking me to help them out of trouble because they can't work out how to fix a problem – or get hold of the person who built their site.

There's a big learning curve in self-updating if you're going to do it properly.

I'm being totally honest. Setting up to sell online takes the same effort whether you're a sculptor or a big company. Putting up just a few pages and hoping for the best is a complete waste of money. Not wishing to put a dampener on your idea - but you might instead consider featuring your products pictorially on an optimised brochure website and ask interested people to call you direct to buy!

Web Design Gosport Hampshire by Gethyn Jones.