I’ve worked on my share of Shopify and e-commerce sites over the years, I’ve even built a few of my own. When Shopify store owners contact me – many of them have had stores built and designed with no thought about the niche they’ve chosen or what comes after the site has launched. I can’t stress enough how important it is to fully understand what’s involved in building a Shopify store or any website.
Regardless of the type of website or business you want to create ask yourself the following questions and be honest with yourself. Thinking these questions through may save you a lot of time, money and unnecessary frustration.
Is the market you’re looking to get into saturated?
Do you want to sell clothing, sunglasses or hunting gear? Those are pretty saturated markets with businesses that have been around a lot longer than you will be. They will have a head start on their SEO. They will also have stronger brand recognition and social media following. They will probably have their paid search campaigns dialed in and performing well. How will you compete? What makes you different and how do you plan to catch up in a market where you’re already behind?
Are you selling something unique?
Have a unique product or service no one has heard of? Are people searching for a what you offer? If not, how will they find you? Your strategy needs to be mapped out in detail before you even think about building a site. If you solve a problem no one is looking to fix, how do you plan to educate the market? Are you prepared for the uphill battle?
What do you know about marketing?
Are you an expert marketer? No? You should learn about marketing and how it works and how complicated it can be before building a Shopify site. You may find that after you invest money in building a site that you don’t have the knowledge or the budget to start and maintain any sort of marketing.
SEO is a great way to capture free traffic however, it is a long-term strategy. Also, the keywords you try and go after matter. Trying to go after a search terms such as “crib” will be too hard to ever rank on page one for. However, “natural wood baby crib” is a phrase that people do search for and is not as competitive as just the term “crib”. Understanding SEO and keyword research is important.
Link building is also important. Without links your content won’t rank. Do you know how to get links? Where to get them and where they should point to? Content alone won’t be enough to rank the site.
Are you well versed in paid search and shopping ads?
While SEO is kicking in over the next 12 months you can use paid search and shopping ads to drive in sales. However, do you know how paid ads work? Can you set them up? Do you know how to create a shopping feed from within Shopify? Once you figure that out you need to be able to set up a Google merchant account and connect it with you Google Ads account.
Once there you will need to manage each product and bid on each product accordingly. You’ll also need to manage it regularly and remove keywords that your products show up for that are unrelated. Not something that’s easy to do for a newbie. Unless you’re willing to pay a pro to do it for to you.
What do you know about social media marketing?
What do you know about social media? Is your audience there? Have you done any social media marketing before? Posting your kids photo to Facebook doesn’t count. 🙂
Perhaps you think throwing a product on Instagram or Facebook is enough to get traffic to your site, it’s not. Building a following takes a lot of time and effort.
What about, paid social ads? Do you understand what each platform’s features are and their limitations? Again, how much time do you have to learn marketing, grow a following and manage social media campaigns?
Can you write?
Are you a blogger? Can you crank out several blog posts a week without getting writers block? Will it contain keywords and phrases to catch buyers in the “research” phase? Do you have catchy social media titles? Will your content be lengthy and informative? Can you craft an editorial calendar and stick to it?
Sounds like a lot of work?
This is just a short list of some of the things you will need to consider before starting your online store.
The goal of this article is not to discourage you from creating an online business using Shopify or any other platform for that matter. As a marketer that deals with many small business, entrepreneurs and startups – many don’t think about what’s required after the site is built. Too many people get hung up on building a site based on gut feelings and never think about research. Or they build a site and then think of marketing as an afterthought with no budget. Doing that will set you up for failure.
If you’re thinking of a building a Shopify, drop shipping or ecommerce store, consider the questions above. If you’ve had past experiences that you can share please comment below.