So, you want to take the leap from blogger to ecommerce entrepreneur. Great! Monetizing your passion is a smart move. And it’s never been easier to set up your own ecommerce store thanks to the abundance of do-it-yourself platforms, with some costing as little as $10/month.
Keep in mind switching platforms later on can be a pain, so it’s important to choose wisely. Here are some questions to help you narrow down your selection, as well as a few of our favorite ecommerce platforms.
Key Questions to Ask
Transitioning from blogging to ecommerce is a major change. Writing about your favorite hobby or passion is completely different from selling it. Before committing to an ecommerce platform, you need to determine how viable your concept is and what type of platform will work best for you.
Related Post: How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business
Ask yourself these questions:
What’s My Budget? Determine how much you can afford each month. Then carefully review each platform’s upfront and hidden costs. Some platforms will charge one time fees for things like domain names, some themes, and other extensions like shopping cart recovery, shipping predictions, and more. You’ll typically pay a monthly rate after that.
What Will I Sell? Consider selling something in the same realm as your blog content. For example, if you run a travel blog, sell items related to travel like passport covers or luggage tags. If you write a beauty blog, you might want to sell items like makeup bags or lip exfoliators.
Source: Huda Beauty
Do I Have Experience With Web Design? The answer to this question really plays into which platform you choose. Some platforms require no design or coding background, while others are easier to manage if you do have some experience. It’s best to choose a platform that suits your level of expertise.
What Do I Need Out of This Platform? Think about your top requirements. Maybe you need a platform that allows for customization or shopping cart recovery. Perhaps you’re just starting out and have a low budget, so you need a platform that’s cost efficient. Or, maybe you need your platform to be mobile friendly. After all, 66% of time spent on ecommerce is done on mobile devices. Whatever your needs, choose a platform that accommodates them.
Platform Options to Explore
When it comes to ecommerce platforms there are so many options. Here are a few of our favorites. These platforms offer you the ability to build your store in a relatively short amount of time, get customers, and sell your inventory. Plus they’re affordable!
Shopify has become one of the most well-known ecommerce platforms, boasting over half a million active stores. They host shops of all sizes, so it’s great for any skill set (e.g. beginners to pros). You can choose from 10 free themes, or several paid themes. They also offer a ton of free tools including a logo maker, business card maker, terms and conditions generator, invoice generator, and so much more.
Related Post: Top 5 Shopify Apps to Boost Your Ecommerce Sales
Shopify is mobile friendly, and even offers social shopping so your customers never have to leave their social media platform to checkout. Their packages range from $29 to $299 per month.
While most standard features are included, many useful extensions require additional payment. For example, you’ll pay for your domain name, and you’ll also be charged a transaction fee if you don’t use Shopify Payment. If you’re not sure if Shopify is your ideal platform, you can try it for free for 14 days.
If Weebly is home to your blogging platform, it might also be the right choice for your online business. With Weebly, you get 15 free customizable themes, analytics tools and stats, email templates for abandoned carts or email lists, and much more. They’re one of the easiest platforms to use, making designing your website a breeze with their drag and drop website builder.
Other features include filtered product search, inventory tracking, ability to sell a wide range of products, and a mobile editor to tweak mobile view. Weebly’s prices range from $25 to $38 per month for a full feature ecommerce plan. They also charge a 3% transaction fee unless you upgrade to business or performance packages.
In addition to hosting online stores, Squarespace also has a blogging platform that’s easy to use, making it great for beginners. Squarespace offers 14 templates for online stores, plus every design is optimized for mobile viewing, so there’s no need to go back and change anything.
Pricing for ecommerce packages ranges from $26 to $40 per month depending on what you’re selling. You can also add additional extensions for a fee.
BigCommerce offers a lot of value considering most of what you need is already integrated into the software. This saves you from having to purchase essential add-ons like analytics, newsletters, shipping predictions, or tax calculators outside of the monthly charge. Unlike many other platforms, you won’t pay transaction fees with BigCommerce, too.
If you’re a beginner or don’t have experience with web design or coding, setting up your website is simple. While they only offer seven free themes, they do allow you to customize them to fit your style. As a result, very few stores look alike.
Prices range from $29.95 to $249.95 per month. And the majority of necessary features are included in the standard package. BigCommerce also offers a 15-day free trial so you can test it out and see if it sizes up to your expectations.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that allows bloggers to expand into ecommerce. If you’re familiar with WordPress, then using WooCommerce is super easy.
Only drawbacks are the variety of free themes are limited, and there are a lot extensions that you pay for separately. They also work most efficiently with small stores, so if you’re planning to scale up, you may quickly outgrow them.
Big Cartel is known as the go-to ecommerce platform for artists and makers. Their goal is simplicity, which can sometimes lead to less site functionality. But that doesn’t take away from their affordable price point and customization options, which includes your choice of 12 themes.
Source: Big Cartel
If you want to start small, Big Cartel offers a free package that allows you to sell five products and have one photo of each product. Paid packages, which range from $9.99 to $29.99 per month, offer more perks like the option to sell more products, have your own domain name, access analytics, and up to five pictures per product.
Ready to Boost Your Brand?
Every ecommerce platform is built for different types of businesses and different expectations and requirements. When choosing an ecommerce platform for your blog, there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s up to you to choose which platform will work for you and your new business.Related Post: Why Social Media Is the New Way to Shop on Mobile
Once you’ve selected a platform and are all settled in, use your content and social presence to drive ecommerce conversions. (There’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion.) But keep in mind that your readers are not your only customers. There’s a fine line between your blog and your store, so make sure to keep a healthy balance between the two to keep both audiences satisfied.