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Building an Ecommerce Website

Building an Ecommerce Website

If you are looking into launching an ecommerce business, then one of the most important decisions you will have to make is whether you will build your own website or hire a web design agency to do it for you. The success of your online store depends on excellent design, and on branding that will appeal to a wide audience. At the same time though, you have a budget to consider.

If you are struggling to make a decision then this page might help. If you want to know a more about the website building process then keep reading. Otherwise, if you’re ready to start comparing agency quotes already, just fill in the form at the top of this page to get started.

Your Ecommerce Website

If you are working with a limited budget then building your ecommerce website may seem like a good idea, and it is the cheaper option; however, if you do not understand the website design process then these savings are almost certainly going to be wasted.

If you have experience in website design, and if you feel confident that you could create a strong, profitable site, then we recommend that you do. But if you have no experience, this may not be the best idea.

If your plan is to create a simple website then lack of experience may not hold you back too much; if, however, you are looking to create a complex, functional and engaging website, you will almost certainly require the assistance of a professional ecommerce website designer.

If you have a limited budget for putting up your e-commerce site, building it yourself sounds like a very good idea. Here are pros of building your own e-commerce site:

  • It’s fairly cheap. If you’re integrating your shop into a website, you’ll just have to pay for the payment processing software and the shopping cart system. You can also look into open source e-commerce software, which is offered completely free of charge. Another option is to use an e-commerce website builder. This will cost more but you will have several templates to choose from and the payment processing and shopping carts come integrated into the site.
  • You don’t need to pay for the maintenance of your website.
  • You can update your site as often as you like.
  • You have total control over the features and functions of your website.

Here are some of the disadvantages of building your own site:

  • Building and maintaining your site requires a lot of technical knowledge. You’ll have to know how to quickly fix bugs in your site so your sales do not get affected.
  • You will be responsible for keeping up-to-date with developments in the e-commerce market and decide whether to adopt these changes to your site.
  • You have to make sure your site is up to par with those of your competitors.
  • You have to find for your own payment provider and set up accounts for it.
  • You need to develop your own branding and advertising strategies.
  • Your site may look generic or worse: cheap and unprofessional.
  • It might take you a long time to build your site, especially if you have a large number of products to sell.

Aside from all of these options, you will likely have to consider cost of your ecommerce website design, as well as the kind of ecommerce software and features you will need to implement. If you would like advice, our top tips for ecommerce web design could provide you with valuable insight.

Build Your Ecommerce Website With An Agency

If you don’t have the time to build your own e-commerce site, the obvious choice is to hire an agency to do it for you.

Advantages of hiring an agency:

  • Working with an agency of professional web designers will help you gain good marketing strategies and insights to make your business more appealing to customers.
  • An agency can handle almost everything for you, from creating the site to branding and marketing.
  • Your website will look very professional and will easily attract and engage customers.
  • Professional designers have a great understanding of which type of content will attract traffic to your site. The more traffic your site gets, the more visible your site will be in search engine results.
  • An agency can handle large volumes of data, which is ideal if you’re selling a lot of products.
  • An agency will create the right system for you to update your content easily and can offer you continued support even after your site has been created.

Disadvantages of hiring an agency:

  • Hiring an agency will cost money. Expect to spend a minimum of a few thousands of pounds for their services. A fee of £50,000 is quite normal for building an e-commerce site with a comprehensive catalogue. Any additional work you ask the agency to do after your site has been built will cost you around £30 an hour.
  • You will have to be flexible about your site build schedule. Keep in mind that you’re not the only client the agency will be working for, and you will likely have to factor in possible delays in the construction of your site.

Making the Choice

Whether you build your site yourself or hire an agency to do it is something you have to think about really carefully. If you have neither the time or technical skills to go for the DIY option nor the money to afford an agency, you can make a few compromises instead. For instance, you can build your online store with an e-commerce website builder and then have an agency evaluate it for you and determine what sort of marketing and technical support you’ll need. This way, you can save a bit of money without sacrificing the quality of your ecommerce site.

Choosing a Designer to Build an Online Shop

The following factors should all be taken into consideration when choosing a company to build your online shop:

  • Portfolio. A good ecommerce web design company shouldn’t be shy about their previous work. They should include links to the sites they’ve built on their own website. Don’t just glance over these to assess the visual competency of the designers – fully investigate their work by taking the sites for a test drive. Take a purchase right up to the final stage before aborting to make sure the software functions as it should.
  • Account Manager. Is the same person within the company who’s selling you the product the person who’s designing the site? You don’t necessarily want them to be – after all, few of us speak a web designer's language and can benefit from informed mediation – but make sure you feel confident when speaking to the company that your instructions will be interpreted correctly.
  • Cost. It should come as no surprise that a quality ecommerce site will be a significant investment. However, it’s an investment that should pay for itself fairly quickly when done right. Don’t convince yourself that you’ll get away with a rock bottom budget – poor websites don’t attract customers.
  • Get Ecommerce Website Design Quotes

    The choice of website design company to work with is probably the single most important factor in determining the success of your ecommerce website. It’s therefore vital that you take time over the decision and consider as many options as you can – it’s better to face a difficult choice between two excellent companies than to give yourself a blind choice of the first, or cheapest, company you find.

    Approved Index has put together a directory of established and accomplished ecommerce web designers. You can use our free, no-obligation service to compare quotes from up to 4 UK based companies by filling out one simple form.

    Find an Ecommerce Web Design company with Approved Index.


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