eCommerce Website Design Chicago

How To Make an eCommerce Website with Basically No Money

Last updated April 2023 | This post may contain affiliate links

Having your own eCommerce website can be wonderful supplemental income to your 9 – 5. Customers pay you in advance for items showcased on your site and you ship it to them at wholesale prices. It’s a lot of work for the initial setup but if you can get rolling with traffic and customers – or better yet repeat customers – then the process can be as simple as sending an email to your supplier. So how to make an ecommerce website with little money? Keep reading to find out.

Launching an ecommerce website with little or no money

Step 1: Order Your eCommerce Website Hosting

The first cost, but definitely necessary to have your website online. I’d recommend staying away from the ridiculously cheap hosting companies but let’s say you order one for about $10/month or $120 for the year. Many of the cPanel hosting companies include one click WordPress installation and email hosting so you don’t have to use your personal Gmail account when emailing customers.

We recommend A2 Hosting based out of Michigan. Their shared hosting starts at $11.99/mo and typically run sales of up to 75% off your first year. They even offer a WordPress Hosting option that will ensure your server is set up to run WordPress as fast as possible.

Step 2: Order a SSL Certificate

A SSL Certificate is absolutely needed to process credit card payments online. Without this your customer’s credit card information can be easily seen. Some hosting companies, based on your plan, may include one to three certificates. If you’ve gone with one of these hosts then there is no additional cost.

Order SSLs also varies in price. Let’s say you order one domain SSL that works on www or without and has a $10,000 warranty. This would cost you around $30.00/year.

One thing to note when ordering a SSL is to ask if the certificate is SHA-1 (shaw one). SHA-1 are considered basic SSLs and companies like Google and Stripe (we’ll get to them in a minute) are requiring certificates with higher security.

If you sign up with A2 Hosting, on any hosting level, your SSL certificate is included. One less expense.

Step 3: Select an eCommerce Website Theme

Your eCommerce website theme will be the aesthetics and layout for your site. If you’re testing the waters and want to keep this side project inexpensive you can download free WooCommerce themes like Storefront or Mystile. Otherwise search for premium WooCommerce themes and you’ll find a number of sites that sell premium themes anywhere from $30 – $100. You can always build a custom WordPress website or add on to your existing theme.

For this example let’s say you choose the Storefront theme. Remember you can always update your theme at a later time.

Step 4: Configure a Credit Card Gateway

Your credit card gateway is how your customers cards will be charged. New installations of WooCommerce come packaged with the option to include Stripe or PayPal powered by Braintree. I’ve used Stripe for a while and really like it so my recommendation is Stripe.

Stripe is a free setup and only charges you the industry standard 2.9% + $0.30 per successful card charged. All Stripe needs from you is a little bit of information and a bank account to send your profits.

Step 5: Getting Your Wholesalers Account

Reputable wholesaler websites can be difficult to find. Try searching for brand + wholesale, brand + drop ship or product category + wholesale.

Wholesale suppliers require a bit of information from you and a credit card to keep on file.

There are a few, well-known, websites that charge a one-time fee for access to their drop shipping list. While I haven’t used them before they seem very reputable. Websites that require a monthly fee to have access to their drop shipping list may be middle men that just take your money each month.

Try to find suppliers and manufactures directly.

Step 6: Launch Your eCommerce Website

The next steps can be tedious – as I mentioned earlier. Depending on how many products you have you may be importing products, images and descriptions for a while. WooCommerce has an product import method so you can upload a spreadsheet if you’d like to create that.

Adjust the WooCommerce settings based on what you’re selling, where you’ll ship to, and how you’d like the store to appear. Don’t forget to set your credit card gateway to live so you can collect payments and tell your friends so they can shop your inventory.

eCommerce Website Total Estimate: $135 – $216

Do you think a WordPress eCommerce website is for you? Do you already have one? Leave a comment on what you’d like to sell or already do.

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