This is how you build a complete webshop in 5 steps (for free!)

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Starting your own webshop doesn't have to be very complicated or expensive. But if you want to do it right, it takes time. This step-by-step plan will help you on the right track.

More and more (physical) stores also have their own webshop. Logical, because the turnover of online stores is increasing, while that of physical stores is declining. But SME entrepreneurs don't have to fear having to build a Coolblue or Bol.com right away if they want to take the step to online. Anyone can start a very decent webshop with a healthy dose of common sense.

Keep in mind that it will take time. Often even: a lot of time. If you don't have one, it's wise to outsource some steps. Until then: 5 steps to start that coveted webshop (almost) for free.

Step 1: Choose your webshop package

Starting a webshop starts with the choice of a webshop package. Fortunately, there is a wide choice of free providers here. Moreover, most packages are simple to work with, and often you don't even have to download any software, but you can just use a free template.

But – as every entrepreneur knows: there is no such thing as truly free in this world. The other also has to earn his living. With the free packages, this means, for example, that you often don't get your own domain name or that advertising from the provider can be seen in your webshop. In both cases you'll come across as less professional. There is also often a maximum number of products that you can have in your range. At my webshop, for example, you can only offer a maximum of 25 products.

As every entrepreneur knows: really free doesn't exist in this world

If you pay a small amount per month, you get much more service. Most webshop packages offer that you can start for free and expand later, the so-called freemium model. Online providers Jimdo and Myshop are well-known examples of this. From 5 euros per month you get your own domain name and your webshop is ad-free.

Step 2: Determine the web design

Templates make your work very easy, but which template do you choose? It's all about a good first impression; so also on the home page of your webshop. Visitors like simple and familiar designs. Don't offer too many choices at once, put them in a logical order and leave enough space on the page so that the important parts stand out.

Also use headings and white space to keep things organized. Image is very important, places speak louder than words. Choose beautiful photography. Icons also work very well. There are several sites where you can download royalty-free, free icons or icon sets, such as Iconmonstr and Flaticons. Also a good idea: be inspired by the most beautiful webshops on Lightspeedhq.

Step 3: Make a navigation of the webshop

The better the visitor can find his way on your webshop, the faster he is inclined to sell and that's just what it's all about! Keep your navigation simple and short. As with web design, visitors like to get used to it. So don't reinvent the wheel yourself, but see what successful online stores are doing and take advantage of that.

If you're offering 25 ties, don't put them all on one page.

A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 6 cups and offer all the choices in one place. Ideally, you give people one choice per page. Divide your products into meaningful groups. If you're offering 25 ties, don't put them all on one page. In such a case, it's better to think of a handy subdivision. You can then create product overviews on separate pages, with only products from the appropriate group.

Step 4: Make sure your shop is found

A sleek, new webshop is one thing. It's of course important to be found on Google. So check carefully whether your texts are SEO-friendly. You can do that yourself at first. You think about which keywords people will search for if they are interested in your product. Are these keywords also clearly stated on the homepage, in the headlines and in the photo captions? Add links to the product descriptions; internal linking is a good way to make pages more powerful for Google.

It also helps if customers make reviews. This is unique content and that helps to rank higher in the search engines. You kill two birds with one stone with this. It's also nice for new visitors to read about the customer experiences. You can reward customers for their review to offer a discount on the next order.

Step 5: Arrange as much (free) marketing as possible

A quick and effective way to get the attention of potential customers is Google AdWords. This does cost money, but you can set a limit per day of, for example, 20 euros and you only pay if the visitor actually clicks on your ad.

It's free to ask bloggers to write about your product. All you've to do is send them something so they can test the product. Of course you can also start blogging on your webshop, such as information about how best to use your product will "increase your chances" also to be found on google search.

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