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Learn how to create an online store in minutes

This easy-to-follow guide is specially created for those who do not have any technical background. So, no experience needed! Let’s start building your online store with easy and low-cost tools and services.

How to create an online store

Here are the steps to build an online store with minimal effort. This guide is mainly focused on beginner-friendly online shop building platforms that anyone can use without any technical knowledge.

  1. Choose a platform to create an online store
  2. Select a good website hosting service
  3. Buy a domain name
  4. Follow these steps to create an online store on WordPress
  5. Follow these steps to create an online store on Shopify
  6. Polish up your newly created online store
  7. Start digital marketing
  8. Start selling

If you like to read more about online business ideas, product research, and dropshipping, we have separate guides to teach them all.

Skip reading this guide and hire a freelance web developer to create an online store for you

Hire a professional online freelancer for around $50 to get your online store up and running in no time.

How much does it cost to start an online store?

If you are going to create an online store all by yourself, you will need around $60 to buy a domain name and to pay the first-month fee for a hosting service and a shop building platform. Then, you will have to pay around $30 – $50 every month as recurring costs. Also, you can usually get more discounts by paying yearly fees upfront.

That is being said; you can even buy cheap shared hosting services to reduce your monthly recurring fees to around $15 or less. But, this can slow down your site, which is not good for an eCommerce store at all. We will more about that later.

Extra Costs:

  • If you are planning to hire a freelancing web-developer to create an online store, you will have to pay around $50-$100 for their service as well.
  • Also, you will have to pay fees for plugins, premium themes, services, etc. The above prices are calculated to create an online store with basic functionalities.

Can you create an online store for free?

Yes, you can create an online store for free. For example, now you can build an online shop on Facebook (Facebook Shops) and even accept payments from your customers. That is all good for small businesses where they can manage all the back-end tasks manually.

An online store is not only a beautiful shopping website that you see on your computer. There is a lot going behind the screen. When someone made a purchase, you need to reduce stock levels, create invoices, send confirmation emails, track orders, and do many other things from your website back-end. Therefore, by paying around $30 a month and using an easy-to-manage online store platform is a worthy investment for a business.

Related: How to create a business website for free

And, don’t worry, we have also included a special section about digital marketing at the end of this guide. So, you can follow those steps, make more online sales, and cover the platform costs in no-time.

Choose a CMS (Content Management System) platform to create an online store

As we have explained earlier, there are many “behind the screen” functions going on in an online store. Therefore, by choosing a platform that let you handle all those tasks in a few clicks, you can save your time as your business grows. These platforms are called CMS (Content Management System), and here we are going to compare two popular CMS platforms to create an online store.

Which is better, Shopify or WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular CMS for a wide range of websites. There are news websites, blogs, eCommerce shops, business websites, and many other types of sites, which are built on WordPress. And, since it is so popular, there is massive WordPress community out there to find support, answers, and guidance for free as required.

On the other hand, Shopify is more focused on building eCommerce stores. It is undoubtedly the most beginner-friendly platform to build an online store. Since it is made for eCommerce, you can find all the essential back-end functions optimized for that purpose. For example, if you want to add a payment gateway like PayPal to Shopify, it is only a matter of logging into your PayPal account from Shopify. So, it is literally a few clicks away.


An online store with self-hosted WordPress will cost around $25 – $30 a month. And, if you choose WordPress hosted site, it will cost around $45 a month for their dedicated eCommerce plan.

Shopify is an all-inclusive paid service. The basic plan starts from $29 a month, and you can upgrade as your business grows. When using Shopify, you don’t have to buy a third-party hosting service as it is also included in your plan.

Beutiful Shop Designs

Both platfroms offer a wide range of stunning templates and themes to create an awesome online store for your business.

Beginner friendliness

WordPress is not particularly an eCommerce oriented CMS. There you have to install a plugin like WooCommerce to add online selling features to your website. Also, unless you are using WordPress.com, you have to manage your domain and hosting services separately, which will need some basic technical skills from time to time

Shopify is an eCommerce CMS. So, it is more beginner-friendly to set up and managing the back-end functions. While there are many videos and tutorials to learn Shopify for free, you can even use their customer support line to get things done.

So, what is the best platform to create an online store?

If you have somewhat basic knowledge related to web development, using WordPress will let you enjoy more flexibility when creating an online store. Also, it can be cheaper in the long run. Otherwise, you can use Shopify and create an online store in minutes without any technical knowledge.

This sample site is built on Shopify

Create your online store on Shopify

Creating an online store is easier than you may think. Now with online store building platforms like Shopify, you can even create an online store without any technical knowledge. And, you can try Shopify for free to see how it works. So, and register on Shopify to start your free trial.

Select a good website hosting service

If you are creating your online store on Shopify or WordPress.com (not WordPress.org, the CMS), you can skip this section as the hosting is already included in your plan. Otherwise, here we are going to discuss what do you need to consider before selecting a hosting service.

What is website hosting?

In simple terms, it is like purchasing an online computer space to save your website content. These computers are called servers, and they are connected to the internet 24×7. So, when you choose a hosting provider to run your online store, you need to think about the space, speed, security, support and many other factors.

Which type of hosting is best to create an online store?

There are three types of hosting services.

  • Shared hosting
  • VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting
  • Dedicated server hosting

Shared website hosting

In shared hosting, your website will be saved on a server with a lot of other websites. And, then they will dynamically share the resources according to the traffic that you would get. Since you have to share resources, it is not that viable when it comes to medium to high traffic sites. Because as your traffic grows, your website will get slowed down, which is really bad when it comes to online stores (we will tell you why).

You can find shared hosting services starting from around $3 a month. Yes, they are incredibly cheaper. But, shared hosting is usually good for starter sites with low traffic, for example, portfolio websites, personal blogs, etc. So, when you are planning to create an online store, it is better to invest a little more and get better resources.

VPS hosting for an online store

VPS (Virtual private server) is kind of a middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated server hosting. In VPS, you again have to share resources with a few other sites on the same server. However, in VPS, they allocate a minimum amount of resources for each website, which let your site to get more traffic without affecting the performance.

You can find VPS hosting services starting from around $25 a month. It is a worthy investment to go for when you are running an online business. And, the best thing is that you can upgrade your plan to get more resources as your traffic grows.

Dedicated hosting

As the name suggests, in dedicated hosting, you can get a full server to host your site. And, once you get an entire server you can decide which OS to run on that server, which security protocols to be used, etc. However, it might not be so useful for a startup online store. Of course, once you start getting millions of visitors, you can hire a webmaster and go for a dedicated hosting plan. which would cost around $200 a month to start with. But, until then, let us keep things simple and use a VPS hosting plan to create your online store.

Popular hosting providers to run an online store with WordPress

Here are some popular and highly rated WordPress hosting providers for your online store.

Buy a domain name

A domain name is the address of your online store. And, you have to buy a unique domain name for your business, so others cannot use it. For example, the domain name of this website is ecommercebuff.com. It can be yourbusiness.com for you.

You can buy domain names through domain registrars. And, most of the hosting service providers sell domain names as well. Also, if you are using Shopify or WordPress.com to create an online store, you can buy a domain name from them. If not, you can always buy a domain name from any registrar and configure your hosting dashboard to link that domain name.

A domain name can usually cost from $9 to thousands of dollars.
Find a .com domain for $8.88 now.

What do you need to know about buying a domain name for an online store

The first thing that you need to know about getting domain names is that you won’t be able to get the exact name that you are looking for. There are millions of websites online, and the chances of your business name to be already taken is high. So, don’t get frustrated. If it is already taken, and if it is not for sale, you can try different name variations.

DOs when selecting a domain name for an online store

  1. Find a name that sounds easy and spelled as it sounds
  2. Be original and unique
  3. Make it related to your niche (optional)
  4. It should look nice on your logo
  5. Always go for a .com domain, or keep it reserved if you are using another ending.

DO NOTs when selecting a domain name for an online store

  1. Using more than two words
  2. Using numbers with words (unless it makes sense)

How to create an online store on WordPress

We are currently working on creating a blueprint video to explain everything you need to know about creating an online store on WordPress.com. Until we get that ready, check this awesome and informative video from Darrel Wilson about how to create an online store on WordPress. Well, there he is creating a self-hosted WordPress site. But, you can skip many of those initial steps by simply purchasing an all-inclusive plan from WordPress.com.

Skip reading this guide and hire a freelance web developer to create an online store for you

Hire a professional online freelancer for around $50 to get your online store up and running in no time.

How to create an online store on Shopify

We are currently working on creating a blueprint video to explain everything you need to know about creating an online store on Shopify. Until we get that ready, you can use Shopify Help Center YouTube channel to learn every tiny step of starting an Online store with Shopify. Here is an overview of the complete process. Next, you can go through each of the steps to configure your online store without any hassles.

Try Shopify for FREE

Register today and try Shopify for free before making any commitments

Polish up your newly created online store

In this section, we will go through the essential elements of an online store, and we are going to discuss how to improve those website elements to make it appealing to your customers. Remember, the looks of your site have to do a lot with gaining the trust of potential customers. After all, a sloppy online store design might feel like a doggy website.

The logo for an online store

The logo of a business represents the trust and feel of that brand. So, if you have a crappy or cheap-looking logo design, people won’t be buying from your newly created online store. Read this article from 99design about generic logo designs.

We have seen many free online logo generators, and we do not recommend using them at all (at least for now). Those logo generators s*** out sloppy logo designs, which you should not even consider bringing closer to your online store.

Get a Pro Logo for Your Business

You can hire a freelance logo designer to create a meaningful logo for your business. It would cost around $30 for a reasonably good logo.

If you cannot afford to hire a designer to create a logo, just keep it simple and use only the site title without a logo.

The homepage design of an online store

People visit your online store to buy stuff. So, let them buy stuff easily. Usually, when someone visits an eCommerce store, they often check the homepage. Therefore, you have to pay special attention to the homepage design.

Your online store homepage is a valuable real-estate. So, do not waste space there. We have seen many beginner websites with sparse designs. Try to avoid unnecessary spaces, and fill it up with sales copies, products, offers, and other information that will lead to a sale.

Check below screenshot from Case-Mate. It is a great site to buy phone cases online. So, as you can see from their homepage design, they are not wasting the space on homepage.

Product page design for an online store

The product page is where you make the conversion. So, you need to optimize your product page without creating any distractions. Of course, you have to use cross-selling and up-selling strategies on the product page. But, all these should be done carefully.

Check the below screenshot from Gym Shark. It is a great site to buy activewear online. So, as you can see from their product page design, they are not creating any distractions with any unwanted elements.

Check-out page design for an online store

Believe it or not, complicated check-out page designs are the primary reason for the shopping cart abandons in eCommerce. So, here are some pointers to optimize your check out page and to create a frictionless purchasing experience for your customers.

  • Add guest check-out – If you are selling a one-time product, people wouldn’t like to waste their time filling up unnecessary information. So, use guest check out options to let them quickly buy what they want.
  • Keep it simple and stupid – Make your check-out process as simple as it can be. People will abandon their carts if it is too hard to understand. Keep it stupid-friendly.
  • Use popular payment gateways – Use PayPal, stripe, ApplePay, etc. as your payment gateways, Do not directly ask credit card info on your site. People do not want to include their card info on an unknown site.

Start digital marketing

Creating an online store is easy. Anyone can do that. If you follow the steps given on the above videos, you can build an awesome online store without any expert help. But, having an online store is only the first step in selling online. It doesn’t matter how nice your website is unless your potential customers know about it. That is why it is crucial to start working on digital marketing in parallel to creating an online store.

Advertising your online store on Google

We are not going to talk about running paid ads on Google. If you have a good marketing budget, you can run paid ads anywhere you like. But, do you know that there are some underrated methods to advertise on Google for free?

Yes, whether you are running a local business or an international eCommerce store, there are some methods to promote your online store on Google. Try these 12 methods to advertise on Google for free.

Use social media marketing

If managed properly, Facebook and Instagram along can be the cash-cow for your business. There are billions of social media users across the globe and it gives you a perfect opportunity to find and engage with your potential customers. Try creating a Facebook marketing strategy or an Instagram marketing campaign to bring in more customers to your online store.

Email marketing and text messaging

Once someone visits your online store, there is a higher chance for them to buy from you. And, in most cases, the first sale doesn’t occur on the first visit. Therefore, you need a reliable method to retarget them and broadcast your products and services to increase your chances of selling to them. So, email marketing and SMS marketing are tried and tested methods that serve these purposes well. Try creating a results-driven email marketing campaign and an SMS marketing campaign for your online store.

Now you know how to create an online store

Creating an online store is simple and easy, even without any technical knowledge. So, here we have shared the steps and tips that you need to follow to create a successful online store on WordPress and Shopify.

Awesome! Now get started. If you came across with any unclear areas, you can find support online for free. Both WordPress and Shopify have massive online communities, and you can find answers to FAQs pretty much everywhere.

What is next? Once you have created an online store, you need to start marketing. In this guide, we have given some basic intro to digital marketing. But, there is more to learn. Try reading our latest guides in digital marketing.

Have more questions about starting a website? Check these:

What is a customer journey map and how to create one

The real use of a customer journey map is to identify your customer’s touchpoints with your business during their purchasing journey. Then, you can improve these points to create a frictionless path leading to a sale.

How to Create a Business Website for FREE

Although having a business website is not a must to start an online business, a website can bring in so many opportunities for your online business.
Creating a business website can help your potential customers to learn about your brand and engage with your business.

How to create a killer product page that sells

The product page is one of the most valuable real-estates of your e-commerce website. That is the place where people make their purchasing decision. So, optimizing your product page is an essential task for you.