With so many people dreaming of starting up an online business, many wonder how to design a nice, functional website such as an e-commerce store, without any coding experience.
It’s entirely possible, which is something I wouldn’t have said a number of years ago. But it’s amazing how many options have sprung up in recent times for creating functional, professional-looking websites just using templates and plug-ins.
In this article, I’m going to show you step-by-step how easy it is to design a website without coding. If you don’t mind a little coding, you may be interested in setting up an e-commerce website on WordPress.
Choose your platform
Your best bet is to use a component-based, drag-and-drop website builder. WordPress may be incredibly popular, but setting up a functional business website requires tinkering about in CSS code for various things. If you feel WordPress is the route for you, you do have the advantage of greater control of your website in the future, but you’ll want to compare WordPress hosts.
There are a lot of different website builder platforms with their pros and cons, though one of the most frequently mentioned is Weebly. You are sacrificing a good bit of customization flexibility down the road when comparing Weebly to WordPress, but you can check out some stunning examples of Weebly sites that others have built.
Some other popular website building platforms are Wix and Squarespace, both of which offer a lot of add-ons for business and e-commerce websites.
Website builders are for people that want a simple website launched as quickly as possible though. If you want a really professional website designed for you from scratch, but don’t want to do any of the coding yourself, that’s when you would consult with a web design agency like FreshySites.
You’ll get a website that is tailor-made for your brand and business goals, and no hassle of coding anything yourself, so consulting a web design agency is worth thinking about before you go with a cheap DIY builder.
Choose a template and theme
This is where you’ll need to choose wisely, especially using a website builder. Wix for example offers around +800 free templates for many categories and e-commerce niches, and you’ll have a lot of opportunity to customize the template you choose.
However you will be limited to the tools available, and sorting templates by “Most Popular” means using a template also used by many other websites.
You also have the option of purchasing premium templates and themes from third-party designers to make your site a bit more unique.
After you’ve chosen a template, it’s time to start customizing and make the website unique to you. With website builders, it’s really a matter of exploring the tools available, as most of them use drag-and-drop interfaces for putting together website functionality. In Wix and Weebly, you’ll find most of the things you’ll want in those platforms app markets.
So for example, if you wanted to add a search bar or a Paypal button to your Wix store, you would just search for those add-ons in the app marketplace, add them to your website, then use the Wix editor to customize the layout and appearance of those apps.
Remember that your site isn’t live yet, so you can experiment a bit and learn the tools before officially launching your site. This will be beneficial because once your site is live, you want to be confident in using the editor and making changes down the road.
You should also frequently save your website while editing. Saving doesn’t make the changes go public, but it will allow you to easily pull up your latest edits in case your browser crashes or something.
Publish your site
Once you’re satisfied with your website, you can go ahead and publish it. At this stage your website is officially live and anyone can visit it, so it’s a good time to start researching SEO and online marketing strategies to help grow your traffic.
Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns.