How to create a Joomla eCommerce website
Lots of people dream about entrepreneurship, but before the Internet was popular, actually starting a business was difficult and not everyone had the possibility of success. That’s not the case nowaday, building an eCommerce business and selling your products online is within reach for anyone. Especially during the pandemic time like this, people are spending more time at their place and go online, which is the perfect time for you to open your own Joomla online store.
In this article, I will share with you my way to make an eCommerce website using Joomla platform. Let’s dive in!
Why is it the perfect time to go online?
I believe that the goal of every business is to sell as many products as possible. And to achieve this goal, potential customers need a way to discover your brand and what products you’re selling. For businesses that only have storefronts, they limit themselves from the possibility of potential customers to acknowledge their brand and products.
With the rapid development of technology, it changes the customers shopping habit, online shopping is becoming more and more popular. Adding to that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are sheltering in place and moving all of the shopping activities to online. If you don’t start your eCommerce business now, you’re missing out on a huge market.
I’m sharing with you below 4 of the most important reasons among many others, why it is essential to have an eCommerce website of your own.
People are spending more money online
According to Digital Commerce 360, in 2019, $602 billion were spent by people of the United States and this data was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. And in the first month after the pandemic started, eCommerce sales had grown 49%. Not going online means you will lose your piece of that profit.
An eCommerce website is more cost effective than a storefront
To run a storefront, you need to cover:
- Renting cost
- Furnitures and Decorations
- Wages of Employees
- Utility Bills
Adding up these expenses can be too much to handle.
Contrarily, operating an online business is much more cost effective and easy to plan for and manage. There are still some expenses that you need to take into consideration such as web hosting and marketing but these are nothing compared to running a physical store.
Going online will help your products touch more people
As mentioned above, as the technology evolved, people are turning to online shopping than traditional shopping. According to a Kenshoo survey, 85% of people turn to google to search for products and shopping. Without an eCommerce website, you will lose the chance of your potential customers to see what you offer online.
However, if you want your website to stay on top of google search engine, you need to invest in your SEO practice.
A huge potential market from mobile users
According to Business Insider, over a quarter of online purchases are made through mobile devices.
Mobile devices allow customers to purchase products right at the moment. They don’t have to wait until getting back to their desktop or going to a physical store. This will fasten the decision making process, which creates more opportunities for sales.
Things to consider when building your Joomla eCommerce website
Now, I have shared my opinion on how important it is to have an eCommerce website for your business. Let’s discuss things you need to keep in mind when building your own Joomla online shop.
Unlike a normal website or a blog, beside web hosting and domain name that all websites require, you need to put in account for platforms, tools and systems for processing payments, along with actually creating and manufacturing your products.
I will show you below the 5 things you need to put intention to when creating your eCommerce website:
A SEO plan that runs along
I must say SEO is critically important to any eCommerce website. Your products need to rank higher than your competitors, and with a proper display, your potential customers can find the products they desire in the SERPs and choose your online store to visit.
When SEO is done correctly, your eCommerce optimization strategies will help your store rank highly, and your site will provide the best solutions to a user’s search intention. Optimizing eCommerce sites can harvest a continuous, free source of high-converting organic traffic.
This could mean you don’t have to spend much on paid advertising, a plus for any online business.
You can check out a few tips on how to make your eCommerce site SEO friendly here.
Choosing an optimal web hosting
Before deciding on your domain name, you need to put your attention on choosing a suitable online hosting for your Joomla online store. There are literally hundreds or even thousands of companies that provide Joomla hosting. And Adam Berry - digital director at Wingard Creative stated his opinion that: “Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support and security”. These are the standards that you need to put in consideration when deciding your web hosting provider.
During our time practicing website-building, we have tested through different hosting providers using the criteria mentioned above. After lots of trial and error and not so many stand out of the crowd, we have come up with, in our opinion, the best Joomla hosting providers that we can recommend:
- Bluehost - well-optimized Joomla hosting
- HostGator - lots of freebies
- Hostinger - cheapest Joomla hosting so far
- InterServer - offer a fixed price point
- Liquid Web - a powerful Joomla VPS hosting
- A2 Hosting - lightning-fast and stable hosting
Selecting a domain name
Some online business owners don’t put too much effort on coming up with a proper domain name for their site. And that’s not the right way if you want your business to succeed in the long run.
Your domain name resembles your brand on the world wide web and for the most part, it should be the same as your brand name.
To my experience, you should pick a domain that is rich in keywords. This will help you get a lot of search engine mojo and traffic will be driven to your website and conversions will be increased.
Adding to that, a brandable domain name will serve as a strategic long-term investment. You wouldn’t want to change your brand name where you have already been starting your plan.
Some criterias that you could consider when deciding your domain name:
- A name that related to your brand or product
- A short name will make it more memorable
- A key-word rich domain name will be helpful for long-term SEO benefit
- Keep it unique
- Avoid unwanted characters
Tips: A good practice to come up with your own domain name is that, try combining the products/industry that you are involved in and what you are known for. This way, visitors can know exactly what you offer and differentiate you from many other providers in the market.
Choosing the suitable extension for your business
Your Joomla online shop cannot be completed without a proper shopping cart extension. A Shopping Cart extension that fits well with your store could help your customers to fasten their decision making process.
Below are top 5 most popular Shopping Cart extensions for your Joomla eCommerce website:
VirtueMart is completely free. It is considered as the pioneer of the eCommerce extension in Joomla. Though VirtueMart took time to adopt new technologies, it has captured the heart of many Joomla developers for a decade due to its open-source function, easy to customize, stable interface and high quality performance.
HikaShop is powerful, easy to set up and comes with unlimited possibilities. It can lack functionality compared to other extensions out there, but its strength is in flexibility and simplicity.
J2Store is a free Joomla eCommerce extension that comes with a huge range of features. It provides superior access to any user to completely style around and change their website, without the advance knowledge of HTML and CSS.
With J2Store, you can use articles as a product, create product variants, define zone based tax rules and more. Everything that you need in your Joomla online store can be set up with J2Store.
EShop is a powerful and responsive Joomla Shopping Cart extension by Ossolution. The extension is built based on Joomla Model View Controller (MVC) with many amazing features yet user-friendly and easy to customize.
redSHOP is a webshop extension designed for use with Joomla! CMS. It is the leading e-commerce solution for creating an advanced and natively integrated webshop with a built-in template system that allows you to style your shop to your exact needs.
If you need a more detailed review and to have a better decision on which shopping cart extension to go for, you can have a go at this blog. I guarantee that afterward, you will find the most suitable one for your online store.
Optimizing your eCommerce site’s loading speed
Loading speed is crucial not only to eCommerce websites but also any website with different purposes. For every second your page spends on loading, the more customers you will lose to a faster competitor’s site. Google's mobile page speed study shows that a site’s bounce rate gets worse for every second it takes a page to load.
We have a whole different article guiding you how you can speed up your Joomla site here.
Though building a Joomla online shop can be more simple and economical, it does require upfront investment and effort. A well-planned budget and campaign will go a long way if a successful online business is your optimal goal.
[Advanced practices] Ways to make your eCommerce website stand out from the rest
We have covered the basic things on how you can create your own eCommerce website using Joomla. Let’s go a little further to something more advanced. I will share with you some of the things that I find very valuable and will help your business grow fast in terms of customer’s interaction and experiences.
Including a landing page to convert your visitors
Landing pages play an indispensable role for a website as well as for the Marketing activities since it is the first interaction between your website and visitors.
Converting visitors into leads is the first step in creating a healthy relationship between your company and potential customers. It illustrates a huge possibility of expanding your business and creating a sense of brand awareness.
Choosing templates that suitable for your Joomla online shop
A nice, simple and easy to navigate website will deliver a stress-free online experience for your users.
You can check out our eCommerce templates that compatible with different shopping cart extensions:
Creating a mobile-friendly layout for your Joomla online store
More and more people start shopping online on their mobile phones and tablets nowaday. If your online store isn’t flexible between devices, you will miss out a major share of potential customers.
I understand that building a layout that is compatible with mobile devices can be tricky sometimes. But with our JSN PageBuilder 4, creating a mobile-friendly layout becomes the simplest.
To sum up
Hopefully, when you make it this far, you already have a better understanding on what you need to keep in mind when building an eCommerce business of your own.
I know it’s gonna be a lot of work putting into it, but with the eCommerce market continuing to grow, you'll find it worth the effort when your business succeeds in the long-run.