E-commerce has become critical for success in retail over the last few decades. Retailers must not only maintain a brick-and-mortar store in many cases, but they must also create an online store to meet the expectations of shoppers who are becoming increasingly technology-oriented. Fortunately, the development of e-commerce platforms means that building an e-commerce site isn’t as difficult as it used to be.
Magento is currently one of the most popular e-commerce platforms available. It has an open-source, which generally means you can use, modify and distribute it for free. Magento’s source code is distributed under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) that’s been approved by the Open Software License (OSL) v3.0. Magento was initially released in 2008, and its most current stable release as of January 2020 is V2.3.4.
The following steps show how to build a Magento website.
- Choose a hosting provider.
Some hosting providers specialize in Magento hosting, meaning you may have the option to install Magento with one click of your mouse button. These installation packages may also include an SSL certificate and a free domain name.
- Get the latest Magento release.
Assuming your installation package didn’t provide the option to install Magento automatically, you’ll need to do it yourself. Go to the Magento website and create an account. Choose whether to install Magento with the Composer or Web Setup Wizard. The Wizard is the easier option, but it won’t allow you to upgrade your Magento platform later.
Download Magento by going to Resources > Tech-resources > Download. Choose the version you want to download, which will typically the most recent one to ensure you get the latest security updates. Select the archive format you want and click the download button. Once the download completes, extract the files to your server and install Magento. This process consists of the following steps:
- Readiness check
- Database installation
- Web configuration
- Store customization
- Admin account creation
Select a domain name, which should be catchy, simple and unique.
- Choose a theme.
An eye-catching theme that’s compatible with mobile devices is essential for attracting online customers. You can use the default theme, also known as LUMA, by simply changing its logo and block images to match your brand. You can also find theme templates, which you can download from sites like Magento Marketplace, TemplateMonster, and ThemeForest. You can then customize these themes if you wish or use them as is. Another option is to create a theme from scratch, which may be necessary if your business has unique needs.
Once you’ve chosen your theme, apply and activate it by going to Admin Panel > Content > Configuration > Edit. Select your theme from the drop-down menu and save it.
- Configure your catalog.
Configuring your product pages into categories and subcategories allows customers to easily navigate through your website, which is essential in e-commerce. Add new products by going to Admin Panel > Catalog > Products. Click the big button on the right side of the Products page to display a drop-down menu that allows you to choose the product type. From this point, you can specify product details such as SKU, price, attributes, images, and videos.
Create categories and subcategories of your products by going to Admin Panel > Catalog > Categories. Customers should be able to reach any product in your store within four clicks of your homepage.
- Customize your store’s functionality.
The majority of Magento merchants integrate extra features into their stores such as accounting tools, analytics and SEO functions. You can find extensions at the Magento Marketplace, but you can also develop your own from scratch if you have the required technical expertise. Select your shipping and payment methods by going to Stores> Configuration> Sales. This section also allows you to configure your checkout process and manage your shopping cart properties.
- Launch your store.
Test your online store before launching it. This process includes testing all aspects of your platform performance such as website speed and theme responsiveness. You also need to ensure there aren’t any conflicts between the installed extensions or other system errors.
Deploying your website requires some technical knowledge and experience in addition to some interaction with server administrators. Magento users often leave the deployment step to professionals. This step may require several days, depending on your store’s size.
Building a Magento website is increasingly necessary for remaining competitive in e-commerce. Maintaining it also requires you to stay on top of new technologies and social trends in online shopping. The right tools can help you create an online store that will boost your sales and conversions. Professional e-commerce consultants can also advise you on the best solutions to use for your particular store.