How To Build A Magento Website in 7 Easy Steps (and Launch It for Good!)

Choose Magento
March 5, 2021
Choose Magento
How To Build A Magento Website: A Step-by-Step Overview

When is the best time to build your own retail website? Several years ago, considering the ways technology is changing ecommerce. The second best time is now! While you’re only thinking about the possibility of setting up a web store, millions of brands are benefiting from these trends today.

And Magento is one of the most popular solutions among ecommerce experts and online entrepreneurs. Among 212,361 currently live websites using Magento, you can recognize some top brands, like Bulgari, Nike, or Ford, which have put their trust in Magento 2 to power their ecommerce sites.

Building a custom Magento store can be a daunting task and may require assistance of a certified Magento development agency. To make this process less intimidating for you, we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide on how to build a Magento website. Let’s begin! 

Understanding Magento Editions  

Before proceeding to Magento 2 ecommerce website development, there are a few things you should know about Magento. It is an open-source ecommerce platform forming a part of Adobe Experience Cloud and offering three editions for different business sizes and needs.

Magento Open Source (formerly Community Edition — CE) is a free version of the platform that offers basic out-of-the-box features and can be customized to your business demands. It’s also great for starters who are only testing the waters in ecommerce. 

Magento Commerce (formerly Enterprise Edition — EE) is a feature-rich edition recommended for mid-size and large enterprises that offers advanced B2B features, high security, and 24/7 technical support for hassle-free business operations. 

Magento Commerce Cloud (formerly Magento Enterprise Cloud) is a cloud-based edition that expands the functionality of Magento Commerce with Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting and increased security.

For the rest of the article, we’ll presume that you’ve already got to know the pros and cons of each Magento edition and have chosen the right one for your business. Still can’t decide? Take a look at our related blog post and clear up your doubts!
Choose Magento
Magento 2 Commerce vs Open Source vs Commerce Cloud: Which Edition Suits Your Ecommerce Business?

How to Build a Magento Website Step by Step

Once you’ve chosen your Magento edition (a quick piece of advice: go for Magento Open Source if you’re new to Magento 2), it’s time to get to work and set up your store. Here’s how to create an ecommerce website using Magento in seven steps.

Step #1: Choose a Web Host and a Domain Name

Domain name affects your brand awareness, SEO rankings, and overall business reputation. Take this step responsibly and choose a domain name wisely: it should last even if your business grows overnight.

 Your domain name will consist of:

  • a protocol that you can see as “http” or “https” if you get SSL-certified for secure data transactions;
  • your domain name which should reflect your business name;
  • top-level domain that can be global or country-specific and is registered at the hosting provider.

If the domain name is not available, pick a URL that communicates your brand value, is unique and catchy, and includes target keywords rather than hyphens and numbers.

Domain name structure.
Domain name example

The domain name is often chosen and registered with the hosting provider. And here’s when we warn our clients: Magento has it’s server requirements, so you’d better study them before signing a contract with the hosting provider. Pay special attention to the server memory as your Magento setup will likely require 2GB of Random Access Memory (RAM) and more as you scale.

Some of the most reliable hosting providers for Magento are Nexcess, Bluehost, and GoDaddy that offer both hosting and domain registration, and generally present one-click installation for Magento. Ecommerce hosting cost varies from one provider to another and will depend on the type of server you choose for your website.

Step #2: Prepare to Install 

Now head over to Magento product page and download the necessary release files to start a setup. You can download the files via Composer, via Git, and as a zip/tar archive, although the Composer option is the most popular among the developers. 

After the prerequisite check, the system will get you through the key installation steps, such as:

  • Addition of a Database
  • Web Configuration
  • Store Customization
  • Installing Magento

You’ll also have to consider administration configurations, like your admin username and password as well as the URL path to your admin login page. 

This step might seem hardcore for those non-techy merchants, but you can still install Magento files in one click with certain hosting providers (see step #1 on the matter).

Since Magento 2 ecommerce website development requires decent programming knowledge, you might also want to hire a Magento developer for this step or for the rest of the setup process.

Outsource Magento development services

...and get rid of all your web-related heartaches.

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Step #3: Customize Your Magento Design

Every online store needs an eye-catching, mobile-friendly theme that will draw customer attention. Magento marketplace offers a wide variety of free and paid themes that are all easy to install, compatible across browsers, user- and SEO-friendly, and multilingual. Just pick one, retrieve the access key, and copy it in the Extension Manager of your Magento store. Any theme or extension purchased on Magento marketplace will appear in the Extension Manager and can be installed in one click.

Magento Setup Wizard tool with four administration tasks.
Setting > Web Setup Wizard > Extension Manager navigation to install a Magento theme. Source: WebsiteSetup.

You can also find some design ideas on the websites like TemplateMonster and ThemeForest, where themes are free and community-created.

If providing a unique user experience is crucial for your brand, we recommend creating a custom-made theme from scratch. It can be quite costly and will require help from a Magento development agency (like Elogic!). Yet, ecommerce web design is the only 100% effective way to add uniqueness to your retail business. 

To install a theme, you’ll need to upload theme files and folders to the server and configure it from the Admin panel. To use and activate a new design, go to the Admin Panel > Content > Configuration > Edit > Select your theme in the drop-down menu > Save

Magento theme setup in Admin panel

Step #4: Configure Your Store Functionality

After you’ve got the core functionality implemented in your Magento store, you will need to add extra functions to optimize your customer experience. That’s where Magento extensions come in handy. 

There are no must-have extensions; it all depends on your online store. And unless you’re looking for something extraordinary (for which you’ll need to develop a custom module), Magento marketplace has many extensions to offer. They are easy to install and manage from the Extension Manager panel (see step #3).

Among the top 20 free and paid Magento extensions, we’d like to highlight some extensions for the following categories: 

  • Security. Google reCAPTCHA is a great add-on to deter bots during checkout, and Magento 2 Admin Actions Log will protect your store from the possible hacking attacks.
  • Marketing. Get a Magento 2 SMTP Email Settings Extension if you focus on email marketing. Or a Magento 2 Zoho CRM for effective blogging. The choice of an extension in this realm will depend on your marketing strategy.
  • Analytics. Magento 2 Google Tag Manager is an absolute favorite of our clients at Elogic. The extension will allow you to collect customer behavior data and create reports that will inform your business decisions.
  • Shipping and Order Management. Help your customers track their orders and return them with Mageworx Order Management or create custom shipping rules for a particular set of products with Magento 2 Shipping Suite Ultimate.

Step #5: Import Products

Magento offers six types of products depending on what you’re selling. Navigate to Products > Catalog > Add Product, and choose one of the product types from the dropdown menu. 

Magento import product page with a product dropdown menu.
  • Simple products refer to a standard physical product (e.g., a T-shirt).
  • Configurable products are the same as simple products but come in multiple variations (e.g., a T-shirt that comes in blue, red, and yellow colors).
  • Grouped products refer to a collection of simple products that can be purchased both individually and together (e.g., a T-shirt and a matching pair of joggers).
  • Virtual products are any kind of services, online courses, or other ‘products’ that don’t require shipping or downloading (e.g., a paid masterclass on how to design a custom T-shirt).
  • Bundle products include a collection of items that cannot be purchased separately (e.g., a T-shirt and a pair of joggers sold as a single look).
  • Downloadable products are digital products that can be downloaded (e.g., e-books on the history of fashion).

After choosing a product, fill in product information in a Product Details tab: the attribute set, description, the SKU, product’s weight, price for the product, tax class, product type and name.

Magento New Product page to fill in product description.
  • Go to Meta Information and type in a meta title and keywords for the product.
  • Go to Images to upload the related multimedia for your new product.
  • Go to Categories to check which categories this product relates to.
  • Go to Custom Options to create custom options for your product.

Step #6: Adjust Other Settings

After importing all product data and setting your store’s visual and functional appearance, you’re almost at the finish line! Here’s what you have to do in the Configuration tab before going live:

  • Configure payment methods;
  • Indicate your business location and set up your contact form (insider’s tip: your customers will find it convenient if you add a Google Map address at the bottom of your webpage)
  • Set up prices and tax rules;
  • Add content to your website blog, newsletter, or social media and set up analytics to measure your customer outreach;
  • Secure your website with SSL certification.
  • Incorporate MegaMenu panels to improve your website navigation and increase usability.
Magento payment configuration panel
Magento payment configuration panel

Step #7: Test and Launch

The last thing you have to do before breathing a sigh of relief and launching your store is a test launch. Measure your website speed and optimize it wherever possible. Check for any code vulnerabilities as well as theme responsiveness. Make sure there are no conflicts between the platform and the installed extensions. 

Use a staging environment to preview your store, make the necessary changes and — when it’s all set and done — go live!

Ready to Build Your Magento Store?

You can go through all the aforementioned steps alone. Sit down, delve into Magento developers documentation, and try to make heads or tails of the installation process.

Or you can focus on your business and delegate your Magento 2 ecommerce website development to a reliable, certified third party. Elogic is a certified Magento development company that has already built dozens of Magento websites and developed hundreds of custom themes, extensions, and modules for businesses of different sizes. So you can be sure about our expertise.

And if you’re still in two minds and have more questions about Magento, continue reading our blog. We have an excellent article on Magento pricing that is answering one of the most common questions: how much does it cost to build a magento website.
Choose Magento
Magento Pricing Explained: Count Your Magento Cost the Right Way

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