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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.