When developing a drop shipping website there are a few things you have to consider.
1- Functionality: This has two parts; one being the functionality as a site that users view and the other being the integration with your drop shipping provider.
The user or customer of this site is going to want a streamlined easy to use site that has a lot of information on your products. This information needs to be organized in a way to look appealing while also keeping in mind you ABC's. What are ABC's? Please go rent Glenn Gary Glen Ross. ABC stands for Always - Be - Closing. This means you need to design your site with sales (your closing) as you ultimate goal. You want to make sure you do not leave an any impediments to the buying process. You need buyers to have the ability to check out easily and quickly which means you need a decent shopping cart system that includes registration capabilities.
The other element of functionality is your integration with your drop shipper. If you are working with a drop shipper who requires you to manually funnel your orders to them then you are working with the wrong drop shipping company. A professional company will give you the ability to plug into their site easily. There are occurrences where a drop shipper may not be able to provide this but your developers can (read more below).
2- Shopping Cart: I mentioned this above. You need a professional shopping cart tool. Hand coded shopping carts that are done by second rate developers are everywhere these days. STAY AWAY FROM THEM! There are also a lot of $99.99 versions you can buy - I'm not going to give my opinion on these as I haven't tried them all. There are also monthly subscription services you can use for this tool. To be honest most of these are pretty decent. If your drop shipper does not have a tool to give you then I would shop around for a subscription based service from a vendor with experience in your industry. I chose to have a custom cart developed by a top design firm (I'll tell you why below).
3- SEO: Onsite optimization in your sites construction and also your content development is one of these most important elements of your site. To avoid a lengthy discussion about this I'm going to make it very simple for you: Use WordPress and then use these plugins All in One SEO Pack, All in One Webmaster, Google XML Sitemaps, SEO Friendly Images, and WP-Optimize. Plug them in and activate them. Use them every time you make a page or post and you'll be fine.
4- Analytics and Statistics: A site with out analytics is a site with out direction. You are never going to publish the perfect site on your first try. You are going to need good statistical data in order to review traffic patterns in order to isolate problems. Google Analytics is simple to use and gives you the data you need to track your visitors and conversions. If 90% of your visitors are making it to your check out page but only 5% are actually buying where do you think the problem lies? Well with out analytics of some type you wouldn't know now would you?
There where a few places above where I told you I would tell you more below. So here is what I did for my site.
First off I have a great drop shipper from a products and price perspective. With that being said technology is not their current strong suit. Now remember I also said this supplier is a client of mine so I have goals beyond just setting up my site. I went with my top developer and paid all the money to have a cutting edge site put together. So what is special about my site?
1- I've integrated my site with my suppliers with out interrupting their current business. We created a funnel code that allows my orders to funnel to my supplier as if I had manually paid them. Also, every time a payment is made to me my paypal account triggers a payment to my supplier. This is complete automation on my end. My supplier wasn't ready to upgrade their site to do this so I had the code installed on my end instead (there is a future benefit to this).
2- The code for my site is being developed so it can be licensed. Why did I do this? My supplier has about 40 current wholesalers they are working with. Very few of whom have websites. None of which have an automated site. Once my site is up and running I will them give my supplier the rights to sell the sites design to their current wholesalers while I take a small cut of all future orders.
3- I wanted a custom shopping cart. I've never had a need for one before but I do see a need in the future. This made not the best time to build one. The cart will not only have drop shipping integration features but it will work with cutting edge optimization tools to help rank each product for titles, tags, keywords, images, and pages. This may not make a lot of sense right now but in the long run each individual item is treated as a sub-domain to the individual product will rank in the search engines. This isn't a new idea I'm just taking an old idea to the next level.
So this is a break down of my site design process. So what all have I done so far? I've purchased a high point value domain, I've researched my top 5 competitors to make sure I can take the #1 spot on Google for my main keyword, I've researched my top 10 keywords (for search volume & competitive use), and now I've laid out my plan for site development.
In Chapter 3 we will go over initial offsite optimization in order to let Google know our site is ready for them to take a look at.
Expenses so far:
Time 3 hours
Total $1810.00 & 3 hours
Thanks for reading Chapter 2: How to develop a drop shipping website. Keep an eye out for Chapter 3!