How to Quickly Build An E-Commerce Store in 2021

Thought it was hard to build a website? Not in 2021! We'll go through your options to get up and running with an e-commerce store quickly. How easy this will be depends on your budget.

Step 1: Purchase a Domain

The first step to setting up your website is purchasing a domain. Think of this like the address for your store. This looks something like “google.com” or “modernmediamerch.com”. The price for purchasing a domain really depends on what domain you’re looking to purchase. Shorter is typically more expensive, as are more common endings like “.com” or “.net”. You could pay anywhere from $3/year for something like “multiplewords.xyz” or $5000/year for something like “word.com”. I recommend using BlueHost - they offer the best prices and make it really easy to find and compare available domains. 

Step 2: Set Up Hosting

Now that you have a domain, you need to set up hosting. Think of hosting like your store's building - people can visit your address all they want but that's not very useful if there's no store there.

If you have no technical experience, I recommend Shopify or Wix. If you have some technical experience, I recommend PythonAnywhere . I'll compare these options in a second. 

Wix/Shopify

Pros: Easy to set up, no technical background required

Cons: Fairly expensive, especially if you're not selling a lot or want to take your time building your store.

Wix vs Shopify

Wix is a little cheaper, Shopify gives you more customization options and is optimized for ecommerce. Shopify’s loading speeds are substantially better than Wix’s (which is important for showing up in Google search results). 

PythonAnywhere:

Pros:  Cheaper with endless customization potential. 

Cons: Requires some technical background. If you’ve written any code before you’ll be able to pick this up pretty quickly. I recommend checking out Django and dj-stripe - you could have a store up and running within a couple of hours.

Even if you don’t have a technical background it might be cheaper in the long run to hire a developer and pursue this option.

Note about WordPress/WooCommerce:

If you’ve spent some time researching this you’ve probably come across WordPress + WooCommerce. This was a popular option in the past and many websites still use this, but if you’re setting up something new please don’t use this. Wordpress is a dinosaur now. It was made when the web was in its infancy. You can do a lot with it, but you will constantly be dealing with outdated plug-ins, updates that break your website, and security issues. Save yourself the headache and either use a service like Shopify/Wix or set up your own website using a modern framework like Django.

Step 3 (optional): Set Up Print on Demand Apps

My Recommendations: Printfy or Printful 

Printify vs Printful:

Printify is a little less expensive (especially if you purchase Printify premium). However, since it consists of multiple print providers, it is possible that your merch will end up being shipped from multiple locations if you're not careful about which products you're offering. Because you can select from multiple print providers there’s a little more flexibility in case of production delays. 

Printful makes it easier to offer a wide variety of products but it’s a little more expensive per unit. There is no flexibility with regards to production so there’s no way around production delays.

If you use Shopify or Wix this should only take a few minutes to set up. If you’re developing your own website it’ll take a little more work but these services are very well documented. Checkout the APIs for Printify and Printful.