All successful business leaders know that while it’s the final results that matter, it’s the early decision making that paves the way to success. Thinking long-term is all well and good, but it’s only by giving enough due thought and attention to even the smallest of initial concerns that a business can be given the best start possible.
Open Cart stores are perfect examples of this – thousands of which are set up every day and will either sink or sail on the back of their owners’ decision-making. Realising you got it wrong further down the line can mean it’s too late to do anything about it, so in the spirit of getting off to a good start the first time out, here’s a quick look at some of the most important tips for successfully starting an Open Cart business:
1 – Take Hosting Seriously
Chances are you won’t have an extensive budget to play with and it’s at times like these 99c per-month web hosting packages look like just the ticket. Sadly, they’re not. Feel free to cut corners across a few other areas of the business, but to compromise on solid web hosting is to deal your Open Cart store a bad hand from day one.
It’s important to go with a reliable brand name you know you can trust, but in terms of specific features there are some things your chosen subscription must offer…such as:
- Unlimited bandwidth and plenty of storage space
- Hosting powered by Linux rather than Windows – usually the default but be sure to check
- 24/7 support that operates every day of the year and guaranteed fast response times
- Regular and reliable backups of all essential data
- Guarantee of zero downtime
- The highest level of security as you will be handling payment
Tick all of these boxes and chances are you’re onto a winner.
2 – Focus on Simple URLs
It’s important for the sake of both your site’s visitors and its SEO efforts as a whole to use the simplest and easiest to understand URLs you can come up with. The reason being that they not only give those visiting your site a good idea of the subject or content of each page, but will also bump up your profile with Google and Co.
Just to put an example to the subject, it would be a good idea to use:
If it’s readable and makes sense, then chances are it’s along the right lines.
3 – Don’t Scrimp on Product Descriptions
Two things to remember here – the first of which being that your Open Cart store’s customers cannot reach into the screen and examine the products they’re looking at by hand. As such, it’s up to you to provide a product description that goes into immense detail in order to cover EVERYTHING of importance about the product. Leave them with questions to ask and they might ask them, but then again they might also not bother and bid you farewell instead.
As for the second point to consider, Google and Co. simply love rich and relevant content in abundance that’s wholly unique and on-topic. As such, to really go to town on your product descriptions can help give your SEO efforts a boost at the same time. All you need to do is make sure it’s well-presented, split into digestible chunks and 100% unique – no copying and pasting!
4 – Harness the Power of Images
With the right pictures in place, your products will fly out. By contrast, the wrong pictures will make it nigh-on impossible to even give your stuff away. Again, you’re not able to put what you’re selling into the hands of those looking to buy it, so in turn you need to make sure your pictures show it off in all its glory and in brilliant detail. And this does NOT mean the use of stock photos or general snaps downloaded from the web – this is a sure-fire way of making sure your Open Cart store isn’t taken seriously.
5 – Get Busy with vQmod
And to round off with a more technical tip…or at least one that sounds technical…vQmod is a must for newbies getting into the Open Cart game. Not to get too bogged down with the finer details, vQmod is a tool that makes it so that the core files of your store don’t have to be touched when making changes. As such, it makes life so much easier when it comes to store customisation and general housekeeping – something you’ll be more than a little grateful further into the life of your store!