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Would you like to create your own auction website like Ebay? The possibilities with this online business idea are endless. You could create a more general website like Ebay or you could focus on a more niche items, such as comic books or baseball cards. You could allow customers to list their items and then you would take a percentage of the profits.
But you may be thinking, I have never run a website before; how do I get started? Well, luckily, we are here to help! We can guide you through a step by step process detailing a relatively easy and cheap way to create and run a successful auction website.
Building an Auction Website
- Decide your niche
Before you start anything, decide what niche you want to go in. Your business can always evolve and either become more specific or start including other things over time, but you’re going to want your name and domain name (more on this later) to more or less reflect what you want to accomplish. So it’s important to already have in mind what you want to do before you get started.
- Come up with a name
Once you have decided what your auction website will include, you can come up with a name to reflect this. For example, if you want your niche to be comic books, you’ll probably want your name to have something to do with comic books, graphic novels, etc. It’s good to be too creative but don’t get too creative here to the point where people would get confused by your title; for example, if you are going to do comic books and you decide to name your business Strawberry Ice Cream because you like Strawberry Ice Cream that might be confusing to anyone who enters your website because they’ll think your website is about strawberry ice cream and if they saw your website as a result on Google, they might bypass you altogether, which you obviously do not want.
- Pick out a domain
One of the reasons you do want to get a little creative with the name, though, is that you will want your name to be very similar to your domain. Your domain is your URL or the address of your website. You want people to be able to find you who know your name so the more similar the better; for example, we are Website Tips and Tutorials and our domain name is websitetipsandtutorials.com. If you are unsure if the domain name you want is available, click here and you can see for yourself if it is taken.
- Choose a web host
Before you buy your domain name, though, you’ll need to pick out your web host. If you think of your website as your business’s location, then think of your web host as your landlord. They’ll get your website online. Now why you need to wait to buy your domain name until you’ve picked out your web host is because a lot of web hosts will provide a domain for free with your plan so you don’t want to have to buy it separately if you don’t have to. I’m going to recommend BlueHost for you since you’re just getting started, and BlueHost provides a domain name for you for free. So click here to get your website started on BlueHost – it’s on sale right now, so you’re going to want to act quickly!
- Get WordPress
If you are a beginner to designing websites, then WordPress is a wonderful choice for getting started. It is a great, non-technical way to create unique websites without having to learn any coding. You can find a video explaining how to add WordPress to your BlueHost website here.
- Get a WordPress Theme
A WordPress theme is basically how the information on your website will be displayed. If you get a WordPress theme that is made for an auction website, it will make things a lot easier for you because you won’t have to change as many things (and that is really important if you are building your first website). The best theme then for you would be the Auction Theme for WordPress. With this theme, you can have auction options so you could not only do standard bidding but you could also have a buy now function for anyone who wants to buy the item outright immediately or you could have an automated bidding system where users could set their maximum bid price (all features that you, and your potential customers, would be familiar doing on websites like Ebay). You can also set up membership packages so users can add multiple auctions to your website (possibly for a discount – your choice!). You could also sell “featured products” which could cost more and then those items would be featured first – and you could make a lot of extra money this way. And if no one buys their product, there is a re-list auction feature so items can be easily relisted on your website. This theme also comes with a lot of popular search options, which makes your website more user friendly. Users on your website can also make a watch list so they can keep track of items they want, which is great for your customers because people like that feature and great for you because it encourages sales. In addition to setting up a watch list, customers can also track their bidding history and see items they’ve won. Another amazing feature of this theme is that it has multi language support, which is great if you have customers who speak different languages. You can also choose from 20+ different payment gateways, including the popular PayPal and Stripe gateway. Other great features include a feedback & rating system, the ability for users to set their own shipping options and put that on display and a “soft close feature” which means that every time someone makes a bid, the auction timer can increase by 30 seconds giving people more time to bid – and therefore driving the price (and your commission) up further! In short, this is a great theme that will help you very easily make your own auction website. You can find a video explaining how to add a theme to your BlueHost website here.
- Run ads for your website
Once you have your website ready to go, you’ll need people to find it, so I suggest running ads on Google and Bing. Another new way to advertise that can be even more cost effective can be Facebook Messenger Ads, I go into detail about Facebook Messenger Ads here.
- Get Social Media Accounts
Another great way to advertise your website is through social media accounts. You’ll be able to update people on new auctions on Twitter & Facebook or get people interested in your products through YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. If you are new to social media accounts, or you’ve never used one for business purposes, check out our guide to marketing on Pinterest, on tips on getting reshares on Facebook and our guide to getting more Instagram followers.
- Get an Email Newsletter
Once you have people on your website, you’re going to want to keep contacting them to keep them up to date on new items listed. You can do this with an email newsletter. You can easily create an email newsletter with Constant Contact and you can get a free trial for Constant Contact here.