• build magento website

    How to Build a Magento Website (2023)

    Magento is one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms. Brands like Jaguar, Samsung, Hermès, Fords all chose Magento as a basis for their online stores. And the total numbers of active stores that use Magento is more than 180,000.
    This platform has many advantages and can be successfully used by companies of all sizes and from all markets.

    But, if you are new to ecommerce, making a store from scratch using Magento can get pretty complicated. The result you get, however, makes it completely worth it.

    In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of building a Magento website. It assumes you are doing everything yourself, but even if you are outsourcing the development it is still worth knowing the main steps of the process to know what to expect.

    Step 0. Choose your version of Magento

    Before we start talking about the specifics, let’s figure out the differences between different versions of Magento. If you’ve researched this platform at all, you have to have seen some of these titles: Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce, Adobe Commerce, Magento Enterprise. But what do they mean? We wrote a whole about this, so if you need details, you can read it here. But in short, right now there are two main types of Magento: Open Source and Adobe Commerce. 

    Magento Open Source is a free-to-install version of Magento and it’s self-hosted (meaning, you will have to find and set up your hosting yourself).

    Adobe Commerce is a paid platform provided by Adobe and based on Magento. It has all of the functions of the Open Source Magento as well as some extra features. It also has hosting provided by Adobe. The prices for Adobe Commerce vary depending on the size of your business and start at around $30,000 per year. 

    Generally speaking, if you are just starting your business, Magento Open Source will satisfy all of your needs. It has every function an online store should have, and if there are any additional things you need, you can usually get them with custom modules and extensions. 

    However, for certain businesses (especially in B2B) some of Magento Commerce features may be just what you need, so we suggest reading about them before making a decision. 

    Now that we are all on the same page, let’s move on with our guide. 

    Step 1. Find a hosting

    To make this guide useful for as many people as possible, we assume you chose the Open Source version of Magento (since as we said previously, Adobe Commerce offers its own hosting). 

    There are many different types of hosting available for websites, all fit for different budgets. But we would advise you against getting the cheapest option: your store’s performance depends on how stable the hosting is, so by trying to save money you may lose some clients. 

    Apart from that, here are some of the things to look for when choosing a hosting: 

    • Security: There should be DDoS protection in place, a service-side virus scanner, and a firewall. 
    • Compatibility: Read Magento system requirements and compare them with what your potential hosting provider offers. Check for PCI compliance and see if your hosting is compatible with PHP 7.0 or higher. Ideally, look for MySQL 5.6, PHP 7,0, Apache 2.4, and up. Some servers don’t run on Apache and rely on NGINX or LiteSpeed instead, and if that’s the case, the requirements should be adjusted accordingly. Also, since you will need to accept online payments, remember to enable an SSL certificate. 
    • Speed: We don’t have to tell you that your website should be fast. And Magento, if not optimized correctly, can be a bit slow. For this reason, see what your hosting has to say about loading speed. In the best-case scenario, their hardware should never be overloaded or slow to respond. Server-side caching can also increase the speed (though if your hosting is self-managed you would have to set it up on your own). 
    • Technical Support: Your hosting should be providing support 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. If anything goes wrong and your website goes down, the support should be there to help fix your problem as quickly as possible.

    Step 2. Get a domain

    After a fairly technical and complicated previous step, now is a time to relax and use your creativity. 

    If you already have an offline business, try matching the domain with your existing business name (or get as close to it as possible). 

    Generally, your domain should be:

    • Descriptive
    • Relevant to your brand or industry
    • Easy to remember
    • Not too long (try limiting yourself to 15 characters)

    Also, be careful when choosing a top-level domain. Your best bet would be to use your regional domain or something universal like .com or .net. Some of the other top-level domains (like for example .biz) look less reputable for your potential clients.

    If you have additional funds, consider buying domain names similar to yours to set up a redirect for when a user makes a typo. Also, think about buying your domain name in combination with different regional top-level domains, if you plan on scaling your business. 

    Step 3. Download and install the latest Magento version

    You can find all the needed installation files here. Before doing anything, read the Installation Guide carefully, and then follow it closely for every step. 

    Step 4. Consider extensions and custom modules

    Think about every feature you want your website to have. Now compare them to what Magento offers by default. See any gaps? If so, don’t get discouraged. One of the advantages of this platform lies in its customizability. If there is something that needs to be done, most likely there is a way to make it happen.
    To find the solution you need, head to Magento Marketplace. Chances are, other store owners already had the same problem you did and found a solution for it. Magento Marketplace offers thousands of extensions for the most common business needs. Many other companies sell Magento extensions outside of Magento Marketplace, but be careful and do your due diligence before installing anything.

    magento marketplace
    Magento Marketplace

    But what if your needs are unique? If you didn’t find a readymade solution, it doesn’t mean your problem can’t be solved at all. You would need to find a Magento development agency, and use their services to make a custom module that will do exactly what you need.

    Need a Magento Store?

    Step 5. Install and configure a theme

    The theme largely determines how your online store will look. There are two ways to go about it:

    • Get an existing one. You can buy your theme on Magento Marketplace, or places like ThemeForest. If that’s the route you are choosing, always see the demo first, to understand how it will perform. 
    • Make your own. For this, you would need to use custom Magento development services, since it’s hard to do without previous experience. Go for this option if you know you are going to need something custom, or have a specific vision in mind. 
    magento theme
    Magento 2 Themes on ThemeForest

    Once you get your theme, it’s time to configure it by changing the layout, colors, and adding things that make your brand unique.  

    Step 6. Modify the settings

    There are a lot of things to change when it comes to settings. Not knowing your business it’s hard to say exactly what to do, but here are some general things to look over:

    • Set up the correct location, timezone, and currency;
    • Configure payment methods;
    • Set up shipping options;
    • Set up prices and tax rules;
    • Add a store email address. 

    Any extensions you’ve added will also come with their own settings, so change them accordingly as well. 

    Step 7. Add the products to your store

    If you already have an online store on a different platform, now is the time for a migration. 

    If not, you just have to add the products you are selling into your new store. 

    This is a fairly straightforward process, described here

    Before adding the products, however, think of the complete structure of your store. Make a list of everything you are selling, and think about the most optimal ways to divide them into categories. 

    Step 8. Test everything and launch

    Before making an official launch, check if everything is working as it should. Make a few test orders, test your hosting capabilities, use all of the features your store has. If you see any issues, trace your steps back and figure out what causes the problem. It could be an extension, or a setting configured incorrectly. And if everything runs smoothly congratulations! The hardest part is done. Now you get to enjoy your new store.

    Final Thoughts

    Setting up an online store using Magento is tricky, but it’s totally worth it. You get a solution for all of your business needs that performs well, is customizable and scalable, and will work well for years. 

    However, it’s hard to do without any previous experience. There are many small things to be aware of, a lot of things to learn, and the development itself can get pretty long. If you want everything done correctly and fast, or need a highly custom solution, it’s best to leave the development stage to the professionals. We at BroSolutions have been working with Magento for more than 10 years now and can help you get the store of your dreams running as soon as possible. Contact us with your idea and let’s make it happen!