How to Build a Dropshipping Website That Actually Sells

Monday June 1717th Jun 2024
16 min. read
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How to build a dropshipping website?

💡 Quick Answer: Building a dropshipping website can be done in a few steps. First, choose a reliable eCommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce. Then, select a niche for your products and find reputable suppliers using a tool like SaleHoo Dropship. Next, design your website using pre-made templates, add your products with detailed descriptions and high-quality images, and set competitive prices. Finally, set up payment gateways, configure shipping options, and launch your site. Promote it through social media and SEO to attract customers and start making sales!

Would you buy from a messy, slow, and confusing online store?

Probably not.

Your website is your storefront. And it’s key to the success of your dropshipping business.

You need an awesome dropshipping website that looks great and functions smoothly. A fast, attractive, and user-friendly store keeps visitors engaged and encourages them to make a purchase.

In this, we’ll reveal the step-by-step process of building a successful dropshipping store from scratch.

We're covering every single step. Just follow along, and soon, you’ll have your own finished store and be ready to make your first sale.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

How to make a dropshipping website

You have two main options here: using a dropshipping website builder or hiring a web developer. Let’s break it down so you can decide what’s best for you.

If you still haven’t decided on a niche, check out our guide on starting a dropshipping business first. Bookmark this page and come back once you’re up to speed!

Option 1: eCommerce website builders

Using an eCommerce website builder is the easiest way to create dropshipping websites. Platforms like Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce are designed specifically for online stores. They come with all the features you need to get your business off the ground.

These platforms offer a variety of templates that are super easy to customize. You can pick a design that fits your brand and tweak it without needing any coding skills.

They also have built-in tools for managing products, processing payments, and handling shipping. They’re an all-in-one solution for dropshippers.

Best eCommerce platforms for dropshipping

Here’s a quick overview of the most popular eCommerce platforms and what they offer.


Shopify is one of the most well-known eCommerce platforms, and for good reason. It’s incredibly user-friendly. This is the best dropshipping website builder for beginners.

Ease of use: Shopify’s intuitive interface makes setting up and managing a store easy.

Templates and customization: There’s a wide range of professionally designed templates you can customize to match your brand.

App store: The Shopify App Store has thousands of apps that add extra functionality to your store.

Support: Shopify provides 24/7 customer support through chat, email, and phone.


WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. It's a great option if you’re comfortable with WordPress or want more control over your site.

Flexibility: WooCommerce is highly customizable. You can use any WordPress theme and access thousands of plugins.

Cost: The WooCommerce plugin is free (you still have to pay for hosting and a domain).

Community: There’s a huge online community of developers and users who can help you if you get stuck.


BigCommerce is another excellent platform. It’s packed with features designed to help you scale your store.

Built-in features: BigCommerce offers a lot of built-in features that other platforms charge extra for.

Customization: You can customize your BigCommerce store using a range of templates and their page builder tool.

Performance: Known for its fast loading times and reliability - great for your site’s user experience and SEO.

Wix eCommerce

Wix is a website builder with eCommerce capabilities. It’s a good choice if you want an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution.

Simplicity: Wix’s drag-and-drop editor is one of the simplest ways to build a website.

Design options: There’s a wide variety of eye-catching templates and design options.

Integrated features: Includes SEO tools, email marketing, and social media integration out of the box.

What factors should you consider when comparing eCommerce platforms?

There are a few key factors to keep in mind when you’re choosing an eCommerce platform:

Ease of use

If you're not tech-savvy, choose a platform like Shopify or Wix. Their user-friendly interfaces make it easy to set up and manage your store.


Want a highly customizable store? WooCommerce is your go-to. It offers a wide range of plugins and themes. Shopify and Wix also provide plenty of templates and apps, but they’re limited compared to WooCommerce.


Shopify and BigCommerce are excellent for scalability. They offer a range of plans and features to support a growing store. WooCommerce can also scale but requires more hands-on management as you grow.

Customer support

Reliable customer support is essential. Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce all offer support through chat, email, and phone.

WooCommerce relies more on community forums and guides. You can purchase support packages from third-party developers.

Integration with other tools

You’ll need to integrate your eCommerce platform with dropshipping software, payment gateways, and marketing tools. Check if your chosen platform supports all the tools you plan to use.

Option 2: Hire a web developer

Hiring a web developer is a good option if you have a larger budget or want a more personalized store. A developer can create a unique website design tailored to your specific needs.

Working with a web developer gives you more control over your site’s look and feel. They can also provide ongoing support as your business grows.

However, this option is more expensive and requires more time. It’s not the most practical way to build your first site.

How much does it cost to create a dropshipping website?

Creating a dropshipping website can be relatively cheap. It’s a much more affordable business model than launching a traditional retail business!

Let’s break down the costs:

Domain name

This is your website’s address on the internet, like “” Prices for domain names typically range from $10 to $20 per year. Some platforms offer free domains for the first year as part of their packages.


You'll need to pay for hosting if you’re not using a fully managed eCommerce platform (like Shopify or BigCommerce). This can range from $3 to $50+ per month, depending on the hosting provider and the plan you choose.

eCommerce platform fees

Most platforms start around $30 per month. For example, Shopify charges $29 per month for its Basic plan. More advanced plans with extra features and lower transaction fees cost more.

The WooCommerce plugin is free, but you’ll need to pay for hosting and plugins.

Web development costs

A basic dropshipping website might cost $500 to $2,000. For a more complex, custom-built site, expect to pay $5,000 or more.

Design and customization

Most eCommerce platforms offer free themes and templates. But you might want a premium theme to give your site a more professional look. Premium themes can cost between $50 and $400.

Setting up your dropshipping website (step-by-step)

Now that you've chosen your eCommerce platform, it's time to set up your website. Here’s how to get your dropshipping store up and running.

1. Registering a domain name

First, you need a domain name.

Your domain name is essentially your online address. So, it's important to choose something memorable and relevant to your online business.

Think about what makes sense for your brand and jot down a few ideas. Keep it short and easy to spell.

Next, check the availability of your options using a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. If the domain is taken, these tools will provide a list of similar available domains.

When you find a domain you like, purchase it.

2. Selecting a hosting provider

Hosting is included if you use an all-in-one eCommerce platform like Shopify or Wix. For WooCommerce, you’ll need a separate hosting provider like Bluehost or GoDaddy.

A recent study found that GoDaddy is the most used hosting provider globally:

Sign up, select your plan, and enter your payment information. Many hosting providers offer one-click installations for WordPress. So you can easily install WooCommerce on your site - we’ll cover this process in more detail later in the guide.

3. Connect your domain to your hosting

This step usually involves changing the DNS (Domain Name System) settings. It might sound complicated, but it is actually pretty simple.

Your hosting provider or eCommerce platform will give you specific instructions on connecting your domain.

4. Install your chosen eCommerce platform

With your domain name and hosting provider sorted, it’s time to bring your online store to life.

If you’re using an eCommerce platform like Shopify or Wix, all you need to do is sign up. The platform will provide detailed instructions on how to enter your store name and business information.

If you’re using WooCommerce, you’ll need to install WordPress first. Most hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation.

Once you’ve installed WordPress, log in to your dashboard and select the “Plugins” option in the left-hand menu.

Search for “WooCommerce.” Click “Install Now” and then “Activate.” Then, follow the setup wizard to configure your store.

5. Customizing your store

Now, it’s time to make your store look unique and professional.

Start by choosing a theme that fits your brand identity. Most eCommerce platforms offer a range of free and premium themes.

Once you’ve found a theme, customize it to make it unique. You can change the color scheme, fonts, and layouts to match your brand identity. Make sure you add your logo and any other unique branding elements.

Here are some key tips for designing a site that looks great and encourages shoppers to click the “Buy Now” button.

Keep it simple

Avoid cluttering your pages with too many elements. According to a recent survey, 84.6% of web designers believe that crowded web design is the most common mistake made by small businesses and eCommerce stores.

Use plenty of white space to give your site a clean, organized look. This helps visitors focus on your products without getting overwhelmed by too much information.

Easy navigation

Your website’s navigation should be intuitive. Make sure your menu is easy to access and simple to use.

Organize your products into categories and subcategories so visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for. You can also add a search bar to make it easier for shoppers to find products.

Optimize for mobile

More and more people are shopping on their phones. According to eMarketer, mobile accounts for 44.6% of US retail eCommerce sales in 2024. So, it’s essential that your website is mobile-friendly.

Make sure you’re using a responsive theme. This means the design automatically adjusts to different screen sizes. Test your site on mobile and tablet devices to ensure it looks good and functions well on all devices.

Consistent branding

Your website should reflect your brand’s identity. Use consistent colors, fonts, and styles across all your pages to create a cohesive look and feel.

6. Creating engaging content for key pages

Your store will need a few key pages. Here’s what you should include:

Home page

This is your storefront's first impression. Highlight your top products, special offers, and unique selling points. Use high-quality images and engaging headlines to draw visitors in.

Hero section: A large, eye-catching image with a clear call to action (CTA).

Featured products: Showcase bestsellers or new arrivals.

Testimonials: Add customer reviews or testimonials to build trust.

About us page

This page tells your story. Share your brand's mission and what sets you apart from the competition. People love to buy from authentic and personable brands.

Your story: Explain how your business started and what motivates you.

Mission statement: Share your goals and values.

Contact page

Provide multiple ways for customers to contact you. Make it easy for them to get in touch.

Contact form: A simple form for visitors to send inquiries.

Email and phone number: Provide direct contact details.

Live chat: Consider adding a live chat feature to provide instant answers to customer queries.

7. Finding dropshipping products

Now it’s time to get to the fun part – finding products to sell!

First, you need to decide on the types of products you want to sell. Think about your dropshipping niche and what your target audience is looking for. Are you targeting fitness enthusiasts, pet owners, or maybe tech geeks?

Knowing your niche helps you zero in on products that will really click with your audience.

Market research tools can make this process easier and more effective. These tools help you identify trending products with high demand and good profit margins.

SaleHoo Labs

SaleHoo Labs is designed to help you find popular and profitable products. It shows you what’s trending right now. You can see the hottest products that are flying off the shelves. If you see a product you like, SaleHoo can also connect you with a dropshipping supplier or wholesaler.

Google Trends

Google Trends can give you insights into what people are searching for online. Type in a product or keyword, and Google Trends will show you how popular it is over time. You can see if interest in a product is rising or falling. This is valuable information for your eCommerce business.

Keyword research tools

Keyword research tools like Ahrefs and Semrush show the number of people who search for specific keywords related to your products. High search volume indicates high demand.

We’ve published a ton of guides on product research. Check out the resources below if you need help identifying winning dropshipping products.

8. Choosing a dropshipping tool to source products

Dropshipping software is the fastest and simplest way to find products. These tools help you discover products and connect with suppliers.

For example, you can connect SaleHoo Dropship to your Shopify store in just a few clicks and browse thousands of trending products.

When you find a product you like, import it to your store with one click.

If you’re not using Shopify, SaleHoo Directory can help you connect with thousands of vetted dropshipping suppliers. It’s suitable for any eCommerce platform.

What should you look for in dropshipping software?

Here’s what you should keep in mind when you’re choosing a tool.

Ease of use

The software should be easy to navigate and user-friendly. This is super important if you’re new to dropshipping. Look for platforms with clear interfaces and helpful guides.

Supplier network

A good dropshipping tool will have a wide network of reliable suppliers. This means you can access a large variety of products and find suppliers offering quality goods at competitive prices.

Product variety

The software should offer a broad range of products across different categories. This allows you to diversify your product range and cater to your customers’ needs.

Automation features

Automation can save you a ton of time and effort. Look for a tool that automates tasks like importing products, order processing, and inventory management. This helps you focus on growing your business instead of managing the details of every order.

9. Adding products to your store

Now, it’s time to add your products to your store. The exact process will depend on the tool you’re using. However, there are a couple of key elements to focus on.

Compelling product descriptions

A good product description can make a massive impact on conversions.

Don’t just list the features. Tell people why they can’t live without the product. Describe the benefits, how it solves a problem, or how it can improve their life. Avoid jargon and use simple language to keep it engaging.

High-quality images

Visuals are super important in online shopping. High-quality images help build trust and give customers a better idea of what they’re buying. Show the product from different angles and include lifestyle images to help customers visualize using it in their everyday lives.

10. Setting up payment gateways

You need a reliable payment gateway to accept payments on your website. There are a few options:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Square
  • Shopify Payments

You’ll need to create an account and link your bank account. Some vendors also require you to verify your identity.

Once you’ve created an account, follow the instructions on your eCommerce platform to connect the payment gateway with your store.

It's a good idea to test the checkout process before you launch your store. Purchase a product using each payment gateway to ensure that they all work.

How can you get customers to visit your store?

Your store is ready to go, but you need to think about marketing before launching. How will you bring customers to your store?

Great marketing is essential for a successful dropshipping business.

Here are the most effective marketing channels to focus on:

SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO is all about improving your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. Higher rankings mean more organic traffic to your store. And that translates into more sales.

According to a recent study, 71% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products.

Keyword research

Identify keywords that your potential customers are searching for. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush to find relevant keywords. 

Enter your product name or seed keyword, and you’ll get a list of related terms:

You’ll get a breakdown of the search volume and keyword difficulty. As a new store, you’ll want to focus on more specific, long tail keywords. These terms usually have a lower search volume but are less competitive.


Backlinks are one of the most influential search engine ranking factors. They help improve your site’s authority and ranking. You need backlinks from reputable websites to rank for competitive keywords.

You can build backlinks through guest blogging, partnerships, or creating shareable content that others want to link to.

Social media

Social media platforms are an excellent channel to reach and engage your audience. Focus on the social media platforms where your target audience spends their time. For example, Pinterest is great for visual products and reaching a creative audience. TikTok is a better fit if you’re targeting millennials and Gen Z.

Consistent posting

Post regularly to keep your audience engaged. Use a content calendar to plan your posts in advance. It’s best to have a mix of promotional, entertaining, and educational posts.

Social media ads

Paid ads can help you reach a larger audience. You can target users based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Once you’ve made a few sales, you’ll also be able to create lookalike audiences based on your existing customers.

Email marketing

Email marketing lets you get your messaging directly into potential customers' inboxes. Offer incentives like discounts or freebies to encourage visitors to sign up for your email list.

Segment your list

You can segment your email list based on customer behavior, preferences, and demographics. This allows you to send more personalized and relevant emails. 

Personalization can have a significant impact on the success of your campaigns. According to a recent survey, 82% of marketers believe that personalized emails result in higher open rates:

Automated campaigns

Set up automated email campaigns for different stages of the customer journey. Welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and post-purchase follow-ups are great ways to keep customers engaged.

Influencer marketing

Partnering with influencers can help you reach new audiences and build credibility. Look for influencers who have a genuine following in your niche. You can use tools like HypeAuditor to check fake follower counts and the average engagement per post for influencers you’re considering working with.

Collaborate on content

Work with influencers to create authentic content that showcases your products. This could be product reviews, unboxing videos, or sponsored posts. Make sure the content feels natural and similar to their organic posts.

Track results

Monitor the performance of your influencer campaigns. Track metrics like engagement, website traffic, and sales generated from influencer referrals. Use this data to assess the effectiveness of your partnerships.

Paid advertising

Paid advertising can drive immediate traffic to your store. It’s the fastest way to generate sales.

Use Google Ads to target customers actively searching for products like yours. Set up search, display, and shopping ads to reach potential customers at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Retargeting ads

Set up retargeting campaigns to reach visitors who have previously visited your site but didn’t make a purchase. Retargeting ads remind people of your products and encourage them to return and complete their purchases.

Negative keywords

Negative keywords can prevent your ads from being shown for irrelevant search queries. This is a good way to reduce wasted ad spend and improve ROI.

Launching your dropshipping website

You’re nearly ready to launch your store! All your planning and designing is coming together. However, there are a few more boxes to tick before you go live.

Here’s a final checklist for your dropshipping website:

Test your site

Go through your entire website as if you were a customer. Check all the links, buttons, and forms to see if they work correctly. Place a test order to make sure the checkout process is smooth and functional.

Content review

Review all the content on your site, including product descriptions, blog posts, and pages. Check for typos and grammatical errors, and that all the information is accurate and up-to-date.

SEO settings

Double-check your SEO. Make sure you’ve connected Google Analytics to your store, and you’re ready to track traffic and conversions.

Payment gateways

Confirm that your payment gateways are set up correctly and that you can process payments without any issues. Run a few test transactions to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Shipping settings

Verify that the shipping rates are accurate and that customers can choose their preferred options during checkout.

Plan your launch

Choose a specific date and time for your launch. This will give you a clear deadline to work towards and allow you to plan your marketing campaigns for the big day.

Realize your dropshipping goals with SaleHoo

Congratulations on launching your dropshipping website! This is the start of an exciting journey toward financial freedom.

Take a moment to celebrate your achievement. You’re on the path to success.

But remember, the launch of your site is just the beginning. To grow your dropshipping business, you’ll need to keep learning and adapting your strategy. With persistence and dedication, you can achieve your goals.

And SaleHoo can help you on your journey. SaleHoo Educate offers a treasure trove of resources to fuel your success. You’ll find expert courses on everything from launching an Amazon product to how to start a dropshipping business with Shopify.

Avoid the mistakes that most new dropshipping businesses make, and speed up your success by building your store the right way from the start.

If you have any questions about dropshipping or SaleHoo products, contact our 24/7 support team.


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