How To Launch Your CBD Business Website [In 2019]

If you’ve just started out on a new business venture, firstly we want to congratulate you! eCommerce is an exciting world, and we can’t wait to help you get started!

Map Out Your Vision

One of the first things to know about selling CBD oil online is that it will take a great website. That can seem overwhelming at first: there are a lot of steps to take, and it can be a daunting task when you’re starting from scratch. But that’s where we come in! With over a decade of experience in the eCommerce industry, we have a ton of great tips for those of you who are just starting out, and we are here to help teach you how to launch your CBD business website.

The most important part of developing your new CBD business is to map out your vision for your new venture, and also come up with some SMART goals that will help get you to where you want to be.  You may have heard SMART used as an acronym to describe goals before: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals will help you turn your vision into reality.

In order to map out your vision for your CBD business, compile a list of questions that help you determine why you’re starting out on this new journey in the first place!

  • Why do you want to sell CBD?
  • What problem/need will my product solve/fill?
  • Who do you want to sell CBD to/Who is your ideal customer?
  • What kind of CBD products do I want to focus my energy on?
  • Who else is doing this/who are my competitors?
  • What will set me apart from my competition?
  • What resources do I have to get started?
  • What are financial goals?

By answering these questions, you will have a great jumping off point to start from. It will help you stay organized as you progress in your web launch journey, and will keep you focused on your goals and your unique selling position. Establishing the answers to these questions early on will give you the motivation you need to not only begin your journey, but can also serve as an encouragement to you in the midst of your journey. There’s nothing that serves as better motivation and clarity than knowing exactly why you started your venture in the first place!

Now that you have your vision all mapped out, let’s talk about the more practical beginner steps of how to launch your CBD website.

Determine Your Aesthetic

Now that you’ve identified the need you want to fill, your ideal customer, and the types of CBD products you want to sell it will be a much simpler task to come up with an aesthetic that will fit your brand.

Branding is such a vital part of your business. It will relay to your customers your goal, your vision, and your voice by using the visual aspects of your website.

Many CBD oil websites tend to have a clean, earthy color palette with simple fonts and clean design. Take a look at our client Inesscent’s website design:

Your website will only have 15 seconds to establish credibility with the average site visitor, and having a professional aesthetic and clean design can be the difference between a conversion, and a site visitor redirecting away from your website.

Choose Your Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is a crucial part of the process of launching your CBD website. Along with your aesthetic, your domain name and the name of your business are a huge part of communicating your brand to potential customers.

The website PureKana communicates through it’s domain name, as well as it’s slogan (“Pure CBD. Pure Results.”) that they are a brand focused on high-quality CBD products, that get you the results you want.

Choose a name and a quick slogan or mission statement that will tell your customers that not only are you a quality brand with quality products, but you have their best interests at heart. In brainstorming a name and slogan that will communicate these two ideas to your customer, it may be helpful to go back to your question, “Who is my ideal customer, and what are they looking for?” Think of the need you are hoping to fill, or the service you hope to provide to your target customer, and derive your name and slogan from that ideal.

Choose Your Merchant Processor

As we’ve been talking about how to launch your CBD website, I’m sure you’ve gathered that the prep stage is one of the most important stages. It may seem like there are a lot of steps to complete before you get your website off the ground, but trust us– the more you plan and prepare, the easier your journey will be once your website is launched.

Before you start your CBD business, it’s important to know that finding a merchant processor for your CBD may prove challenging. Although CBD oil is legal in all fifty states thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, it is considered a high-risk investment by some banks and merchant processors.

In fact, many will not allow you to sell CBD oil through their platform at all. The few merchant processor platforms that DO allow you to sell CBD oil may charge a significant amount for payment processing.

As awareness and education in CBD oil increases, these platforms may begin making allowances to sell CBD oil online, but you should be aware that this step may prove challenging as you are launching your online business. Contact us for a referral to our partner merchant processor, who not only charges reasonable rates and fees, but also has great customer service in place to meet your needs.

Choose Your Web Host

Choosing a web host should be a well-thought out decision, especially for a company looking to sell a product that is still considered “high-risk” by some web hosts, advertising platforms, and merchant processors.

Make sure that the web host you choose is compatible with your vision. According to Medium, “the choice of web hosting you make holds a direct impact on the way your website is delivered to visitors.” It is also crucial that your web host is compatible with your merchant processor, because merchant processing is still one of the more difficult areas of the industry to navigate. 

There is nothing more frustrating than having to move your website from one host to another, because you encountered difficulties or challenges with your merchant processors, especially when you could have avoided that challenge from the beginning! 

We love this list from Sherpa on the most important things to search for when choosing your web host:

Design Your Website

We have written lots of blogs about how different elements of the design of your website can make a big difference. In fact, in SEO it seems like small things, like your navigation bar design, can be some of the elements that impact your SEO rankings and conversion rates the most!

One key design element that has been proven to not only increase conversion rate but also increase your rankings for SEO are starting your website with a sitemap. There is no exact formula for creating your sitemap. It can be a spreadsheet, a list in a word doc, or even a diagram drawn on a piece of paper. Just use whatever format feels most comfortable for you. Check out these sitemap examples, one digital, one hand-written, from Savoir-faire

A sitemap can be incredibly helpful for two reasons:

 

1. Google uses its spiders to crawl your submitted sitemap and determine if your content is relevant for viewers. The more keywords you have in your sitemap, the higher you will rank in search engine findings.

2. Having a sitemap will help you figure out the navigational process of your website and will keep you organized.

 

The goal of your website should be to navigate users to your best and most productive features as quickly and easily as possible. You want your website to naturally and easily guide visitors through the buying journey. But creating a sitemap at the beginning of your website designing journey, you can constantly reference back to your sitemap and make tweaks and changes. Can you arrive at your product pages in three clicks or less? Are you giving your site visitors to much distracting information in your navigational drop down menu? Are you easily and efficiently guiding your customer through your website to create more conversions? A sitemap will help you determine the best way to answer all of these questions and more. 

Build Your Website (Or Have Us Build It!) 

In order to create a dynamic website and an innovative marketing strategy, it’s important to choose an agency that has experience and knowledge regarding the CBD industry, and has all the functionalities and features you’re looking for for your eCommerce store.

Hiring a company to build your website that already knows many of the ins and outs of how to sell CBD oil can put your CBD business weeks, months, or even years ahead.

It’s vital that you put just as much strategy and planning into your website as you would if you were to open a brand new physical store.

epicShops has seen great success from our website platform that currently hosts a number of CBD websites. With over a decade of experience in the eCommerce industry, we know all the key strategies and features that will make you and your CBD eCommerce site a success.

If you’re planning to sell CBD oil, don’t do it alone. Have the experts give you a hand! Contact epicShops today!

If you do plan to build your website on your own, there are a few critical things to remember.

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Easy To Navigate

As we discussed earlier, a sitemap can help you with organization before you even get to the building portion. Knowing your website has a streamlined process of getting from point A to point B (a conversion) is the most important part of your web building journey. If customers find it difficult to navigate to your product pages, they may just leave your site for another platform that’s easier to navigate.

2. Optimize Your Website For Speed

In July 2018, Google announced that website speed was now playing a part in their ranking algorithm. Since then, it seems that this factor has only increased in importance. Faster load times equals a higher ranking in Google’s search engine, and higher rankings equal more site traffic and conversions.

But it’s not just Google rankings you have to worry about, it’s also the average site visitor. Data from Strange Loop shows that a 1-second delay in page load time can yield a 7% loss of conversions.

Optimizing your website for speed will assist in gaining you more organic traffic through SEO, and will keep your customers happy. Happy customers = more conversions!

3. Continually Refer Back To Your Brand

As you continue to build your website, make sure you’re continually referring back to the questions you asked at the beginning of your journey. Is the website you’re building in keeping with your vision? Does it appeal to your target audience? Does it accurately promote your branding through visuals and language usage? Making sure that you’re staying true to your original goals and vision will keep your website looking clean, professional, consistent, and welcoming to your ideal customer.

4. Testing, Testing, Testing

In July 2018, Google announced that website speed was now playing a part in their ranking algorithm. Since then, it seems that this factor has only increased in importance. Faster load times equals a higher ranking in Google’s search engine, and higher rankings equal more site traffic and conversions.

Make sure your design elements transfer between browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. It’s also a great idea to see how your website performs on a mobile device. 1.6 billion people shop using their mobile devices, so make sure your website is optimized for mobile viewing and sales!

It’s also a great idea to test all your links. Make sure there aren’t any tabs that will lead your customer to the dreaded 404 error page! Broken links can not only give the impression that your website is not secure, but it can also distract your site visitors from their goal: to make a purchase. Leading your site visitors away from your product pages with broken links is a great way to lose sales as well as credibility.

Launch Your CBD Business Website

If you’ve reached this point, we are ecstatic for you! That means you can get on with the fun part! Turning your new CBD website into a thriving and successful eCommerce business! If you’re still needing help with driving traffic to your website, and optimizing your content for SEO, don’t worry, we can handle that! Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about our SEO and branding services, our social media marketing services, or just for some pointers on where to go next with your new CBD website. After all, it’s what we do! And we would love to partner with you as you make your dreams come true.

Stay tuned for our upcoming eBook, What Now? where we unpack all the best practices for driving traffic to your site, making your customers happy, and overall turning your eCommerce business into everything you imagined it could be!