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Setting up your Instant Site: General steps

Instant Site is a code-free website builder enabling you to create professional-looking websites, landing pages, online catalogs, and add ecommerce functionality. 

The process of building a site boils down to editing pre-designed templates. Instant Site makes this process seamless and intuitive with a variety of easy-to-use tools and features. Beyond design capabilities, the site builder enables you to customize SEO settings, assign a unique domain, and translate the site into multiple languages. 

In this guide, you will find step-by-step instructions on how to create your website with Instant Site.

This article guides you through the setup of the latest version of Instant Site. If you have the old Instant Site version, read the Configuring Instant Site design (legacy version) instead. Not sure which version you're using? Find out now.

Step 1. Go to your Instant Site

Instant Site is included in every Ecwid or Lightspeed eCom account. So to get your website builder, all you have to do is create an account in Ecwid. If you are a Lightspeed POS Retail merchant, you get the Instant Site after enabling Lightspeed eCom in your POS.

To access the Instant Site editor:

  1. From your Ecwid admin, go to Website → OverviewEdit Site.
  2. Click Edit Site to open the editor.

Step 2. Choose a site template

When you open the Instant Site editor, your first step is to choose a template. You can customize it to your liking: add pages, sections, Call-to-Actions, promo sliders, and other site content.

To open templates from the editor, click Settings → Site Templates. When you access the editor for the first time, you will see the list of templates right away.

Setting up your Instant Site1.gif

Follow the step-by-step instructions to choose a site template →

Step 3. Customize site content

Your website consists of sections with text, images, and videos. To complete creating a site, you’ll need to configure the design and content of each section. For this, all you have to do is select a section and switch between the Content and Design tabs to add your own copy, upload images, change colors, and select layouts.

Sections help to tell your brand story through giving details about the business and its owner, providing customer reviews, highlighting special offers, showcasing your bestsellers, and more.

To help you tell the story, you will find a library with sections dedicated to specific tasks such as Reviews, Company Info, and more. To access the library, click Add Section in the left-hand side of the editor:

Setting up your Instant Site2.gif

Follow the detailed instructions on how to add and edit website sections →

Step 4. Set up your online store on the site

Your website comes with a Store section that is enabled by default and shows your featured products. This makes it an instant e-commerce solution for your brand, inviting visitors to start shopping right away. Customize the shop to fit your style by tweaking its title, appearance, and selecting the items you want to feature.

You have an option to hide the Store section. For example, if you create a landing page or want to direct customers to your brick-and-mortar stores by providing your locations and contacts.

Learn how to configure the store section of your Instant Site →

Step 5. Add more site pages

To better organize your site content, you can add pages dedicated to new arrivals, your company info, delivery and returns, and so on. Opting for several concise pages proves more effective than attempting to consolidate all information on a single page, preventing potential confusion for site visitors.

When you add a page, you can assign a unique page URL and title for it to provide a better navigation for visitors:

Add more site pages.gif

Follow the step-by-step instructions on how to add and set up Instant Site pages →

Step 6. Provide clear site navigation for visitors

By default, all website templates have a navigation menu at the top that makes content organized and easily accessible for visitors. As you redesign your site, adding new sections and pages, you may need to adjust the header menu as well to ensure efficient customer navigation.

To add new menu items or change existing ones, click Header & Menu in the site editor, choose Navigation menu and make adjustments: add or delete items, change existing items.

Setting up your Instant Site4.gif

Follow the step-by-step instructions on how to customize the header menu →

Step 7. Set up SEO settings for your website

Setting up search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for a website since those settings optimize the site visibility on Google and other search engines, ensuring that potential visitors can easily find it. Proper SEO settings enhance the website ranking, driving more organic traffic and improving its overall online presence. This can lead to increased brand visibility, user engagement, and potential conversions.

Instant Site provides a variety of SEO settings: you can create custom meta tags for product and category pages, as well as create SEO title and description for each page of your Instant Site.

Learn how you can improve SEO settings for your site and store →

Step 8. Display legal pages on your website

Providing your shipping and returns information, as well as terms of service and privacy policy is crucial when running an online business. It builds trust with customers, serves as a resource for understanding their rights, responsibilities, and the overall policies, and ensures compliance with legal requirements for your brand.

After you add legal pages to your store, they automatically appear at your website footer by default. To improve visibility, you can add links to legal pages to your header menu.

Learn more about creating legal pages →

Step 9. Show the cookie consent banner

In countries like the EU or US, you might need to show the cookie consent banner on your store website. To display it, go to the Instant Site editor (Website → Edit Site), click Settings → Tracking & Analytics, and enable the Show cookie consent banner toggle:

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Learn more about cookie notifications in your Ecwid store →

Step 10. Specify the domain name

Before you launch your site, make sure to assign a domain name to the website. There are two options for the Instant Site: try a free Ecwid domain that always ends with the .company.site (for example, torontobikes.company.site), or buy and connect your custom domain (for example, torontobikes.com).

It’s recommended to use a custom domain ending with .com, .fr, .org, and so on. Custom domains are more trustworthy and common for shoppers. You can buy a domain directly from Ecwid, or connect an existing domain purchased from a third-party provider. 

Step 11. Set up site language and region settings

When people open your website, they will see it in the language that you specify in your regional settings. You can always change the language of the site as well as other regional-related settings that appear in your store section such as currency, measurement standard, and timezone.

To change the regional settings, go to the Settings → General → Regional Settings page and make adjustments.

Follow the step-by-step instructions to configure regional settings of your site →

You can make your site multilingual to start selling on foreign markets.

Best practices for the site design

Here are some additional tips on how to craft a website and fill it with content:

Break content into chunks. Break down text-centered pages, such as "About Us," into smaller chunks to make it easier for customers to understand and process the information. For example, add several sections to a page. 

Use high-quality photos. Effective photography helps to explain the brand message and showcase the catalog. Upload hi-res pictures for your site cover and product images. Learn more about photographing your products.

Add customer reviews. Ask your customers for feedback about purchased products and pepper up your site with their reviews to show how your products have helped them. You can add the most appealing testimonials to your Instant Site.

Make the navigation intuitive. Site navigation should be familiar and predictable to avoid confusing visitors and hindering their ability to find what they need. Put the most important content at the top of the page: in the navigation menu or create a categories menu. Make sure that link labels are clear and straightforward: About Us, Store, Our Shops, etc.

Use a mobile-friendly design. Nowadays, about 70% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online. Instant Site is mobile-friendly by default since it’s adapted to small-size screens. In addition to that, you can customize mobile layout for some of the sections.

Test the site before publishing. Before you go live and announce your website on your social media and use it in marketing campaigns, open it yourself in the Preview mode. That way, you identify potential issues, ensuring a smooth and error-free user experience. Testing the site allows you to catch any technical glitches or broken links. Additionally, testing helps ensure that the site is compatible across various devices, providing a consistent and optimal experience for your clients.

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