It's an era of e-commerce and people always look for a better source to start an online store. And if you know, WordPress has everything you need.
When I started my first blog, I was always looking for a user-friendly platform which could help me start an online shopping website. WooCommerce solved all the problems.
WordPress is the CMS and WooCommerce is the plugin you have to use for this purpose. In the last couple of years, the usage of this plugin has increased a lot.
But most of the people are afraid of the technical side of WordPress. Well, there is nothing to worry about. I am going to walk you through a step by step process to start an online store.
What's Required to Create an E-commerce Website
Before we start, it's important to know the things which are mandatory.
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting
- SSL Certificate
- WordPress Installation
- WooCommerce Setup
Domain name is the name with which you want to start your website. You can easily get it from websites like GoDaddy or Namecheap at only $10.
Web hosting is the space you need to store the data of your website. And you should know that most of the web hostings provide one free domain name for a year. But I would suggest you keep it separate.
Now many of you may be wondering about using the shared hosting.
For an online store, it's always recommended to have a managed web hosting because shared hostings have some limitations which may create problem after a few months.
Most probably, you may start facing the downtime because of the high CPU usage. So it's better to start with something reliable.
WPEngine and Kinsta are the two companies that you can choose from.
As you may know, when customers buy something from an online store, their personal data gets stored. And according to Google, every website which stores such details must have an SSL certificate enabled.
These days almost every web hosting company offers one-click WordPress installation. You just need to use the cPanel and within a few minutes, you will have a brand new website with the default WordPress settings.
But that's not it, you have also got to alter some settings for better SEO.
After enabling the SSL certificate, you must check the URL of your website. It must have HTTPS instead of HTTP. Go to Settings>>General and here you will be able to see the URLs.
We will talk about all the other settings at the end of this tutorial.
You may be wondering that we haven't done anything to start an online store yet. Well hold on, this starts with the next step.
A few web hostings already come with WooCommerce installed. But if this is not the case with yours, you can install it using your WordPress dashboard.
Just go to Plugins>>Add New and search for WooCommerce. Install and activate the plugin. Once you have done that, just go the main dashboard. There you will see a notification to set up WooCommerce.
You will get step by step instructions. Let me walk you through.
Step 1: Selecting the Location
The price of all the products will be listed depending on the country you choose. Feel free to skip this step if you don’t want to fill this now.
Otherwise, fill the location and click on the Let’s Go button.
Step #2: Choose the Payment Method
WooCommerce can be integrated with both online as well as offline payment methods. You can either use Stripe or PayPal for online payment.
PayPal standard is one of the smoothest payment methods you can use.
Save the settings and continue. You have successfully set up the WooCommerce plugin.
The latest version of WooCommerce allows you to add the cash on delivery and many other offline payment methods which may be really helpful.
In fact, most of the people prefer direct transfer to the bank or cash on delivery. Choose it according to your choice.
Once you have done that, you will be asked to set the shipping details. You can set the weight unit, dimensions, shipping method etc.
In this step, you need to choose a WooCommerce compatible WordPress theme. WooCommerce will offer you to use its own theme which is built specially for starting an e-commerce website.
It will be enabled by default. If you don't want it, you can disable it and continue.
Most of the people get confused between the regular themes and the WooCommerce themes.
Not all the themes have the files which support WooCommerce. You can either buy a WooCommerce theme or hire a web developer to provide you a custom theme.
If you're just starting out, you can search a free theme in the WordPress theme repository. You will get thousands of options to choose from.
In this step, you will be recommended to use Jetpack from WordPress.com. It's one of the best plugins you can have. If you don't want to install it now, you can do it later.
And at last, you will have to add your email address to receive the updates.
Necessary WordPress Settings
As we discussed earlier, you will have to change a few WordPress settings. Go to Settings>>Permalinks and you should choose the "Post Name" permalink structure as it is SEO-friendly.
There are many settings related to comments approval, showing the number of posts on the blog page etc. It would be great if you could check each and every section Settings'.
You should also know the necessary plugins which are required to run a website.
- A security plugin
- A contact form plugin
- A caching plugin
- Social Sharing button plugin
- Database optimization plugin
- SEO plugin
Nowadays, Yoast SEO is considered as one of the best SEO plugins.
And if you're looking for the caching plugins, let me mention a few.
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Super Cache
- WP Rocket (Premium)
It's very important to keep the database optimized. For that you need a database optimization plugin. Sweep is one of the best plugins you can have.
Now that you have learned a little bit about the common settings, you should know how to add your first product.
Start Adding Products to Your Online Store
After having a perfectly designed theme and all the necessary settings, you should go for adding your first product. Don’t worry, there is nothing complicated.
You just need to go to Products>>Add New and you will see the WordPress post editor. You will see the fields to add the product's details.
As I feel, you may also be wondering about adding tags and categories to your products. For that, you have to create them.
Go to Products>>Categories/Tags and you will see two fields to fill. One is for the name and other for the slug. Just use the same for both the fields and save. You can create as many categories and tags as you want.
While adding your product, you can see the options to assign the categories. Once you do that, just click on the publish button just like you do for your WordPress blog posts.
Repeat the same process to add as many products as you want. Arranging theme based on the category is always the best idea.
I Hope You Can Easily Start Your Online Store Using WooCommerce
As I have mentioned above, there is nothing technical. You just need to follow the steps WooCommerce suggests you.
Many people still argue about the usage of Shopify and WooCommerce. Well, people have their own perspectives. As per my experience, there is nothing easier than WooCommerce.
If you're afraid to break your website, you can take some help from your friend or someone who knows WordPress better. There are thousands of freelancers available these days.
You can start an online store within no time. Now the question arises whether you can manage it alone. Well, it's dependent on the number of products you add and the service you provide.
Best of luck.