As online shopping takes over traditional brick-and-mortar outlets, there are more and more people getting into the eCommerce world. Naturally, this means there are plenty of providers offering easy-to-use eCommerce platforms.
If you want to start an online store, you no longer need extensive coding or development experience. WordPress can help you simplify the process.
If you're wondering how to start a WordPress online store, you're probably considering a variety of different plugins. In this tutorial, we'll take a look at how to set up a WordPress store using WooCommerce; one of the most extensive online store plugins available on the platform.
Here are the steps you need to take to start a WordPress online store:
- Step 1 - Choose a hosting provider
- Step 2 - Install and setup WordPress
- Step 3 - Set up HTTPS domain
- Step 4 - Choose site name and tagline
- Step 5 - Install and activate WooCommerce plugin
- Step 6 - Run installation wizard on WooCommerce
- Step 7 - Set your store location
- Step 8 - Set up payment choices
- Step 9 - Set up shipping options
- Step 10 - Consider additional plugins
- Step 11 - Consider jetpack (skip the step if unwanted)
- Step 12 - Create or import products
- Step 13 - Run your store
1. Choose Hosting Provider
Before you can set up your online store, you need to choose a hosting provider. There are plenty of affordable hosting providers that can help you build a quick, scalable online store. If you'd like more advice on choosing a hosting provider that is compatible with WordPress, make sure to find the best WordPress hosting that you can. We have an article for that!
2. Install and Setup WordPress
Once you choose a hosting provider, it's time to install and setup WordPress. The process will vary slightly depending on the hosting platform that you opt to work with. If you'd like to find more information on installing WordPress, check out our How To Install WordPress tutorial. It provides you with a step-by-step overview of the process.
3. Set Up HTTPS Domain
Next, it's time to ensure that your site is secure. You'll need to use an SSL certificate issued by your hosting provider. Many of the top hosting providers mentioned in our review article offer free SSL certificates with their hosting plans. To edit this, head to the settings tab on the left-hand of the WordPress dashboard. You then need to manually change the address from HTTP to HTTPS on both the WordPress address and the site address.
4. Choose Site Name and Tagline
On the same settings page, you can also enter a site name and a tag line. Choose a name and tag line that is relevant to your business.
5. Install and Activate WooCommerce Plugin
Once you have set up the basics of your WordPress site, it's time to install WooCommerce. Click 'Add New' on the under the plugins tab on the left-hand side WordPress dashboard. You'll then need to search for the WooCommerce plugin in the search bar. For a full, step-by-step explanation of this process, check out our tutorial on how to install WordPress plugins.
When you search for WooCommerce, a variety of different plugin options will appear. Make sure the plugin that you install is the same plugin that is featured in the image below. The number of installations will help you know which is the real one.
6. Run installation Wizard on WooCommerce
Once you have activated the plugin, you will automatically be redirected to the installation wizard for WooCommerce. It is here that you will perform the initial setup for your new WordPress online store. Don't worry, WooCommerce setup is pretty straightforward, I'll run you through the details in the next few steps.
7. Set Your Store Location
Next, you'll be prompted to enter your store's location and address. Keep in mind, you can change this at a later date. Enter your store's location and address manually, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and click 'Continue.'
8. Set Up Payment Choices
Now, it's time to set up your payment choices. You can select both PayPal and Stripe.
Stripe will allow you to process credit card payments from a host of different credit card providers. If you want, you can allow WooCommerce to sign up PayPal and Stripe accounts using your email. Once you've customized your options, scroll down and select 'Continue.'
9. Set Up Shipping Options
After your payment options are decided, it's time to customize your shipping. You can choose flat-rate shipping costs, but you can also customize your options by selecting the drop-down menu. Keep in mind, you can always change your shipping costs in the future as you adapt to the true costs of running your WordPress online store.
Once you input your desired shipping options, click 'Continue' at the bottom of the screen.
10. Consider Additional Plugins
WooCommerce will then prompt you to choose additional plugins that can help you build a better online store.
Feel free to browse or select these additional plugins, though you can easily skip this step and add the ones you need at a later date. To proceed, select 'Continue' after you scroll down.
11. Consider Jetpack (Skip the Step if Unwanted)
This is another step that WooCommerce uses to try and get you to upgrade your services. The Jetpack plugin (not to be confused with Jetpack the flying backpack) helps you increase performance and security.
It is widely used by many WooCommerce stores, so it may be worth considering. Alternatively, you can select 'Skip This Step' when you scroll to the bottom of the page. You can always set it up later.
12. Create or Import Products
Your online store is now created. It's time to upload products that you want in your store. If you already have products to upload or import, you can perform these actions on this page. If you're planning on importing a large number of products, it's better to do it at this stage, rather than later.
13. Run Your Store
Once everything is set up, you can always add more products by selecting the 'Add New' products on the left-hand side dashboard under the 'Products' tab.
If you do decide to use Jetpack, you'll be able to automate shipping labels, calculate taxes, and more. Your options with WooCommerce are truly endless.
Additional Things to Keep in Mind
Now that you know how to start a WordPress online store using WooCommerce, it's time to consider a few other essential components of running an online store. Competition online is fierce, so it's critical to consider everything if you want to run a successful online business.
Below, I'll overview a few other critical things to keep in mind.
1. Choose the Right Domain Name
If you want to scale your online store, it's essential to choose a domain name that can grow with your business. While a domain name doesn't directly impact your SEO, it can have a serious effect on how well people remember your business. Try and choose a domain name that is easy to remember. It should also have close links to your current business's name, if possible.
Using popular extensions, and avoiding slang or unique spellings, is a good way to prevent people from getting lost when trying to remember your domain name.
If you want more information on the best ways to choose a domain name, read our article on choosing a domain name. You can use a variety of low-cost domain providers to purchase a domain name, including GoDaddy, domain.com, and Hostinger.
2. Continue Learning WordPress
While WordPress is a very user-friendly platform, there are still components that may appear confusing to someone who doesn't have an extensive computer or web background. Devoting time to learning WordPress can help you better develop and manage your online store.
If you'd like more information about WordPress, check out our How To Learn WordPress article. We overview a range of different resources you can use to get up-to-speed with this unique platform.
3. Don't Overload with Other Plugins
If you've researched WordPress eCommerce plugins in the past, you probably already know there seems to be an endless list of options. This is one of the great benefits of using WordPress to set up an online store.
The only problem is that overloading your site with plugins may reduce your page speed. Try and limit your plugin installations to plugins that truly benefit your site, it can save you from damaging your store's viability.
Get Started Before It's Too Late
Now that you know how to create an online store with WordPress, it's time to get started. Using WooCommerce to develop a popular online platform is one of the best ways to get your shop up-and-running.
Considering you can set up your WordPress store in just a few minutes, it's time to get your platform on the market before your competitors beat you to it!