An online store in WordPress is a store based on the WooCommerce plugin. And in this guide, we will clearly show you how to create it yourself!
Of course, the organization of the trading platform, on the network for a person who does not have the appropriate experience, causes certain difficulties. To help numerous users, we have compiled the most detailed guide on how to organize a virtual store on the platform of WordPress.
What do we need? Making an online store in WordPress for free
Today there is an optimal situation for a profitable start-up business online.
A person who has a relatively modern computer can, in a matter of minutes or hours, organize a full-fledged online store. In this case, special skills or knowledge in the field of programming is not required at all.
To start the project you will need:
- Domain name – this is the address and name of your site in the network, for example zolin.digital
- Hosting, which will physically host all the information in your online store.
- A little free time.
Setting up and optimizing a marketplace created on the WordPress platform takes less than an hour. And we’ll go through this journey together.
This guide will cover the following questions:
- How to get your own domain name, use a hosting service, get a free SSL certificate?
- How to install the CMS WordPress?
- How to organize the work of an online store using the extension WooCommerce?
- How to add and work with goods?
- How to choose and optimize a theme?
- How to improve your project using additional plugins?
Step 1: Choosing, preparing and working with the platform
The most important thing to do is to choose the right platform for your future store. I would like to draw your attention to the two best content management systems, adapted for online commerce. These are Shopify or WordPress + WooCommerce.
Shopify is a paid virtual commerce platform. Plans are available to users starting at $29 per month. Using this CMS is not a bad solution. But the financial side of things minimizes the numerous advantages of the platform. The price of use is constantly increasing, you constantly need to make unscheduled fees.
That’s why a large part of novice businessmen prefer the complex WordPress + WooCommerce. This combination provides maximum flexibility with maximum savings of financial resources. Of course, it requires a little adjustment as a CMS, and the plugin. But it’s worth it!
This guide will introduce you to the nuances of setting up a trading platform based on WordPress using the WooCommerce extension.
To create and optimize your online store, as mentioned above, you’ll need a domain, hosting and an SSL certificate.
Hosting – is a physical place to store all the files on your site. This is the very same server, which are served by bearded men, of which you probably not once or twice heard.
SSL certificate – is a digital signature for your site. It provides the necessary level of security between the site and its user. Certificate allows you to receive confidential data. Particularly, if we are talking about online store, SSL allows you to receive customers’ bank card details. You will not be able to sell online without a certificate!
GODADDY.COM – Here you can buy a domain, hosting and get an SSL certificate for a year as a bonusOur advice when choosing a hosting provider and domain name registrar is unambiguous!
1.1 Choosing a domain name and hosting
The first thing to do is to choose a domain. Then, add the hosting service to the selected domain.
Pay for the selected services and after activation proceed to installation.
1.2 Installing WordPress on our server
Perform an automatic installation of WordPress or install it manually.
Congratulations! You have created your website and your online store on WordPress is ready for further setup.
Step 2: Installing and optimizing WooCommerce – a free plugin for organizing an online store
WooCommerce is the most downloadable plugin in the world for organizing trade in the global network. In this case, the flexibility and ease of configuration attracts even novice users.
Below will be considered step by step how to configure WooCommerce. Detailed instructions will be provided. We will outline important resources such as popular themes and recommendations for page optimization. As a result, you will be able to set up your own marketplace, based on the expansion in question.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce – this is a specialized software for the implementation of commercial activities in the global network. The plugin is absolutely free, so any user with minimal effort can organize their own online store. According to statistics, hundreds of thousands of retail sites of various orientations built using WooCommerce.
The plugin under consideration is an extension for the content management system WordPress, which is one of the leaders among the CMS (Content Managment System). WooCommerce allows you to set up online commerce as from scratch, as well as add the “Shopping cart” function to an existing site.
Comparison of the positives and negatives WooCommerce
WooCommerce is rich in numerous useful features and is not difficult in practical application. These are the reasons that have allowed it to become one of the most in-demand solutions for trade in the global network.
Thanks to the presence of open source extension does not cost anything to the user. It gives absolute freedom and full control over the interactive trading platform.
Unlike other similar products, the plugin in question does not require a license fee, and as a result, the user can create as many stores as he wants.
WooCommerce is a WordPress-based extension. This means that you still have all the time-tested tools of this content management system in your arsenal.
Entrepreneurs currently have thousands of different themes available for WooCommerce. Each theme includes easy-to-use customization tools. And most of them are free.
Flexibility is one of the main reasons why this extension is preferred by online businessmen. The plugin works great with third-party extensions that further enhance its functionality. For example, you can integrate with third-party delivery services, supplement the store with a booking tool, implement modern methods of tax payment.
An important advantage of using WooCommerce in practice is the absence of any restrictions. You run your business the way you see fit.
You can add any number of items, conduct an unlimited number of transactions, export and import information about sold goods.
A very important aspect of trading activities in the global network is the organization of payment acceptance through specialized gateways. WooCommerce seamlessly integrates with a large number of special payment services. Therefore, problems with the payment of your customers will not arise.
Next, we’ll take a detailed look at the procedure for setting up a chain store using the WooCommerce plugin.
Beginning the installation WooCommerce
Actually with this step we begin creating an online store in WordPress!
Go to Plugins → Add New and in the search box, type in “WooCommerce”
Once the plugin is successfully installed and activated, the automatic setup wizard opens.
In the second step of the automatic setup, you will be asked – What industry does the store operate in?
- Fashion, Clothing & Accessories
- Health & Beauty
- Art, Music & Photography
- Electronics & Computers
- Food & Beverage
- Home, Furniture & Garden
Choose one and click “Continue”
The 3rd step is for you to select the types of goods you are going to undermine.
- Physical Products – Goods that you send to customers.
Downloads – Virtual goods that customers download.
Subscriptions – A paid add-on that allows your customers to subscribe to your products or services and pay weekly, monthly, or annually. Subscription fee in total. $199.00 per year.
Memberships – A paid add-on that will allow your site users access to limited content or products for an additional fee. $199.00 per year.
- Bookings – Allows customers to book appointments, make orders or rent equipment without leaving your site. $249.00 per year.
Bundles – A paid add-on to create product bundles with various customizations of existing products. $79.00 per year.
No need to buy any add-ons right now, let’s start by selecting Physical Products and Downloads. After you click “Continue” you will go to step 4, which asks you to tell us a little more about your business.
The first drop-down list asks you to select “How many products do you plan to display?” – It doesn’t affect anything; your store may have tens of thousands of products.
The second drop-down list requires you to answer the question, “Currently selling elsewhere?”.
Then WooCommerce will prompt you to connect 3 more additional and free modules:
- Store on Facebook – Grow your business by targeting the right people and driving sales with Facebook.
- Integration with Mailchimp plugin – Send out emails to your customer base.
- Google Ads – Get access to new customers from the Google search engine and receive a $150 ad coupon.
There is no need to install all these add-ons and figure them out right now, because you can always go back to them. That’s why we recommend that you disable them and click the “Continue” button.
In the fifth step you will be asked to choose a new template or continue to use the existing one. As part of the guide “How to create an online store in WordPress” we chose a theme “Storefornt”, which is geared toward e-commerce – which we also advise you to start with. Remember, you can always change the theme for your online store without losing any data.
In the last step, WooCommerce will offer to additionally install the Jetpack plugin. The plugin is good, as we wrote about in our Jetpack guide, but now just click “No, thanks”, thus completing the installation.
WooCommerce will install several important pages for cart, account, store and checkout.
WooCommerce successfully installed and you will be redirected to the home page under WooCommerce.
WooCommerce – Home Screen
The WooCommerce home page allows you to monitor the performance of your store, get helpful tips and advice to grow your business, and quickly access some of the most important areas of your store management.
The Inbox area is for informational content from multiple sources, such as the main WooCommerce plugin, WooCommerce.com subscription management, extension actions and store achievements. It also displays content that can help with day-to-day store management and optimization tasks. You can also access your inbox on other pages through the action bar.
In the inbox, we can display contextual messages about extensions that may be useful for your online store.
This area displays a brief overview of your WordPress store’s most important performance metrics. At the top of this area, you can easily switch between three pre-defined date ranges: Today, Past 7 Days, and Past 30 Days. Here you can view charts and tables for more in-depth analysis of your sales.
Step 3: Choosing the right WooCommerce theme or not just a beautiful online store on WordPress
The right theme is a subjective decision. Although appearance is one of the significant factors in the choice, but it should not have been the determining factor. The following are a few tips that you should rely on when making your final choice.
Don’t just look for a theme that “looks good”. It has to be relevant. A Ferrari looks great, but it’s not the best choice for a trip to and from the stores?
Consider your audience, your brand, and most importantly, your products. Try to pick a theme that you think somehow fits these three things. Do you sell clothes? Look for a theme with clean typography and a focus on pictures. Selling children’s toys? Look for a playful theme with lots of bright colors … you get the idea.
If the theme you choose is positioned by the author as, “For WooCommerce” be sure to check all the WooCommerce pages. Don’t forget pages like the My Account section, shopping cart and checkout.
Frequency and speed of updates
The plugin in question, as well as the CMS WordPress in general, regularly receives fresh updates. And for one year, as a rule, there are several “major” updates. It is worth noting that such modifications occasionally cause errors. This happens when using updates to templates that have not been tested with the current beta versions. Therefore, it is recommended to monitor whether the developers provide timely support for a particular theme. It is also worth clarifying the compatibility of the selected theme with the version of the content management system used and the WooCommerce plugin.
To confirm the compatibility of the theme with the latest version of WooCommerce extension, you can do an express check. Look at the “demo” and take a look at the source code (CTRL + U). The source code should contain an entry announcing which version of the plugin is active. On the screen it looks like this:
<!-- WooCommerce Version --> <meta name="generator" content="WooCommerce 4.3.0" />
Make sure that the demo theme uses the current version of WooCommerce.The current version of WooCommerce can be viewed on the official plugins page in the WordPress.org repository
Most themes or extensions sometimes produce some sort of error. When an error occurs, you should make sure that it is properly fixed. At the very least, you should know how to fix it.
If you purchase a premium theme, it’s worth finding out about ways to support it. In case you got the theme from WordPress.org, you need to check the support forum activity.
It’s always important to check the range of possible functionality improvements for a theme. A number of developers combine a lot of functionality into their templates. In this case, custom sliders, short codes, content editors can be found very often. Such themes should be treated with vigilance. When you include them, you can lose many familiar features that are very important. As an example, after a template change, you have to remove the short code from all the product items. This is no fun at all!
Our advice – Try to choose templates minimally loaded with frills. And then use additional extensions, which, if necessary, can be easily deactivated. As a result, when you change the theme you will keep the usual functionality of the platform
The so-called “adaptability” of the theme should be checked last, as in 2020 it is already the norm. This term means full compatibility with all devices. For example, both tablets and smartphones.
The World Wide Web has already experienced another peak in its development, with users exploiting different types of devices. And it’s great if the online store looks great on any of them! Isn’t it?
Step 4: Standard pages in WooCommerce
Once the installation is complete and thanks to the installation wizard, the following pages will be generated:
- Store – No additional content is required.
- Cart – Contains shortcode
[woocommerce_cart]and shows the contents of the cart.
- Checkout – Contains the
[woocommerce_checkout]shortcode and displays information such as shipping and payment methods.
- My Account – Contains
[woocommerce_my_account]and shows information about each customer related to their account, orders, etc.
If you missed the installation wizard or want to install missing pages, go to WooCommerce → Status → Tools and use the page installation tool.
Specify which pages to use as master pages
If you want to install the pages yourself or change the ones created by the installation wizard, you need to specify them under WooCommerce → Settings → Advanced.
And to specify which page will be used for the store page, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Products.
What is a store page?
The Store page is the archive where all the products of your online store on WordPress will be displayed.
If you use additional SEO plugins, they can add separate settings specific to archives, and these are the settings you should use to manage the store page.
This page will be compatible with all WordPress themes, even those not specifically designed for WooCommerce.
Step 5: Add merchandise items
First you need to add the first product to the store. The same principle will be used to add the rest of the items. You need to use section Products → Add New.
Be sure to specify the name of the item. Add a short description that describes the benefits of the proposed product.
In the right column, you can see a special field “Product Categories”. Try to click on “Add Category”. After this, the desired category will be created. This feature allows you to quickly sort the added products into groups.
If you scroll the mouse wheel down, you can see the “Product data” field. In this window you should enter the main data about the item. This is the cost of the product, its availability in the required quantity, and delivery options.
Even below is a field with a short description. This short note will be visible to potential customers when viewing multiple items on one screen (archive or category pages).
The right column contains the fields for the main image of the product or the gallery.
After adding all the necessary data about the product you should use the “Publish” button. After that the item will be placed in your online store.
Go through the above process as much as necessary to add all the items you have.
If you want to create more complex products, we suggest reading our guide about variation products in WooCommerce.
Step 6: Customize the look and feel of your online store on WooCommerce
Themes are how your site looks to users. For a store, the Template (theme) sets the basic parameters of your site, determines how your online store will look. Depending on the application of a theme changes the way your products are displayed.
At this point there are several thousand themes for WordPress. They can be both paid and cost nothing to the user.
If you remember, as part of this guide, we use “Storefornt” for the site. Now it needs to be optimized according to current needs.
Open Appearance → Customize. This will launch the theme customizer. It allows you to change certain settings.
Do not forget that you can expand the functionality of your online store, creating your own WordPress plugin.
That’s all for now, we hope you understand what an online store in WordPress and how to create it.
If you have any questions – ask in the comments and we’ll be sure to answer you.