Unlike in years past when you had to hire a developer to build an online store for you, now there are a number of services that allow you to build an ecommerce store with little to no knowledge of coding. In this step-by-step guide I am going to explain How to set up a WooCommerce store.
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Why I do need to create my own online shop
In 2020, well known international marketplaces, probably, are the easiest way how to start sell products or services online. However, even most reputable ones, like Amazon and eBay, come with restrictive seller policies. These marketplaces are primarily concerned with their own growth and stock price. They don’t care whether you are successful, nor do they care whether you provide a genuine service to the community. It means, that you actually don’t control of whether your store stays online, and you are always at their mercy. Amazon is notoriously tough on the vendors who sell on there and often you have no recourse in the case where their algorithms or faceless employees decide to remove your listings or even ban you from the platform forever.
With marketplaces You also lose the ability to market to the customer in the future. The customer relationship belongs to them! It’s going to be much harder to find the same customer again and market to them or tell them about new products you have launched.
Sellers with their own online stores play a different game. They have complete control over their customers’ experiences. Whether it’s rearranging product placement or highlighting a store sale, merchants can use their website to directly connect with their customers and encourage purchases.
Without further ado, let’s dive in How to set up a WooCommerce store fast.
Why to choose WooCommerce
Even novadays, setting up an online shop can be both rewarding and challenging. There are literally tons of E commerce website builders out there. Some are cheap, some are expensive, some are reliable, and some… aren’t. To save your time, let’s cut to the chase: at the moment, there are several notable references in the niche, like WooCommerce, Squarespace Commerce, Shopify and OpenCart.
According to latest statistics, WooCommerce is indisputable leader with 28% market share in 2020.
If you didn’t know, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that adds a host of ecommerce features to any WordPress site. Comparing to its closest competitors, WooCommerce is free… free kind of…. While both of its closest competitors – Squarespace Commerce and Shopify – offers only free two-week trial. After that, you will have to choose one of their paid plans – Basic Shopify ($29) or Squarespace Commerce Basic Store ($30). Besides that, there are 3% sales transaction fee and Approx. 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction payment processing fees for Squarespace Commerce. With Shopify, chances are, you’ll have to pay more for additional plugins and the transaction fees you’ll have to pay if you want a 3rd party payment processor that’s not Shopify Payments.
To have a WooCommerce store you need to have a WordPress site and to have a WordPress site you’re going to need to pay a little bit for hosting and domain name. Anyway, in 2020 it’s possible, to run a fully functional WooCommerce store for as little as $5 per month. Of course, the price can go up, if you choose paid WordPress theme or some of the paid WooCommerce extensions but in my opinion, here is no need for that. At least in the beginning.
WooCommerce is open source which means that there’s a lot of different developers out there working on it, trying to improve it, and it also means that if you want to change it, you can do any sorts of modifications. With Square Commerce or Shopify there’s certain things, like the checkout page, that they don’t let you change too much.
Last but not least, WooCommerce will never shut you down. It is your own WooCommerce website and you don’t have to go through a third party and obey their rules and regulations. I think it’s super rare for a Shopify site to get shut down, but it does happen.
I hope you got a point and now you really want to know How to set up a WooCommerce store fast.
Domain name and web hosting for your WooCommerce store
I already covered basics in How to Start a WordPress Blog in 2020: Step-by-Step Guide. Since WooCommerce is free WordPress extension, first you need to choose the domain name and webhosting for your brand new WooCommerce store.
The simplest way is to choose the suitable web hosting and purchase the domain name from them. With WooCommerce you will need an SSL certificate so make sure that your chosen web hosting provider has one.
Hostgator is one of the most popular web hosting providers among WooCommerce shop owners. Their basic plan starts from $2.75/month and it offers free SSL certificate, easy WordPress installs, and a free domain for a year.
In this How to set up a WooCommerce store fast: step-by-step guide would not be complete if we not discuss another option – to purchase domain name and hosting separately. This might give you opportunity to spare some cash and enjoy features of other premium web hosting providers. As I wrote previously if you want to register Your Domains Hassle-Free do it with Namecheap. They have a domain search tool that helps you find the right domain name and makes suggestions when your preferred domain name is not available. They also offer domain add-on services like domain privacy and premium DNS, and most important, as name suggests, they are cheaper than competition. Here is detailed description how to register the domain name with Namecheap.
For WordPress websites and WooCommerce shops, I recommend Siteground hosting. They’re are officially endorsed by WordPress, and I personally have used Siteground for years. SiteGround is well known web hosting provider which is notorious for stability, loading speeds and amazing customer service. All their plansinclude unmetered Traffic, free WP Installation and Free SSL certificate. Siteground also offer you to register a new domain through them but usually it is more expensive than Namecheap.
How to bind SiteGround with Namecheap
So, go ahead and choose the plan that you’d like to start with. If you start with the cheapest plan, you can always upgrade later.
During the registration process choose option “I already have a domain” and type in the domain name which you registered with Namecheap previously.
Then click “proceed”. So now you will need to enter your account information, such as email, password and address information, then enter your payment details and lastly, under purchase information just verify the plan that you want.
You will receive a welcome email with your username and password and account management guidelines it does say that it will arrive within the next hour but in my experience it only takes a few minutes in either case your account is now active and you can proceed to customer area this is what the inside of your hosting account.
The first thing that you will need to do is to click setup button. On the next screen you will see couple of options start your website or migrate website. You want to start a new website so that you can actually complete the setup.
Click Start New Website. You will have a few different options. The application that you need to install is called WooCommerce so go ahead and click select it.
So, go ahead and in installation details enter your email address and password, that you would like to use as login credentials into your WordPress installation and then click continue. You will be asked again, if you would like to add this SiteGround side scanner. At this stage don’t click Add, just leave it unchecked and click finish.
Wait two minutes or less. Now your website will be created.
Now what you will need to do next is to point our domain from Namecheap to your SiteGround hosting account. You just need to connect the two services together and this is how you do it. You will need to take note of these two entries, and you will need to enter them into Namecheap.
Now you will have to go back Namecheap page, log on to your account and click “Manage” button.
In the next page scroll down and look for option “Nameservers”. Here choose custom DNS and down below you have to enter Siteground Nameserver1 and Nameserver 2 which you have noted previously. Then click the green “check” item on the wright side.
When this is done, you can see on the top of the page massage “DNS server update might take up to 48 hours to take effect.”
Usually it takes only 10 to 20 minutes. So, take a break, drink your coffee, and come back after 20. Min.
Step two is now completed and if you copy your new domain name and insert it into the browser and click enter you will be able to see your website at this domain address.
Next thing, you have to personalize your WooCommerce store. First, you should log in onto WordPress admin page. To do that, type into browser yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/
Use your WP username and password which you created and click “Log in”. This will lead you to WP dashboard.
Before we go any further, you should do is a little bit of housekeeping. Go to settings and then permalinks.
Next, go to settings, select “General Settings”. On top of the page you will see “Site Title” and “Tagline”. The title represents the name of your website. Together with the tagline, site title has the role to define site identity through text. It increases relevancy of the website content to users. Due to the site title, visitors can easily understand what the website is about, and they know what to expect from browsing its pages.
Briefly, you need to change the defaults with optimized title and tagline. The site title or site name is a short text that’s representative of your website. With just a few words, you can sum up what makes your blog different, and how it is unique.
The tagline represents a short description of your entire website, it is also appearing in the search engine results page. Whenever people look for something and your blog matches their search, your tagline will be the complete title they see in the results. So, set up your “Site Title” and “Tagline” and click “Save changes”. With this initial setup is done.
At this point, if you follow this How to set up a WooCommerce store fast: step-by step-guide, you have a default WordPress theme installed and you can start use it, however we will need to run WooCommerce shop. If you look for something fancy, you can choose the premium WooCommerce shop theme at Templatemonster or Themify. Although, for beginning I recommend using free WordPress theme Storefront.
Storefront WordPress Theme
Like title says, this is How to set up a WooCommerce store fast: step-by step-guide. One of the easiest ways to create WooCommerce store is to use Storefront theme. Storefront is a free ecommerce theme for WordPress, built to work elegantly with WooCommerce, developed by WooThemes. Storefront comes with a clean and minimal design that’s open for any kind of customization. It also has a responsive layout, so it will work on any type of screens/devices flawlessly.
- Clean & Elegant
- Responsive Layout
- Based on Underscores
- SEO Friendly Markup
- Custom Homepage Templates
- Translation Ready
- 100% Free, GPL Licensed
To do install it, in WordPress dashboard go to Appearance > Themes menu. Select Add new and the group themes by popularity and look for Storefront.
Click Install and then activate.
After that you will be prompt you to install WooCommerce if webhosting service did have to installed it for you previously. So, install and activate it as well.
Next, you will see WooCommerce setup page.
You can come back and change all this information later but it’s gonna ask you first in which industry does your store operates.
After, things like, your location where you’re based, what kind of products you want to sell, whether you’re selling physical or digital products or whether you’re selling both.
Finally, it will ask you some business details.
And then, WooCommerce will prompt you to install Facebook, chimp monkey and google adds extensions. You can skip this for now and install it later. Click continue and you will be led to this screen.
Click continue. From the next page you will be able to customize your shop, add new products and payment methods.
WooCommerce shop configuration
Now, if you type your domain name in browser you should see default storefront home screen.
First you should create your store’s homepage. To do that, go back to your dashboard – pages-add new.
Add title “home” and in text box put your fantastic marketing text, then in wright side in template box select Homepage and then click “Publish”.
Then go to settings-reading and check the static page box, then in homepage box choose “Home” and save changes.
The front page of your site this is a really key setting. When you first start building a site with WordPress it’ll start life as a simple blog with your posts showing up on default front page. Here you actually want your page called home to be front of your store, that just means that this will be the first page what your site visitors will see.
After that, probably you will need to create header menus. So, to do that, go to Dashboard – Appearance-menus. Select create new menu. Give this menu name “Menu”. On left side of the page, select view all pages and then select Home-Shop-My account. If you desire, you can add additional pages important to you. On Display location check boxes “Primary Menu” and “Handheld Menu”.
Then click “Save” button.
Before to start adding products and set up the preferred payment method is wise to finish with your shop visual look. You can customize your front page the same way you customize any WordPress page. Partly I gave covered this in my previous article. You can add your background image, site logo, and make any other changes which will look your shop appealing to customers. Look how I customize my sample shop just in 5 minutes.
So, now when it’s done, you have to configurate preferred payment methods and then you can start adding products to your shop. To do that go to Dashboard – WooCommerce.
First click on set up payments.
By default, WooCommerce gives you three options – Their own WooCommerce Payments, PayPal and Stripe. If you are ready to go with one of these, just click on desired option. It will allow you to proceed with your preferred payment option configuration. If you are looking fore something more, read my article Online Payment Processing Solutions For WooCommerce Store.
Next, you should configurate tax rates and set up your shipping methods. These options are also straight forward. Just follow instructions given and you will be done in no time.
Adding products to WooCommerce store
Finally, you can start adding products to your shop. When you click on “Add my products”, you will see three options.
If you already have .csv file with products, you can import them all in bulk. If you already have a web shop on other platform, you can choose option Migrate. This will give you complete set of instructions how to perform migration to WooCommerce platform.
If you just started, you can add products manually. The process is easy. Basically, you create a name, tag line and product description for each product. It is similar to process when you create new blog post.
After you have to set up price, product attributes, shipping information, linked products and image gallery. When it is done, click “publish”.
Congratulations You Are Done. By now you should know How to set up a WooCommerce store fast.
WooCommerce Store Examples That Will Inspire You
And finally, here are list of 10 excellent WooCommerce store examples. May be in the process of creation your own WooCommerce shop, you can draw inspiration from from these examples.
- Bluestar Coffee Roasters
- Caesar’s Ice Cream
- Custom Seafood
- Dark Horse
- Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
- Joco Cups
- Porter and York
- Root Science
- Underwear Expert
I hope this How to set up a WooCommerce store fast: step-by step-guide will make your eCommerce journey a bit a bit easier.