This is a complete guide to create an ecommerce website
An e-Commerce site is an online store with the capability of breaking the geographical limits of a traditional store. It’s a way of bringing a customer and the seller together with the help of the internet. An individual can access your store online and buy their desired product either Physical product or Digital Product. In today’s post, we’ll be teaching you how to create an eCommerce website using WordPress.
The importance of ecommerce store over traditional shops are numerous. But a major advantage is the ability to sell to anyone around the world at any time even when you are sleeping. You don’t have to be at the store before you can attend to customers.
One major hassle you may have with ecommerce store is your ability to set on up and this article will take care of that.
How to create an e-Commerce Store with WordPress.
To create an e-Commerce store can be time consuming. In this article I will focus on the important things first.
Decide on the Product to Sell
This shouldn’t be a problem for you. Everyone has the skill to sell and there are several things you can sell online. From digital products (eBook, Video, eCourse, Music, Photography, Web Contents, Softwares, etc) to Physical Products (Cosmetics, Clothes, Home-made DIY, Furniture, Electronics, etc)
Whatever you want to sell, decide on them (it) and start making plans to sell your products to the world.
Partner with Others
I always advise partnership over an individual. When you partner with friends with legal backings, you will have the opportunity to distribute responsibilities to other members of the team. From site maintenance to marketing, Finance dept, customer care, product availability, etc. This task may be too daunting for an individual. Making money is not the only aspect of life. You need social relevance, health care, Spiritual watch, intellectual views, and so on to get on with life.
Partner with others or employ and if possible, get volunteers for your online business. You never can tell, someone might just be willing to help without getting paid for it especially if it’s their hubby. Family and friends fit into this category.
Get Paper Works
You need to go legal. Hire a lawyer to get some legal backing for your online business. This will be savvy for the future. You don’t want to be on the other side of the law and claim ignorance. The popular saying goes “No ignorance in the court of law”. Another advantage of going legal, you will have a Branding mentality. It widens your scope of doing business, your vision to which height you want to take your business to will be clear and direct.
You need to choose your platform. There are several platforms out there, but I will strongly advise you go for WordPress and WooCommerce. Both works together. WooCommerce rests on WordPress for function and performance ability. WooCommerce is cheap and easy to set up without the help of a developer. To integrate WooCommerce, you need to have WordPress installed on your web server, more on this later.
If you are still wondering about using WooCommerce alongside with WordPress, you can read the articles below:
- 10 Reasons Why WooCommerce is Perfect For Ecommerce Startups
- 8 Reasons Why Choose Woocommerce for eCommerce Website
- Shopify Vs. WooCommerce: Which Should You Choose in 2018?
- This Is Why You Should Use WordPress for Your Ecommerce Site
- Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison)
Analyse the Market
Another thing to take note of is the market you are about to enter. Are you just going to start your eCommerce store without knowing the dark side of the market you are about to enter? Several people take this to the trash and have themself to blame at the end.
Know your Competitor, recognize the big boss in the market. You can beat down Nike wears if only you have the right mentality, market statistic, Vision, energy, and skill required. Nike started small and given time, you can rise to the very top. But you need the right plan with you and that’s where Analysing market comes in.
- What Is Marketing Competitor Analysis and How to Do it
- How to Do a Competitive Analysis in 5 Easy Steps
- How to Start a Competitive Analysis: 57 Questions You Need to Ask
Now that you have taken prerequisite steps, its time to create your eCommerce store.
Decide your Domain Name
To create any web identity online, you need to have a name. This name singles you out of billions of websites all over the globe. As your traditional name gives you identity, your website name does the same. Your Domain name is the foundation behind the digital branding journey you are about to take.
Choosing a domain name is the task here. You need to pick a domain name that defines you and easy for your customers to remember. Also, your domain name should be similar to your niche.
Karen – the girl behind startbloggingonline.com wrote an article on How To Choose A Domain Name To Be Proud Of (Stress-Free!)
To register a domain name, you will need to spend around $10/year, but if you stick to this post, we’ll teach you how to get one for free.
Choose web Hosting Company
A web host is where all your files will be housed for visitors/customers to access. You need a strong web host to have an eCommerce store running without any hassle.
I recommend InMotion hosting. I use them and we’ve found them trust worthy.
How to Register with InMotion Hosting
When it comes to hosting, there are only two things that matter.
- Page load speed – The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes your blog to load.
- Uptime – 99.9% isn’t enough (it’s 42 minutes of downtime per month). You should be aiming for 100%.
There Are Good & Bad Hosting Companies
Choosing your host is one of the most important aspect of creating your blog.
Bad web hosts cause most of the issues people have related to their website. For example, unhelpful customer service and hidden fees are quite common…
Many cheap hosts also overuse servers to cut their costs—and that leads to your site potentially not working just because many people are visiting some other site. There are lots of web hosts out there, over-promising and under-delivering.
Disclosure: Because we’ve used InMotion and found their hosting great, all links to InMotion are referral links. we’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase and you’ll get a discounted price.
HOW TO SIGN UP WITH INMOTION HOSTING
First, let me walk you through how you sign up with InMotion.
STEP 1. CHOOSE YOUR HOSTING PLAN
Visit InMotion and choose the plan you want to use. Go for the WP-2000s (it’s just a suggestion)
STEP 2. CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Choose if you want to register a domain name with InMotion Hosting, or if you already have a domain name that you want to use.
STEP 3. CONFIGURE YOUR HOSTING PLAN
Choose which datacenter servers you want to use. Either U.SEastCoast (if you’re in Europe choose this) or U.S. West Coast (if you’re in the Asia Pacific choose this).
Choose to pre–installWordPress (please do)
STEP 4. CREATE YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT
Enter your email address and click continue.
STEP 5. FILL OUT YOUR ACCOUNT DETAILS
Fill out your name, address and contact details, and select your preferred payment method.
InMotion Hosting accepts credit card payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover), as well as payment via check and money order.
Next, go and review your order and finally submit your order – and you’re done!
Install and Login to WordPress
If you choose WordPress pre-installed, you good to go. Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
To login, simply add “wp-login” to the end of your domain name.
If WordPress is not pre-installed, you will not be able to login. Simply follow the steps below:
- Now that you’re logged in to your Cpanel
- Scroll down to the Software/Services section of the main page
- Click on the icon that says “QuickInstall”
- Click on WordPress on the left side menu
- Click Continue
- Enter an admin email (that you get an email from), blog title (you can change this later), user name, and other details
- Click “Install now!”
For further reading on how to install WordPress on a live server, you read from our previously published article: How to install WordPress on a Live Server
Choose and Install WordPress Theme
WordPress themes are the front-end outlook of your website. But you cannot pick any theme to install, you need to install Themes that are optimized and designed for eCommerce. Several WordPress themes are designed for WooCommerce.
You can choose one at WPBeginners post: 47 Best WooCommerce WordPress Themes (2018)
After making a choice of your theme, you need to install the theme.
To install a WordPress theme, go to the Appearance tab at the left-hand side of the screen and then click add new theme button at the top left side of the screen. Search for the theme in the WordPress repository if it’s free or clicks the browse button at the top left corner of the screen if you have it downloaded on your PC (usually paid themes).
Create Important Pages
Pages let you create important content for your audience. To add a Page in WordPress, make sure you are logged in to your WordPress dashboard, click the Page tab, and click the add new page. Remember to delete any sample page.
Some important pages you need to create are: Home Page, Account Page, Shop Page, Checkout Page, Cart page, Policy Page, Terms and Condition Page, Contact Us Page, etc
Install Necessary Plugins
WordPress Plugins add another layer of functionality to your site. To add a plugin, simply go to the plugin tab and click Add a new plugin (this process is similar to the installation of WordPress themes). Make sure to activate each of the plugins you install.
In case you don’t know the plugins to install, the list below will be handy to get started with.
- ithemes Security (formerly Better Security)
- WP Forms
- Backup Buddy or Updraft Plus
- Yoast SEO
- W3 Total cache
- All in One Schema.org
The following steps below will let you set up your eCommerce website in no time. What I’ve been doing has been the foundation.
Install WooCommerce Plugin and Setup
To get started with WooCommerce, navigate to your WordPress Dashboard and Add New Plugin. Search for WooCommerce, and simply install and activate WooCommerce by Automatic.
After activating the WooCommerce plugin, you’ll be prompted to set up WooCommerce with a wizard to take care of the initial settings.
WooCommerce will need several pages to function. If you did not create those pages as earlier stated, you can let the wizard install these pages itself, but remember to customize the shop page.
The setup wizard is easy to follow through. The images below are part of the screenshot images you will find during the setup process.
You should be using the Google Analytics by MonsterInsights (formerly by Yoast) for your Google Analytics integration if you followed through this tutorial, but I want to go a step further and mark-up your online store with lots of specialized eCommerce tracking (like passing SKUs, and item attributes seamlessly into Analytics).
To do that, simply head back over to Add New plugins and search for WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration. It’s also produced by WooThemes, and it’s free.
Now that you have WooCommerce installed and setup, it’s time to move to the site structure before moving to General Settings.
Permalink Setup for WooCommerce
Online stores often have a thousand ways plus one to display products. It can generate really inefficient, ugly, and search engine unfriendly URLs for your products and product categories.
Once you set up a permalink structure, it’s difficult to change. Even though the defaults are generally good enough, we’ll like to confirm them before moving to General settings or anything design related. To do that, go to the WooCommerce tab on your Dashboard–> Settings –> Permalink.
Setup your permalink to be in a canonical structure.
Now your online store setup is finalized. Feel free to navigate to the new Products link in the main WordPress Dashboard to create a sample product or category to see how the URLs look to you before going further
How to Add Products
Adding new products is as easy as you can imagine. To add a new product, click on the Product tab and then click on the add new product sub menu
Below is a summary capture of the backend in WordPress that generates that page.
A few features to call out:
- Product Categories – self-explanatory, but you can add them directly from the product page
- Product Tags – add additional categorization that doesn’t need to be a product (like colors, etc)
- Product Gallery – pictures that appear as thumbnails on the product page. As the customer clicks on them, they cycle to become the “big” featured image
- Product Image – set the main feature image
But the powerhouse of the product page is the Product Data widget. This is where you set your product type, price, shipping, and more. But I’m serious when I call it a powerhouse. Once you figure it out, you can do all sorts of fun stuff here and sell nearly any type of product you can imagine.
But I want to highlight the most confusing aspect.
A simple product is a product with no options, no changes, and isn’t a part of a collection. It’s just a single, simple product. Like a book or something.
Grouped products allow you to put a product as part of a collection. For example, you could post a dining set that would include the chairs, tables, etc in 1 grouped product…even though they would also be individual simple products as well.
Variable products allow you to add attributes to a product (ie, small, medium, large or blue, green, red) so that you can sell 1 product, but allow customers to choose the exact variation they want.
External Products allow you to list and sell products off your site with your retail partners.
The Inventory and Shipping options are highly customizable as well.
Related Reading: How to effectively Increase Conversion Rate