How To Set Up An Online Shop On Your WordPress Website

If you’re planning to open an online shop or to expand your WordPress website to sell products, you may have noticed that there are countless solutions available to you. You need to consider the features, customer usability, functionality and the ability to easily manage your products and orders. So all that coupled with the sheer number of options makes it difficult to know what’s the best one to use to sell your products.

Today, I want to help by sharing a how-to guide on setting up an online shop on WordPress with my favourite eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce.

WHY WORDPRESS + WOOCOMMERCE

I love WordPress – it’s powerful, adaptable and customisable. I use it exclusively for my website design clients, so when I need to add shop facilities to their sites, my first choice is always WooCommerce.

And it seems I’m not the only one. WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce plugins for WordPress, it current has over 17,000,000 downloads and it powers 39% of all online stores.

WooCommerce is extremely flexible and can be used to sell both digital and physical products. There is a huge database of extensions allowing you to add different functions and facilities to your shop easily.

WHAT DO YOU NEED

Before setting up your WordPress shop, there are a couple of essentials you need:-

Your own hosting – To add shop facilities you need to self-host, it won’t work on the free wordpress.com websites. You can get hosting for around £8 per month from Siteground for example.

A compatible theme – While most themes will work with WooCommerce and integrate just fine, you may notice that some of the styles and layouts aren’t shown correctly.

If you don’t want to buy a new WooCommerce compatible theme, you can modify your current theme to show the shop pages correctly.WooCommerce provides extensive documentation on doing this.

A payment gateway – A payment gateway is an account you use to accept money from your customers. Popular options are PayPal and Stripe. By default, WooCommerce comes loaded with PayPal as a payment gateway. However, with almost 150 payment gateway options you shouldn’t have a problem integrating WooCommerce with your chosen provider. You can also check out this guide to choosing the best payment gateway for your business.

Policies & terms – As you are collecting customer information you should set up your privacy policy which outlines what you do with the information given to you. You’ll also need to have terms and conditions that customers read and acknowledge before purchase – this includes things like your returns policy, delivery details etc.

An SSL certificate – This is not essential (in some cases) but recommended especially when you are taking payments directly through your website. An SSL certificate is added to your website to provide an extra layer of protection to prevent sensitive information being insecurely transferred. Websites with a padlock and https in front of the domain name shown that a site has an SSL certificate.

INSTALLING THE PLUGIN

The first step is to install WooCommerce.  The easiest way to do that is by clicking on ‘Plugins’ from the left-hand side menu, then choose ‘Add New’. From there search for ‘WooCommerce’, you can then click the Install button to add it to your website. Once installed click the ‘Activate’ button.

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INITIAL SET UP

Once activated, you will be automatically redirected to the WooCommerce setup wizard. The step by step guided setup allows you to get started quickly and easily.  Click ‘Let’s Go!’ to get started.

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The first part of the setup is adding the main shop pages – this is your category, product, shopping cart and checkout pages. Just click ‘Continue’ and the required pages will be added to the ‘Pages’ section of your WordPress dashboard.

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If you choose to skip this step, you will need to manually add the pages or you can re-run the installer by going to ‘WooCommerce > System Status > Tools’.

On the next step, you can state the location of your shop, the currency you want to accept and any measurement such as weight and dimensions for product information.

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Your basic shipping and tax settings are next. Tick the boxes that apply and continue to the final step.

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The final part of the setup wizard allows you to choose how you want to accept payments. WooCommerce has four standard payment methods available including:-

  • PayPal Standard – Connecting your shop to your PayPal account to accept payments.
  • Check (cheque) payments – If you accept check payment, you can tick this option to make it available to customers.
  • Bank transfer payments – This allows customers to send you a bank transfer as payment.
  • Cash on delivery – The cash option can be used if you sell locally allowing customers to pay you when you deliver the item.

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Don’t worry if you don’t want to use any of the standard payment methods, there are over 100 other payment gateway options that integrate with WooCommerce. You can find a full list on the WooCommerce website.

And that’s you ready to start adding your products and fine tuning your WooCommerce setup.

You’ll notice two new sections on your dashboard menu, WooCommerce and Products, this is where you manage your online shop.

Additionally, on the main dashboard page, you now have two boxes for reviews and an overview of your shop status which includes sales for the month, orders and stock levels.

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Next week we’ll dive further into exploring WooCommerce so stay tuned.

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