Create your own successful eCommerce website with WooCommerce
You want to start your own shop? You already have built your website pages but you need to add an eShop? You want to create your eCommerce website?
Well, it may be scary or you may not know where and how to start. If you are running your website with WordPress and wish to start own your online store, then this article is for you.
You will find the perfect guide to create and set up your own eCommerce website using WooCommerce, our recommendations and a few helpful tips for promoting it.
Woocommerce is not a very demanding eCommerce platform so most hosting plans will accommodate a medium sized site based on Woocommerce.
First off, WooCommerce is based on WordPress, therefore you need a hosting plan capable of accommodating this. You should have at least the following:
- PHP version 7 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
- HTTPS support
In order to install Woocommerce you need to ensure that you have the following configured on your hosting plan:
- WP Memory limit of 64 MB or more (128 MB or higher is better)
- MySQL 5.6 or greater
- PHP 5.6 or greater
- WooCommerce 2.5 requires WordPress 4.1+
- WooCommerce 2.6 requires WordPress 4.4+
However for the optimum setup for a Woocommerce website you should have the following:
- CURL or fsockopen support for PayPal IPN
- An SSL certificate for installing direct payment gateways
- SOAP support, because numerous extensions require it
- Multibyte String support in case you’re looking to run a non-English store.
- For pretty WordPress permalinks, you’ll also need apache with mod_rewrite (or a similar nginx / IIS extension)
Once you’ve checked that your hosting plan meets these requirements, we can move on to getting started with the WooCommerce installation!
So let’s dive into it and get started with our installation of Woocommerce on WordPress.
The first thing we need to do is login to the WordPress administration dashboard, which can usually be accessed at yourdomain.com/wp-admin/.
Once logged in to WordPress, navigate to the Plugins option on the left hand side.
Next, click Add New to begin adding a new WordPress plugin.
You’ll now be presented with the WordPress plugin catalogue.
Here you can either click Install Now on the WooCommerce plugin option, or search for it in the search bar.
After the plugin is installed you need to click Activate to enable the plugin on your website.
WooCommerce will now be installed on the website however we’re not done yet! We now need to move on to configuring the WooCommerce shop.
After activating the plugin you’ll be redirected to the WooCommerce setup wizard, where we can enter our details and start configuring the WooCommerce store.
First, enter your store’s address details.
Next, select the industry that your store operates within. If your industry isn’t there, just select Other.
Now we need to select the types of products that we will be selling from our WooCommerce shop.
The next step is to enter some additional information on your shop, by selecting the number of products you plan to display, and selecting whether you are currently selling your products elsewhere.
Now we can move on to the final step of the initial setup – choosing a theme.
Note: this can be changed at any time through the WooCommerce dashboard.
To select a theme, click Choose on the theme in question. You can also preview the theme by clicking Live Demo.
WooCommerce will then download and install the theme on your website.
Once that’s finished, you can click Continue with my active theme to finish the setup.
The initial configuration is now complete! We can now move on to setting up the store.
So we’ve now successfully installed WooCommerce on to our WordPress website. Now it’s time to start setting up your store before you can begin selling products to your customers from your site.
To begin, login to the WordPress dashboard and navigate to WooCommerce > Dashboard.
You’ll now be presented with a few options on how you can begin setting up and personalising your online store.
We will break down each of these into its own section for the sake of clarity.
Adding your first products
Let’s begin by adding our first products to the WooCommerce store. WooCommerce allows you to manually add new products, import products from a CSV file, or migrate products from another WooCommerce website.
We will start by adding a new product manually.
So first click the Add your first product option, and then click Add Manually.
You’ll now be taken to the product creator interface where we can create our new product.
To start with, you should enter a name for your product, as well as a detailed description of what your product is.
Once you’ve filled those, scroll down to the next section where you can configure more options of the product you wish to add. These are optional although it’s highly recommended to at least enter the price, stock status, and shipping details.
Let’s break down these attributes further:
- General – here you can specify the general price of the product, and the price of the product when on sale.
- Inventory – this section allows you to enter SKU (stock-keeping units), the stock status, and further controls for manually entering the stock levels if you wish.
- Shipping – here you can enter the product dimensions and weight, as well as the shipping class.
- Linked Products – this section allows you to link other products to this new product for upselling or cross-sells.
- Attributes – here you can create and assign custom attributes for the new product
- Advanced – these are some fine tuning options such as allowing reviews on the product, custom menu ordering, and purchase notes.
At the bottom of the screen you have the choice to enter a short description on the product.
On the right hand side you’ll see a few more options:
- Product Categories – here you can create and select a category for this product to be placed into
- Product Tags – in this area you can specify tags to briefly describe the product.
- Product Image – here you can upload or select an image to be associated with the product.
Finally, click Publish to finish adding your new product to the WooCommerce store!
Personalize your store
The next step in setting up our store is to start personalizing the appearance of the store front. Here you can create nice-looking pages to entice your viewers and draw attention to your products.
To start, click Personalize your store.
We will get started by creating a new homepage, so click Create homepage to get that started.
The next step is choosing a logo for your store front. Here you can upload an image from your device to be used as a logo.
Now, you can enter a store notice to display a prominent notice across all pages of your store.
Finally click Complete task to finish this step!
Setting up Shipping
We’re now moving on to the next stage, where we need to enter the shipping address from which your business operates.
To start, click Set up Shipping on the WooCommerce dashboard.
First, confirm your shipping address and click Continue.
Next we will be prompted to enter the shipping costs for the region we are operating in, as well as the option to add a shipping cost for the rest of the world. Click Continue when finished.
The final step here is to choose whether you want to enable shipping label printing. Either click Install & Enable, or skip this step if it’s not relevant.
We’re now done with the shipping setup.
Setting up tax
Moving on, the next step is setting up the tax rates for your WooCommerce storefront.
On the WooCommerce dashboard click Set up tax to get started.
First you need to once again confirm the shipping address for your store.
Next click Configure Tax Rates to be taken to the tax configuration screen.
To add a tax rate, click Insert Row.
You can then enter the relevant details for the tax rate to be used on your store.
When finished, click Save Changes.
Setting up payments
The final step of setting up your store is to configure the payment providers that you’ll be using.
To begin, click Set up payments on the WooCommerce dashboard.
You’ll now be able to choose which payment provider you’d like to use to take payments from customers for orders through your store.
You can either click Setup on your desired payment platform to be taken to the website of said payment platform and complete the setup, or choose Cash on delivery.
Finally, click Done to finish setting up the payments.
Congratulations! You’ve now finished the basic setup of your WooCommerce store.
5 Promotion tips when you create your eCommerce Website
In order to promote your website and eShop there are few things you can do that willl help you gain in visibility and notoriety.
Use social media
Social medias have become part of our daily lives. And we advise you to set up at least an account with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Of course, depending on you business and what you are selling you might want to consider setting accounts with Instagram, Pinterest
For example, selling books might not require an Instagram account, but if you make jewelry or paintings you’ll want to have photos of your products online and displayed.
One more advice, try to post everyday and at different times of the day. Doing so you will know exactly when your audience and followers are the most reactive to your posts and when you are the most likely to increase your “social” reach. It exists various platforms, some are even free, to help you manage all your social posts at once.
And finally, if you still have some budget left, you can always consider promoting your products on social media.
There are many ways to run a promotion when you create a eCommerce website. Again this depends on what you are selling. But you should consider offering a discount or free shipping using the coupon feature built into WooCommerce. If you do so, make sure you advertise your promotion and get people to know
Another promotion you could run is the “giveaway”. There are many free plugins you can use to host a promotion on your website and help you manage your promotions. Just make sure you are in line with the laws governing contests and giveaways where you do business.
Use your existing customers
There is nothing better than a existing customer to promote your business to its network. First, they have experienced your products and they are trusted by their network. Imagine a friend telling you about this amazing online painting shop he found, running amazing promotions which could be a very idea for your daughter’s birthday? Sounds pretty nice?
If you personalize your WooCommerce store you can quickly buildup a strong customer base. And loyal customers are the perfect people to help you promote your store.
For example, a good way to keep customer coming back or to share your website to their friends is to offer them deals or special perks. “Free key holder if you share our website” or “AU$5 directly credited on your balance for your next purchase”.
Start your own newsletter
You may also want to create a newsletter for your shoppers to stay up to date with new product releases, special promotions and more.
Again, depending on the type of business you are running and the time you want to invest writing a newsletter. You can send it weekly or monthly, but you don’t want to harass your customer and end up in their spam folder. Just make sure you keep consistency and keep raising your customer’s interest by providing added value to your newsletter.
Use your network
Using your own network is also a good way to start and particularly to spread the word about your new business. Make sure you fully use your network so they can share your website to theirs.
You will also find multiple directories where you can list for free your business and talk about your products. You can join Regional Business Networking listings as well and club or associations related to your field.
In the end, you simply need to get out there, meet people, help your business grow and create a perfect eCommerce website!
We could say we have just scratched the surface of WooCommerce as eCommerce platforms can be really complex.
We hope this article will help you start your own business. We tried to include as many tips as we could think of. Hopefully they will help you launch and create a successful eCommerce website.
Make sure to share your tips in comments below!