Almost every company that sells products offline also offers them in their own online store. The reasons for this are very simple: you do not need to pay for the physical rent of space, their renovation, indoor design, or spend on a communal apartment. Of course, there is usually a web hosting fee or costs to maintain or set up a store, but these are small, and an online resource always has a price advantage over a real store.
Starting online trading is the right business decision because you can reach many more potential customers online than offline. Especially if you are building your online store with WordPress, you can spend a little time and significantly increase your sales and reach more geographic regions.
To create and host an online store in WordPress, first of all, you need a host. For it, you pay the supplier a monthly amount depending on your needs. In turn, it stores your site on its server.
Prices here vary depending on the provider and the desired services. But since we're starting with one simple store, the basic package of most vendors is enough to host it.
When choosing a provider, these packages differ in price, security, speed and additional services. Since load time has a big impact on conversion rates, this criterion should be your top priority when choosing the right host.
For example, when choosing Hosting Ukraine, you will receive as much as 3 gigabytes of web space, which is enough to host a store with dozens of categories, serious provision of secure data transfer, fast loading and full support for current versions of PHP and MySQL. It is also very simple here register a unique domain name.
The domain should be as attractive as possible not only for your customers, but also for the Google algorithm. It should be short, unique, easy to pronounce, and descriptive of your product or service. If you're having difficulty choosing a domain name, use tools like nameboy.com. This is where you can enter your keywords to get the best domain deals for your industry.
The next step is to install WordPress. This can be done with a few clicks after defining the URL.
First, you need FTP access to your webspace, which you can get from your host's client menu. Enter the access data in your FTP program(like Filezilla) and check the connection.
You will also get general information for writing to MySQL in your host's client menu. If not already done, create a new database and enter all required parameters in the account.
Then download the latest version of WordPress from the official website. Unpack the package.
Now upload the contents of the directory (note - not the "wordpress" folder, but its contents) to your webspace using FTP:
Next, you need to refresh the page in the browser – the installation will start automatically.
Another important element to the success of your online store is the theme. The theme is the heart of your WordPress site as it defines the entire layout. Target your competitors online and follow design trends - or go against the tide and try to stand out with a unique theme. Whatever you choose, make sure the theme matches the product or service you're selling.
The theme determines the layout of the site. You can choose from several templates or (with the appropriate knowledge of HTML / CSS) modify or write the template yourself. WordPress itself offers a large selection of free themes. Alternatively, you can browse external providers like MyThemeShop or Elegant Themes.
If you find a theme that suits you, select the Design tab on the left edge of the toolbar and then Themes. Now you can add a new theme and then activate it.
The classic WordPress editor has now been replaced by the so-called Gutenberg editor. New compared to the classic editor is the drag-and-drop principle: for each content item (text, image, video, widget, or information field) there are separate modules that you can freely assemble together.
Of course, your site will not be the only one using this theme. If you want to personalize the page, you can customize the template in detail using Customizer, for example by adding a logo or widgets. Even more personality is offered by the paid themes, which you can buy once and then use forever.
You have now defined the layout of your page - the basic structure is in place! The next step is to assign roles. This step is important if other people work with you.
You can assign different roles and therefore different powers:
You can assign them in that panel, in the "Control" tab.
In the process of creating an online store, many users turn to specialized systems such as Magento, Jimdo, Orocommerce and Co. WordPress is usually frowned upon on the grounds that this CMS is "only" a blogging system and is only suitable for small stores. However, this engine offers advantages that clearly stand out from other systems.
WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS) on the market all over the world. This popularity means that countless plugins and extensions have been developed for WordPress and continue to evolve.
In addition, many programs support WordPress and many agencies or web hosting providers specialize in CMS - and if problems arise, a huge community of experience and knowledge helps. For example, WooCommerce - a plugin that lets you create and edit online stores - works seamlessly with WordPress.
Since simple WordPress is not enough to create an online store with WordPress, we must install a plugin that provides the functionality of the store.
38% of all online stores operate through WooCommerce. This plugin dominates thanks to the free basic version, which can be additionally equipped with not only paid but also free plugins.
To install, select Plugins -> Install in the left column and search for WooCommerce in the search box in the upper right corner. Clicking Install Now will initiate an unattended installation.
After that, you only need to activate the plugin for it to appear in the left pane of your WordPress menu. We highly recommend using the Initial Setup Wizard, which you can launch from the Setup Assistant button.
A large amount of WooCommerce-related content is created in the world every day. This makes it easier to work with and allows you to quickly optimize your store. Due to the high popularity, extensions and plugins are constantly emerging and modernized, which add various functions such as payment methods, product display and improve the ordering system. To be precise, as of March 2020, there were 980 WooCommerce plugins on WordPress.org alone.
Almost every WordPress theme is also WooCommerce compatible. But there are some topics that are more relevant and less problematic than others. Themes like ShopIsle, Hestia, or eStore are free and provide a user-friendly foundation for your store.
Here are five plugins that you can use in addition to the regular extensions for your store.
Market Press - WordPress eCommerce: An alternative to WooCommerce. This allows you to create an online store without installing as many plugins as possible. It offers many extensive features that are available to you for free.
WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips: Plugin for generating and setting up invoices.
YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search: Advanced product search with real-time search results.
WooCommerce Menu Cart: If you are using a premium theme for your store, you can usually assume the cart is included in the layout. However, if this is not the case, this plugin offers you the ability to create your own shopping carts and - in the paid version - personalize them.
Easy Digital Downloads: This plugin is perfect for you if you sell digital products on your online store. To do this, it provides a streamlined system with which you can manage digital e-commerce sales.
Now that we have decided on the plugin, all we need to do is install it and configure the important basic features.
The installation process for WooCommerce extensions is slightly different from the regular WordPress plugins that you can get from the repository.
If you install them from the official WooCommerce store, you must first sign in to WooCommerce with a WordPress.com account. Without an account, you cannot download plugins from the extension store or WooCommerce> Extensions> View extensions.
Once you've selected a plugin, click Download Now or Buy Now if it's a premium extension.
Login to your WordPress backend and go to the WooCommerce section> Extensions> WooCommerce.com subscriptions. Connect your WordPress.com/WooCommerce account to manage your additional subscriptions.
If you got the extension from a third-party repository, just download the file they give you. It may be emailed to you after purchase, or you need to log into your vault account.
Whether you download from a third party or from WooCommerce, you should get a zip file.
Go to Plugins> Add new and click Upload Plugin. Download existing plugin zip file – it will install automatically.
If you got the plugin from the WooCommerce store, go back to WooCommerce> Extensions> WooCommerce.com subscription and click the inactive button next to your new plugin to activate it.
If you got a plugin from a third party, go to Plugins> Installed plugins and click Activate.
The most important basic settings can be found in the sidebar in the Settings section and in the General sub-item. You must define them first. These include, for example, title, web address, time zone, language, and so on. They also include data on currency, geography of work or delivery locations.
You can make additional settings for a specific product in the "Products" subsection. For example, here you can change units of measure or customize display options.
In the field of VAT, you can set your own tax rate by country. If you are exempt from VAT (small business owners), you can specify here that the VAT rate is 0%. Don't forget the appropriate small business disclaimer on your printout and invoice!
You can set up the delivery terms in the "Delivery" section. Parameters allow you to select the countries to which you deliver products or create shipping zones with separate conditions, as well as set prices for them.
In the "Cashier" section, you can set everything related to payment processing. For example, available payment options are added here, such as PayPal, Payoneer or a regular Privat-bank card. To do this, of course, you must have a contract with the respective payment service provider.
Registration of customer accounts can also be managed in the settings menu. Under the heading Customer Account, you define how and at what point users will be redirected to register or log into their customer account. The URL endpoints for individual commands and subpages (display order, forgotten password, logout, etc.) are specified at this point.
In the Email section, you can set up customized email notifications for customer transactions: the type of notification (for example, for new, canceled, or failed orders, and for comments or creating a new account), and select individual recipients.
In addition, you can change the layout of emails (sender name, header and footer, and custom color for text and background).
Navigating the user interface of your WordPress online store can also be customized so that users can navigate your store and quickly find what they are looking for.
Widgets are often included in plugins and are blocks that add functionality (such as a custom sidebar or footer). If you drag the block to the widget area, it will appear in the frontend.
The WooCommerce setup wizard automatically generates the main navigation and widgets with 4 menu options:
Shop (product overview and details)
Shopping cart (digital collection of all customer orders)
Checkout (checkout page for processing a purchase transaction)
My account (customer account with order overview and contact details)
In the sidebar, you will also find a Pages tab, which you can use to create additional pages for your store. If you select the Edit option for an individual page, you can host and publish that page at any position in the website hierarchy. Parent pages can be selected in the Page Attributes window as Parents.
In your dashboard, you can then expand, adapt and manage the navigation menu on your store page in the Design section. To do this, enter the desired name of the new menu in the subsection "Menu" (for the first, the name "Main menu" is useful). To the left of the "Menu Structure" window, you can add the desired pages to the menu and save the settings (the "Save Menu" button). You can simply drag the main pages down.
Depending on the WordPress interface (theme) you choose, you can develop and adapt the website design (such as color and layout) in addition to the design and menu structure. The type of web design best suited to your store depends on your industry, product range, and of course the taste of your target group.
When all the pages are created and the store is set up, you can post the first products and create a description for them. To create a new product, simply click Products on the left side. Here you can create your first product by clicking "Add Product". You have several options to choose from, such as “simple product” or “variable product” (with multiple options, such as individual products in different colors or sizes).
If this is a product that is not physically shipped, mark the article as a downloadable product (check the boxes next to "Virtual" or "Downloadable").
The functionality of adding goods itself is intuitive even for a beginner. All you have to do is create an article title, description, photos, galleries and keywords, and that's it. As a result, you get the first page of a product that, in principle, can already be purchased. Of course, you can change and adjust all the parameters later.
If you sell many different products, it makes sense to categorize them.
To categorize your products on category pages, select the Categories sub-item in the Products menu and enter the name and URL option for your category, for example, Cookware (URL option: https:// mysite / posuda). Provide them with a description and preview image and click Add Product Category.
The "Preview" button in the upper right corner shows the product or category page as your store's customers will see it.
If you want to further customize your store, you should take a look at the other features that can be accessed through the sidebar. Since the functionality of the WordPress WooCommerce plugin is so extensive, only a few elements can be summarized here. The most important ones can be selected under the "WooCommerce" menu item.
For example, you can create vouchers, manage orders, generate reports, and more. Before you finish your store and create all the articles, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with all the basic functions and consider if you might need additional functions and find separate plugins for them.
In addition to the imprint, data protection agreement, terms and conditions and cancellation policy, the settings include other very important things such as: Clear button labels, delivery times, GDPR compliance, transparent pricing and tax information.
It's worth noting that WooCommerce doesn't have an integrated ERP system. If you are using your own ERP system, you will need to adapt it to the WordPress store. It is not difficult to do this by following the separate instructions.
Also pay attention to the legal regulations of foreign countries. Remember that other customers - for example, from Moldova, USA or France - can also buy goods in your store. Check if you also comply with all legal conditions for foreign trade.
The functionality of WooCommerce can be significantly expanded using additional applications.
For example, using XL WooCommerce App Sales Triggers, you can add one of 7 psychological triggers to your online store. This could be a countdown timer widget to create urgency, or a display of potential cost savings.
And the useful and versatile WooCommerce Extra Product Options extension lets you add additional product options to your store so you can provide your customers with even more information.
With WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates, you advertise Amazon products in your store and receive promotional feeds from related purchases. This extension is constantly updated and includes several nice additions including shipping availability, cross-selling, Amazon coupons and reviews, and geo targeting.
The WooCommerce Product Filter app provides advanced product filtering features so customers can do everything from simple searches to advanced selections based on specific criteria.
When you have hundreds of products in your store, providing shipping options can be a big hassle. The Table Rate Shipping app for WooCommerce eliminates the need to set up multiple shipping options based on different terms and pricing models.
You can choose from simple shipping options that include an extensive list of conditions based on price, quantity, weight, dimensions, shipping class, categories, specific products and dates. A variety of cost types can be specified for all numerical product data, including fixed and percentage multiplication.
You can use WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing & Discounts to manage pricing. This tool provides a complete list of pricing methods and conditions that you can combine and customize to suit the requirements of your online store.
There are many ways to use this plugin, including for sales, promotions, specials, wholesale prices, tiered pricing, package pricing, member pricing, loyalty programs, and even location based pricing.
Whether you sell T-shirts, business cards or mugs, the Fancy Product Designer WooCommerce plugin provides the functionality you need to sell any kind or variety of items in your store.
For example, if you want to sell custom hats, you choose what kinds of hats your customers can buy and what parts can be customized, including colors, prints, and logos.
The final appearance of the product can be customized in several ways. Customers can upload images (such as JPG, PNG, and SVG) with different shapes, use a color picker (or choose from color presets you define), create and style header text, and edit logo images.
Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Co. are the top source of traffic for WooCommerce stores - as long as your products appear on the first page and in the top search engine positions when users enter keywords.
Remember - you must always provide accurate product information (clear URLs / permalinks, clear titles, clear product information and short descriptions) so that they are quickly recognized and found by both potential customers and search engines.
Clear structure, optimal navigation, attractive design, and clear descriptions associated with keywords and metadata relevant to your proposal are especially important for search engine optimization
There are several optimization plates for WordPress, such as All in One SEO Pack or The SEO Framework.
Useful features of the free basic version of All in One SEO include:
XML sitemap support
Easy integration with Google Analytics
Support for custom post types
Canonical URL support
Free WooCommerce integration (most plugins only offer this as an advanced feature)
Automatic or manual meta information
The peculiarity of The SEO Framework is more subtle functionality compared to All in One SEO and a huge number of settings. During installation, a long list of options is displayed for the functions used, from which you can select the desired ones.
Using the plugin is recommended for professionals, for beginners it is difficult to learn.
With The SEO Framework, you can quickly configure the following parameters:
Meta titles and descriptions
Social metadata, including plan B schema, in the absence of other information
Information about the standard SEO scheme
Search robot settings
Detailed documentation on sitemap functions
The plugin allows you to customize meta information for each post, which is very convenient for a large number of product categories.
Also handy for WordPress SEO optimization, which came in second in Facbeook's poll as the SEO plugin with the most potential for WooCommerce. WordPress SEO describes itself as the Swiss army knife of SEO for WordPress and WooCommerce and is very popular in the European market.
Settings can be easily transferred to other projects using import files
Easy installation and management of SEO parameters
Manual output of more than 50 parameters for canonical redirects
Windows can be organized with simple drag and drop.
As you can see, building a store with WordPress and WooCommerce is available even for newbies to online shopping.
The plugin is very convenient for entry-level and intermediate-level sites, thanks to its ease of use and many customization options. When you're done setting up and loading your store, remember to do a test run as a “client” to see if all of the store's elements (search, order, cart, etc.) are working correctly. Then you can start to further design and promote your WordPress store.
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