In the early days of WordPress, it was normally used for blogging online. However, things have changed drastically over time as WordPress has advanced into a complete content management system capable of powering just any kind of website including e-commerce website.
It is important to note that although WordPress website can be an e-commerce platform, it may not be a good fit for all situations. However, let us see some of the reasons to consider using the WordPress platform.
The following reasons above make perfect sense to use WordPress. However, WordPress may not be the best thing to use if
If the reasons above fit into your demands, then this guide is for you. This guide is written to cover exactly how you can set up an e-commerce website in WordPress with WooCommerce Plugin. Having said that, let’s look at the steps in details.
WooCommerce can create so many types of ecommerce shops where you can publish different types of products. Some of the products include
Simple Products: This is a shop that deals with just the basic components of what to sell like the product description, price, gallery plus the add to chart button
Downloadable Products: This type of products that is available for the only download like applications and e-books
Variable Products: This is where you sell products with a lot of variables like colors, sizes, materials among others.
External Products: This is an affiliate product link with links to where the product is sold.
Grouped Products: This is a set up where a collection of products that are related are grouped together and sold individually.
The first thing to do to create an e-commerce website is to install WordPress on a hosting account using your domain name. For domain names, you can actually get a good domain name that would suit your website needs on places like Siteground. Domain names should be short, simple and reflect the type of service you are offering. Once the issue of domain names and hosting is sorted, you can install WordPress on your hosting account and begin from there.
There are a lot of hosting service available you can use and that would depend on the size of the memory for your website. It is important to remember that e-commerce websites need more memory space for PHP than normal sites and since it could have thousands of products and visitors, it is vital to factor them when choosing a hosting account. Example of hosting accounts are Hostgator, Bluehost, Siteground and other options.(You can search for more).
After getting your domain name and hosting, it is time to install WordPress on your hosting account using your domain name to get started.
First of all, it is important to mention that a website qualifies to be an e-commerce website if it has three things. They are the shopping cart, product pages, and checkout process. These are what differentiate e-commerce websites with just an ordinary WordPress website.
To make this work, you are expected to add these functions to your WordPress website using a plugin. For the benefit of those who get confused by the term plugin, it is simply a kind of software that you can install on your WordPress website and the essence is to improve on the functionality of the website.
In an e-commerce website, there is need to install a plugin which has the capability of creating custom product pages, introduce shopping cart functionality in such a way that allows any visitor to add products to the cart while shopping on the site. In addition, the plugin should synchronize the added product in the cart with a payment function that calculates the product purchased by the visitors.
Note that there are a lot of plugins that can produce these functionalities but the most recommended are the WooCommerce produced by WooThemes.
Let us see why WooCommerce is by far the most recommended and used when it comes to creating e-commerce sites
Let us recap; we have talked about installing WordPress on a hosting account using your domain name as the basis. Now, it is time to install your e-commerce plugin in order to create an e-commerce website. Therefore, we need to Install WooCommerce using the following steps
It is important to understand that WooCommerce will require several pages to function and this includes things like cart page. You can customize these pages if you want but for a start, it may be better to allow the wizard install the pages
Go through the product page to see what you will need. However, you are to ensure that your URL structure is stored correctly and the theme is well integrated with the new functionality of the e-commerce website. Failing to do this will result in unwanted issues. It is also important to note that there are also a lot of other plugins that would likely synchronize with the WooCommerce plugin and it is important to note them down. Examples of these plugins are Analytics and Yoast SEO. They are a very powerful tool used for tracking and they are free.
To make it work together,
Setting up your online store structure should be the next thing to do because online stores have a lot of ways to display products. The bad thing is that it could sometimes generate some ugly and inefficient URLs that are unfriendly to search engines for your product categories. However, the combination of WooCommerce and WordPress makes the efficient set up of these permanent links possible. But note that it is difficult to change the permalink structure once it has been set up. It is important to always confirm them even though the default settings are generally good.
It is important to note that WooCommerce will need a product archive page which will be used to display all your products. It is like having a blog display all the posts you have made but this time, we are talking of products.
Here you can set your permalinks both in WordPress and product. However, note that during your WordPress set up initially, you must have enabled Pretty Permalinks. One thing about these permalinks is that they are done is such a way that makes it impossible to have any kind of conflict with categories or blog posts you may want to write. However, they are also customizable in any way you may want them to appear. For example, having a silver product category instead of a silver blog category will produce a default display like
“Myonlinestore.com/category/silver or myonlinestore.com/ product category/silver”
It is important to make sure that your WordPress Theme is very compatible with WooCommerce. This is because most things you do will not work if they are incompatible. It is important to understand the difference between Themes and Plugins to appreciate why both are very vital.
Note that Themes will control the output of your functionality and these are what your visitors are actually going to see while WordPress is more of controlling the functionality of your website.
Note that WooCommerce is a very superior plugin and there is some functionality that some Themes cannot handle correctly. This is why it is important to always select Themes that would not show product pages as ugly. With that in mind, you will also want a Theme that is versatile in the sense that it can be upgraded or updated and give you exactly what you want.
There are a lot of Themes you can get for your e-commerce website that is good. Let us see some of them
However, if this is a little complicated than expected, the WooThemes are a good fit especially as it is just a plug and play plus automatic sync with WooCommerce.
You can do general store settings for your store.
Note that some tabs require full understanding when setting up your online store. For example, you have the System status where the information from allocated memory to the version number. Then if for any reason you need to reset your store entirely, then it can be done at the Tools tab but you may never need it.
Then you have the WooCommerce Add-ons and to a lot of people, this is like the magic box of the whole thing. Normally building an e-commerce generally will require you to have a developer who will program some functionality but with WooCommerce, everything is just like plug_and_play.
WooCommerce gives you a lot of access to enough extensions that you can work with. Most of the extensions may not be free but it is way cheaper than most of the custom solutions that you may need generally. Some of these WooCommerce extensions can be found in the market place and they can be added easily.
With your e-commerce store on WordPress now functional, let us see how to set up product pages.
The type of theme you choose will give a look and feel to your product pages. It is important to note that a lot of things go into the product page. For example;
However, the main area of the product page has to be the data widget. This is actually the area where the product information is set. For example, the price of the product, the type of the product, shipping and other relevant information.
Your products can be organized directly from the product page and you also have the choice to organize them as a whole product from the menu.
Finally, there are a lot of things you can do on your e-commerce websites like customized shipping policies capturing rates that are based on bulk, weight, and distance.
Creating an e-commerce website from WordPress does not have to be difficult if you get serious about it. It may look like a difficult thing to do but this guide has tried to simplify things to the minimum for proper understanding. As long as you love the WooCommerce features, creating your online e-commerce store using WordPress is just the best for you. Read this guide over again and you will be surprised to create something you may never have dreamt of.
Read this guide over again and you will be surprised to create something you may never have dreamt of.