Considering starting a new online store? If so, then you will likely already have heard of WooCommerce. If you’re new to eCommerce, finding the right platform can be tough. On top of that, you may not know what to look for in a suitable eCommerce platform.
This article will cover everything you’ll want to know about WooCommerce, how to install the platform, and how you can set your online store up for success.
WooCommerce has quickly become one of the most prominent eCommerce platforms and a flagship WordPress product. To put it simply, WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that can transform a traditional website into an online store.
It’s a free, open-source WordPress plugin that was launched back in September 2011, designed primarily for small to large-sized businesses. By default, WordPress is a dynamic blogging solution.
When you choose to install WooCommerce, you can transform your basic WordPress into a fully-functional online store. WooCommerce has built a stellar reputation for its ease of use and simplicity.
As one of the most eCommerce solutions available, WooCommerce currently powers more than five million online stores on the internet. Originally, you would have to use platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento to create an online store instead of a website.
WordPress entered the eCommerce industry with its own flagship plugin to compete against these existing solutions. However, how did WooCommerce grow to its current stage of popularity?
Why did WordPress acquire WooCommerce and what was the platform’s history before this acquisition? Like the other eCommerce giants, WooCommerce has a storied history, which you’ll find out more below.
WooCommerce began as a component of Jigoshop, which was another eCommerce platform on WordPress. WooCommerce, however, began to stand out and became a top-seller for its parent company, WooThemes.
In fact, WooCommerce generated eight-figure revenues in its early days. Now, WordPress powers 21% of the top million websites on the internet. As a result, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, acquired WooThemes for about $30 million in 2015.
Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about building an online store with WooCommerce. You will also learn about what makes WooCommerce special, how to install and set up the plugin for your store, and how to create WooCommerce products and important pages for your shop.
We would be remiss to not include the benefits of using WooCommerce in this guide. With that said, here are a bunch of reasons why you should consider using the platform for your online store:
Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, you’ll need to own or create a WordPress website before continuing. Once you’re done, you can move on to these steps:
The first thing you should do when creating a WordPress website is to buy a domain name and web hosting service. You can choose to purchase and host your domain on WordPress or select any of the following providers:
There are dozens of hosting providers available, so you’ll definitely be able to find the right platform to suit your needs.
Once you’ve selected your web hosting provider, the next step is choosing your domain name. Keep in mind that your domain name must reflect the image of your store and match your brand name.
Also, keep your domain name as simple as possible and avoid using hyphens that can make it difficult for your audience to remember your website. For eCommerce websites, only use the .com extension.
For easier, all-in-one management, make sure to purchase your domain name from your hosting provider. There’s never a rush to decide on your domain name, so choose wisely.
Once you’ve purchased your hosting package and domain name, you should receive an email with instructions on how to set up WordPress from your account. For most hosting providers, you’ll need to login into cPanel, which looks something like this:
After your WordPress website is set up, you can download and install your WooCommerce plugin. Simply head to WordPress’ plugin repository and install the plugin.
Once installed, activate the WooCommerce plugin to begin.
The first thing to remember when installing WooCommerce is that you can skip the configuration wizard and make your changes manually. If you’re not an experienced developer, it’s recommended that you instead complete the wizard to configure your basic pages and settings.
This tutorial will guide you to the basics of setting up your WooCommerce store:
The first thing the configuration wizard asks for is essential data about your online store. This includes information such as:
You can also make the decision about whether you want to allow WooCommerce to track how your products are being used to make improvements. Once you’re done filling these details out, continue on to the next step.
The next step entails setting up your payment gateways. This is how you’ll collect money from customers and funnel it to your bank account or any other external payment methods.
You can decide whether or not to use:
If you don’t see a preferable payment method, you can download plugins to extend these options.
Once your payment gateways are set up, you’ll need to deal with shipping. You can set up shipping to resonate with your time zone and apply the necessary rates. Again, you can find more options with WordPress plugins.
Lastly, you’ll need to determine which measurements you want to use to calculate the dimensions and weight.
Building an eCommerce store is one thing. Making sure it’s a success is a completely different quest. If you need help in maximizing the awareness and revenue of your online store, we can help.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.