So you want to make your first eCommerce website. But, you don’t know what plugins to use! While this isn’t a major issue, you’re setting yourself up for failure without having a few of them for your page.

We'll show you some plugins that have been used by thousands of site administrators. Each of the plugins is designed to turn your site inactive site to one that has reliable consumers buying your products. So let's begin.

Domain Name And Web Hosting

.store Domain

If you want to know how to start an online store, you’ll need two things.

  • Domain Name: Your domain name is the site's unique address on the Internet. Something like MYSTORE.COM
  • Web Hosting: web hosting is a remote computer that stores information to your website and serves that information to whoever visits it

There are hundreds of different domain/hosting providers. For the sake of this guide, we'll show you how to use both WordPress and WooCommerce to make your first e-store.

Sign Up

Hosting Servers

To start, go to Bluehost.com, and press "Get Started."

This will direct you to a page where you can get a hosting plan for your e-store. Start with the “basic” option, as its the cheapest plan available.

Finding The Right Domain Name

The best domain names will require some brainstorming. You want your domain name to be easy to remember, catchy, and unique. If you have a business entity for your store, then you should use that as your domain name.

After making a domain choice, finalize the setup and pay for the hosting fee. Now you have a domain name and a good hosting plan to complement it.

Installing WordPress

Installing WordPress

The next step is where you’ll install WordPress on your web hosting account. Since WordPress is open-sourced, you don’t have to pay a dime to get it started.

Go to the Bluehost User Panel (Bluehost sends you a link in your confirmation email). You can find this on my.bluehost.com. Once the page loads, scroll down until you see “Install WordPress” as an icon on your screen.

Click it and follow the instructions. You’ll be taken through the process step-by-step, so there’s nothing to worry about.

You will have a blank WordPress website installed. Now, we can turn that blank website into an e-commerce store with the WooCommerce plugin.

Install WooCommerce

Woocommerce Installation

The fun starts once you start to add plugins to your WordPress website. With WooCommerce, you’ll be able to design your page so that readers can buy your products and services.

Start by going to Plugins > Add New on your WordPress Dashboard. Once you’re there, type in “WooCommerce” in the search field. It will appear in the first search results.

Press the "Install Now" button and then click it again once the text turns to "Activate."

At this stage, you will see WooCommerce's on-screen setup/launch wizard. This makes the installation process easier and teaches you through everything. Click "Let's Go!" to add the plugin to your website.

Make The Store Pages

Online stores are a specific kind of website, and they certain pages to operate properly. The first step is to create these pages using the WooCommerce wizard.

  • Shop - Displays the products you have for sale
  • Cart - This is the shopping cart where customers can customize their order before going to check out
  • My Account - A profile page for registered customers. They can manage their orders, view previous orders, and other details

All you have to do is press the “Continue” button. WooCommerce will make those pages for you.

Location

The location is an important part of your online store setup. The location parameters define your currency, preferred units, and business origins. Once you've entered the right information, press "Continue."

Sales Tax

Shopping Carts On Laptop Screen

Taxes are the least favored part when operating an e-commerce store, but it’s something we can’t disregard. In fact, woocommerce helps you with this too.

First, select if you're shipping physical goods or not. If the box is checked in, WooCommerce will set the remaining shipping details in the settings. Next, calculate the tax! WooCommerce has a good tax module; it helps you determine the tax rates based on your store's location.

If you’re planning on using a charge sales tax, click the main tax box. Once you do this, a new set of boxes will show up and tell you what to do next.

Note: Even though WooCommerce pre-fills the tax settings, you need to check with your state’s laws to know the current rules and regulations, especially if you’re not a US Citizen. Fortunately, you can change the information later, so don’t worry if you’re not sure when starting your site.

Click “Continue”

Select A Payment Method

Accepting online payments is crucial for e-store growth. WooCommerce offers a lot of payment methods, making it easier to receive profits. Here are some options that are available:

You can use PayPal and Stripe as payment methods for your site. We highly recommend that you integrate both into your website. Click on their checkboxes and watch them appear on your page.

You can choose other payment methods that make sense. Also, there will be more options available in your WooCommerce settings panel.

Note: To make online payments work, you’ll have to sign up with Stripe or PayPal separately. WooCommerce only integrates your existing Stripe and PayPal accounts to your e-commerce website.

Again, press "Continue" when you are done.

The next step is a confirmation screen, acknowledging that the basic site setup is complete. You've just created a free e-commerce website with WooCommerce!

Next, you’re going to add products.

Adding Your First Product

Steps On How To Add Product On Woocommerce

To fully operate your store, you will need some products on your web site's database (or downloads, or services, or whatever you're trying to sell).

To start, go to your WooCommerce dashboard, Click Products > Add Products.

You’ll then see a WordPress content editing screen. Where you’ll see the following settings:

  • Product Name: This is the main product description. This field allows you to type in not only the simple text, but other media such as videos, audio, and images
  • Product Data Section: Here you can set the product you’re adding, and whether its a virtual product, downloadable or a physical. You’ll get tabs for the various product parameters
  • General: You can set the taxes and pricing in this section
  • Inventory: Manage your product’s stock levels using this setting
  • Shipping: Set the cost, dimensions, and weight of the product
  • Linked Products: Good for making cross-sales, upsells, etc
  • Attributes: Customized product attributes. I.e., You can set alternative colors for shirts n this section
  • Product Tags: An extra way to help organize your product database
  • Product Image: The main image for your product
  • Product Gallery: Additional images to show its awesomeness

When viewing this panel or the first time, WooCommerce will show some tooltips that will explain the purpose of each field. After setting everything from above, click the "Publish" button and you'll add your first product on your site!

Select A Theme For Your Online Store

Woocommerce Shop Theme

There is a good reason why we discussed how to add products to your website, before discussing how to change the appearance of the entire thing. Without any products on the database, your viewers won’t be able to see the individual store pages in representative form. You won’t be able to check if everything looks right.

Now that most of your products are added, you can make sure everything is in order from a visual standpoint.

By default, WooCommerce will work with any WordPress theme. This is good news if you’ve previously selected a dress and want to stick with it.

Alternatively, you can choose the woocommerce wordpress optimized themes. These themes have pre-set styles that will make your WooCommerce elements look great to your audience.

Select Storefront. It’s WooCommerce’s official theme and is designed to work properly. You’ll get a free default version, and it will be enough to get started. Alternatively, you can search on ThemeForest (the largest directory of WordPress themes) and find themes within the e-commerce section.

Regardless if you've kept your current theme or went for something WooCommerce optimized, you have to make sure that the store's individual pages look good. So let's try that ow.

E-Commerce Store Design Rules

Let’s discuss some important aspects before getting in depth with your site.

So what makes good e-commerce store design? Here are the most important factors you need to think of:

  • Your design needs to be simple and not confusing. A confused visitor won’t by anything
  • The center block will display the current products
  • The center content block needs to grab the viewer’s attention after they view your site
  • Adjustable sidebars. You can select how much sidebars you’ll need and disable it for some pages
  • Mobile optimized and responsive. Research shows that over 80% of web traffic uses a smartphone. According to another research finding, 61% of your mobile viewers will leave and go to a competitor's page if they have a difficult mobile browsing experience. Basically, make sure your website is optimized for mobile customers
  • Good web navigation structure. You want menus that are easy to understand - so your visitors can see the page they’re looking for

Your Shop’s Page

Dashboard Pages

This is where your products are displayed on your website. If you've gone through WooCommerce's setup wizard, this page is on YOURDOMAIN.com/shop. This is a WordPress page that you can edit on WordPress Dashboard > Pages.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Add copy, so visitors are encouraged to buy your products
  • Decide if you want a sidebar on your web page. For example, Storefront allows users to have a full-width sidebar, which is recommended when selling products
  • Products Display: You can decide if you want individual products or product categories on the Sho page. Choose what makes the most sense for you, then save the settings

If you have a quality theme, you shouldn't have any issues on this page. You only have to adjust the text that you're using for product descriptions, and make sure the page has no blank spots which could confuse the buyer.

Checkout

Checkout allows your buyers to make their payments and finalize orders. Make sure the Checkout page is at full-width. Your buyer should not be distracted by things in the sidebar, the only way out of the page is for the buyer to finalize their order.

You can do this on Dashboard > Pages (repeat the same process you as the Shop page). At this stage, you’re done configuring the store’s design. Now let’s look at the possibilities to extend its functionality.

Plugins

Besides the extensions, there are some plugins that can help boost the functionality of your store. Here are some that are worth checking out:

  • Contact Form 7 - Lets visitors contact you directly
  • iThemes Security - List of security presets for your website
  • UpdraftPlus - Back up your site's content, products, and data
  • Yoast SEO - Enhance the SEO settings of your website
  • W3 Total Cache - Speed up your website’s pages by caching
  • MonsterInsights - Integrate Google Analytics on your site

Making An Online Store In A Nutshell

Woocommerce Shop

The degree of starting your first eCommerce website isn't difficult, but it will take some time getting used to all of the previous steps. You'll spend around an afternoon or two to fully understand how WooCommerce works.

That’s still great because 5 years ago you’d have to hire a developer for over $5,000 a month to make something similar. Now you can create the webpage on your own! Here’s a checklist to help you start making your site:

  • Start with a unique domain name and receive hosting from a reliable company (DreamHost, HostGator, etc.)
  • Install WooCommerce to your WordPress page and start adding products to your page
  • Once you’ve created product listings, start designing the look of your website
  • Add extensions and plugins to bring more life to the page

Overall, now you know how to start online store. All you have to do is plan your website and market it to your audience. By doing so, you’ll have a responsive page that your viewers can see from any device.

Take the time refining your site; it will keep your page more appealing to your visitors and keep them returning to your page. Check our errors that are present, and you'll end up with an interesting web page that's bound to surpass your competition.