How to Start an Online Store in 2020? Do you want to start your online store where you can sell products? We know that it is difficult when you are not techy. So, we have decided to create a detailed guide to help you in starting your online store with WordPress (step by step).
What Are the Requirements to Start an Online Store?
Anyone with a computer can get started within a few minutes and without having any special skills.
Three things you need to start your online store are:
- A domain name (this will the URL of your site)
- A web hosting account (where your website lives on the internet for clients)
- Your full attention for 30 minutes.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Step 1: Setting up Your Online Store Domain & Hosting
There are two general eCommerce platforms that we recommend for Online Store: Shopify or WordPress + WooCommerce.
Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution. It starts at $29 / month and easy solution where you just login and start selling. The disadvantage to Shopify is that it gets quite expensive, and your payment options are limited except you pay extra fees.
This is why, most users choose WordPress + WooCommerce because of the flexibility it provides. It need some setup, but it’s worth doing it for the long run.
In this post, we will walk you through how you can setup an online store in WordPress using WooCommerce.
To setup your store, you have to buy a domain name, web hosting, and a SSL certificate.
A domain name is the address of your online store on the internet. This is what users will type in their browsers to come to your website (for example: google.com or amazon.com).
Web hosting is the Server where your website lives on the internet. Web hosting is your website’s house where data is stored. Web hosting is must for every website on the internet.
SSL certificate adds a special security to your website that will help you to accept sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information. This is compulsory for you to accept credit card payments on your website.
A product that WP Editor would suggest to supply the domain name, web hosting, and a SSL certificate is 1&1 IONOS. They are a web hosting and cloud services provider that specialises in providing flexible and affordable web hosting and domain solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. Globally 1&1 IONOS host more than 8 million people within 15 facilities in 9 countries around the globe. With 30 years of experience since 1&1 IONOS’s foundation, they have grown to become the largest hosting company in Europe. With reliability and security engineered into the core of their products.
If you’re looking for affordable feature-rich web hosting, 1&1 offer a wide range of services. Ranging from shared web hosting to VPS and dedicated servers. Something that you would expect to see from one of the world’s oldest web-hosting providers.
Note: At WP Editor, we believe in transparency. So If you purchase hosting using our referral link, then we will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. We would get this commission for recommending any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers. For more information on Hosting providers please read Choosing WordPress Hosting in 2020 and 9 Amazing Providers.
The first thing is choosing the right platform for your website. It makes more sense to use WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress rather than WordPress.com.
This is because WordPress.org is free to use, With WordPress.org you host your own website (WP Editor recommends this) and you can install plugins, tailor your blog design, and most importantly make money from your blog, shop, subscriptions without any restrictions.
So why is WordPress.org free? Its free because you have to do the setup and host it yourself. Meaning you need a domain name and web hosting.
If you didn’t already know a domain name is your websites address. Its what people type to get to your website. Just like wpeditor.co.uk. A domain normally goes for about £10 per year, however there are deals where you can pick them up for next to nothing if you subscribe to the same hosting. However finding the right domain can be crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name, then it can be a hassle to switch later on without hurting your brand and search rankings. This may mean you may have to pay more for the domain you require.
If you didn’t already know, every website needs web hosting to live on the internet. Web hosting is where your website files live and your control panel that houses your WordPress site.
Once you have found a suitable domain and a web host, you will be able to log into your hosting control panel. This is where you manage everything from support, emails, among other things. But most importantly, this is where you install WordPress.
Step 2. Setting up WordPress
Once WordPress is installed you can reach it through the hosting control panel or
you can also login by simply by going to yoursite.com/wp-admin/ directly from your internet browser and enter the username and password you set up in your hosting.
Once WordPress is setup, you’re ready to tailor your websites appearance to make it your own and create your own brand.
And Congrats! You have created your first website.
The basic setup of WordPress is complete. Now it is time to setup your website for online store.
Step 3. Setting up Your WooCommerce Store
Before you can start selling, there are a few things like currency, payments, and shipping information that you need to set up.
You will be seeing a ‘Welcome to WooCommerce’ notification on your WordPress admin pages. Go ahead and click on the ‘Run setup wizard’ button in the notification.
This will launch the WooCommerce setup wizard where you need to click on the ‘Let’s go’ button to get started.
WooCommerce needs few essential pages for cart, account, shop, and checkout. You can click on the continue button to automatically create these pages.
This will bring you to the next step.
Now you will need to tell WooCommerce where your store is located and which currency and unit measures to use.
After selecting your location and currency, click on the continue button to move on.
Next, you need to enter shipping and tax information.
WooCommerce can be used to sell both digital downloads and physical goods that need shipping.
You need to check the box if you will be shipping goods, or you can leave it unchecked if you will only be selling digital goods.
Next you need to answer the tax question. WooCommerce can help you automatically calculate and add taxes to your prices.
If you are not sure, then you can leave it unchecked. You can always add tax information later from WooCommerce settings.
Click on the continue button to move on.
Next, you will be asked to choose a payment method for your online store.
By default, WooCommerce comes with support for PayPal, PayPal Standard, and Stripe payment gateways. There are many other payment methods available for WooCommerce which you can install later if you need.
The easiest way to accept payment is using PayPal Standard.
Simply enter your PayPal email address and click on the continue button.
A lot of people including us, use both PayPal and Stripe. By using Stripe, you allow your users to enter their credit card information on the checkout page without having to leave your site and going to PayPal.
You can setup Stripe by following the instructions on the WooCommerce screen.
Once you’re done, your WooCommerce online store is all setup.
You need to click on the ‘Return to WordPress dashboard’ link to exit the setup wizard.
After finishing the WooCommerce setup, you are now ready to add products to your online store.
Step 4. Adding Products to Your Online Store
Let’s start with adding the first product to your online store.
You need to visit Products » Add New page to add a new product.
First, provide a title for your product and then some detailed description.
On the right hand column, you will see the ‘Product Categories’ box. Click on the ‘+Add New Product Category’ to create a category for this product. This allows you and your customers to sort and browse products easily.
Scroll down a little and you will notice the Product Data box. This is where you will provide product related information like pricing, inventory, shipping etc.
Below product data box, you will see a box to add product short description. This short description will be used when users are viewing multiple products on a page.
Lastly, on your right hand column you will see boxes to add a main product image and a product gallery.
Once you are satisfied with all the product information you have added, you can click on the Publish button to make it live on your website.
Repeat the process to add more products as needed.
Step 5. Select and Customise WordPress Theme
Themes control how your WordPress sites look to the users when they visit it. For a WooCommerce shop, they also control how your products are displayed.
There are thousands of paid and free WordPress themes available.
You will need to choose one and customize it to meet your needs.
Head over to Appearance » Customize page. This will launch theme customizer where you can change different theme settings.
If you don’t like the Storefront theme, then you can use another theme by visiting Appearance » Themes page.
If you need help selecting a theme, then please refer to our guide on 9 things you should consider when selecting a perfect WordPress theme.
Step 6. Extend Your Online Store With Plugins
Now that you have your online store ready, you probably want to get started with adding other usual elements on your website such as a contact form, about page, and more.
To further customize WordPress and add features like contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc. you need to use WordPress plugins.
WordPress plugins are apps that allow you to add new features to your website.
There are over 46,000 WordPress plugins available so it can be a bit of a mission choosing which ones are best for your website.
To add a plugin go to Plugins » Add New in the menu and search for what you want to add.
With thousands of plugins to choose from, it can be overwhelming to search and find the plugins you need.
WP editor pick of the best WordPress plugins that you should be essentials to your site.
Backup – UpdraftPlus is the best WordPress backup plugin. You need to create regular backups of your website in case something ever goes wrong.
Performance – We recommend using either WP – Optimize (free) to speed up WordPress.
Design & Customisation – We recommend using either Divi page builder for customizing your homepage design, creating custom landing pages, or even creating custom themes (without writing any code).
Contact forms – Every website needs a contact form. It allows your users to email you directly. WPForms Lite plugin is a free version of the popular WPForms plugin.
Google Analytics – helps you see how many people are visiting your blog, where they are coming from, and what are they doing on your website? Google recommends G Site Kit that will also link in Search Console and Adsense.
SEO – Most beginners don’t optimize for SEO when creating a blog. SEO or search engine optimization helps users find your blog in search engines. If you want more traffic, then it’s crucial that you optimize your blog for SEO from the beginning. Two of the best are Rank Math or Yeost.
Security – Wordfence is a free security scanner for WordPress.
Step 7 WordPress Support
So far we have shown you how to make a WooCommerce website. We hope that you found this tutorial on how to start a WordPress store helpful. If you liked this article, then please subscribe to WP Editor for more of the latest WordPress information and offers.
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