Have you ever dreamed of running your own online store? Whether as a residual source of income, a means to work remotely while traveling, or a way to feed your creativity? What if we told you your eCommerce dreams were possible, all with the simple download of a plugin?
We’re talking about WooCommerce, of course. WooCommerce powers over 40 million online stores, making it the most popular eCommerce platform ever. It’s also the best way to turn your regular ol’ website into a fully functional eCommerce store!
What are some specifics of WooCommerce?
- It’s open-source and free, so you won’t be asked to pay at any point and it won’t expire
- It’s a WordPress plugin that needs to be downloaded to function, just like any other plugin
- It’s ideal for small to large sized merchants
- It’s one of the most feature-rich plugins and comes with the option of adding more than 350 additional eCommerce extensions to your site, like shipping, reporting, and inventory management
- Anyone can use it! If you managed to download WordPress, you can definitely handle WooCommerce
What can you sell using WooCommerce?
- Physical products—socks, succulents, soup, etc.
- Digital products—software, eBooks, WordPress themes, etc.
- Bookings and appointments—massage appointments, web design consultations, etc.
- Services—photography, Search Engine Optimization, catering, etc.
- Subscriptions—monthly snacks, seasonal magazines, music streaming, etc.
But how do you go about using WooCommerce with your web hosting? Easily. Let us show you how.
Before You Set Up WooCommerce
Before you set up WooCommerce, there are a few key things you need to have:
- A domain name
You will need a unique web address for customer’s to visit your store at. For example, thesellery.ca or chocklitshoppe.com
- A web hosting plan
You will need a reliable web hosting company to host your website on their servers.
- WordPress installed
Once your web domain and hosting are purchased, you can install WordPress by logging into the backend of your website known as cPanel. Note: this is easier than it sounds. Once you’ve located “WordPress” under “Softaculous Apps Installer,” you will be taken through on-screen instructions.
- An SSL certificate installed
SSL certificates are an important part of web security when processing credit card information and personal data. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and the protocol encrypts the information going between your website and a user’s browser.
SSL certificates come in different shapes and sizes, depending on a business’ needs. For some sites, a free, temporary SSL certificate is enough. If you want extended warranty and support, a paid certificate is likely a better fit. Some users decide to install their own SSL certificate right onto their operating system, although this is a fairly technical process and only recommended for advanced users.
WooCommerce offers comprehensive documentation that can assist you in installing WooCommerce onto your site, but for the sake of this post, we’re offering a simple and brief guide below so that you can get started selling right away!
STEP 1. Look up WooCommerce in the “Plugins” section on WordPress.
STEP 2. Install and activate the WooCommerce WordPress plugin.
STEP 3. Run the Setup Wizard. Upon activation, the Setup Wizard page will load automatically. Or, you can find it by locating the WooCommerce plugin in the left-hand sidebar and clicking “Run the Setup Wizard.”
STEP 4. The first step in the Setup Wizard is “Store Setup.” This step is crucial as it sets up the basics of your store, including location, currency, and the type of product you will be selling.
STEP 5. Click “Continue” to set up “Payment” options.
WooCommerce accepts both online and offline payments and you’ll notice “Stripe” and “PayPal” are turned on as payment methods automatically.
By agreeing to keep these on, WooCommerce automatically downloads and activates the plugins WooCommerce Stripe Gateway and WooCommerce PayPal Express Checkout Gateway for you.
STEP 6. Click “Continue” to configure your “Shipping” settings next.
WooCommerce will recommend you use live rates (which are powered by the WooCommerce Services plugin and Jetpack) to get accurate shipping prices to cover the cost of order fulfillment.
STEP 7. The next page will list recommended plugins to download to aid you in your eCommerce ventures, such as automated taxes and MailChimp’s emailing service. It’s up to you if you would like to add them. You can also skip this step.
STEP 8. The next thing you will see is a confirmation screen. At this point, your basic setup is done and you’ve built a blank eCommerce store using WooCommerce!
STEP 9. The next step is setting up your first product, which is similar to setting up a page or post on WordPress. Note: You’ll want to have a product name, a keyword rich product description, and some professional-looking shots of the product you are selling beforehand.
STEP 10. After adding a few products to your shop, it’s time to either choose a free theme for your eCommerce store or adapt your current theme to your new shop.
That’s it! You’ve just set up your own fully-functional online store in less than a day. As you’ve learned, the level of difficulty isn’t set too high, but it does take some time and patience to get everything working smoothly and looking good.
WooCommerce has transformed the eCommerce world, giving the power of creating an online store to anyone who has a domain and web hosting. No more developers. No contracts or fees. No licenses. All you need to create your online store is a solid domain name and a reliable web hosting provider, say like, Canadian Web Hosting?
Do you have an eCommerce store powered by WooCommerce? We’d love to see it! Share it in the comments below.