With the free plugin WooCommerce, you can turn any WordPress site into an online store. WooCommerce gives your site the ecommerce capabilities of a shopping cart, checkout, and payment processor, with extensions that help with shipping, management, and everything else you’ll need. You can design your ecommerce site any way you want, with all the familiar usability of the WordPress interface — that’s what makes WooCommerce the second most popular ecommerce platform in the world!
Setting it up is the easiest part, too. Here, we explain how you can get your WordPress ecommerce store up and running in just 5 steps.
1. Set Up Your WordPress Hosting and Domain
First things first, you’ll need WordPress hosting and an original domain name. Think of it like you’re starting a new company. Your hosting is your office space: it needs to be the right size for your operation and have all the necessary amenities. Your domain name should match your company name, and be catchy and memorable.
If you’re new to ecommerce, it’s hard to gauge how much bandwidth and cache you’ll need. If this is your first site, it’s best to start small and then scale up your hosting plans as your business evolves. Shared hosting (you share the servers with other clients) is cheaper, but top-performing sites will eventually need dedicated servers (single-client servers) to accommodate more traffic.
Ideally, you should get your hosting and domain name from the same company. You’ll also want to make sure their customer service can help you if you get stuck. At Nexcess, we offer a variety of plans suitable for beginners, with knowledgeable representatives to explain how everything works. Take a look at our WordPress Hosting plans to find the one that’s best for you, or message our friendly staff if you have any specific questions.
2. Install WordPress
To install WordPress, just download the latest version for free and then follow the instructions from your hosting provider to create your database and upload the files there. If you’re using Nexcess, follow this quick WordPress installation guide.
3. Choose a Theme
Your theme creates the atmosphere for your site, so make sure you choose one that best fits the mood you’re going for. Picking the best theme is a topic worthy of its own discussion, so we suggest that you read our earlier article, Choosing the Right WordPress Theme for Your Site.
Make sure your theme is appropriate for ecommerce, though. At the moment there are four themes by WooThemes designed specifically for WooCommerce, but you can find hundreds more by filtering searches with the E-Commerce tag.
4. Install WooCommerce
You can download and install WooCommerce for free from the WordPress plugin store. If you’re unfamiliar with WordPress, simply go to the navigation menu on the left and click Plugins > Add New. Then type “WooCommerce” into the search bar in the upper-right, and it’ll be the first entry. Click Install Now.
After it’s installed, don’t forget to activate it in the plugins menu.
5. Customize Your Site
Now you’re set up and ready to go! From here, all you have to do is enter your content into the Products section of the menu. You can further customize your site by going through the WooCommerce settings (notice the new WooCommerce entry in your navigation menu).
As with other WordPress sites, there’s an expansive library of plugins that allow you to add extra features and widgets to your site. You can browse these options directly in the plugin library, or poke around Nelio’s 50 Great WooCommerce Websites for inspiration.
Do you have any advice for starting out with WooCommerce? Any questions we didn’t answer? Tell us your thoughts below in the comments section now.