You’re a business owner looking to take your business online. If you have used the internet at all over the past 20 years, you’ve likely heard about blogs and about eCommerce. You may have also heard that it’s great for business! But you may have questions, such as:
- Is an
online store right for my business?
- How do I set one up?
We’ll help you to understand why eCommerce is likely a good fit for your business as well as help you to get your very first eCommerce site up and running in just a few easy steps! More importantly, we hope to make it clear how eCommerce can benefit your business.
Why do I need eCommerce for my business?
Your small business caters perhaps to your neighborhood, your city, or your region. If you’re extraordinarily popular, perhaps people visit from out of town as well. While you are already successful, you may still be limited to serving only the customers who walk in through your door. What would business look like if you reach out and address customers across the country? Across the globe?
Perhaps you already have a business website that serves as your online presence.
- Does your company site translate directly
into more sales?
- How can you be sure?
Without eCommerce for your business, prospective leads still need to walk through your door, pick up the phone, or email you. Then there’s the business of money changing hands: how does someone from out-of-state pay you for your service or goods quickly and easily?
We’ve already proposed the solution, but it boils down to this simple idea: Make it easy for customers to purchase your goods. The easier you make it for them to purchase, the more sales you will make.
For many, the idea of setting up an online store is daunting; primarily because they don’t know how. Rest assured; it’s easy, you can do it yourself, and we’ll show you how.
Create a WordPress Site
Even if you already have a website, you should base your new eCommerce site on WordPress for a number of reasons. Primarily, WordPress is the world’s largest and most popular website platform and is incredibly stable and supported. Secondly, It takes just a few minutes to set up and there are infinite tutorials to help you along the way. We won’t get too detailed with setting up Wordpress itself, as the platform has such amazingly simple tutorials to help you get started, but the process looks like this:
3 Simple Steps
- Find a Web Host such as GoDaddy or Hostgator – For More, try this Web Host Comparison tool
- Download & Install WordPress - It’s a quick 5 minute install.
- Read the Documentation and set up your base WordPress site.
If you’d like a video to help you out, you can refer to this free course at Udemy that walks you through the steps to creating your own WordPress website, in a weekend. If you’d like to find more courses on WordPress or other business topics, check out our list of Best Online Business Courses .
Add eCommerce Support to Your Site
Next we add eCommerce to your WordPress-based site. We’ve used WooCommerce as our plugin in this example. It’s one of the most popular plugins around, has by far the most features and integrations, but best of all it’s free!
Key Benefits of WooCommerce
- WooCommerce is built for WordPress. It integrates beautifully and seamlessly.
- It has Momentum. It’s by and far the most popular eCommerce plugin at 3,026,286 installations so far.
- WooCommerce can Scale with your business size. When you get big through eCommerce, WooCommerce can accommodate the growth.
- Many Integrations and additional plugins as well as WooCommerce Themes for your site.
Did we mention it’s free?
Installing WooCommerce Theme and Plugin
First, Select a Theme that is compatible with WooCommerce. Themes help to organize your pages and make sure that links between pages work properly. Again, to make things easy, we’ll stick with the most simple option of selecting one from the WooThemes website. Some are free and others are paid though they all work flawlessly with your setup. Go to their Themes page to sort and view some example themes .
- After you Download the Theme, return to the WordPress Dashboard and select the Appearances tab to the left and click on Add New.
- At the top of the screen click Upload then find the Theme (which should be a .zip file that you downloaded) and Upload / Install the theme with the “Install Now” button.
- On the success screen, you must then click the Activate link to Apply the Theme.
- At this point you will be dropped onto your WooTheme Dashboard. This is where you would manage your theme settings. For now, head to the Plugins tab to the left so we can install the WooCommerce Plugin .
- Choose the Add New tab and then use the Search bar to search for WooCommerce. It should be the first in the results but check the description and confirm that it’s created by WooThemes. Click on Install Now and then Activate the plugin.
Set up Your Online Shop with WooCommerce
Activation of the plugin will bring you to a screen which has a banner message at the top that will prompt you to Install WooCommerce Pages . This will create your Shop, Cart, Checkout, My Account , and Track Order Pages Automatically so that you don’t have to!
- After installing the WooCommerce Pages, Go to the WooCommerce Settings Tab on the left and configure as much as you can in the tabbed fields. Tutorials and Helpful instructions for your settings can be found in the WooCommerce Settings Documentation .
- The next step is to actually Add Your Products . Select Products from the left side navigation and then Add Product.
- Add Product Details to the products. For example, if you sell gift boxes, you would add a picture of the gift box and set it’s price then “Save” the product.
- There are many other product attributes to set, and tutorials can be found here to help you configure these settings. Create as many products as you would like and even group them together into product packages!
- You're Done! Check out your new shop by going to yourdomain.com/shop or by clicking "view" on any of the product editing pages.
Voilà, you’ve just created a eCommerce site for your business in just a few easy steps. We’ve tried to provide as much detail as possible for the installation, but if you get stuck at any point, feel free to refer to the official documentation .
Find out how to market, optimize, and grow your business with these 60 Epic Resources for eCommerce!