There’s no denying that WordPress is one of the most popular publishing platforms out there. Originally marketed as a blogging platform, WordPress is now an all-encompassing content management system. While blogs are at the core of its features, the CMS allows you to create websites that perform a variety of functions.
For example, one can even set up a social network using the popular BuddyPress plugin! But, one of the neat ways to use WordPress is for creating an online store using the WooCommerce plugin.
Both WordPress and WooCommerce are free to download and install, making it a cost-effective solution for any online seller. With the powerful features of the two products combined, one can soon have an attractive e-commerce store that boasts high conversion rates.
So, how do you go about setting up WordPress and WooCommerce? In today’s blog post, you will learn how to get a domain name and apply it to a web host. You’ll also learn how to install and set up WordPress and WooCommerce so that you can start selling your products and services online? Ready? Good! Here is what you need to do:
Get some domain names
When you’re setting up an e-commerce store, you need to have a domain name that is memorable. Of course, it must also relate to the name of your online business. There is a plethora of choice when it comes to domain names and their extensions (such as .com or .co).
In recent years, lots of new domain extensions got released so now it’s possible to have ones like .shopping and .store! You should also consider buying geographical versions of your domain name so that they aren’t purchased by your competitors. So, if you live in the United States, you could buy .com and .us. If you were based in Germany, you could buy .de and so forth.
With those additional domains, you can have them redirected to the one you wish to use as your primary domain. Why do you need to do all that, I hear you ask? Well, some customers may mistype your domain name in their web browser. By purchasing and redirecting mistyped domains, you can ensure they get directed to the correct one.
Get some fast web hosting
Once you’ve thought about and bought your desired domain names, you need to associate them with a web host. In a nutshell, the host’s job is to run your WordPress-based website on their servers. You can also “tie-in” your domain names with the web host’s IP address. Without hosting, you haven’t got the means to run your website!
As you may have noticed, there are millions of hosting providers out there. How do you know which one is suitable for your needs? Here’s a handy checklist to help you narrow down your choices:
Install an SSL certificate
These days, online security and privacy are a big deal for consumers. Hacking remains at the forefront of many people’s thoughts, especially when they buy online. Many people are nervous about entering their personal and card details on a website!
For added peace of mind, you should install an SSL certificate on your site. You can do this by purchasing or getting one for free, and then install the certificate details through cPanel.
When you install an SSL certificate on your website, all data transmitted between your visitors and your site gets encrypted. That means it’s virtually impossible for anyone to spy on any data transmitted during each connection. An SSL certificate also has SEO benefits too; Google and other sites will rank your site higher in search engine results pages.
Once you’ve set up a hosting account and associated your domain names with it, and you’ve installed your SSL certificate, you are now ready to install the WordPress platform onto your site. These days, the majority of hosts offer an automated installation service for you. All you need to do is log into your cPanel account and select Softaculous, Installatron, or Fantastico.
You can then select WordPress from the blogging or CMS section, depending on the auto-installer software installed on your cPanel account. Once you do that, you’ll get asked for the answers to a few simple questions. Usually, they are:
You may also get presented with additional options, such as the installation of extra plugins. It takes around a minute or so to fill in the form details, and a couple of minutes to install WordPress to your website. Once the installation is complete, you’ll get on-screen confirmation.
If your host doesn’t offer an auto-installer system, you can easily install WordPress manually. To do so, you must:
Customize your WordPress site
Once you’ve confirmed that WordPress is working as it should, the next step is to customize the look and feel of your new site.
You should spend some time looking at premium themes that are WooCommerce-compatible. That way, you can ensure that the e-commerce plugin is seamlessly integrated with the rest of your website. Fortunately, many themes available to buy and download have full compatibility with WooCommerce.
Once you’ve installed your new theme, you should consider installing an SEO plugin such as the All-In-One SEO Pack or WordPress SEO. Doing so will ensure that your website is visible on search engines and conforms to SEO guidelines for titles, page descriptions, and so forth.
Install the WooCommerce plugin
Now we’re getting to the most exciting part of all: the setup of your online store! The WooCommerce plugin is available to download for free through the WordPress plugins section in your site’s WP admin dashboard.
The good news is that once installed, there is a “wizard” that takes care of the initial settings of your WooCommerce installation. The instructions on each page of the wizard are self-explanatory. You’ll get asked some questions, such as:
Customizing the online store structure
Once you’re familiar with how to add and manage products, you’ll want to tweak the appearance of your WooCommerce store. In the WordPress dashboard, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Products tab and click on the Display sub-tab.
You can designate a different page for your online store’s main page. Plus, you can change the way products get shown. In fact, there’s a variety of options, so it makes sense to take the time to explore them all.
If you’re an experienced WordPress and WooCommerce user, you may wish to use WooCommerce shortcodes with your other pages. For example, you may have detailed product pages and want to place “Add to Cart” buttons on them.
Decide on your payment processing options
During the initial installation, the WooCommerce wizard will have asked you what payment processing options you wanted. If you decide that you’d like to add some more, you can do so by going to the WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout tab in the WordPress dashboard.
PayPal is probably the easiest payment processing option to set up. You can also accept debit and credit cards without PayPal by using a service such as Stripe.
If you wish to work with an existing merchant and gateway, it’s likely you can install an optional WooCommerce add-on to facilitate that goal.
Now that you know the basics of setting up WordPress and WooCommerce, it’s time to add some products and start making money. Good luck!
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