Years ago, the very idea of starting your own online store seemed intimidating.
Especially, if you were a beginner with no technical skills or knowledge. This could easily qualify as your worst nightmare!
But, the beauty of WooCommerce (the world’s most popular e-commerce platform) – it literally makes it possible to build a high-quality fully functional e-commerce store right from scratch even if you’re a non-tech savvy person. Isn’t that cool?
And, since you’re looking to set up your WooCommerce website on your own, boy oh boy, you’re in the right place!
Through this guide, I’m going to walk you through the entire process of setting up your WooCommerce store. All you have to do is follow.
Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy 🙂
But, first – why do we like WooCommerce?
Well, there are lots of factors and the list is pretty long!
So, I’m only going to cover the most important ones that contribute significantly towards its ever-growing awesome reputation.
- Flexibility – The reason this is right on top of our list is becauseWooCommerce offers thousands of plugins to extend your e-commerce functionalities. You can literally add any functions you want.
- WordPress baby – Since WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress, it provides a strong foundation, reliability, and security to build a world-class e-commerce website.
- Open Source – WooCommerce is open source and free! And, you get full control and freedom over your website, unlike other platforms.
- Easy to use – What makes WooCommerce the most preferable choice is its simplicity, powerful features, and easy to use mechanism especially for beginners.
- Sell almost anything – Physical products, digital products, services, booking services (appointments, movies, tickets, etc.), Subscriptions, etc. There’s no limit! (except illegal stuff, of course).
And, these are the major factors that make WooCommerce so great and the reason we love it so much!
With that being said, let’s move on to getting your WooCommerce Set Up and running?
Since we’re building an e-commerce website from the scratch, my aim is to show you how to do this in the easiest way possible. So, with that thought in mind, I will be covering only the important aspects to get you started ASAP!
Let’s dig in!
Step 1 – Pick a Domain Name and Get Web Hosting
Now, this is the first and the most basic step when it comes to building your own website.
While WordPress and WooCommerce are free, however, getting a domain name and web hosting costs money. And, this is not just for starting an e-commerce website. You’ll have to pay for these basic requirements for any website that you want to create.
- Domain name – This is your address on the internet. For instance: www.wisdmlabs.com is our domain name. And, here’s a quick tip: Make sure your domain name is unique so that it’s easier to remember.
- Web Hosting – It’s a server where all your website files are stored to make it available for anybody who wants to visit your website.
The overall cost will actually depend on what services you need from the hosting provider. But, I suggest you start from the basics and then scale to advanced services once you start making money.
Fortunately, hosting providers like BlueHost or SiteGround is affordable and reliable with a great track record and reputation. Moreover, these are one of the few providers recommended by WordPress.
Once you’ve decided on the Domain Name and Web Hosting, you can then move on to the next step in this adventure……
Step 2 – Install WordPress & WooCommerce
This is where things get interesting! This step will feel like the first brick in the walls of your dream WooCommerce store 🙂
Usually, most of the web hosting companies let you install WordPress quickly from their user panel. However, if that doesn’t work out, you can simply hop on to www.WordPress.org and follow the installation process. It is extremely simple and quick.
That being done, you should now have a blank WordPress site ready!
And, just to be sure about the basic-important details of your website, you can quickly head on to your WordPress Settings tab to confirm/change the same.
As shown in the image above, you have full freedom to view and change your site title, tagline, etc. as per your convenience.
Once you’ve made all the changes, fit in your email address, and saved all the settings, you have your basic WordPress site ready. Finally, you can move on to the moment you’ve been waiting for!
It’s time to turn that website into a fully functional e-commerce store with the WooCommerce plugin!
Step 3 – Install WooCommerce to kickstart your e-Commerce dream!
So, WooCommerce and its settings is a pretty easy case to understand and crack.
And, by the end of this, you’ll feel like a pro having mastered the process. Also, it’s very very simple to keep up. So, don’t stress 🙂
Now, similar to any other WordPress plugin, the way to install WooCommerce is the same. You start by heading to your WordPress Dashboard and follow the below steps:
- WordPress Dashboard > Plugins
- Add New > Search ‘WooCommerce’
- Install and Activate.
After Installing and Activating the plugin, a ‘Launch WooCommerce Setup Wizard’ box will pop up on your screen. This is where the fun begins.
Your online store is as important as a physical store. And, to have all the essential functions in place, the WooCommerce wizard will help you configure these settings right in the beginning. It’ll hardly take 5 minutes.
In case you’re wondering what these basic settings are – these are the elements that make up your WooStore. Let me quickly list it down for you:
- Store Setup
This setup wizard makes it extremely smooth for you to navigate and configure the basic elements. Just hit the ‘Let’s go’ button.
A very crucial setting that’ll define and affect your store’s setup.
It’ll involve parameters related to your store’s address, currency options, business origin, selling locations, etc.
Configuring the store setup will make selling way easier for you. Plus, it’ll help your customers understand your store and its options in a quicker manner.
An e-commerce store will only be successful if it can accept payments online.
Well, fortunately, WooCommerce has options to accept both online and offline payments. And, when it comes to online payments, WooCommerce supports PayPal and Stripe as default payment gateways.
This makes it really convenient for you as a store owner since both these payment gateways are popular and widely used.
I’d recommend you turn on both these payment methods.
Having said that, please remember to first sign up with PayPal or Stripe separately. You’ll need to have an existing account with both of these payment gateways in order to integrate the same in your WooStore.
In case, you wish to include more payment gateways or options, you can do so by installing other payment plugins.
Sadly, this part of the settings is often left for an afterthought.
Shipping plays an equally important role when it comes to customer experience. An order not reaching in time or getting delivered to the wrong address can raise questions about your abilities. Hence, it is vital to sort out your shipping settings at the beginning itself.
You can define the areas/countries you’re open to shipping in and also decide the shipping methods. Options like charging flat shipping costs or free shipping can be exercised for different products and shipping zones as per your store tactics.
Pro Tip: Offering Free shipping for expensive products can act as an attraction point for the buyers.
This is a tab that’ll ask you to install other recommended features.
Now, sure these features will enhance the value of your WooStore but, I suggest you install these extra features later when you actually need them.
For now, you can uncheck these boxes and save all the other settings.
And, with that your WooCommerce wizard setup is now complete. You have your basic e-Commerce site up and running. All you have to do is introduce and add products!
Step 4 – Add Products or Services to sell in your WooStore
Now, the customers arriving on your website will expect to see the products/services you’re offering and would want to explore the same.
Since you’re done with all the essential WooStore settings, the next obvious thing to do is – add products/services to your website.
And, believe me, doing this is no rocket science! It is darn simple 🙂
To begin adding products, just hop on to your dashboard and follow:
- Products > Add New
This will bring you to an editing screen where you’ll be able to add products and configure its settings according to your likes.
Here’s an image depicting the same:
1. Product Name & description
Add a title for your product and under that, you can start adding a description for your product. Moreover, you can even add images or videos for your products. Basically, you can give as much information as possible about your products through this space.
2. Product Data section
Through this section, you’ll be able to choose the type of product you want to sell – Physical or downloadable.
Apart from this, you can even play around with other settings like General (set pricing), Inventory (manage stock levels), Shipping (set costs, weight, and dimensions), Linked products (upsell or cross-sell), Advanced settings, etc.
3. Short Description
You can use this section to write a short description of your product. This will appear on the products page under the product name.
4. Product Categories
With this section, adding products under categories makes it easier for customers to browse on your website.
For e.g: You can have a main category called ‘T-shirts’ and you can add different kinds of t-shirts under the main category.
5. Product Tags
Product tags will enable visitors to search for your content easily. Using these product tags will help you rank on google if used in the right way.
6. Product Image
You can add a relevant image of the product in this section. This visual representation will make it easier for customers to recognize the product.
After you’re done making all the changes and tweaking all the settings, you can go ahead and hit the Publish button.
Congratulations!! You’ve just added your first product!! woohoo 🙂
And, you can repeat these steps for multiple products you wish to add. Also, let me quickly show you how your product dashboard will look once you’ve added multiple products.
Well, now that you know how to add products/services, the next step is to stylize and make your website appear visually stunning and engaging.
Step 5 – Selecting a WooCommerce theme for your online store
To be honest, there’ll most likely be several online stores selling similar products as yours. The competition could be intense.
But, if you want to sustain, grow, and make a name for yourself then, you’ve got to focus on the visual appearance of your website. It needs to look attractive, the layout of your website should be smooth enough for customers to navigate easily, pages should load quickly, the store should be mobile-friendly, and highly optimized for SEO.
And, these are some of the basic factors that’ll help you gain an advantage over your competitors and make your store stand apart.
Usually, owners make the mistake of choosing a theme before adding their products to the website. But, I recommend you to follow this order since you’ll only be able to ensure the visual appearance and the look of your website once you have your content in place.
It’ll give you a nice overall look at your website and if there’s any conflict between the looks, design, and content of your website, then you can always correct it accordingly to suit your needs.
Choosing a WooCommerce theme
Luckily, WooCommerce works with any WordPress theme. Since there are hundreds of themes available, even if you pick the wrong one, chances are you’ll at least get the basics done. 😛
But, jokes apart!
Choosing the right theme is really crucial as it’ll represent the brand image and set the vibe for your online store.
That being said, given the sea of themes available, there are certain themes that are specifically made for WooCommerce. This is great since these themes are designed to make shopping easier for your customers and increase sales significantly.
To narrow it down for you, I’m going to recommend a few themes that you can use to kickstart your business ASAP. These themes are extremely popular and have a great track record when it comes to boosting sales or making the site more engaging for customers. Plus, these are modern and customizable themes.
So, here’s my list:
Having said that, I suggest you do the research and pick up a theme that fits your nature of business and is well-suited for your particular business. For e.g: If you’re selling coffee products then WooCommerce has themes designed specifically for coffee products.
Now, if you’ve chosen a theme for your store, you can test it out and check if your website comes together nicely. If not, then you can always make the necessary changes. However, if it does, then you’re all set to run a cracker of a WooStore.
However, first, you’ve to get a few important pages set up on your Store before going live!
Step 6 – Setting up essential pages on your Store
Every WooStore will have certain important pages that demand and invoke action from your buyers.
Your buyers will stumble upon these pages once they land on your website. In fact, they would be expecting to go through these pages as part of their buying process.
Let’s take a look?
This is one of the most crucial pages of your store. You’ll be listing all your products on this page. The buyers visiting your store will navigate through this page to check out and explore your products.
Now, to add the Shop page, you can go to:
- WordPress Dashboard > Pages > Add New
There are various settings available for you to add different elements to your shop page. In addition, you can even head to the settings of the shop page and enable/disable the options to display ratings and reviews of products.
You can choose the appropriate settings as per your tactics and save the ones that make sense to you.
Another important factor to consider before going live. This is a page where your buyers will be able to see all the items they’ve added to their cart.
Your customers can adjust and make changes to their orders through this page.
Also, the cart page is a very good opportunity for you to upsell or cross-sell other complementary or related products. Similar to the shop page, you can head to your dashboard and page section to create a cart page.
This is a page where the transaction will take place. Your customers will be able to pay for the product and choose their shipping method through the Checkout page.
Since this is the most important page, I’d advise you not to upsell or flood your checkout page with any other distraction. The last thing you’d need is having your customers distracted right at the time of the payment which can be a disaster. I mean, getting your customers to this page is a huge task in itself!
So, to configure this page, follow the same process as you did for the shop and cart page.
Similarly, you can go on about adding different vital pages such as the Contact Us page, About Us page, etc., and make your website easier to understand, navigate, and engage.
Well, this brings us to the end of the essential pages set up. Your store is almost ready! Just one last step and you’re good to go.
Step 7 – Enhance WooCommerce functionalities
Technically, your WooStore is ready to go live!!!
I’ve included this step to remind you about the power of impressive and vast extensions that you can add to enhance your WooStore to the next level.
And, while there are tons and tons of plugins, there’s no need to get worked up about it. You don’t have to add all the plugins. Just go through this list, mark what you like, and use the functions later.
- WISDM Product Enquiry Pro – This is a lead generation plugin that’ll enable you to add ‘Inquiry’ forms and ‘Request a Quote’ option on your products page.
- Advanced Flat Rate Shipping for WooCommerce – With this plugin, you can improve the shipping experience for your customers through its smooth functions to create shipping rules based on the cart, quantity, etc. Plus, it calculates taxation and shipping rates on its own.
- Mollie Payments for WooCommerce – A plugin that provides safe payment gateways to accept payments online. You can add Credit Card, Debit Card, International payment method, etc. on top of the default PayPal payments method.
- WISDM Customer Specific Pricing – You can use this plugin to increase conversions on your WooStore. This plugin allows you to set up dynamic pricing and discounting rules for different user roles, groups, and customers in your WooStore.
- RafflePress – This plugin will help you run viral giveaway campaigns. Doing this can help in the promotion of your WooStore.
And, for a more detailed and comprehensive list of plugins, you can check out this article on the Best WooCommerce plugins recommended by WooExperts.
Having said that, these are some of the most important plugins you will need on your WooStore as and when your business starts growing. So, I suggest you bookmark this post right away so that you can quickly skim through this section in the future 🙂
Well, you’re all set mate! It’s now time to make your WooStore Live!!! Go sell those products/services you’ve always dreamt of. All the best 🙂
Step 8 – Promote your WooStore
Now, this is a bonus step for you!
Since you’ve already got your WooStore up and running, I figured you could use a little help with promotions of your store because that’s literally the only thing left to do 🙂
Merely selling quality products with great shop designs isn’t enough to grow your business. You’d need to implement and rely on marketing and promotion strategies to boost your sales, earn profits, and win customer loyalty.
So, here’s a bunch of things you can use to achieve the same and add more value to your WooStore:
OptinMonster – This is a plugin you’ll need in your artillery to grow your email list, show targeted messages, create attractive sales offers, and ultimately convert site visitors into customers.
- Contact Form – Your customers will look for ways to get in touch with you. And, having a contact form is the best way to make that happen. Let customers ask queries about your products and it’s also a great way to capture their email Ids. Plus, you also get a chance to identify your customer persona in detail.
- WooCommerce Points and Rewards – Having a good loyalty point and programs is a sign of a good brand. Rewarding your customers with points on purchases and letting them redeem those points for future purchases increases customer loyalty, retention, and engagement significantly.
- WISDM Custom Product Bundling – Grouping related or complementary products together in a bundle is a great way to increase your average order value. Customers often prefer buying product bundles since they see more value in it. Using this strategy can shoot up your sales immensely.
- Shared Counts – Allow your buyers to share your products/services with their friends or family through social media. This can bring in a lot of traffic and eventually increase your sales as well.
- Google Ads – Reaching out to people is really important for your business. And, with this plugin, you can promote your products to interested buyers through Google. Using this plugin can help you push your traffic and sales by miles.
Again, WooCommerce has a library of plugins that makes it possible for you to include any functionality that you can think about.
And, I hope these plugins will help you market and grow your business 🙂
That being said, I strongly recommend you to consistently focus on the marketing and promotions of your products and store. In the end, driving sales is what matters and WooCommerce is well-equipped with plugins to help you achieve that goal.
Well, that’s about it! You’re all good to go! Do you feel like a Pro already? 😛
And, that was the ultimate guide on how to set up your WooCommerce store without a developer!
I hope the article was able to arm you with enough material to set up a WooCommerce store on your own.
In case, you have any doubts or concerns regarding any of the steps in the process, feel free to ask in the comments below. I’ll try my best to answer them ASAP 🙂