26 August 2022
Do you want to start an online store with WordPress?
Creating an eCommerce store isn’t as tough as it once was. There are various platforms that let you set up your store and sell without any prior expertise or technical skills.
The trick is to select the perfect platform that provides everything you need without requiring a large investment from you.
At Pickup WP, we know the ins and outs of eCommerce stores. As a result, we’ve put up this guide to teach you how to start an online store in simple steps.
Yes, you may start an online store with no money at all.
Of course, the cost of launching a store depends on what you want to sell and the platform you want to use. If you want to do everything without spending money, you’ll have to work on the site yourself.
Even then, you may need a small budget for marketing, software, or content.
There is no better time than this to build an online store.
Anyone with a computer can get started in minutes without any special skills.
To start an online store, you’ll need three things:
Yes, it is that easy.
You can create your online store using WordPress in just 30 minutes, and we’ll help you through the steps.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is crucial because it is difficult to change your decision if it proves wrong.
That’s why we recommend two popular eCommerce platforms: Shopify and WordPress + WooCommerce.
eCommerce platforms such as Shopify make it relatively simple for anyone to sell things online. You can sell both physical and digital goods. However, Shopify is expensive, so you’ll require a significant investment to get started.
Furthermore, Shopify is fully hosted, which means you have less control over your site’s design, customization, and management.
This is why most users use WordPress + WooCommerce to start their online store.
WooCommerce is WordPress’s top online store builder that includes everything you need to sell products. Furthermore, many extensions are available to add additional features and functions to your store.
Here’s why we think WooCommerce is the best platform to start an online store:
Furthermore, the WooCommerce and WordPress communities are massive. So, if you ever run into trouble with your own online store, there are a lot of online communities and forums to help you.
However, when you choose WooCommerce to start an online store, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
WooCommerce is designed to be flexible, making it an excellent choice for entrepreneurs, startups, small and large enterprises, and just about anyone who wants to sell online.
As previously said, WooCommerce is a part of WordPress, an open-source, self-hosted platform.
To launch an eCommerce store, you’ll need a domain name, web hosting, and an SSL certificate.
A domain name is the internet address for your website, such as Pickupwp.com.
While a domain name is your website’s address, hosting is where your site is hosted.
Basically, web hosting is storage for all of your website’s files. Visitors can access your site once they’ve been stored there. As a result, selecting good eCommerce hosting is a critical step in starting your online business.
When visitors visit your website, data is exchanged between your server and their browsers. If a hacker intercepts this data, they can misuse it.
To avoid this, you must install an SSL certificate. This will encrypt any data transferred to and from your website.
If you run an online store, this is a must because you will be managing sensitive data such as client payment details, shipping prices, and contact information.
To avoid a data breach, you must ensure that your website is secure.
A better way to get these three things in one package is through Bluehost. It is the top web hosting provider on the market and is even officially recommended by WordPress.org.
To start, open the Bluehost website in a new window and click the Host Your Site button to start.
Next, select the hosting plan. You can go with the Basic and Plus plan, which will cover all of your site’s essential needs.
Then, you’ll be asked to enter the domain name for your website.
Lastly, enter your account information and finalize the package information to complete the process. Plus, you can also purchase extras for your store.
Although it is totally up to you whether or not to buy these, you can also add them later if you feel you need them.
When finished, you will receive an email with details on how to log in to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you handle all things, including support, emails, etc.
Once you are logged into the cPanel, you’ll notice that Bluehost has already installed WordPress for you, and you can simply click on the Log in to WordPress button.
You just need to click on the Log in to WordPress button, which will take you to your WordPress site’s dashboard. It looks something like this:
Congrats, you have finished setting up the hosting and domain part.
The next step is to set up WordPress and your online store.
Let’s set up your WordPress site.
To start, go to the Settings » General page and enter your WordPress site title and description.
You can use your store name as the site title and add a catchy description for your business. Don’t worry if you can’t think of a description instantly because it is optional.
Your WordPress hosting plan included a free SSL Certificate. This certificate is already installed for your domain name. However, you must configure your WordPress site to load as https rather than http.
You must change your WordPress Address and Site Address to https instead of http on the Settings » General page.
Once done, scroll down and click the Save Changes button to save your settings.
Your WordPress setup is complete. It’s time to set up your online store now.
WooCommerce is an online store builder for WordPress that includes everything you need to sell products.
First, install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. For more in detail, see our guide on how to install a plugin in WordPress.
Upon activation, click on the Run the Setup Wizard button. This will take you inside the setup wizard screen, where you will have to provide important WooCommerce settings.
First, you must enter basic information for your online stores, such as your address, country, and region. If you’re a retailer, you can use your shop location as the address.
After that, click the Continue button to go to the next step.
Following that, you will be asked to choose a store industry. You can choose an industry related to the store type you want to start.
After that, you’ll be asked to choose the types of products you’ll sell in your store. For example, you can choose physical products if your products require a shipment.
Additionally, you can also choose multiple product types. Then, click the Continue button.
Next, you’ll be asked to provide basic business information, such as how many products you aim to offer and whether you sell elsewhere. You can select I don’t have any products yet and click No for the other option.
Now, click on the Free Features tab. You’ll see a box pre-checked to install free website features.
You should uncheck this option because it will install various WooCommerce extensions you may not require. You can install them later if you need them in the future.
Now, click the Continue button.
You’ll next be asked to select a theme for your online store. You can keep your current default theme, choose Storefront, or any free options on the website.
Don’t worry about selecting the ideal theme right away.
That’s all; you’ve completed the basic WooCommerce setup.
After completing the WooCommerce setup wizard, you are now ready to start selling your product to your customers.
To add a new product, go to the Products » Add New page from your WordPress dashboard.
Here, you can enter the name in the title section. Then provide a long description of the product’s characteristics and benefits.
It’s worth mentioning that while writing the title and description, you can take it a step further by using organic keywords. This is a keyword used in search engine optimization to gain free traffic.
The product type you choose is based on the product you are selling. WooCommerce, by default, allows you to select different product types.
There are two additional options to modify the four basic product types:
Adding the product data to the Product data box is very easy.
You can find this section just below the WordPress editor, where we added the product description as shown in the screenshot below:
We’ll use a simple product for this guide. However, the process is usually the same for other product types with a few additional options.
In this tab, you should enter the regular price and sale price. When creating a discount campaign, you can use the sale price. Customers in your online store will always see the regular price unless you mark it as a sale.
This tab allows you to manage stock properly. You will also find the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), stock status, and other options. SKU is the product code that identifies stock in lists, invoices, or order forms.
This tab allows you to enter the weight and dimensions of the product. Furthermore, the shipping class is an option in which products are grouped depending on weight limits.
This tab lets you add linked products. They will increase your store’s revenue through upsells and cross-sells.
This tab allows you to add product color variations, sizes, and so much more. It depends on how many attributes your product will have.
In this tab, you can add a purchase message that appears after a customer places an order in your store.
You can select the item’s custom ordering position and check the box to enable customer reviews.
After finishing the product data section, scroll down to the Product short description box.
It will be shown prominently on your single product page, with the extended description appearing further down.
We strongly advise limiting the short description to 2-3 sentences. The main reason is that search engines pick up on short stories more frequently, which is important for your store’s SEO.
The product page is almost ready if you follow our described easy steps.
However, before you publish your product, add some relevant details using the sidebar on the right.
Once you’re happy with all of the product information you’ve entered, click the Publish button to make it live on your website.
Follow the same process to add other products as needed.
You must now set up payment methods for your store to accept online payments. WooCommerce includes many payment gateways that are simple to set up.
Go to the WooCommerce » Settings page and switch to the Payments tab. By default, you can choose from Cash on Delivery, Checks, and Bank Transfers.
Scroll below, and you will also see the option to install Stripe, Razorpay, and PayU for WooCommerce. You can find more when you click the Discover other payment providers link.
You can click on the Finish set up button for each payment gateway and provide the required information.
Themes control how your WordPress sites appear to users when they visit them. For a WooCommerce shop, a theme also controls how your products are displayed.
Several free and premium WordPress themes are available to help you create an eye-catching online presence.
However, not all WordPress themes are designed specifically for eCommerce stores. We’ve hand-picked some of the best WooCommerce themes for you to consider.
If you need help selecting a theme, please refer to our guide on selecting a perfect WordPress theme.
The one WooCommerce theme that we recommended is the Astra theme. This theme was developed by Brainstorm Force and used by over more than 1+ million users.
It also works beautifully with page builders such as Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect, Elementor, Divi Builder, Brizy, etc.
Furthermore, the Astra theme is highly customizable and has many outstanding features.
It is also a super lightweight theme. Astra should load a website in less than half a second when using the default WordPress data. The loading speed is obtained by disabling jQuery and keeping resources under 50kb.
When you install and activate Astra, a new settings box becomes available. This settings box will be shown when you edit posts, pages, and other custom post types.
You can change many standard page settings here. You can change the position of the sidebar and whether the content is boxed or full-width.
Additionally, you can completely disable elements like the header, page title, featured image, and footer bar.
This setup is great since you can customize how everything looks on a page-by-page basis.
For more details, check out your Astra theme review.
Now that your store is almost done, you may want to add extra features to make it a successful online store. For example, you may add a contact form or promote your brand-new company on social media to get your first sale.
This is where plugins come in.
Both WooCommerce and WordPress allow you to add new features to your website by installing plugins or extensions.
Plugins are similar to apps for your WordPress site. There are thousands of them available, both free and paid. The WordPress.org plugin directory alone contains over 59,000 plugins.
However, the number of options makes it difficult for beginners to select the proper plugins. How can you decide which plugin to use?
Here are our top recommendations for essential plugins that every online store should have.
OptinMonster is the top WordPress lead generation and conversion optimization plugin.
It helps you effortlessly convert your online store visitors into paying customers. It offers tools like lightbox popups, countdown timers, spin to win, and more.
All of these help to increase conversions, boost sales, expand your email list, and reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Optinmonster starts at $9 per month for the Basic plan.
For more information, see our detailed OptinMonster review.
When you start an online store, you’ll need to create various online forms, including contact, review, survey, registration, and login forms.
The WPForms plugin is the easiest way to build all these forms for your website.
WPForms is the most popular form builder for WordPress. It includes 300+ templates and a powerful drag-and-drop builder to help you design any form you need.
A free version called WPForm Lite is available on the WordPress.org plugin directory. However, you need a premium plugin for more advanced features, which starts at $39.50 per year.
All in One SEO is the top SEO plugin for WooCommerce. It helps you effortlessly improve your online store for SEO without prior knowledge of search engine optimization.
It has complete eCommerce support, schema markup, sitemaps, breadcrumbs, and other features. All these features help you in increasing traffic to your online store.
A free version of AIOSEO is available for those whore just starting out. However, the premium version starts from $49.60 per year.
When your store takes off, it’s a good idea to track where your customers are coming from and what they like and dislike. A plugin like MonsterInsights allows you to connect your WordPress website to Google Analytics without touching a single line of code.
Further, you can keep track of your forms, eCommerce revenue, and overall site performance. MonsterInsights can also help you uncover top-performing pages, products, and custom events to better your marketing strategy and boost campaigns.
Like other plugins, a free version is available. The Premium version starts at $99.50 per year.
The CartFlows plugin helps to optimize your sales funnels by using key pages and features to help visitors complete transactions and become customers.
It interacts smoothly with WooCommerce and allows you to access a library of pre-built pages that you can import with a single click.
These pre-built sales funnels are simple to customize to your specific requirements and preference.
CarFlows offers both free and premium versions. The Premium version starts at $239 per year.
SeedProd is the best WordPress and WooCommerce page builder plugin. It lets you quickly create custom landing pages for your online store.
Furthermore, It offers ready-to-use conversion and sales templates. It also features WooCommerce blocks that you use to create custom product pages, checkout pages, thank you pages, and more. Additionally, you can connect it to your email marketing service to expand your email list.
A free version of SeedProd is available with limited features. The Premium version starts at $39.50 per year.
Advanced Coupons is the top WooCommerce coupon code plugin. It lets you extend WooCommerce’s default coupon functionality and build highly effective coupons to help your business grow.
Advanced Coupons allows you to design a loyalty program, scheduled coupons, Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal, shipping coupons, and more.
CarFlows offers both free and premium versions. The Premium version starts at $59.50 per year.
TrustPulse is the social proof notification plugin for WordPress. It helps you develop trust and confidence with your target audience to increase sales.
TrustPulse works by detecting recent sales and other activity on your website. It then displays this information in non-intrusive popups for others to view.
When new visitors observe others taking action on your website, such as making a purchase or signing up for newsletters, it motivates them to follow suit.
It starts at $5 per month.
AffiliateWP makes it simple to integrate an affiliate program into your online store. This allows you to collaborate with affiliate marketers to advertise your products in exchange for a commission.
It starts at $149.50 per year.
When it comes to online sales of goods and services, speed is everything. Visitors expect your website to load in three seconds or less. Otherwise, they will leave and go to a competitor or alternative.
Furthermore, your checkout procedure should be as easy and quick as possible.
A plugin like WP Rocket is crucial to increase your website speed. Installing this cache plugin will automatically implement all of the recommended measures on your website. This will instantly increase the speed of your website.
You may learn more about this plugin’s features and benefits here: WP Rocket Review.
WP Rocket starts at $49 per year.
These are our top suggested plugins for managing and marketing your website. You can add the best plugins for your site based on your business plan.
For more plugin suggestions, see our list of the top WooCommerce plugins for online stores.
With that, you’ve learned to start an online store and run it successfully.
Now that your store is online, you’ll find these resources helpful: