How to start an online store
The ultimate 5 Steps Guide to start selling products online
An online store on your website can be a fantastic way to make money blogging. If you have never created an online store before you can feel a little trepidation.
Certain queries can flood the mind – How do I start an online store? How to build an online store? How to have a successful online store? How to start an online store with no money? – these can all be genuine concerns. The good news is there has never been a better time to start your own online store. With eCommerce accounting for 14.3% of all retail sales and online shopping growing 13.7% every year. If you are wondering how to start an online store look no further than an online store builder.
How to start an online store for free? An online store builder would be the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to start an online store. Follow our guided steps to show you how to build an online store from scratch!
What do you need to start an online store?
So how do I to start an online store?
To start an online store there’s two things you need:
- Domain Name: A domain name is your website’s address on the internet.
- Web Hosting: A web hosting service is where your website will live on the world wide web.
We also need your full attention for 30 minutes.
So, we can show you how to open an online store step by step.
Here we will cover:
- Register a Domain Name
- How to choose the best WooCommerce Hosting
- Getting SSL certificate
- Install WordPress
- Create a WooCommerce Store
- Add Products to your Online Store
- Customise your theme + plugins
1 Setup Your Online Store Platform:
One of the biggest mistakes most users make is not choosing the right platform for their online store.
There are so many choices, well here we only recommend two:
- Shopify: This is an all in one commercial system which costs 29$ a month.
Packaged into one product you can customise your online store with unique
templates and upload your products and begin selling to the masses online.
- WooCommerce/WordPress: If you are wondering how to start an online store for free, WooCommerce maybe the solution.
It is a free open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress powering over 1.5million active online stores.
To create your online store, you will need to have a domain name, SSL certificate and a web hosting service.
A domain name is your sites address online. The name users will type into their browsers to find your site.
Every eCommerce website must also have an SSL certificate.
This makes it easy for online store sites to protect and encrypt sensitive data for example credit card numbers.
When you create a website you must select a web hosting service.
Which allows you to make your website accessible to all on the internet.
Purchasing a domain will set you back around $14.99 a year, while an SSL certificate costs $69.99 a year and web hosting costs $7.99.
‘Bluehost’ are a trusted and recommended hosting provider from WordPress.
At buildyourownblog.net we offer a special discount when you sign up with ‘Bluehost’ – Just click on the button below and get a special offer
Below are steps for you to sign up to WooCommerce/WordPress using the ‘Bluehost’ hosting provider.
First open Bluehost in a new window then click on the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.
Next choose the plan that suits best.
The starter plan and the premium plan are the most popular.
Once you have your plan selected you will be asked to enter the domain name for your website.
Next add your account information and select the package information you want to complete the process.
You will also notice some extra options on this screen that you can purchase.
This is totally up to yourself whether you purchase any of these additional options, but generally it is not recommended.
Once complete you will receive an email detailing how to login to your web hosting control panel(cPanel).
Here you can manage anything from emails to support, among other items.
Login to your cPanel and you will be greeted with a popup that informs you WordPress with WooCommerce is pre-installed on your website.
Well done, you have now setup your web hosting and domain.
2 Setting up WordPress:
Bluehost has installed your online store builder WordPress and WooCommerce on your website.
Log into your online store builder WordPress and you will see a welcome page.
You will be asked what type of website you want to set up here.
You should choose ‘I don’t need help’ link – don’t panic we will walk you through all steps.
On closing the setup wizard, you will see the WordPress dashboard which looks as follows:
By visiting Settings » General page you can setup your WordPress site title and description.
A free SSL Certificate came with your WordPress hosting package.
However, you will need to configure your WordPress site, so it loads as https rather than http.
In Settings » General change your WordPress address and site address to use https rather than http.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘save changes’ button to save your settings.
Bingo! Your WordPress basic setup is complete, you are now ready to setup your online store!
3 Setting up WooCommerce Store:
Prior to selling products on your online store you must setup your shipping information, default currency and payment details.
On your admin WordPress page, you will see ‘Welcome to WooCommerce’, in the notification click on the ‘Run Setup Wizard Button’.
This will launch the WooCommerce setup wizard.
Next you will work on page setups for cart, account shop and checkout.
Click on the continue button and the pages will be automatically created.
You now need to tell WooCommerce your location and which currency and unit measures your online store will use.
Once selected click the continue button to move to the next screen.
Here you will enter shipping and tax information.
Through WooCommerce you can sell both physical and digital products.
Check the box if you will be shipping goods or leave it unchecked if not.
You will also be required to answer tax questions, WooCommerce can calculate automatically adding tax prices.
If you are anyway unsure you can add the tax details at another time, so leave unchecked.
Click on the continue button to move to the next screen to setup your payment method.
When it comes to payment method for your online store WooCommerce default payment gateways are PayPal, PayPal Standard and Stripe.
PayPal Standard is the easiest way for your online store to accept payments.
Just add your PayPal email address and click on the continue button.
PayPal Standard is now setup.
A lot of businesses also use Stripe as well as PayPal, this allows customers to input credit card details without leaving your site.
By following the instructions on the WooCommerce screen you can easily setup Stripe.
Once this task is completed your WooCommerce store is all ready to go!
To exit the Setup Wizard, you need to click ‘Return to WordPress dashboard’.
4 Adding your Products you want to sell to your online store
Here we will show you how to start a successful online store by adding your products.
Select the Products » Add New page to add a new product.
Here you can add a title for your product and a detailed description.
The ‘Product Categories’ box is on the righthand column click on the ‘+Add New Product’ to create a category for the product.
This allows customers and yourself to browse and sort products easily.
Scroll down on the screen and you will see the Product Data box.
Here you can provide product related information like pricing, inventory, shipping etc.
Under the product data box, you will see a box to add a product short description.
Short description is used when customers are viewing multiple products on a page.
In the right hand column you can add a main product image and a product gallery.
Once you are happy with all you can click on the Publish button which will make the page live to your website.
For all additional products repeat the process.
5 Customize WordPress Theme
A theme is the overall look, feel and style of a website.
WooCommerce themes control how your products are displayed and how your site looks to users on visiting it.
There are literally thousands of free and paid WordPress themes which are available to you.
Bluehost installs the Storefront theme automatically for your website. In the Appearance » Customize page you can update different theme settings and customize to suit your online store.
If the Storefront theme is not in line with your blog niche.
You can choose another theme by visiting the Appearance » Themes page.
We also recommend Themeforest themes.
You can download a WordPress theme from Themeforest which will appear as a .zip file.
This main theme file can be uploaded through WordPress.
To install the theme, select the Appearance » Themes page.
Then click on the ‘Add New’ button.
Next click on the upload theme button at the top of the ‘Add Themes’ screen.
Choose the .zip file that you downloaded earlier, select the file and click ‘install now’.
Once your Themeforest theme is installed.
You will see a success message along with a link to activate and preview the theme.
Click the ‘Activate’ link to complete the installation of the theme.
You can further customize WordPress adding features like contact forms and galleries etc with WordPress plugins.
Plugins are apps which allow you to add new features to your website.
There are over 46,000 WordPress plugins available so plenty to choose from.
We hope this tutorial helped and showed you how to create an online store for more details check out our blog or get some blog post ideas build a blog.