How To Create an Online Store with WooCommerce
Can we be honest about one thing?
It would be really cool to run a great online store.
It doesn’t have to be the next Amazon, Wayfair, Target or NextFab. Just the kind of store where people actually buy your jewelry, accessories, coaching packages or eBooks every day, leaving reviews, reading your blog and helping fuel your passion.
Honestly, I’ve never had the feeling of selling products – I provide others with it! I’m a web designer. I help people like you make an online store and interview store owners, setting you guys up with online shops that work well and get the job done. My product isn’t jewelry or home decor, it’s how-to videos on WordPress setup. But the people I’ve helped have made real stores that have dramatically transformed their businesses and bottom lines.
And of all the online store eCommerce website setups I’ve gone through, one thing remains true: it’s really rewarding and incredibly fun to get that store you envisioned finally launched.
So, how do you create this online store?
Well, here’s the really good news – even if you’re a total beginner: If you can setup a WordPress blog, your dream online store is closer than you might think.
In this post we’ll compare eCommerce softwares then look at why making an online store with your existing WordPress skills and one tiny little plugin I’ll introduce you to could be your ticket to running the online store of your dreams.
E-Commerce Software Is Literally Popping Up Everywhere
Let’s back up and address the fact that there’s more than WordPress out there.
Whether you’ve tried blogging and websites before or you still want to run a brick and mortar business, it’s important that you do your eCommerce homework and learn how millions of your peers and shop owners are selling their products online.
The most popular software by far used today include Shopify, Magento, Prestashop, BigCommerce, Zen Cart and WordPress.
Doing a quick search in Google reveals the many options:
This graph of best eCommerce platforms is also a must see.
In short, you have your options. You can try them all and make a store with each one. While I don’t recommend running 5 online stores, it’s possible if you have the time and you’ll almost certainly find success with one of them – or become someone like me in the process who has to know about all of them!
Here’s why we’ll focus on WordPress in this article:
- It’s much more affordable to create a WordPress blog (your only costs are domain and hosting, about $5/month); and
- You actually learn how to set up a website when you make a WordPress website (instead of having a company like one of the above do it for you).
For example, the costs of running an entry level Shopify store are $29/month and you can make a Facebook store for $9. Either way, this is risky, because you give up control and you don’t get to learn all the details of how to make a website. This skill alone becomes really valuable when you want to create other types of client or personal websites or move your websites later on.
To sum up: while it’s possible to create a website with every software, it’s not cost- or time-efficient, so let’s move on to the most popular eCommerce software most folks use and how to do it.
Use The Most Downloaded Plugin in WordPress
Imagine if there were a plugin that could make your humble but lovely old WordPress blog into an online store.
You wouldn’t even need to learn a whole new software. You could just install a tiny little plugin and your blog becomes an online store as quickly as it takes you change fonts.
There is: WooCommerce!
WooCommerce. A massive software. Bundled into a tiny plugin. Delivered to you. Install and change your blog into a bustling store.
Of course, WooCommerce isn’t just any ordinary plugin. The average plugin in the WordPress plugin directory currently has about 20-30,000 downloads.
WooCommerce has over 28,000,000 downloads. Thats a lot of online stores. Hardly a new tech trend, but if you’re new to the online store party, welcome.
So why is WooCommerce so popular, boasting about as many downloads as Katy Perry’s songs on Spotify?
- Ease of use
You can install WooCommerce in two clicks then the Setup Wizard guide your through about 10 more clicks to completion. Done and done.
- Theme compatibility
WooCommerce is made for WordPress themes. You can look up whether your theme is compatible, as so many free WordPress themes for WooCommerce are.
- Full suite of pages
When you install WooCommerce onto a WordPress blog you automatically get Shop, Cart, Account and Checkout pages, all of which I for one thought had to be custom coded by web designers.
- Customers stay happy
Customers stay happy. I had to repeat that because when you give your users clearly labeled products and a shopping experience even easier than Amazon (yes, you can checkout on WooCommerce without logging in, which technically makes it an even quicker checkout than on Amazon!) then you have very happy customers who love your products, too.
Discover Who Else Uses WooCommerce
WooCommerce has a silly name but it’s used by some very serious companies, including Duracell, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and Men’s Health. WooCommerce even has an entire section of online stores that sell coffee.
(The link above will take you to the full WooCommerce eCommerce WordPress showcase page too.)
You don’t need to be a web designer to use WooCommerce, and that’s part of the beauty of it.
As they say on their homepage, it’s the best solution for Store Owners and Developers.
They even made an easy to use WordPress Theme called Storefront (with over 1.4 million downloads!) where you can create the most simple online store ever and start selling your products.
Of course, there are more complex themes for WooCommerce you might prefer. Many of the best WooCommerce eCommerce themes are sold on ThemeForest for under $100, a relatively small price to pay considering you’re creating an online store!
But through the parallax banners and video sliders the focus always stays on one thing: selling your products easily.
One Last Question
Why have you not already built an online store with WooCommerce?
No, that would be too cheesy of a question to end with.
The question that remains is this: How do you actually get people to buy your products once you’ve installed WooCommerce?
That is, how do you find the right products, create them in physical form, upload them to your store, hunt down beautiful images, and gain the confidence to launch an online store?
Good thing there’s a video for that:
The video provides a comprehensive hands on demo explaining how to make an eCommerce website online store for beginners using WordPress. It takes about 5 hours to complete, but at the 1.5 hour make you’ll have a WordPress website with WooCommerce and can basically start selling (and hold off on the detailed designing if you’d like). Make sure to read the blog post guide that comes with this tutorial!
Now Get Started Today
There is so much demand for your goods and services online nowadays that if you have a product or product idea and aren’t trying to sell it, you’re losing money.
Even if it still seems difficult to get started and build your eCommerce website, if you start today it will be that much easier – and you’ll be that much closer to sustainable sales – one year from today.
Greg Narayan believes no beginner blog question should go unanswered. He left his “office space” desk job to help audiences learn how to make a WordPress blog and explains how to blog at DearBlogger.org. When not delivering blogging tips, Greg enjoys Wordfeud, roadtrips, playing with Leroy and Snowy (his adorable kittens) and offering further WordPress support at TheWordpressExperience.com, so it sort of never ends and he’s okay with that.