Having an eCommerce website can be an effective way to sell your products and services online.
In this tutorial, I will show you all of the information that you need on how to create an eCommerce website step by step for both beginners and all WordPress users.
Right after this guide, you’ll be able to fully set up your store professionally that looks great and is fully customizable.
What You’ll Need to Create an eCommerce Website
- A domain name (This will be your online store website’s address. For example, thriftstore.com)
- A web hosting account (This is where the website files are stored)
- A working WordPress install
- A Reliable eCommerce platform
- A eCommerce add-on for WordPress to add extra functionality
And in this tutorial, we will cover:
- How to Buy Web Hosting With a Free Domain Name
- How to Get an SSL Certificate for Free
- How to Install and Setup WordPress
- How to Install and Configure WooCommerce
- How to Setup Payment Methods
- How to Add Products in WooCommerce
- How to Customize Your eCommerce Site
- How to Extend Your eCommerce Site with Plugins
Are you excited? Let’s get started.
Steps to Launching your eCommerce Website with WordPress
Here at WPMakeSite, we recommend Bluehost web hosting and WooCommerce for building and launching your eCommerce site.
Step 1: Buy Web Hosting With a Free Domain Name
To set up your eCommerce website or any type of website you need a domain name and web hosting.
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. It is what users will type in their browsers to reach your website (for example: thriftstore.com).
Web hosting is where your eCommerce website lives on the internet.
There are several hosting providers in the market that give you the ability to register your domain, making it super easy for you to register both domain and hosting.
The good thing about this is that you don’t have to pay for the domain for the first year if you buy a hosting service from the same company.
Normally, a domain name costs more or less $15 per year. So if you buy their hosting service from the same company, that means you can save $15 already for domain registration. Click here for more quick tips for saving your web hosting budget.
Luckily today, Bluehost offers our users, not just a free domain name but also a free SSL certificate and a discounted web hosting package.
Bluehost is one of the oldest web hosting companies and WordPress recommended web hosting partner.
To get started, head over to Bluehost’s official website in a new window using this link and click on the green Get Started Now button.
On the next screen, select the plan that suits your need (Basic and Plus are the most popular).
You will then be asked to enter the domain name for your e-Commerce website. You should have a name ready at this moment. But if you need domain name ideas for your business, click here.
Lastly, you will need to add your account information and finalize the package info to complete the process. On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase.
It’s entirely up to you whether or not you purchase these. You can always add them later on, if you decide that you need them.
Once done, you will receive an email with details on how to log in to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything from support, emails, and more.
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.
And that’s it, you have finished setting up your web hosting and domain name.
The next step will be to set up WordPress and WooCommerce as a choice for our eCommerce store.
Step 2. Setting up WordPress
Log in to your WordPress Dashboard, and go ahead to Settings » General page to set up the site title and description.
Add your store name as the site title and provide a tagline for your business in the fields provided.
Click on the Save Changes button to save the settings.
Enable SSL and Enforce HTTPS
Next, you’ll need to install an SSL certificate to enable the secure HTTPS protocol on your store.
This is really important to protect your customer’s data safe.
Luckily with Bluehost, this is already included with our hosting package. This certificate is pre-installed for your domain name. If it is not, you’ll need to change it in your hosting account Dashboard.
Go to the My Sites » Security tab to setup it up as you can see from the screenshot below.
Make sure SSL Certificate and Enforce HTTPS is enabled.
For other providers, you may need to contact their Customer Support if you don’t see this feature.
Step 3. Installing and Configuring WooCommerce
We now have a basic WordPress site set up. Next, it’s time to turn it into a functional eCommerce store by installing the WooCommerce plugin.
WooCommerce is the best eCommerce store builder on the market. And it is available for free at WordPress.org, so you can install it like any other WordPress plugin. For more details, see my step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, it should automatically launch its guided setup wizard and you’ll see the Welcome to WooCommerce screen. Let’s go through the setup steps.
First, you need to provide basic information about your eCommerce store’s location.
After that, click on the Continue button to move on to the next step.
Next, you’ll be asked to enter some details about your store’s industry. You can choose the industry closest to the type of store you want to make.
Click on the Continue button to move on.
Here, you’ll be asked to choose the product types you’ll be selling in your store. In most cases, you will just want to check the Physical products. Otherwise, if you’re selling digital products, you can check the Downloads option. And so on, you get the point.
Click on the Continue button to move on to the next step.
Next, you’ll be asked to provide some business details like how many products you plan to sell and if you are selling elsewhere.
You can choose that I don’t have products yet and select No for the other option.
If you are a freelance WordPress Developer who makes a website for a client, you can check the option where it says so.
WooCommerce will also prompt you to add free business features to your store. Just switch to the Free Features tab for its additional settings.
You’ll see a box pre-checked to install these features for your website. Click the accordion to expand the options.
You can uncheck the options that you may not need. You can always install this later if you need them.
Click on the Continue button for the final step.
Lastly, you’ll be asked to choose a theme for your eCommerce store. You can continue with your current default theme, by clicking on the big blue button.
Or you may also choose any of the free options listed on the page. But this is optional at this moment, you can always install great themes later on.
That’s it, you now have successfully completed the basic WooCommerce setup.
Step 4. Setting up Payment Methods
In order to accept online payments for your site, you need to set up a payment method.
Go to WooCommerce » Settings » Payments and choose different payment gateways that you can easily set up. By default, you can choose from Cash on Delivery, Checks, and Bank Transfers.
There are also additional ways to get paid using any of the following options below.
For each payment gateway, you can click on the Set up button and provide the required information. For instance, you can enable Paypal and enter your API Keys (you can find this information under your Paypal account).
Click on the Save changes button to store your payment settings.
Step 5. Adding Products in WooCommerce
Your eCommerce store is nothing without a product in it. So let’s get started and add our first product.
To create a product, go to Products » Add New.
Here, you need to fill out the necessary product information.
- Short and long description
- Product image
- Product gallery
- Product categories
- Product type under Product data box
It doesn’t need to be perfect, just try your best to add the necessary product details. You can always come back and edit these details later on.
Once you are satisfied with all the product information you have added, you can click on the Publish button to make it live on your website.
You just need to repeat the process to add more products as needed.
Step 6. Customize Your Site With Theme
That’s great, we now have a functioning eCommerce store but we still need to make it beautiful for customers.
That’s why we still need to check and look for the best WooCommerce themes.
Themes essentially are how the site looks to the customer when they visit your store and a lot more. There are a few quality features to look for in a WooCommerce theme which include:
- Design – Your theme plays a large role, so choosing the best theme is crucial. Find a theme that has a great design that matches your brand.
- Features – A good WooCommerce theme also comes packed with great features like product filters, user-friendly, and search engine friendliness among other things.
- Performance – For most, the site needs to load fast so that your customer will not bounce back once they visit your store. So it’s essential to choose a lightweight WooCommerce theme.
There are thousands of free WordPress themes available that help you create an awesome online presence. For more details, see my step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress theme.
Once you have installed a WooCommerce theme you can customize its appearance to your own design and requirements.
To customize the theme styles, such as fonts and colors, you can go to Appearance » Customize.
Step 7. Extend Your Site With Plugins
One of the best things about using WooCommerce for WordPress eCommerce is the number of plugins available.
There are thousands of them that you can use, both free and premium. The WordPress.org plugin directory alone has more than 59,500 plugins. Your store will absolutely need it to add key features and functionality.
Due to the complexity of an eCommerce store and the individual requirement, I can’t recommend a single set of plugins for all stores because of so many variables.
Generally, you’ll want to install plugins to set up your store’s additional payment gateways, shipping rules, tax rates, marketing tools, wishlist, etc.
Let’s take a look at these great add-ons in order to give you extra functionality to make your online store run smoothly.
- FiboSearch – Ajax Search for WooCommerce
- Advanced AJAX Product Filters
- YITH WooCommerce Wishlist
- WooCommerce Shipping & Tax
- WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips
- WooCommerce Cart Abandonment Recovery
As a rule of thumb, the fewer plugin you install the more it will be easier to manage and less vulnerable to attacks.
Create Your WordPress eCommerce Website Today!
Congratulations! You just learned how to create an eCommerce website with WordPress, and I hope you were able to do it as easily as possible.
If you followed all the steps in this guide, you should now have a fully functioning store that’s ready to start accepting orders from customers. Once you start receiving orders, those details will show up in the WooCommerce area of your WordPress dashboard, and you’ll also receive email notifications.
To recap, here are the steps we take one last time:
- Buy Web Hosting With a Free Domain Name
- Setting up WordPress
- Installing and Configuring WooCommerce
- Setting up Payment Methods
- Adding Products in WooCommerce
- Customize Your Site With Theme
- Extend Your Site With Plugins
Do you have any questions about what we did so far? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for getting this far. You may also want to see our guide on how to create an online course with WordPress.