While a decade ago you might have been able to get by with a small online presence, today it is almost impossible to start a profitable business without one. This industry shift comes with a few challenges.
The first, and most important potential problem is that not everyone has the same skills to manage and create a webshop. The second issue comes down to volume. With so many content options online, it is important to be able to distinguish yourself from others.
Today, we’ll be focusing on the latter. This will allow you to save money by guiding you through setting up the system in a simple way.
We’ll concentrate on the most frequently used tools. WordPress, WooCommerce and Shopify are two of the most well-known platforms for site and webshop management. Before we go into detail about how you will use each platform, let’s get started at the beginning.
Step 1 – Hosting
A great hosting service can help you save time and money. Assuming that you are creating an online shop, we will look at hosting services for beginners. Both in terms of their features and their financial obligations.
A quality hosting service will provide hosting along with a domain name, and SSL certificates, which are vital to getting your site up and running. To make things even better, some services offer a one click WordPress installation. There are many options out there. We’ll only be using WordPress because we know it works best.
WordPress.org recommends Bluehost for being one of the most reliable services. Bluehost is popular because of its low entry cost, which starts at $2,95/month. This allows it to be accessible to a wide audience. You will also receive a domain and SSL certificate free of cost during your first year. Bluehost’s service is top-notch, and the low cost won’t matter if it isn’t.
You will have the option of managed or shared hosting. Each works in a different way to suit your needs. You’ll also have access to a range of other features, such as specialized WooCommerce tools and SEO tools, or advanced security measures. All of these can be managed via the Bluehost dashboard, where multiple sites can be operated simultaneously.
Google integrations are available that allow you to connect to your Google My Business profile, as well as Google ad campaign campaigns. These features are all optional. So you can start with a basic plan and move up as your website grows.
Bluehost isn’t the only option, but it works well with the “entry-level” theme. HostGator is a specialist in WordPress hosting. DreamHost offers a variety of other solutions.
Step 2 – WordPress
Assuming that you choose Bluehost hosting or any other hosting with a fast installation, we will start when you log in to WordPress. A tutorial will greet you to walk you through the process. It’s a good idea to start the tutorial if this is your first time using WordPress. If you know the basics of everything, skip the entire process.
After watching the tutorial, the first thing you should do is set up the website title and tagline under the general settings. Also, the WordPress address, site address, and email are all important. These are the “general setting” that every site requires.
Step 3 – Theme
Many people will say that style is more important than substance. However, you don’t want to run your business without this in mind. It is crucial to choose the right look and feel for your webshop. There are many themes in the WordPress repository that you can choose from. It would be better to have even more options. There are many sites that offer professionally designed templates and themes.
Important to mention that you don’t have to buy a theme from the start – there are more than enough quality-free options on the market. On the other side, you might not be able to access certain themes for some reason. These themes can help elevate your site’s visual impression.
To change your theme, visit the appearance tab (on top of the menu), select one, and then activate it. You’ll instantly see it reflected on the frontend.
Step 4 – WooCommerce
WooCommerce plugin forms the basis of your website. After activating the plugin, it’s the easiest way of setting up the plugin. Follow the setup wizard to guide you through every step. Since the wizard was created for beginners, it will automatically complete many steps. However, you will still need to fill in basic information.
The first page is the page setup. This is where the general information of your shop are entered. The page setup is similar to the one you used when setting up WordPress.
WooCommerce general information form
The next step is to determine your primary business. WooCommerce’s versatility means that it can be used for any business’s webshop. It is easy to narrow down your areas of expertise. Do not worry if this isn’t something you’re comfortable with. You can always change it down in the settings, if you decide to switch.
Use the WooCommerce industry
It is necessary to enter the product type section. This is an overview. We will soon be discussing products in more detail. A second set of business details is followed by product details. These details are intended to be used for advertising and marketing purposes. As with all things, they can be amended later if necessary.
In the same section you will find several extensions or add-ons that may help you grow your company based upon the data that you have provided. You will need to choose your theme. This step is easy because you already did that after setting up WordPress.
This is the end of the Wizard. However, there are some things we need to discuss. You’ll need to create shipping details, if applicable. This is not necessary for digital products. If physical products are involved, however, it’s important to notify your customers.
This is done by creating shipping zones. First, add the name and region of the customer. Next, select the settings that will affect how shipping will appear to them.
Now we get to the payment section. We don’t need to stress the importance of this section – everyone should get paid. WooCommerce payments encompasses all payment options. You’ll be covered regardless of whether you use credit cards or pay through an online service such as Apple Pay.
Because everything is all in one place you will only need one account. It should be accompanied with a dashboard that allows you to perform all your analysis. Follow these steps to setup your gateways.
Step 5 – Products
Adding products to your site is not that different from publishing pages or posts. The Add product page can be found under the Products tab. First, you will need to define the product title. Then you can add a product class that will allow customers to quickly browse through your items.
Next is the Product Data block. This block allows you to enter all product information, including price, inventory status and shipping options. A short description window follows. This is useful when you are viewing multiple products on the same page and don’t need to click on each individual item.
If possible, add a product thumbnail and a gallery to the end. Webshops offer a visual medium, so quality images are essential.
Next, you will publish your product like any other page or blog post. The first time you do it, each product will need to be created manually. You can do this process as many times to build your product catalog.
These five easy steps will help you get your company online quickly. It would be easy to cheat and say that sixth step would be to improve WordPress with additional plugins. But there are so many options out there, it’s hard for me to pick the best, especially since these plugins are specific to my business.
Do not be afraid to look for the best fit for you. However, keep in mind the basics.