Have you ever thought about opening an online shop?
Maybe you want to start a shop to sell physical goods. Or maybe you’d like to sell digital products that people can download instantly.
Where do you start? What platform to do you use?
I have good news for you if your website is using WordPress!
WooCommerce is an incredible free plugin that allows you to integrate a shop into your WordPress website, making it easy to sell both physical and digital products.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to WooCommerce; way too much for just one blog post! So I’ve decided to create a series all about WooCommerce, and for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a new post every Monday to help you get your shop up and running.
In this post I’m going to show you how to install WooCommerce, and how to set up a simple shop so you can start selling your products.
How to install WooCommerce on your WordPress website
To install WooCommerce, log in to your WordPress admin area, hover over Plugins in the left hand menu, and click Add New. Then search for WooCommerce. You should see a plugin that looks like this:
Click Install Now and then Activate when prompted to.
After clicking Activate you will be taken to a set up page…
How to set up WooCommerce
Now it’s time to work through the set up process.
Firstly, enter your address. Then choose the currency you would like to use and whether you are selling physical or digital products, or both. If you aren’t sure yet, just choose both.
The next step is choosing your payment method. The options here are Stripe and PayPal, but you can always add extra payment methods later. If you select either of these options (or both), new plugins will be installed to your WordPress site to allow you to use these payment methods.
There is also an option to take payments offline.
Next up is shipping. Here you can choose flat rate prices for shipping if you wish. Don’t worry, you can always change this at a later date.
You can also choose the default units for weights and dimensions.
On the next page you will see some recommended extras. One of these extras is a theme called Storefront. This is a free WordPress theme that is compatible with WooCommerce, and you can preview it here.
Be careful! If you choose to install Storefront it will be automatically activated for you and your current theme will be deactivated.
Next, you will be asked to connect to Jetpack. Jetpack is a free plugin that allows self-hosted WordPress users have access to many of the features you’d find on WordPress.com websites. I highly recommend you install Jetpack if you haven’t done so already, and you will need to set up a WordPress.com account to be able to connect Jetpack to your website.
And that’s it! WooCommerce is ready for you to use!
On the final page of the set up process you can sign up for the WooCommerce mailing list. But if you aren’t interested in this just click Return to your dashboard.
Is my WordPress theme compatible with WooCommerce?
Prior to the release of WooCommerce version 3.3, not all WordPress themes were compatible with WooCommerce. This means that when you viewed any pages of your shop, the styling and formatting would not be consistent with the rest of your website
The good news is that since WooCommerce version 3.3 was released, shops look great in all WordPress themes as the shop content fits nicely into into the content area of your theme.
If you are following this tutorial and installing WooCommerce from scratch, you will be using the latest version of the plugin and it will work with your theme. However, if you’ve installed WooCommerce before and it isn’t using version 3.3 or above, make sure you update the plugin!
After installing and setting up WooCommerce…
After you have installed WooCommerce, and finished the set up process, you’ll notice some changes around your WordPress admin area.
The first thing you might notice is two new items in the menu on the left hand side of the screen; WooCommerce and Products. And if you hover over these items you’ll see some more links.
The Products section is specifically related to the products in your store. Here you can create and manage products, categories, tags and attributes. You can learn more about products in this post.
The WooCommerce section is for everything else related to your shop, including your orders, coupons and reports. You can also find all the WooCommerce settings and extensions (such as alternative payment methods) here, but again I’ll be covering this in more detail in a separate post.
You will also notice that some new pages have appeared:
Do not delete this pages! They are all essential for your shop! I talk more about WooCommerce pages in this post.
Note: If you have the language set to English UK in WordPress then the Cart will be called Basket.
Another area of your WordPress admin area where you will see changes is the Appearance section. Not only is there loads of new widgets related to your store, but there is also a WooCommerce tab on the theme Customise page where you can make changes to the way your shop pages look. Unfortunately, you can only make a few basic changes here, and for any other styling changes you will need to use CSS.
Again, there will be a post later on in the series all about changing the appearance of your store.
Need a hand?
If you’d like some assistance with setting up WooCommerce, or making styling amends to your shop, get in touch! I offer WooCommerce support as a part of my WordPress Maintenance and Updates services.
In the next post in this series we will be looking at how to add products to your shop. Click here to read it.
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