Many of us have hobbies. Some of these hobbies can provide a part-time or full-time income. The possibilities of creating unique, one-of-a-kind products with specialized bracelets, woodwork, and hand-crafted clothing are limitless.
Although Etsy might seem to be the most convenient way to open an online shop, you must follow its rules and regulations. Etsy enrolls businesses automatically in an advertising program that takes 15 percent of eligible sales — a large chunk of sellers’ hard-earned cash!
WordPress and WooCommerce allow you to control your products and content as well as where your money goes. You can make a store as big or small as you like. You can make your store as big or small as you like, and personalize everything to reflect your products.
Are you ready to launch a business? Or expand your reach beyond the local farmers market and shops? Let’s look at WooCommerce and WordPress to help you create and market an online store.
1. Name your company and purchase the URL
Your name will become an integral part of your brand. As you reduce your list of names, ensure that the URL is available (and not prohibitively expensive).
Choose something easy to remember and spell. Avoid numbers and hyphens. These are easy to mistype or forget and harder to say out loud.
Buy URLs that end in.com if you can. You can choose a URL that is not a.com. However, you should ensure there are no equivalents or direct competitors.
2. Select a hosting provider
All websites are made up of files. Hosting companies store these files and make them available online. Consider these factors when choosing the right host.
- Speed. Shared hosting plans are the cheapest option. They store multiple websites on one server. This can cause your website to be slower, especially in high-demand periods.
- Customer service. Customer service is key to your business’s success. Companies that offer 24/7 support are a good choice.
- Safety. You can protect your customers as well as your investment by choosing a host that provides automatic backups, malware prevention, email spam filters, and malware prevention.
- Uptime. Sometimes servers “go down”, which means that visitors will not be able to access your website. Server “uptime” refers to the time the servers are up. Many hosts will guarantee at least 99.9%.
- Reviews. Review customer experiences to gain insight from other customers. This is the best way for you to find out about a provider’s quality.
- Scalability. It is easy to change plans or increase server resources. As your business grows, you don’t need to worry about complex migrations.
3. Install WordPress
WordPress is an online website-building tool that will be the foundation of your online shop. It is open-source, flexible, and powerful. This is why 43% of web users choose it. You can also create beautiful and functional sites without having to have any programming knowledge.
WordPress prides itself on its easy installation. In most cases, it takes less than five minutes. Many hosting companies provide one-click WordPress installation right from their dashboard. For more information, check with your provider. This complete guide to installing WordPress.
4. Choose a WordPress theme
The theme is what determines the look and functionality of your website. There are two options: one that allows you to replace the demo content with your own, or one that is plug-and-play. You can also choose a theme that allows you to use it as a base for any design you can think of.
A theme designed specifically for eCommerce will make setting up your store easier. No matter if you choose a paid or free theme, ensure it is mobile-friendly, fast loading, and that it comes from a trusted source. You can find more information in our article about choosing a theme for your WooCommerce store.
This free Storefront theme can be a great place for you to start. The theme is simple and clean, but it can be modified to suit your specific needs. There are also several child themes available, which are theme add-ons that enhance your parent theme. These themes can be tailored to specific niches. The Galleria theme can be used for clothing while the ToyShop theme can be used for handmade toys.
5. Install WooCommerce
WooCommerce, the eCommerce section of WordPress, is an intuitive and customizable platform that allows you to sell online. It can be used to create product pages and accept payments. You can also implement various selling strategies and extensions to increase your customers’ satisfaction and revenue. The design and functionality can be modified to suit your store’s needs and scale.
WooCommerce is easy to set up and use. To get started:
- Navigate to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress Dashboard
- Look for “WooCommerce”.
- Click Install Now – Activate
The Setup Wizard will guide you through the basics of configuration. It also includes a few items that we’ll discuss in more detail below. Congratulations, you now have a store.
6. Integrate your payment gateway
You can securely accept online payments by using a payment gateway. WooCommerce can integrate with major payment gateways such as Stripe, Authorize.net, and Square. There are also niche gateways available. View all integrations with payment gateways.
Consider the fees, security, and ease of use when choosing a gateway. Also, consider whether you would like to receive payments in person. WooCommerce payments were designed to address all these requirements without any monthly or upfront fees. Everything can be managed directly from the WooCommerce dashboard, including orders, refunds, and recurring payments. You can also take advantage of other features such as multi-currency support and instant deposits.
There are many great options for simplifying the process if you are selling products at flea markets and pop-up shops. To accept payment in person for online products, pair WooCommerce Payments and a card reader. To create an order quickly, you can use the Simple payments feature.
7. Create product pages
Once you’ve established the structure of your store it is time to add products. There are many product types that you can choose from, including:
- Simple: A simple product that doesn’t offer many options (e.g. A decorative pillow that is only available in one size
- Variable: A product with multiple options that customers can choose from (e.g. A T-shirt that comes in a variety of sizes.
- Downloadable: A digital product that isn’t shipped (e.g. a printable knitting pattern)
- Subscription: Product that is delivered regularly and then charged (e.g. A monthly snack box. This product type requires the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension.
You can learn how to create each product in WooCommerce using our documentation Adding Products. You don’t need to know any code!
High-quality photos are essential if you sell physical products. Online customers cannot pick up your items. You should ensure that you have a well-lit area (or buy an LED light kit) and that there is no clutter. It could be as easy as placing your products on a tablecloth on the ground.
Take photos of important details from close-up and show them from multiple angles. A short video might be a good idea to show how the feature works, or highlight difficult details through text.
Next, create a detailed description. The benefits of the product should be the focus. What will they feel? What will it do? What will it do for them? Your target audience will appreciate the language you use.
Avoid using industry buzzwords and jargon. Technical details can be added further down the page.
8. Make sure to create your website pages
Online stores should offer more than products. They should provide customers with all information necessary to make a purchase, and encourage them to return. You will need a Home page, About Page, and Contact page. You might also need an FAQ Page to answer most of the questions customers have and increase confidence in your products and business.
Navigate to Pages – Add New in your WordPress dashboard. To create beautiful, unique designs, you can use the block editor without having to modify a single line. Drag and drop text, images, buttons, and videos. Find out more about blocks designed specifically for WooCommerce.
Planning, inventory, and shipping
What is the time it takes to make each item you want to sell? This is important because you don’t want to sell your inventory. You run the risk that you will have to meet more demand than your inventory can handle.
WooCommerce has a variety of inventory control extensions to help you save time and avoid embarrassing mistakes with your customers. Efficient operations are essential for your business’s growth.
Consider how you will ship your products. Which shipping companies would you prefer to use? Are you willing to offer free shipping or a charge based on the size and weight of your cart? WooCommerce shipping is the best place to start. You can connect to USPS or DHL and then print shipping labels right from your dashboard. What’s the best part? The best part? You can save your customers and yourself money by getting a substantial discount on these labels.
View our extensions for more shipping options and carriers Our shipping guide will provide additional guidance.
Your store’s functionality can be expanded
After you have built your store’s foundation, you can start exploring the world of extensions. These are add-ons that allow you to expand your store’s functionality and options. WooCommerce has a whole marketplace for extensions to help you grow sales, get more customers, and manage your business effectively.
- Send customers your favorite products on an ongoing basis or sell subscription boxes
- Increase your average order size with cross-selling and upselling.
- Increase customer loyalty and reduce abandoned carts
- Take deposits before you fulfill larger custom orders.
- WooCommerce can be used as a point of sale to accept orders in person.
- Email marketing can help you reach your customers and increase sales.
- Based on their dimensions and weights, you can sell and price decor and frames.
You can mix and match extensions to achieve any functionality or design goal you may have. You can also start with the WooCommerce essentials collection, a collection of extensions that have been carefully selected by the WooCommerce team and are ideal for new stores. These extensions cover everything you need, including marketing tools, product page enhancements, and everything you need to back up your store. And, if you purchase multiple options, you get a great discount.
Don’t forget your marketing hat
Although building a website is great, you will need to attract the right customers. Start by identifying your target audience. This is a group of people who share common traits and are most likely to buy your product. Then, experiment with different ways to reach them. Post in groups, join clubs, or place ads on websites that are visited by your audience.
Search engines are one of the best ways to find customers. Consider what search terms shoppers might use to find what you make and what phrases they are likely to type in Google. A person searching for “how to make a scarf” is less likely than someone searching for “purchase a scarf”.
Place ads on Google to ensure your site is found when someone searches these terms. Find out more about Google Shopping Ads, and look at the Google Listings Ads extension.
It is possible to save money on advertising by appearing naturally when someone searches these terms. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you achieve this. For more information, please refer to our Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Online marketing is best done with consistency, willingness to experiment, measure results regularly, and then refine them over time.
Are you interested in selling products on online marketplaces
You might also want to market to other customers on Amazon and eBay. WooCommerce can be integrated with online marketplaces to provide a seamless method of making money online. Remember, it is always better to have a website you own and control as your digital home.
Make your hobby a business
This introduction to online sales should have made you more confident in starting an eCommerce shop. This is possible! Follow these steps. Take your time. Don’t procrastinate. Set goals and stick to them.