A key aspect of WordPress eCommerce websites is a holistic approach to building your website. Why WordPress specifically, though? It’s simple - there is no better solution currently than WordPress eCommerce plugins to open up an online storefront.
I feel very strongly about WordPress when it comes to accessibility and ease of use. It has never been easier to open up an online store, and I would know. I began my selling online in the early 2000s and back then it was a nightmare.
My first website took me a few months to build, and there was no interconnection between the various moving parts. Accepting money was a pain, and I processed all the orders manually. WordPress made the creation of a simple website much easier, and from then on, things started getting drastically better, particularly with regards to WordPress website speed.
Take a look at my latest store. It took zero development knowledge to build and took me all of two weeks of effort. All you need to do is follow a simple checklist, and that is that. Nothing more.
7 Simple Rules To Follow For Success
Follow this checklist, and you will be able to get your online storefront running in next to no time.
- Starting essentials
- Setup WooCommerce
- Installing the right theme
- Installing dependency plugins
- Setting Up Products
- Testing and Tweaking
- Going Live
Step 1: Basics befor you get to WordPress eCommerce
Getting the basics right is the foundation upon which your online store will be built. If you do not have a good foundation, all your effort could go to waste. If your website is slow, your customers will go to someone else. If you do not choose a good host or the right plugins, you could end up with a problem.
Install WordPress as you usually do, and then get to work making your WordPress eCommerce plugins and themes top-notch.
Plan ahead - what are you going to sell, what your goals are and make sure your market research is done well ahead of time. You don’t want to go by feelings when making your first store - data, data and more data is always needed.
Step 2: Setting up WooCommerce
This step is pretty simple - all you need to do is install WooCommerce like you would any other plugin. Once you do, you will need to activate it, and away we go!
You will then have the option to set up the WordPress eCommerce plugins, and the best option here is to take the guided setup that WooCommerce provides. The wizard will take you through a series of screens that will help set everything up for you.
The first screen will ask you for some necessary information such as your address, your product type and currency. Once you have entered all the info, you will go to the next page which will deal with payment methods. Paypal and Stripe are two methods that allow you to accept money from almost anyone in the world - so they should be suitable for a starter store. However, when you grow, you might need to look at other options.
Following on from that, we have packaging options (if you plan to sell goods) and then finally some recommendations.
Step 3: Installing the right WordPress ecommerce theme
One of the recommendations that WooCommerce will make is to change your current theme (the initial WordPress default if you haven’t changed it yet) to Storefront. Storefront is excellent when setting everything up, but shouldn’t be your “live” theme.
Why should you change the theme? A few reasons actually.
The first reason is that there are much faster themes out there. WordPress website speed is paramount, and you should always look to cut seconds wherever you can. The second reason is less about the technical aspects of your website and more about the general feel. Too many people will not take the time to customize Storefront properly and will end having a shop that looks like a clone of thousands of other shops out there.
That’s not good.
You want your customers to remember your store, so getting another theme will make sure you stand out from the crowd. It is also a matter of branding. If you are thinking of creating several niche selling sites using WooCommerce, and why wouldn’t you, then branding becomes essential. Having something that everyone else uses weakens your brand and will make retaining customers much more difficult.
Step 4: Plugins to help smooth out WooCommerce
There are thousands of plugins and extensions that work with Woocommerce. That is one of the chief reasons it is the most popular online storefront in the world at the moment. There are plugins for everything you can think of - and more.
However, the best advice I can give you is to start simple and measure your WordPress website performance with each extension and plugin that you use. It doesn’t matter how clean your website is if it loads slowly. Your prices are only secondary to someone’s time.
I recommend finding a useful FOMO WordPress eCommerce plugin with social proof built-in, such as TrustPulse. You will need a mailing list plugin to create opt-in forms and collect emails which is a must for anything you do online. There are plugins that localize your website based on who is visiting and where they are situated, which is a nice touch for certain stores. Any local tax plugin is an absolute must.
However, it all depends on what you are making. Just remember to test your WordPress website speed with every plugin you install so that you don’t get dropped before you have a chance to make a sale.
Step 5: Adding products
This step will take you some time, and it needs to be done correctly. Where will your products come from? Are you dropshipping or selling virtual goods? How will people get these goods?
There are a fair number of guides available that can help you in-depth with this step, and they are well worth the read. One of the best guides that I use can be found over at Modern Marketing Partners. You can easily find others on Google, but that one should be enough.
Step 6: Testing and tweaking for optimal WordPress eCommerce success
Now is the time to make dummy purchases to see if everything is working correctly. I use a simple plugin called WC Order Test. You should also have some friends and family test out the ordering process and make sure that they give you detailed feedback.
It would be best if you had your website hooked up to various analytic tools such as Google Search Console. Pingdom and GTMetrix will also give you some much-needed data before you launch.
Make sure that everything is working perfectly, as you don’t want problems when you finally push your site to the public.
Step 7: Launch
Here is where all your work pays off. Now is the time for bringing traffic to the website you made, and start earning from the work you have put in.
It took me two weeks to make my website, but it can be done in less time. There are also options to clone successful websites (particularly when making a micro-niche store network) that are available in the WP Blazer dashboard.
Launching might be the last step on this list, but it is the first step to having a successful store. It would be best if you always kept testing for WordPress website performance. Your specials should be updated regularly, and you will need to keep your products fresh. However, that is a topic for another post.