How to Start an Ecommerce Website (Step by step)
If you decided to start your own ecommerce website, you probably did the best choice because this industry is exploding, the single problem here is how to start an ecommerce website? There had never been a better time to start an online business than today, anyone with a computer can start an ecommerce website in just few minutes, don't worry about that we will guide you in this article with all steps you need in order to start your online store.
As I said earlier the ecommerce business is exploding, as you can see in the below photo:
How to Start an Ecommerce Website
The three things you need to start an online store are:
- A domain name idea (this will be the name of your online store i.e penguin-arts.com)
- A web hosting account
- Your attention for 30 minutes.
There are a lot of providers for online stores but in this article we will talk about the most popular and easiest ways to set up your online store. We recommend the following two popular platforms: Shopify or Wordpress + Woocommerce.
Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution that starts at $29 / month. It’s a hassle-free solution where you just login and start selling. The downside to Shopify is that it gets quite expensive, and your payment options are limited unless you pay additional fees.
That's why a lot of users choose Wordpress + Woocommerce because of the flexibility it offers. Even if it requires some setup to get started, in the long run it will worth because you will have control over your shop, Woocommerce is the most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business.
Start an Ecommerce Website using Woocommerce
To setup your store, you need to have a domain name, web hosting, and a SSL certificate.
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: google.com or wpbeginner.com).
Web hosting is where your website lives on the internet. It’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website on the internet needs web hosting.
SSL certificate adds a special security layer on your website, so you can accept sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information. This is required for you to accept credit card payments on your website.
Normally a domain name costs around $14.99 / year, web hosting costs around $7.99 / month, and SSL certificate costs around $69.99 / year. That’s a lot of startup cost.
Thankfully, Bluehost, an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting, in other words you can start your store for just $3.95 per month. Bluehost is one of the oldest hosting company, started in 1996, which power more than 2 million websites worldwide.
1. Let's start with your domain and hosting + SSL certificate.
Go on Bluehost.com and click on Get Started button.
In the next page you will have to select your plan, Basic and Plus are the most popular, but you can choose any plan you want. Then in the next step you will have to add your domain name.
Once you decided on the domain name hit next button and you will go to the next step where you will have to add your account information, also in this screen you will see optional extras that your can but it's entirely up to you whether or not to purchase theses, any of those optional extras can be added later on.
Once completed, you will receive an email with details on how to login to your web hosting control panel. This is where you manage everything from websites databases and files, support, emails, among other things.
2. Setting up Wordpress
Go to the login page (it was send to you after the purchase), in the left side click on My sites, from this page you can see all Wordpress installation you aready have or you can click on Create Site and build a new one using Wordpress. In this step you will have to complete few things: site name (this is the name which will appear on your website), site tagline, email address, wordpress admin username and password. When you complete the wordpress admin username and password, save the credentials in a txt file, because using those credentials you will login in Wordpress admin panel.
The installer will take a couple of minutes to install your application. Once done:
Click on the My Sites tab from the side navigation menu to the left. Find the domain install and click log into WordPress.
Now your wordpress is ready to be used, you can start create content for you website or you can start design your site, or you can go here and buy any theme you like.
3. Setting up Woocommerce
From you Wordpress admin dashboard, click on Plugins and then on Add New button, this will open a new page where you will have to search for Woocommerce. In few seconds the Woocommerce plugin should show up and you have to click on Install Now button, wait few minutes and then click on Activate button.
Once you activated the plugin, you will be redirected to Woocommerce wizard where you will have to completed all the fields there in order to be ready to use it, after the setup is completed you will see 2 new buttons in the left sidebar:
- Woocommerce - here you have all Woocommerce settings, from payments methods and shipping zones to currency, store location and many more.
- Products - From this page you will add your products, just click on products and then on Add new button from the top of the page.
You can customize your store clicking on Appearance -> Customize -> Woocommerce, here you will have more options like:
- Store notice
- Product Catalog
- Product Page
- Product Images
Also if you want you can buy a premium theme with many features already implemented in the theme, using this link , also there are thousands of free themes out there, you have to find the one which suits your needs. I hope you find this article on how to start an ecommerce website useful and if you need any help with wordpress installatation or hosting purchase hit the comments section and we will help you.