Regardless of whether you start a WordPress blog or website for your personal musings, niche blogging or simply to attract leads and turn prospects who visit your site into email subscribers, there is likely to come a time when you’ll want to sell, on the internet, digital products, physical products or a mixture of both directly from your site.

WordPress, known for its numerous plugins, won’t disappoint you in this area. There are lots of popular plugins to add online stores to WordPress. One of the best plugins is WooCommerce.

Why WooCommerce? What can you do with the WordPress e-commerce plugin?

  • It has a lot of functionality. Right out of the box, the plugin comes with a lot of features. Features that are lacking in the base plugin can be easily added via numerous WooCommerce plugin extensions both free and premium. In other words, in WooCommerce, you have all the functionality you’ll need to setup and operate your online shop.
  • Lots of updates. The plugin gets lots of updates every year. New features are added to it and the team behind it strives to constantly make it better for bloggers, authors, freelancers, small businesses, companies, organizations, affiliates, developers and self-employed people who use it to sell items on the internet.
  • Lots of plugin extensions. WooCommerce can be extended to do lots of things via numerous free and paid extensions. It also has support for the REST API – and can, therefore, have features of other popular software and apps, with their own APIs, integrated and made to work well with the shopping cart plugin. Check below for a list of places to buy some of these great extensions.
  • Support for numerous currencies and languages. With WooCommerce, you can start an online store in dozens of languages – with different currencies used by your target customer base – making the e-commerce plugin friendly to start online shops in different localities (and accepting payment in various currencies).
  • It can be used to sell digital and physical products. With WooCommerce, you can start an online store selling digital products (for example ebooks, online courses, addons, coaching, consulting, downloads, videos, audio files, freelance services), physical products (books, furniture, electronics, food, fast moving consumer goods, products your business makes) or a mixture of both.
  • Easy to set up and start using. As shown below, in the step-by-step guide, setting up WooCommerce and using it to sell things online can be done easily in a matter of a few minutes or hours depending on how much inventory or different types of items you want to list on your store.

How to install WooCommerce

Go to Plugins > Add New Plugins and enter WooCommerce to search for the plugin. Once you see it, click Install Now.

After the plugin is installed click Activate.

Click Let’s go!

In the window that appears (page setup) click Continue. This will generate the default WooCommerce pages automatically.

In the Store locale setup section here are some things to change:

  • the country your store is based. In the example below it’s Kenya.
  • your store’s currency. In the example below it’s United States Dollar.
  • currency position. This is how your currency symbol and price will be shown. The default option is Left (e.g. $50). In the example below, I use the option left with space, so the prices will appear like this ($ 50). Notice the space between the symbol and the price.
  • which unit to be used for product weights. If you are selling physical products that have to be shipped to buyers, choose a unit for the weights of items you sell in your store – kg, g, lbs, or oz.
  • unit to be used for product dimensions. For physical items you sell, choose whether you want their dimensions to be displayed in cm, mm, in, or yd.

Note: Leave the thousand separator, decimal separator and number of decimals options as they are. You can change them if necessary though.

Once you’ve made the changes click Continue.

In the Shipping and tax setup section choose whether you will be shipping products and charging sales tax by checking or un-checking the two boxes and then clicking Continue. For our example store, we are not charging sales tax…so only leaving the first checkbox marked.

In the Payments section, you can choose how you want to get paid. If you have a PayPal email address, check the box next to PayPal Standard and enter your PayPal email. Note that you can change how you get paid later on, even add more payment options, by going to WordPress admin > WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout.

Click Continue.

Your store is now ready.

You can now choose to:

  1. allow WooCommerce plugin to collect non-sensitive diagnostic data and usage information. In this store example, we click No Thanks.
  2. start adding products to your online shop right way by clicking the ‘create your first product’ button
  3. go to your WordPress dashboard by clicking the ‘Return to the WordPress Dashboard’ link.

For now click the No Thanks option above then click the return to WordPress dashboard link.

How to edit WooCommerce pages

Before you continue, make sure you have an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack installed on your WordPress / WooCommerce powered online store.

The illustrations below are on a site with All in One SEO Pack plugin (and its WooCommerce extension) installed and activated.

Go to Plugins > Add New.

Search for All in One SEO Pack. Click Install Now.

Click Activate.

Go to pages section in your WordPress admin dashboard. You’ll see the auto-generated WooCommerce pages, namely Cart, My Account, Checkout and Shop.

Right click Edit under the Cart page to open it in a new tab on your web browser.

Navigate to the Cart page you’ve opened on your browser.

Click Screen Options (top right corner) and check the following boxes if they are not checked already: All in One SEO Pack, Page Attributes, Featured Image, Discussion, Comments, Slug, and Author.

Click on the part that says Screen Options to hide it.

Scroll down the page and check the box that says Robots Meta NOINDEX.

Now scroll up and click Update to save the changes you have made to the page.

Repeat the actions you have taken on the Cart page on both the Checkout and My Accounts page.

Now click the Edit option under the Shop page. For this page, you will add a title and a short description to it. Do not check the box marked noindex. Scroll up and click Update page.

Example title: BloggingTips Online Shop

Example description: View products & services on BloggingTips online shop. Browse and buy items on the store: ebooks, online courses, blog consulting & content marketing services.

If you don’t see the four pages mentioned above, here is how to generate them again. Go to WooCommerce > System status. Click Tools. Scroll down to the part that says install WooCommerce pages. Click the Install pages button.

WooCommerce plugin extensions to install on your WordPress site

WooCommerce – All in One SEO Pack: This will allow you to add search engine optimized titles and descriptions for new products and services you add to your WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce Colors: This will allow you to change default WooCommerce colors to another color of your own choosing. For example you can change button colors shown in the four WooCommerce pages above from the default purple color to orange.

After installing and activating the plugin, go to Appearance > Customize.

Click WooCommerce.

Under Primary Color click the select color button.

Choose Orange.

Click Save & Publish. Then click the X.

WooCommerce Product SKU Generator: This plugin will automatically generate SKUs for all products you add to your WooCommerce shop.

How to add WooCommerce payment methods

Besides using PayPal, you can add more payments options to allow your customers to easily make purchases on your store using their preferred method. There are extensions for payment gateways, merchant accounts and credit card processors like Stripe, Braintree, Skrill, Payoneer, Amazon and other country specific gateways. If you want to use them, search for them via the Add New Plugin section. Install and activate. Then go to WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout to configure them to accept payments.

The default payment options that come with WooCommerce include PayPal, check payments, bank transfer and cash on delivery.

Only enable payment methods you want your store shoppers to use. For example if you want to allow Cash on Delivery payments for your local town online shop where customers can buy items then come pick them – and pay you when they visit your store, here’s what to do.

Click the Cash on delivery option.

Tick the box marked Enable cash on delivery.

Add a title: Pay with cash when you come to pick the furniture

Add a description and instructions that customers who choose to pay you via cash must adhere to in the next two boxes marked ‘Description’ and ‘Instructions’.

Click Save Changes.

You can then use this payment method alongside PayPal (which also allows customers with MasterCard, American Express or VISA cards to pay you via the PayPal website).

Theme for your WooCommerce online store

You have four options when it comes to themes for your online store:

  1. Use default WordPress themes like Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Sixteen or Twenty Seventeen theme.
  2. Use the existing theme that’s activated on your WordPress install.
  3. Search for a free theme by going to Appearance > Themes > Add New and then searching for keywords like ‘woocommerce’, ‘online store’, ‘online shop’, ‘ecommerce’, ‘cart’, ‘shopping cart’, ‘shop’, ‘store’, ‘e-commerce’ etc.
  4. Buy a premium theme from any of the websites listed below then add it to your WordPress blog or website by going to Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload Theme.

Where to buy WooCommerce themes and plugins extensions

WooCommerce: Visit the official WooCommerce site to buy lots of different themes and plugin extensions to add more functionality to your online store. Visit WooCommerce.com.

Themeforest: Buy multi-purpose themes that support WooCommerce and result in well-designed e-stores like Nielsen. Visit Themeforest.com.

Kleo: Buy the multi-purpose Kleo theme. It supports WooCommerce, BuddyPress and Facebook Sign Up integration. Visit Kleo theme page.

Your Inspiration Themes: Find some of the best and must install WooCommerce plugin extensions. Over 50 extensions to help you bring new features to your site and sell more to prospects and your existing customers! Visit Yithemes.com.

MyThemeShop: Buy premium fast loading and responsive themes that are WooCommerce compatible. Also available are some great plugins. Visit MyThemeShop.com.

ThriveThemes: Buy lead generation and landing page plugins like Thrive Leads to boost your store’s conversions. Visit ThriveThemes.com.

Conclusion

If you’ve followed this guide, your online shop will be up and running in minutes. Before installing any free or paid plugins and themes, look at what you find out there, via the links mentioned above, and choose only what is important in helping you achieve your online shop ownership goals.

And once you are done with setting up everything, add products, promote the products, and increase sales by giving your buyers what they want. Best thing to do is to create detailed product descriptions, titles, sales pages and tags in a word processor then simply copy and paste them to your site’s admin area via Products > Add Product.

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