2020 is here, and it’s time to start your e-commerce store. Although the year has not started well for any of us, it’s the right time to plan your e-commerce store now.
And I am here to help you with this. Many platforms are using which you can build your store like Magento, Shopify, OpenCart, WordPress etc.
While all these solutions are fantastic. WordPress and WooCommerce rocks. By the way, if you don’t know WooCommerce, don’t worry. WooCommerce is a plugin that converts your WordPress website to an e-store.
Frameworks like Magento and OpenCart are built for e-commerce, but there are a built difficult as far as DIY website building is considered. And WordPress at its core is not made for an e-commerce store, WooCommerce is a game-changer and brings the simplicity in building an e-commerce store.
So what are the things that you need to build your e-commerce store?
You will need a nice domain name to start with. There are many places where you can buy a domain name. I prefer to purchase the domains from Namecheap.
Make sure you are buying a domain name that is clear, precise and doesn’t give any other meaning. There are multiple kinds (TLDs) of domain names available like ‘.com’, ‘.net’, ‘.org’, ‘.co’ etc. However, if you can get your hands on ‘.com.’ then nothing like it.
Event though domains like ‘.store’, ‘.website’ are getting popular; people still have faith on the traditional ones like ‘.com’, ‘.net’, ‘.org’.
The good idea is to buy two-three variations of the domain names. Domains are anyway dirt cheap (as long as they are not premium or not being sold at a very high cost). So, it makes sense to buy a few domain names.
I have said this in my earlier posts, and I will repeat it. Don’t cheap out on hosting. Not that I am saying go for premium hostings like WP Engine or Kinsta. But don’t lookout for a most inexpensive hosting.
When you want to start an e-commerce store, it is always a good idea to have a decent hosting. And even the decent ones are not that costly. You get hosting from SiteGround at just $3.95 per month. That’s not costly! $48 investment per year is quite affordable, even if you are tight on a budget.
There are other hosting companies, too—GoDaddy, InMotion, 1&1, Hostgator, Bluehost etc.
All these companies offer WordPress hosting too. These hosting have WordPress already installed on them.
You can compare the different hosting and buy one for yourself. I have used all these hosting, and I feel SiteGround offers a sweet deal. The cost isn’t high, the server capacity is decent, and the support is incredible.
Once you have a domain and hosting in place, we need to install WordPress on this hosting unless of course, you have purchased a WordPress hosting. In that case, you don’t need to install WordPress separately. Your hosting company takes this care.
But this is just a core. All you can do with this installation of WordPress is to add new pages and posts. You need themes are plugins to convert this site into an e-store.
There are thousands of WordPress themes available on the market. Some cost money, some are free, and some are freemium.
An important point to remember here is not all themes are of good quality. Not all of them support WooCommerce, which we require to create an e-store.
Therefore you have to be choosy in selecting a theme. Mind you, WordPress themes are a long-term investment. So, make sure you are choosing a theme that is not full of features but a theme that is functional and provides a great user experience.
I will suggest you go with Astra theme. Astra is not just a free theme, but it integrates so seamlessly with WooCommerce and page builders that it’s a pleasure to work with it.
The theme is fast loading, SEO friendly and provides an excellent user experience.
I will strongly suggest not to go with the feature-rich themes. Those themes look quite remarkable on the outside. No doubt, they look fantastic. But more the features, more difficult it is to get the theme to work.
Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress. In this case, we want to convert our website into an e-store, and for that purpose, we need a few plugins.
WooCommerce is a free plugin developed by WooThemes. WooCommerce provides us with a simple interface to configure our store. Adding products, setting the price, setting coupons and promotional rates, adding taxes and shipping methods and most importantly setting up payment gateways.
Many payment processors across the globe integrate seamlessly with WooCommerce.
PayPal and Stripe support come out of the box, while other payment processors may need an additional plugin. But that again is a pretty easy task.
And all these things are possible without touching a single line of code. More importantly, the plugin incorporates industry-standard security measures, and the plugin is updated regularly to fix the bugs.
Parallel to the website development, you need to register with the payment processor. PayPal and Stripe are popular choices, but Stripe is not available in all countries. You can register with the payment processor available at your location.
Make sure you start this process early because some processors take time to approve. And some even require a ready website before they accept.
But always a good idea to get in touch with them early. Also, make sure they have the WooCommerce integration available.
So that’s it!
These are the only things you require to start your e-commerce store. Trust me; it is straightforward to create it yourself. The hard part is the business side. When you go for WooCommerce based solution at least the technical part is made easy. So, you can focus on the business side.
Also, you can add a few more plugins for cart abandonment, live chat, tracking etc. But to begin with, these things are sufficient.
So, best of luck and start an e-commerce store soon. 🙂