How do You Start an Online Store? (Step by Step)

In thisarticle we will guide ‘How do You Start an Online Store? (Step by Step)’

Do you want to open an online store of your own? We understand that starting an internet store can be intimidating, especially if you are not tech savvy.

You’re not alone, to be sure. We decided to write the most thorough guide on how to build an online store with WordPress after helping hundreds of users get started (step by step)

What Are the Requirements for Starting an Online Store?

There’s never been a better moment than now to start an online business.

Anyone with a computer may get started in a couple of minutes and without any prior knowledge.

The following are the three items you’ll need to start an internet store:

  • An concept for a domain name (this will be the business name of your online store i.e wpexpertpro.com)
  • A domain name with a web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
  • For 30 minutes, your entire attention is required.

That’s right, it’s that easy.

We’ll walk you through every step of setting up your own online store using WordPress in less than 30 minutes.

We’ll go through the following topics in this tutorial:

  • How to Register a Free Domain Name
  • How to Select the Most Appropriate WooCommerce Hosting
  • How to Get a Free SSL Certificate (required for accepting payments)
  • Installing WordPress and Creating a WooCommerce Store
  • How to Create a Product Catalog for Your Online Store
  • How to Choose and Personalize Your Theme
  • How to Use Plugins to Expand Your Online Store

Are you ready to learn WordPress and grow your business? Let’s get this party started.

Step 1: Create a Platform for Your Online Store

The most common blunder made by most users is failing to select the appropriate platform for their online store.

You won’t make that mistake, thanks to the fact that you’re here.

We recommend Shopify or WordPress Plus WooCommerce as two popular eCommerce systems.

Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce platform with monthly fees starting at $29 per month (paid monthly or yearly upfront to earn a discount). It’s a simple solution where you simply log in and begin selling. The disadvantage with Shopify is that it may be rather costly, and your payment options are limited unless you pay extra fees.

Because of the flexibility it provides, most users select WordPress + WooCommerce. It does take some time to set up, but it is well worth it in the long term. WooCommerce is the world’s largest eCommerce platform, while WordPress is the most popular website builder. 

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use WooCommerce to create an online store in WordPress.

You’ll need a domain name, web hosting, and an SSL certificate to get your eCommerce business up and running.

A domain name is the internet address for your website. It’s the address that users will type into their browsers to go to your site (for example: google.com or wpexpertpro.com).

Web hosting refers to the physical location of your eCommerce website on the internet. It’s the online home of your website. Web hosting is required for every website on the internet.

An SSL certificate offers an extra layer of protection to your website, allowing you to receive sensitive data like credit card numbers and other personal information. This is essential in order for your eCommerce site to accept credit card payments.

A domain name normally costs $14.99 per year, site hosting costs $7.99 per month, and an SSL certificate costs $69.99 per year.

That’s a hefty start-up fee.

Bluehost, an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider, has graciously agreed to provide our users with a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a web hosting discount.

Essentially, you can begin for $2.75 each month.

Click here to take advantage of this limited-time Bluehost promotion.

Bluehost is one of the first web hosting firms, having launched in 1996 (pre-Google). They also host millions of websites, making them the most well-known brand name in WordPress hosting.

WPExpertPro is a firm believer in openness. If you sign up for Bluehost through our link, we will receive a small profit at no additional cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain). This commission would be earned if we recommended just about any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend items that we use ourselves and believe will benefit our readers.

Let’s get started by purchasing your domain, hosting, and SSL.

Use this link to open Bluehost in a new window and follow along.

The first step is to click on the green Get Started Now button to get started.

Blue host special offer

Select the plan you require on the following screen (Basic and Plus are the most popular).

Select the bluehost hosting plan

 

After that, you’ll be prompted to input your website’s domain name.

Select the domain name

 

To finish the procedure, you must input your account information and finalize the package information. Optional items are available for purchase on this screen.

It is totally up to you whether or not you acquire these, but we normally do not advise it. If you decide you need them later, you can always add them.

Hosting package information

 

After you’ve completed the form, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything, including support and emails.

When you connect into your cPanel, you’ll discover that Bluehost has already installed WordPress for you, and all you have to do now is click the “Log in to WordPress” button.

click the "Log in to WordPress" button.

 

Simply click the ‘Login to WordPress’ button to be taken to the dashboard of your WordPress site. This is what it looks like:

WordPress dashboard

 

Congratulations on completing the hosting and domain part of the process.

Setting up WordPress and your online business is the next step.

Step 2: Installing WordPress

Bluehost may offer you assistance with setting up your WordPress website when you first log in.

Go ahead and click the ‘I don’t require assistance’ tab. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the entire process.

Let’s get your WordPress website up and running.

To begin, go to Settings » General and set the title and description for your WordPress site.

Online Store title and description

 

You can use your store’s name as the site title and a brief description of your company. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything right away for the description section.

Configuring HTTPS to Use SSL

A free SSL certificate was included in your WordPress hosting service. For your domain name, this certificate is already deployed. Your WordPress site, on the other hand, must be configured to load as https rather than http.

Change your WordPress Address and Site Address to https instead of http on the Settings » General tab.

Select https

 

Remember to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Save Changes’ button to save your changes.

Your WordPress installation is now complete. It’s now time to get your internet store up and running.

Step 3: Get Your WooCommerce Store Up and Running

WooCommerce is the most popular online store builder. It’s built on top of WordPress, giving you WordPress’s versatility as well as the ability to sell any type of goods you desire.

The WooCommerce plugin must first be installed and activated. See our step-by-step guide on installing a WordPress plugin for more information.

Simply search for WooCommerce on the Plugins » Add New page. Click the Install Now button next to the WooCommerce listing in the search results.

Install WooCommerce plugin

 

The WooCommerce plugin will now be downloaded and installed by WordPress. Wait for the plugin to finish downloading, then click the ‘Activate’ button to proceed.

Active WooCommerce plugin

 

WooCommerce will run the setup wizard after activation, and you’ll see the Welcome to WooCommerce screen. This WooCommerce setup process will lead you through the most crucial settings.

To begin, enter basic information for your online store, such as your address, country, and region. You can use your retail location information as the address if you’re a retailer.

Then, to go to the next step, click the Continue option.

Following that, you’ll be asked to select a retail industry. You can pick an industry that is most similar to the type of store you want to open.

Select store industry

 

To proceed, click the continue button.

Following that, you’ll be prompted to select the things you’ll sell on your site. If your products require shipping, for example, you can choose physical products.

Select product types

 

You can also select from a variety of product types. You can, for example, select both Physical Products and Downloads. Don’t be concerned about selling a variety of products. For each product, you may choose the type of product to add.

Continue by pressing the Enter key.

Following that, you’ll be asked to provide basic company information, such as how many products you aim to offer and whether or not you sell elsewhere. You can pick ‘No’ for the other option if you don’t have any products yet.

Enter business details

 

You must now select the ‘Free Features’ tab. A box to install free features for your website will be pre-checked.

Free features

 

This option should be unchecked because it will install various other WooCommerce extensions that you may not require. You can always install them yourself if you need them later.

To go to the next step, click the Continue button.

The next step is to select a theme for your online store. You can keep your existing default theme, switch to Storefront, or use any of the other free alternatives on the website.

Select time zone

 

Don’t stress about finding the ideal theme right soon. Later in this article, we’ll show you how to pick the finest theme for your online business.

That’s all; you’ve now completed the basic WooCommerce setup.

Step 4: Configure Your Online Store’s Payments

The next step is to set up payment mechanisms so that your store can take online payments. WooCommerce comes with a number of payment gateways that are simple to set up.

Simply navigate to the ‘Payments’ tab on the WooCommerce » Settings page. PayPal Standard, Cash on Delivery, Checks, and Bank Transfers are the default options.

Select payments

 

You’ll also find the options to install Stripe, PayPal Checkout, and WooCommerce Payments if you scroll down. Stripe and PayPal Standard are the payment methods we prefer.

install Stripe payments

 

You can click the Set up button for each payment gateway and fill in the needed information. You can enable Stripe and enter your API Keys, for example (you can find this information under your Stripe account).

Don’t forget to save your payment preferences by clicking the Save changes button.

Adding Products to Your Online Store (Step 5)

Let’s begin by adding your first item to your online store.

To add a new product, go to the Products » Add New page.

Add new products

 

Provide a title for your product first, followed by a detailed description.

The ‘Product Categories’ box can be found in the right-hand column. To establish a category for this product, click the ‘+Add New Product Category’ button. This makes it simple for you and your clients to sort and browse products.

Add new product category

 

The Product Data box can be found if you scroll down a little. This is where you will give product-related details such as pricing, inventory, and shipping.

Product data box

 

Below the product data box is a box where you can enter a short description about the product. When visitors are viewing numerous products on a page, these product descriptions will be used.

Finally, you’ll notice boxes to add a main product image and a product gallery in the right-hand column.

When you’re happy with all of the product information you’ve entered, click the Publish button to publish it to your website.

As needed, repeat the process to add more products.

Step 6: Choose and Personalize WordPress Themes

 WordPress themes determine how your WordPress blogs seem to visitors. They also have control over how your products are displayed in a WooCommerce store.

Thousands of WordPress themes, both premium and free, are available to help you establish a magnificent online presence.

However, not all WordPress themes are created with eCommerce stores in mind. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top WooCommerce themes for you to select from.

If you need assistance choosing a theme, see our advice on 9 factors to consider when choosing the perfect WordPress theme.

After you’ve installed a WooCommerce theme, you can tweak its appearance to suit your needs.

Just go to the Appearance » Customize page. This will open the theme customizer, which allows you to adjust various theme parameters.

Customize your theme

 

Most recent WooCommerce themes offer a variety of customization possibilities and are compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.

Step 7: Use Plugins to Expand Your Online Store

You may wish to add more features to your store now that it’s almost ready to develop a profitable online store. To make your first sale, you could, for example, create a customer support form or promote your new business on social media.

Here’s where plugins come in handy.

Plugins and extensions for WooCommerce and WordPress make it simple to add new functionality to your website.

For your WordPress website, plugins are similar to apps. You can use tens of thousands of them, both free and paid. There are almost 58,000 plugins in the WordPress.org plugin directory alone.

However, because there are so many options, it might be tough for beginners to pick the proper plugins. What criteria do you use to determine which plugin to use?

Here are some of our top recommendations for crucial plugins that should be installed on any online store.

1. OptinMonster 

1. OptinMonster

 

OptinMonster makes it simple to convert visitors to paying clients on your website. Lightbox popups, sticky header and footer banners, countdown timers, spin to win, and other features are included.

All of them aid in increasing conversions, increasing sales, expanding your email list, and decreasing shopping cart abandonment.

Note: If you sign up from within the OptinMonster WordPress plugin, you can get a free edition of OptinMonster.

2. WPForms 

2. WPForms

 

WPForms is the greatest WordPress form builder plugin. It enables you to quickly construct any type of form for your store, such as contact forms, surveys, login forms, gift card order forms, and more.

It contains an easy-to-use drag-and-drop form builder that allows you to design forms by simply pointing and clicking. For more information, see our post on how to easily construct a contact form in WordPress.

Note: If you don’t require the Pro capabilities, WPForms also provides a free version called WPForms Lite.

3. Affiliate Marketing Made Simple 

3. Easy Affiliate

 

Easy Affiliate makes it simple to implement an affiliate program to your website. This enables you to work with affiliate marketers to advertise your products in exchange for a fee.

It includes robust affiliate monitoring, no transaction fees, fraud detection, one-click rewards, and an affiliate dashboard for your partners. See our tutorial on how to set up a referral program for your online store for more information.

4. Advanced Coupons 

4. Advanced Coupons

 

Advanced Coupons is the greatest WooCommerce coupon code plugin. It enables you to improve WooCommerce’s default coupon functionality and develop highly effective coupons to help your business flourish.

You can design loyalty programs, timed coupons, Buy One Get One Free discounts, shipping coupons, and more with Advanced Coupons. 

5. SeedProd 

5. SeedProd

 

SeedProd is the best WordPress and WooCommerce page builder plugin. It makes it simple to develop bespoke landing pages for your online store.

It includes conversion and sales-oriented templates that are ready to use. It also comes with WooCommerce blocks that you can use to construct custom product pages, homepages, checkout pages, thank you pages, and more. You may also integrate it with your email marketing solution to expand your email list.

Note: You can download SeedProd’s free trial version directly from WordPress.org.

6. PushEngage 

6. PushEngage

 

PushEngage is the greatest WordPress and WooCommerce push notification software. It enables you to send web push alerts to your website users’ PCs and mobile phones with ease.

You can deliver targeted messages to your target audience with PushEngage, including new product announcements, abandoned cart reminders, back in stock notifications, welcome messages, and more.

7. WordPress SEO All-in-One 

7. All in One SEO for WordPress

 

The finest SEO plugin for WooCommerce is All in One SEO for WordPress. It enables you to effortlessly optimize your online store for SEO without any prior knowledge of SEO.

It includes everything from full eCommerce functionality to schema markup, sitemaps, and breadcrumbs. This aids in increasing traffic to your online store. See our entire WooCommerce SEO tutorial for beginners for more information.

Note: AIOSEO is also available in a free edition, which is still quite powerful for individuals who are just getting started.

8. MonsterInsights 

 

8. MonsterInsights

 

The finest Google Analytics plugin for WordPress is MonsterInsights. It assists you in determining where your clients come from and what they do on your website.

MonsterInsights includes WooCommerce tracking so you can see your website’s conversions and sales data. With data-driven decisions, you may alter your marketing plan and expand your small business.

9. HubSpot 

9. HubSpot

 

For WordPress and WooCommerce, HubSpot is the greatest CRM plugin. It enables you to sync your forms automatically, manage contacts, separate them into lists, and track every interaction your visitors have with your website. It also has a free email marketing capability.

They also allow you to integrate live chat into your website pages and track the effectiveness of your overall marketing campaign.

See our list of key WooCommerce plugins for an eCommerce business for more plugin recommendations.

Starting an Online Store: Frequently Asked Questions

Many of our consumers frequently contact us with queries about launching an online store of their own. Below, we’ve attempted to respond to some of the most often asked questions:

1. How do I find things to offer on my e-commerce site?

Product sourcing can be done in a variety of methods by store owners. Software, digital art, music, and other downloadable products are among the items sold by some.

Others use internet marketplaces like Alibaba or AliExpress to find merchandise from local or international merchants. If you don’t want to handle your own inventory or shipping, consider beginning a print-on-demand or dropshipping business.

2. Is it possible to open a free online store?

Some eCommerce platforms offer free trials for a limited time, after which you must pay. While WooCommerce is free, you will need to pay for a domain name and a web hosting service in order to use it.

3. What is the cost of starting an internet store?

It all relies on your budget and company plan. You may start with Bluehost for $2.75 per month and save money by using free plugins and themes. We advocate a business plan in which you start modest and gradually increase your investment as your company grows.

Is it possible to set up an internet store without having to ship products?

Yes, you certainly can. For example, you can use dropshipping plugins to create an online store, an Amazon affiliate store, or an eBay-style marketplace. You can also offer external products as well as your own in the same online store.

6. How can I keep track of my online store’s shipping costs and taxes?

You may be needed to add sales tax, VAT, or additional taxes depending on your location. You can add taxes to WooCommerce by enabling them on the WooCommerce » Settings page.

Switch to the Shipping page from here to create alternative shipping zones, add shipping rates, define flat shipping rates, and more.

We hope you found this guide useful in learning how to create an online business.

You may also want to learn Best 14 SEO Plugins and Tools.