How to Build an Online Store Step-by-Step Guide


How to Build an Online Store Step-by-Step Guide

We're all looking for ways to make more money, and creating a shopping website is the ideal way to add extra income. In fact, by 2021, e-commerce sales are expected to account for 17.5% of total global retail sales!

Despite such staggering statistics, the vast majority of businesses still don't have a website - which means now is the perfect time to sit down, get your head together, and start building.

Image source Depositphotos

Whether you're looking to expand an existing brick-and-mortar business online or take your first steps into the world of e-commerce with your first store, this guide will guide you step-by-step through building an online store. Launching a shopping site has never been easier with an eCommerce site building platform like Shopify and a WordPress plugin like WooCommerce. We'll help you determine the most appropriate approach and show you how to use both methods to create an online store.

Option 1: Use e-commerce website builder

Using eCommerce website builder: Frequently Asked Questions

Option 2: Use WordPress

Using WordPress: Frequently Asked Questions

Should you use a website builder or WordPress

Option 1: Use e-commerce website builder

9 steps to launch a shopping website using the website builder.

  1. Find the ideal e-commerce website building platform
  2. Selecting the right pricing plan
  3. Get the domain name of the online store
  4. Select eCommerce template
  5. Customized eCommerce templates
  6. Add Products
  7. Set up payment method
  8. Organize delivery settings
  9. Preview, test, and publish shopping site
  10. Find the ideal e-commerce website building platform

E-commerce website builder is an online software that helps you launch your online store quickly without any advanced skills, coding knowledge, and a dozen computer screens - all you need is an Internet connection and a nice business idea!

The first step when launching a store is to choose the ideal platform. There are many options on the market today, some cheap, some expensive, some reliable and some unsatisfactory. In order for you to find the right option, we have spent a lot of time and effort reviewing them and have listed the two most popular brands below. For large marketplaces we recommend Shopify and for smaller stores we recommend Wix:.

  1. Ease of use
  2. Value for money
  3. Flexibility
  4. Functions and Features
  5. Help and support

Free Trial

  1. Ease of use
  2. Value for money
  3. Flexibility
  4. Functions and Features
  5. Help and support

Free Trial

Each of the site building tools is easy to use and despite some initial doubts, the vast majority of people can easily master them.

Which website building platform should you choose?

Making a choice can be overwhelming, but it all depends on the purpose and size of your website build. We will provide you with more information after studying each eCommerce website builder in detail.

For small stores

If you are planning to set up a small store, we recommend Wix, very easy to set up, decent sales tools, and the design looks great.

  1. Price: $23~$49/month
  2. Design: over 500 fashion themes
  3. Features/tools: integration with ShipStation, selling on Instagram, email notifications for abandoned carts, printable logistics labels, and more
  4. Sales commission: None

For large shopping malls

Shopify is recommended if you intend to create a full-fledged e-commerce site selling more than 10 products and with a turnover of more than $1000.

  1. Price: $29~$299/month
  2. Design: over 50 modern themes, as well as a large number of third-party themes
  3. Features/Tools: Powerful inventory management, email marketing and sales tools, basically, you get all the features you need for an online store
  4. Sales commission: $2.9~2.6% plus 30 cents transaction fee (unless you use Shopify Payments)

Test website builder

Before launching a shopping site, it is very important to test out the eCommerce site builder platform, and the best way to do this is to try it for free -- don't just try one, you can compare different site builder brands to find the one that best meets your needs.

Please click on the following link to register for a free trial version.

  1. Wix: Free trial of 14-day premium plan
  2. Shopify: Free 14-day trial
  3. When using e-commerce site builders, ask yourself.
  4. Is it easy to select a template/theme and make changes?
  5. Is the template right for your business?
  6. Is it easy to add and categorize products?
  7. Can you edit the navigation to adjust submenus and new pages?
  8. Choose the right pricing plan

After testing some platforms and being satisfied with your choice, you will need to sign up for the right pricing plan before you can start building. Different plans have different features, and as you would expect, the more you pay, the more you get. The exact plan you choose depends on the size of your business and your growth goals. If you're creating an e-commerce site, you'll need to subscribe to a paid plan -- after all, adding and selling products is much more complicated than creating a regular website.

A quick look at the starting prices of well-known website building platforms.

Build a website platform

Weebly

Squarespace

Wix

Shopify

BigCommerce

Program

Free

Business

Business Basic

Basic Shopify

Standard

Price/month

$0

$18

$23

$29

$29.95

These prices represent the cheapest plan that allows you to sell products -- Weebly lets you open a store for free, which is very rare! However, you'll need to upgrade to the $12/month Pro plan to remove branded ads from your store. If you're opening your first online store, Basic Shopify or Wix Business Basic will provide unparalleled and reliable support.

When learning how to create a shopping site, the rule of thumb is: the more products you sell and the more revenue you earn, the higher the pricing plan you need.

How many products do you plan to sell?

If you don't plan to sell a lot of products, go for the less expensive Simple plan, Shopify's main plan has no limits on the number of products. However, the more products you sell, the more financial sense it makes to upgrade to the premium plan -- this is mainly because of transaction fees, which can have a significant impact on profits if you are able to generate a lot of revenue, even with a slight drop in fees.

What is your expected cost?

To create a shopping site, you need an e-commerce plan. Basic Shopify costs no more than $29/month, which is arguably insignificant considering that your products are displayed to billions of buyers.

What features do you need?

Different stores have different needs, Shopify may be more expensive, but they are designed to help you build a large mall; on the other hand, Wix eCommerce is more suitable for creating smaller online stores, here are the pricing plans and functional features of Wix.

Business Basic

$23/month

  1. Unlimited traffic
  2. 20GB of storage space
  3. Connecting personal domains
  4. Film 5 hours
  5. Remove Wix ads
  6. One year free domain name
  7. $300 Advertising Coupon
  8. Website Promotion Application
  9. Visitor Analytics Application
  10. Accept online payment
  11. Sales Analysis and Reporting
  12. View Details
  13. Business Unlimited
  14. $27/month
  15. Unlimited traffic
  16. 35GB of storage space
  17. Connecting personal domains
  18. Film 10 hours
  19. Remove Wix ads
  20. One year free domain name
  21. $300 Advertising Coupon
  22. Website Promotion Application
  23. Visitor Analytics Application
  24. Accept online payment
  25. Sales Analysis and Reporting
  26. Professional Trademark
  27. Professional e-commerce functions
  28. View Details
  29. Business VIP
  30. $49/month
  31. Unlimited traffic
  32. 50GB of storage space
  33. Connecting personal domains
  34. The film is not limited in length
  35. Remove Wix ads
  36. One year free domain name
  37. $300 Advertising Coupon
  38. Website Promotion Application
  39. Visitor Analytics Application
  40. Accept online payment
  41. Sales Analysis and Reporting
  42. Professional Trademark
  43. Professional e-commerce functions
  44. Priority Reply
  45. VIP Support
  46. View Details

Can you set up an online store for free?

The answer is yes!

We've already discussed Weebly, which allows you to sell online without paying a penny, and it's one of the best free eCommerce website builder platforms out there. Similarly, Big Cartel's free plan allows you to sell things online, but with very limited features and only allows you to sell 5 products, each of which can only display one image.

Benefits of upgrading to a premium plan

The basic plan is great for getting started, but upgrading to the advanced plan unlocks more features. The table below looks at the 3 most important eCommerce features: multi-channel integration, abandoned cart recovery, and SSL certificates.

Build a website platform

Functional Features

Basic Plan

Advanced Plan

Multi-Channel Integration

Select a plan

Abandoned shopping cart recovery

SSL Certificates

Multi-Channel Integration

Select a plan

Abandoned shopping cart recovery

SSL Certificates

Multi-Channel Integration

Select a plan

Abandoned shopping cart recovery

SSL Certificates

Not sure what the functional features of the above table mean? Here is a detailed explanation.

  1. Multi-channel integration: with the ability to sell across social media (e.g. Facebook and Instagram) and marketplaces (e.g. Amazon and eBay). shopify and BigCommerce allow you to sell directly through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, eBay, etc. selling, and Squarespace offers a license to sell products on Instagram.
  2. Abandoned Cart Recovery: When a customer leaves your site, this feature will send them an email to stay in touch if the item is still in the cart but not checked out. 75% of consumers leave the site before placing an order, BigCommerce claims they can help you make up for 15% of lost sales!
  3. SSL Certificates: SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates protect data that travels over the web. Customers will browse your site using the HTTPS protocol, and this security helps boost their trust in you, so they are more likely to spend money.
  4. Get the domain name of the online store

A good domain name is the key to launching a successful shopping website, not only to build trust with your customers, but also to help promote your brand. Take Nike for example, here is their URL and domain name.

  1. URL: https://www.nike.com
  2. Domain name: nike.com
  3. You can register a domain name through Shopify or Wix for about $10-$20/year, or, you can purchase it through a domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy) and connect it to an online store building platform.
  4. How to choose a domain name
  5. If you already own a domain name, don't worry, you can migrate to the site builder platform and cancel the agreement with the original provider. Or, if you still wish to remain with the domain registrar, there is no problem, just set up DNS resolution.
  6. Select e-commerce template

Using templates (sometimes called themes), you can easily make a website look good without having to be a design expert and without writing any code! Choosing a theme in Shopify is easy, all you have to do is browse in the Theme Marketplace at.

Shopify Theme Marketplace

The process for Wix is very similar, you will start by choosing a template and their templates are divided into different categories, each representing a different industry, such as business, photography, music, online stores, travel and tourism, creative arts, etc.

Wix Template Library

Before figuring out the right template, ask yourself 3 questions.

  1. What features do you want the store to have?
  2. Which style of home page do you want?
  3. How do you want customers to navigate the store?
  4. Next, let's discuss in more detail.

What features do you want the store to have?

Features are a key part of building an online store. Do you need a map, gallery or about us page? Do you plan to show videos on the home page?

Some templates are able to offer more advanced features. When searching for a theme in the marketplace of the website building platform, please filter by features, narrowing it down can help you find the option that best meets your specific needs.

Which style of home page do you want?

The home page is the first page your customers see, like a store window, and they can tell at a glance which business you sell.

Your home page can be a simple image, slider or video, choose according to your business goals. For example, stores selling luxury goods should make the fashion image the topic of conversation, stores selling complex products should use simpler images as well as more text.

How do you want customers to navigate the store?

Most consumers spend no more than 20 seconds on a website, so it is critical to make it easy for them to find the content they need.

A smooth navigation bar is essential so that customers can quickly switch between pages and generate more sales. Complex navigation is like a road with potholes and no signposts, and customers get frustrated because they can't find the content they need.

Start with the most important pages, arrange them from left to right, and don't include content that doesn't make sense for your business. Your navigation bar should also be easy to read. Web users scan pages with an F-shaped eye, so sites with headers and left sidebars work best.

  1. The best Shopify theme recommendations
  2. Customized e-commerce templates

After choosing a template/theme, please go to the backend admin panel to customize it. The customization process is very simple and you can adjust almost any page element, which includes

  1. Text and font size
  2. Color scheme
  3. Pictures
  4. Product positioning
  5. Functional Features
  6. Social Media Integration
  7. ...
  8. Most site building platforms also allow the installation of applications (plugins) to allow you to add desired functionality that is not already built in.
  9. Adding products

Now that you have created your stylish online store using the template, you need to add products next.

Zero Gravity is a shopping site built using Shopify and the product pages are designed to match its unique offerings

Using the page editor, you can easily control the product pages. The image above shows how to combine product styles with minimalism. The main elements needed to add a product are.

  1. Name
  2. Price
  3. Category
  4. Weight (physical product)
  5. Files (for downloadable products, such as eBooks)
  6. Different website building platforms have different restrictions on.
  7. Number of products you can upload
  8. Number of models per product, such as size or color
  9. Number of combinations of options per product, e.g. blue T-shirt in size medium
  10. Shopify allows you to sell unlimited products at their cheapest price plans, however, other eCommerce platforms will have some restrictions on lower level plans. The 3 key elements to uploading quality products are
  11. Product Description
  12. Product Images
  13. Product Category
  14. Let's go into more detail below.

How to write a product description?

Your product description needs to be compelling, but here are three things to avoid.

  1. Complex Jargon
  2. cliché
  3. Long sentences
  4. This is an example product description.
  5. Built on BigCommerce, the Firewire Surfboards website combines detailed product descriptions, multiple images, and even product videos to engage customers
  6. Detailed product descriptions can have a significant impact on sales, with the aforementioned retailer presenting the technical features of the surfboard and then explaining its benefits to the consumer.
  7. Another thing to keep in mind when writing product descriptions is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Your website will easily appear on the search results page when potential customers search for similar products, and the higher you rank, the more traffic you will get and the more sales you will generate. The product description should contain some meaningful keywords, let's say you are selling vintage sneakers, you should include the phrases vintage and sneakers.

How do I add a product image?

As with product descriptions, your pictures should accurately reflect the item being sold, and here are some tips.

  1. Use high quality images: do not select blurry or too small images
  2. Make sure each image is the same size: use a tool like Photoshop to resize each image to the same size
  3. Take photos alone: If possible, use a good quality smartphone to take photos of the product
  4. Provide 360-degree options: ensure that customers can view your products from all angles
  5. Add product models: ensure consumers can view products in all colors
  6. Add zoom option: gives customers the opportunity to view product details (this is subject to checking the features provided by the site builder)
  7. And finally, don't forget: are your product images optimized?
  8. You can easily optimize images using free compression tools, which help reduce the file size without having too much impact on the visuals. High quality images are a great way to showcase your products, but the more images you have in your store, the longer it takes for the page to load, so optimization is important.

How to classify the products?

Categories allow products to be located in different areas so that customers can easily find what they want, some examples include men, women, accessories, promotions, new launches, etc. We recommend no more than five categories, otherwise consumers may be confused by too many choices. When categorizing products, these are the key things to consider.

  1. Price range: Displaying price ranges on category pages improves clarity and prevents customers from browsing for products that exceed their budgets
  2. Featured products: a great way to guide customers down the preferred shopping route
  3. Filtering options: Let customers filter by size, price or brand, the more options you offer, the happier they will be
  4. Additional information: Customers have navigated to a specific area of the store and they want to know more about the product
  5. Set the payment method

Next, you need to set up payment methods, which is a key step in converting traffic into profit.

The builder platforms make it easy for you to achieve this goal, and they have optimized all the processes so you can start operating with the best (and most efficient) payment methods, including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and more. Here are the payment methods supported by each platform.

Build a website platform

Payment Method

Weebly

PayPal, Stripe, Square

Squarespace

PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay

Wix

PayPal, Stripe, Square, 10+ additional ways

Shopify

PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Shopify Payments, 100+ additional methods

BigCommerce

PayPal, Stripe, Square, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Worldpay, eWallet

What payment options can I add?

The 3 popular methods of accepting payments on e-commerce sites are

  1. Merchant accounts and payment gateways: you work with banks who help you collect payments and send them to your commercial bank account
  2. Payment gateway software package: connects store shopping carts to bank processing networks through fully functional all-in-one software
  3. Simplified credit card payment processing: Using services that integrate with store checkout (such as Shopify's own payment gateway), consumers can complete their purchases without leaving your site

How to choose the best payment method?

Calculate the likely sales volume that will be generated, and the composition of the potential customer base.

Find out where your customers are from, and if they are from different countries and regions, make sure to cater to each nationality's needs. For example, Canadian and Singaporean consumers have different payment preferences. Don't take the choice of payment method lightly until you have addressed the store's needs.

How secure are the payments?

Security is a big issue for online shoppers. If you can secure your site, it will eliminate their worries and the site builder uses SSL certificates to solve this problem for you.

SSL is known as Secure Socket Layer, which is used to encrypt data transmitted over the network and make the online shopping experience 100% secure. Visually, a website with an SSL certificate installed will have a padlock icon in the browser at

Most e-commerce platforms include this in their pricing plans, which has two important benefits for your business development.

  1. Customers feel safe shopping in your store
  2. Search engines will reward your store with higher rankings
  3. For example, Shopify comes with built-in SSL security and allows you to access over 100 payment gateways, including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and more.

How much is the collection fee?

Different collection methods incur different fees, and the various fees are usually aggregated together, so it takes some time to understand them.

Credit card fees are unavoidable, they are charged by the card provider (e.g. American Express) and the site builder is responsible for collecting them on your behalf. On the other hand, fees for using payment gateways vary, usually between 1% and 3% of each transaction amount, but if you use Shopify's own gateway, Shopify Payments, you can waive all transaction fees.

  1. Organize delivery settings

You have added products and payment options for your customers to purchase, the next step is to make sure you can deliver those products. Logistics options may vary for each site builder platform, please see the following table for more information.

Build a website platform

Shopify

Wix

BigCommerce

Squarespace

Weebly

Forwarding and Distribution

Logistics Management Tools

Printable logistics labels

Pre-defined logistics providers

To start shipping, you need to add the shipping address and the type of package. If you are not shipping products from an office address, you should enter a separate shipping source to ensure that the logistic price and taxes are correct. After adding the address, you can print the logistics label and get a quote.

Shipping rates can vary from country to country and region to region, and the site builder platform allows you to charge different rates depending on the location of your customers. For example, if you are a US store, you can charge cheaper shipping rates to states close to your distribution center. The website administration backend displays each shipping region, as well as all individual shipping rates.

Once you have set up your shipping address, you can decide how to deliver the product to your customers. The main types of billing are.

Free delivery

Free delivery can be a good selling point if conditions allow. You can offer free delivery on orders over a specific number, which offsets the cost of delivery and also helps increase the average order value for your customers.

Who it applies to: Get out your calculator and check that this will make it harder for you to make a profit if you are selling cheap goods, and therefore works best when selling luxury items.

Flat Rate Shipping

The same shipping cost is offered regardless of which product is purchased. Flat rate shipping is very useful for marketing and you can commit $5 delivery to anywhere in a region.

Applicable to: Stores that sell a large number of similar products.

Real-time billing

Shipping costs are calculated based on order amount, product weight, shipping address, etc. Customers like this option because it seems honest and transparent.

Who it applies to: Stores that sell products of different weights, especially for larger items, this rule is very good.

Store or local pickup

Invite customers to pick up as an alternative, which is perfect for providing a personal, face-to-face business experience.

Applicable to: Large products with short shelf life for sale, or stores with a certain local reputation.

Billing by order price

For example, reducing courier costs if the order price reaches a certain level is a great way to reward high-value customers.

Applicable to: Stores that sell valuable items or have a large number of loyal customers.

With the builder platform, you can offer consumers different levels of delivery services, allowing customers to pay more to have their orders delivered faster if they need it. You will need to choose a courier company in order to get your products safely to your customers, and the most popular courier brands include.

  1. USPS
  2. Canada Post
  3. FedEx
  4. E-commerce site building platforms like Shopify have partnerships with popular courier companies, enabling you to get courier discounts and real-time rates, saving you a lot of work.
  5. Preview, test, and publish the shopping site

There is one more important step to take before completing your shopping website: testing. A website building platform allows you to easily test and preview your online store before launching, which is the best way to ensure that your customers' needs are met. When testing the store, check the following key things.

Is the checkout process valid?

When testing the checkout process, please ensure that

  1. Orders apply to all payment methods
  2. Delivery method and courier costs are correct
  3. Products and prices in the shopping cart are correct
  4. Discounts/promotions in line with expectations
  5. The tax breakdown is displayed after the consumer selects a geographic location
  6. The easiest way to do this is to create a test order and get an immediate refund, and it's a good opportunity to test the refund process and email notifications.
  7. Is the store functioning properly?
  8. Make sure any clickable buttons and links work, and the navigation bar should be easy to navigate and feel like you're sailing on a calm lake instead of turning down a bumpy road! Ask friends and family to test your site and get some feedback.
  9. Have you checked the store contents?
  10. Many sellers make a mistake when opening a content-rich shopping site, making the store look very amateurish. Please check each page carefully to see if the spelling and grammar are correct.
  11. Does your store work properly on mobile devices?
  12. In short, it is vital that your website works regardless of which device your customers are using. The website builder tool has a huge advantage in this regard, enabling you to see how your website will look on different devices, and you can test it in preview mode and then switch to mobile view to start tweaking it.
  13. Have you tested the site on different browsers?
  14. Not only do your customers use different devices, they will also use different browsers. The website building platform supports most major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, so there should be no problems.
  15. The last thing to do before clicking the Publish button is to double check the store settings! Go to the corresponding area of the site building platform and fill in each of the following preferences.
  16. Language: the language that the customer sees when opening the website
  17. Currency: Choose preferred payment currency
  18. Time zone: Setting the correct time zone helps to track orders
  19. Address: Show your contact information
  20. Store name: the name displayed in the home page, email, online search
  21. Contact: Customer-facing phone numbers and email addresses
  22. Order settings: whether to add tax to the product price
  23. Product settings: You can decide what information to display to customers, such as product weight or ratings
  24. Using eCommerce website builder: Frequently Asked Questions
  25. Which ecommerce website building platform is best?
  26. Our independent research found that Shopify is the best ecommerce platform overall, combining ease of use with a range of powerful selling tools. squarespace has the most stylish templates, BigCommerce is best for scaling your business, and Wix is perfect for building small online stores.
  27. Does Wix have e-commerce capabilities?
  28. Yes, Wix comes with some impressive eCommerce tools and creating a website is completely free, but you will need to upgrade to an eCommerce plan ($23/month) in order to sell products.
  29. Which e-commerce platform is the cheapest?
  30. Weebly is the cheapest, with a free plan that allows you to create an online store! However, there are better platforms to choose from - Shopify and BigCommerce both offer free trials starting at $29/month and $29.95/month respectively.
  31. Do website building platforms charge transaction fees?
  32. Some platforms do. Wix and BigCommerce do not charge transaction fees for any e-commerce plans, however, Shopify does, unless you use its internal payment gateway, Shopify Payments.
  33. Are there other options for using eCommerce site builders?
  34. Of course, you can sell through online marketplaces like Etsy or, with extensive coding skills, you can also use a self-hosted platform like WordPress or Magento.
  35. How long does it take to create an online store?
  36. It depends on the platform you choose, setting up a Shopify or Wix store only takes a few hours, however, BigCommerce is more complex and takes about a day. On top of that, creating a store from scratch on a platform like WooCommerce will take longer.
  37. Option 2: Use WordPress
  38. 9 steps to set up an online store with WordPress.
  39. Determine if WordPress is right for you
  40. Purchase a suitable hosting plan (we recommend BlueHost)
  41. Select and register a domain name
  42. Install WordPress and set up WooCommerce
  43. Add Products
  44. Select the ideal theme
  45. Custom Shop
  46. Select and install useful plug-ins
  47. Check and publish the website
  48. Why do we recommend using WooCommerce?
  49. While there are other eCommerce plugins available for WordPress, WooCommerce is the most popular, with over 5 million installations to date! Easy to use, powerful, highly scalable, and completely free, it's a great choice for budding sellers looking to cut costs.
  50. Why do we recommend using BlueHost?
  51. BlueHost is the best hosting provider on the market, excelling in tests for specific WordPress plans and features, and even getting an official recommendation from WordPress.org! Affordable, powerful, and with excellent customer support.
  52. Determine if WordPress is right for you

Creating a shopping website with eCommerce builder is very simple, all you have to do is to choose the most suitable platform. On the other hand, WordPress takes more of your time to do.

People love WordPress because it's a powerful and highly customizable platform. Over 1/3 of all websites on the Internet are built with WordPress, giving you complete control over the look, design, functionality, security, etc. The only hitch is that it brings a lot of responsibility and makes it more difficult to get started, but if you have some confidence in the technology you will benefit greatly from it.

You may have to spend a lot of time learning and making sure everything is set up correctly, which can be a satisfying or overwhelming process. Think carefully about why you're using WordPress and what you expect from your website -- from security to SEO (search engine optimization), and everything else.

  1. Purchase a suitable hosting plan

Any good WordPress website (whether it's a personal blog or an online store) is built based on reliable web hosting. If you choose a low-quality hosting service, your online store may crash frequently, be more vulnerable to hacking, load more slowly, or experience a variety of other problems that affect sales.

In its place, you need a high-quality web host, and there are many providers on the market today to choose from, each with different advantages and disadvantages. For WordPress, we recommend BlueHost, whose WordPress-specific plans make the process of building your site easier, and we have conducted in-depth tests to determine that this brand meets all the criteria and has enough capacity to provide you with gratifying results.

  1. Disk Space
  2. Normal online time
  3. Functions and Features
  4. Help and support

Free Trial

  1. Disk Space
  2. Normal online time
  3. Functions and Features
  4. Help and support

Free Trial

  1. Disk Space
  2. Normal online time
  3. Functions and Features
  4. Help and support

Free Trial

Besides features such as automatic updates and one-click WordPress installation, BlueHost also gives us value for money in other aspects, such as unlimited traffic, help support, and huge disk space.

View Details

Web hosting services come in different levels, with the cheapest being shared hosting, where your site shares a physical server with others, and the most expensive being dedicated hosting, which is much more advanced.

Hosting Type

Shared: basic and inexpensive, sharing resources with other sites on the same server, most suitable for small blogs.

VPS: an upgrade from shared hosting, where you can have separate resources and therefore higher security and reliability compared to shared hosting, best suited for small online stores.

Cloud: allows you to manage and customize the resources required, and is best suited for sites that experience high and low traffic, such as stores that hold regular promotions.

WordPress: with features designed specifically for WordPress to ensure your website runs smoothly while freeing you from technical and tedious work.

Dedicated: the most advanced and expensive type of hosting where you have a server all to yourself, best suited for large websites or online shopping malls.

Shared hosting is the least expensive, but for online stores we recommend a VPS as this option is more secure and less restrictive. Most new sites do not require dedicated hosting and may need to consider cloud hosting if your site traffic fluctuates a lot.

We recommend using WooCommerce to create a WordPress eCommerce site, BlueHost offers a dedicated WooCommerce program, just go to the official BlueHost website and select WordPress → eCommerce from the top menu at.

WooCommerce will be installed automatically with your website and each plan comes with unlimited traffic to help you get started. The benefit of using custom hosting is that BlueHost handles all the technical aspects for you, so you can focus on your business and get your site up and running faster.

  1. Select and register a domain name

This is the name that makes up the store URL, for example, our domain name is thatmy.com.

Your domain name should be unique, relevant, short, snappy, easy to spell, and clearly connected to your website, and if possible, it's best to have a domain name that matches the name of your store. When choosing a domain name, here are some important tips.

  1. Avoid numbers and hyphens: not only are they difficult to remember, but they are also very cumbersome to share verbally with others.
  2. Be as unique as possible: if your preferred domain name is already occupied, do not just add 2 to the end, consider using a new name.
  3. Keep it relevant: It's easy to get sidetracked when looking for a unique name, remember to keep it simple and relevant, not quirky!
  4. Once a suitable name has been thought of, it needs to be registered in order to gain ownership. Every domain name is different and must be changed if your idea is already occupied by someone else. When you choose a price plan, most hosting providers (including BlueHost) will register the domain name during the process of launching your website. You can choose a domain name directly through BlueHost or you can register it from a third-party site (such as GoDaddy).
  5. The price of domain names varies, depending on the registrar and the type of domain name. Regular domains (such as .com and .store) are very cheap at around $12/year, other more elaborate domains (such as .global) are around $100/year, and some web hosts even throw in a free domain name for the first year!
  6. How to choose a domain name
  7. Install WordPress and set up WooCommerce

Next, it's time to launch the shopping site. You'll need to install WordPress before you can get started, and if you choose a premium web host (such as BlueHost), this process will be very easy. In fact, you don't even have to perform any actions -- after registering an account, BlueHost will automatically install the latest version of WordPress for you!

The same applies to their WooCommerce hosting plan, where everything is automated and doesn't require a lot of hard technical work on your part, saving you time and saving you from all sorts of hassles.

If you choose the automatically installed WooCommerce plan, you can sit back and wait a minute, after which you can log in to the site dashboard and use the WooCommerce setup wizard which is very easy. Just follow the steps shown and you'll need to enter information such as store location, currency of sale, whether you ship physical goods, sales tax, and you can also choose one or more payment methods, such as PayPal or Stripe.

  1. Adding products

The online store needs products, go to the Products tab of the WordPress dashboard and click Add.

  1. Product name and description

First set the name, then fill out a detailed product description. Please take some extra time, a persuasive and well-written description is very important to promote customers to place orders. Here are some tips for writing product descriptions.

  1. Focus on benefits rather than features: rather than listing dry technical specifications, consider how these features will benefit the customer.
  2. Keep it simple: don't use jargon or write long sentences; try to keep them short, concise and easy to read.
  3. Use persuasive writing strategies: this includes using sensory words like crispy, silky, soft, warm, etc. to motivate them to take action.
  4. Do not leave out detailed information: answer questions that the customer may have and do not leave out basic details such as materials, weights, dimensions, composition, etc..
  5. Get creative: try to tell a story that helps customers understand the pleasure they get from using it; after all, a boring description won't motivate them to spend money.
  6. Create product categories

You can create product categories on the right side, which helps to organize your online store and makes it easier for customers to find the right products. Simply click +Add New Category to create a new category and add products to it.

  1. Add product data

At the bottom of the page, you will find a product data box where you can add all the basic information about the product (from price to shipping), whether it is a virtual product, inventory, etc.

  1. Add a short description of the product

You have written the full product description and can now add a summary version for customers to display when viewing multiple products (e.g. on category pages).

  1. Upload product images

This last point is very important, you need to upload product photos so customers can see the items they are about to buy! First choose a main image, then you can add other gallery photos for your customers to view. It is best to use a clear frontal photo as the main image and then take other photos from different angles and backgrounds.

Important tips for taking product photos.

  1. Multi-angle shots: instead of shooting products from only one angle, mix photos from different positions, for example, showing clothes on models and hangers.
  2. Close up shots: instead of having clients rotate and zoom for detailed information, use large photos taken close up.
  3. Adequate lighting: bring the light as close to the product as possible.
  4. Use of a white background: do not use grey or off-white, which can distract from the lovely product.
  5. Edit your photos to make sure they look better: don't worry, you don't have to be a Photoshop expert, just make simple adjustments to them.
  6. Once you have entered all the product details and are satisfied with the photos and descriptions, click the Publish button to add it to your shopping site!
  7. Select the ideal theme

If you choose to use the Bluehost hosted WooCommerce store, you will find that they have automatically downloaded a Storefront theme. If you'd rather stick with this theme, check out the next step directly: Customize the store, otherwise, now is a good time to choose and install a new theme.

You can browse themes directly in the WordPress directory, or buy them from third-party stores like Themify or ThemeForest.

WooCommerce Premium Theme in Themify

There are thousands of WooCommerce themes on the market, here are some useful tips to find the right option for you.

  1. Be wary of free themes: there is no shortage of quality free themes, perfect for getting started. However, always think twice before installing free themes, do they have good customer reviews? Do they offer the features you need? This will help you avoid installing poorly designed themes.
  2. Ensure that an ecommerce theme is selected: you can filter the search options in WordPress in order to see only ecommerce themes, otherwise, you are likely to come across a beautiful blog theme which does not support selling products.
  3. Choose built-in features wisely: when filtering themes in WordPress, you will see options that include specific features, which will be helpful if you don't want to spend time installing plugins later. However, feature-rich commercial themes are more expensive and usually load more slowly.
  4. You can filter the search options to find the desired content, however, please be careful to select too many features as it may slow down your site. Alternatively, you can simply open the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance → Themes → Add and select one from the WordPress theme library this way.
  5. 30+ WooCommerce theme recommendations
  6. Custom Shop

To change the theme settings, open the WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance → Customize, which allows you to adjust the theme's design, including colors, fonts, layout, typography, etc. When setting up your shopping site, make sure to add the required relevant pages, for the basic store you will need.

  1. A home page
  2. Category pages, such as women's or outdoor clothing
  3. Product details page
  4. About Us Page
  5. Contact page
  6. A page explaining the shipping/return policy
  7. Add new pages where needed and make sure the design style is consistent across all areas, think.
  8. Logo
  9. Fonts
  10. Icons
  11. Color scheme
  12. Navigation menu
  13. Page Layout
  14. Header and footer
  15. Customize the theme according to the store's brand identity and always remember to consider the target audience - this will help you create a simple and functional shopping experience!
  16. Select and install useful plug-ins

Your new website is almost done, but maybe you've noticed something is missing! Testimonials or contact form? If the theme is missing these features, don't worry! A variety of advanced features are at your fingertips by installing plugins. Plugins are like applications that provide you with additional features and elements, perfect for further customizing the store or filling in gaps in functionality.

There are thousands of plugins in the WordPress plugin directory and WooCommerce extension store, so you have plenty of options. As with themes, be sure that all the plugins you install are up-to-date and trustworthy.

WooCommerce Extended Store

Here are some features you might want to add to the store.

  1. Additional security measures: use plugins like Sucuri or Wordfence to secure your website
  2. Recommended book: Collecting and publishing customer reviews using plugins like Strong Testimonials
  3. Subscription forms: Use a plugin like MailPoet or MailChimp to create email newsletter signups
  4. Store Locator: Use a plugin like WP Store Locator to help customers find your physical store
  5. SEO: Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to improve your website's ranking in search results
  6. Most plugins offer free versions, but some features require payment to use, so please check carefully before installing.
  7. The best WooCommerce plugins recommended
  8. Check and publish the website

From choosing a web host to customizing the store and installing plugins, you now have a complete shopping site. However, it's a good idea to do some quick checks before hitting publish, and you certainly don't want any mistakes spilling over into the store -- at best, it looks bad, and at worst, you lose a bunch of potentially loyal customers.

When conducting the final inspection, please note the following points.

  1. Wrong, broken or missing links: Make sure that all links on the site are working properly and in the right place. Copying incorrect links is an easy mistake to make, so please check carefully.
  2. Grammatical and spelling errors: this is one of the most common errors, so read the store carefully in case words are misspelled or statements are not completed.
  3. Image corruption: whether it is undisplayable or too blurry, it can negatively impact sales, ensuring that all images are loaded quickly and look clear and sharp.
  4. Disconnected shopping experience: Have someone else play the role of the consumer and check if the shopping experience was smooth. If certain products are hard to find, or the checkout process is too long, get their feedback!
  5. When you're sure the store will run smoothly, it's time to hit publish!
  6. Sit back and enjoy the continued growth in sales - but don't be in a hurry, WordPress requires steady maintenance work, from running updates to managing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), so please always stay up to date and wait for the blossoms.
  7. Using WordPress: Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Do I have to use WooCommerce to build an online store?
  9. Not necessarily! We recommend WooCommerce as the best eCommerce plugin, but it's not the only option, other premium options include.
  10. MemberPress
  11. Easy Digital Downloads
  12. BigCommerce For WordPress
  13. Is WooCommerce free?
  14. Yes! It's a free and open source application that helps reduce the cost of selling online. After setup, you can also install free or paid add-ons such as product pages, quick checkout, payment gateway, shopping cart, and more.
  15. Why do we recommend WooCommerce?
  16. It's the most popular eCommerce plugin on WordPress with over 5 million installations and the most popular eCommerce platform in the world! On top of that, focused on online sales, highly customizable, and completely free, the list of features are designed to help you succeed.
  17. Should you use a website builder or WordPress
  18. It may be difficult to determine whether you should use WordPress or a site builder, here is a short summary to help you make your decision.
  19. The website building platform allows you to launch a website easily and quickly, with a very simple setup process and no technical knowledge required; in contrast, WordPress takes longer to get started because you need to buy web hosting, install plugins, and learn how the platform works before you can actually start building a website.
  20. On top of that, the site builder does a lot of the technical work for you - security, hosting and updates are already handled automatically, so you just need to focus on getting your business up and running; WordPress, on the other hand, requires you to run updates and take security measures, as well as find a reliable hosting service.
  21. In general, we recommend the following to use e-commerce website building platforms.
  22. Technical novice
  23. Hope Online Store Quick Launch
  24. Need help in building a website
  25. Need simple and intuitive customization options
  26. We recommend WordPress for the following people.
  27. Desire to have complete control over all aspects of the online store
  28. Have some technical ability
  29. Specially tailored websites required
  30. Have time to set up and maintain the site
  31. If you choose to use an eCommerce site building platform, we recommend starting with a free trial of Shopify; if you think WordPress is a better fit for you, then try BlueHost first to see if it meets your specific needs.

Conclusion

The only question is, which side are you going to pick?

Let me know in the comments.

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