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Today, we would be looking at how you can build an e-commerce website from scratch. This is a step by step tutorial guide on how you can do it yourself. It is a beginner’s guides to creating a website so don’t worry even if you are not a tech savvy.
E-commerce business is trending and thriving all over the world cos the rate at which online shopping mall is increasing is very alarming, so starting your own e-commerce business is the best decision. However, in starting an eCommerce business of your own, you will need a professional eCommerce website.
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Learning how to create one for your online presence, is actually not difficult. If you are the type that can create or have seen a business website before, you would have noticed that the difference between a business website and an eCommerce website is actually the product page, shopping cart and checkout procedures found in eCommerce website which set its look apart from the normal business website
So now that you know the difference between the two types of website, let’s get started on creating an eCommerce website.
The following step by step guide would help you in creating your website from scratch;
Step 1: Choose Your E-commerce Platform
It is important you make a decision on the platform you will like to use for building your website because there are various e-commerce platforms you can use in creating your ecommerce website. We have: WordPress+WooCommerce, Yo!Kart, Shopify, Magneto, BigCommerce etc.
You can use other platforms in building your ecommerce website. For example Shopify which is a fully hosted platform with their price starting from $29/month. Shopify is one of the platforms that makes it easy for those individuals with little or no tech experience to build their websites. All you need to do is create an account and the Shopify wizard will put you through the entire process. With shopify, you can be sure of your website loading fast, safe payment gateways, hundrens of theme templates to customize your eCommerce website and give it the professional look you desire but do remember that when you use shopify in creating your eCommerce website, you might need to upgrade your plan as your business grows and that is why this tutorial is to guide you on how you can create an eCommerce website with wordpress + woocommerce.
Also, you might prefer to create your dropshipping store with the help of a plugin called Alidropship plugin. This plugin helps you build a professional looking store in minutes without writing a single line of code. This plugin comes with both the wordpress version and the woocommerce version and its cost one time payment of $89 but if you hurry and purchase the plugin through my link, you will get a 35% off your purchase using the coupon code “NEWSEASON35” at checkout.
To setup your store with Alidropship plugin, I have prepared a free video tutorial on how to use the plugin in building your dropshipping store.
However, the focus of this course is to build your dropshipping store for free with wordpress and woocommerce.
WordPress+WooCommerce is the most popular among all the platforms you can used in creating your eCommerce website and you can easily use it to create a regular business website or a blog as well. It is very user-friendly and over 40% of all e-commerce website is powered by WooCommerce. And the best part is that it is totally free so you need not bother about monthly charges.
Now, we’re going to be building our e-commerce website for the rest of the tutorial with WordPress+WooCommerce.
Step 2. Get a Domain Name & a Web hosting
In designing an ecommerce website, you will need to purchase a domain name and an hosting service. A domain name is the name your e-store will bear on the internet while an hosting service is where your ecommerce website will be housed before people can be seeing it all over the world.
A domain name and hosting should be purchased from a reliable webhosting service with an ssl certificate which is very important for the security of your website. In purchasing a domain, my go get place is bluehost because their services are reliable, you get a free domain name with any of the plan you go for and I can guarantee 99% uptime for your website with their service.If you are on a low budget, you can go for whogohost or smartweb, their customer service is also superb and you also get a .com.ng extention for free but .com domain extention is the best for your ecommerce website.
- Secure Your Ecommerce Website
Securing your ecommerce website is very essential to the success of your business. It makes your prospects to trust your store and also increases store conversion. It involves the purchased of an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate for your ecommerce website. The SSL certificate is the standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. The SSL certificate when install on your website helps in keeping sensitive data collected on your website safe and prevents hackers from having access to the credit card information used on your website.
Note: When you purchase your domain name and hosting service, you get the SSL cerficate for free from most hosting service providers but remember my recommendations to go for bluehost for more site functionality and reliabilities. With bluehost,you get a free domain name, free SSL certificate, 99.9% Uptime Guarantee, great customer support 24/7, Pre-installed WordPress & WooCommerce, it is also an established hosting company that is officially recommended by WordPress.org and moreso, with bluehost you get 30 days money back guarantee. However, if you are on a low budget, I would recommend whogohost and smartweb. Their services are superb too. With whogohost and smartweb, you also get a free .com.ng domain and cheap hosting services, free ssl certificate and prompt respose to issues concerning your websites.
In building your ecommerce store, visit www.bluehost.com and choose a plan for your ecommerce website domain name and hosting service.
You will be presented with an interface as the one below;
- On the homepage, click the “get started” button to continue.
- Choose an hosting plan either Basic , Plus, Choice plus and Pro plan but since it’s a new website, you can start with the basic plan.
- The next step is to choose your domain name which is always free with bluehost. You can do this using the dropdown arrow in the box to choose either .com or any domain extention of your choice and if you already have a domain name from another host, indicate it by typing it into the box “I have a domain name”
But make sure you point the nameserver of the existing domain name to that of bluehost.
- The next page would need you to fill in your details and select your plan from the dropdown arrow when you scroll down to choose either 12months, 24months 36months plans from plan information box. You check boxes for other services you might want to checkout but the most important box to check is the one for domain privacy protection
- Finally, enter your payment information and make payment for your package. After that, scroll down and tick the terms of service to agree to their terms, then click the submit button.
Congratulations! you’ve just gotten your domain name and a web hosting account for your eCommerce website.
The next step is Installation of WordPress and WooCommerce Plugin
WordPress, makes it super easy in building website without writing codes so you don’t need to be a web developer before you can design one for your business and woocommerce makes it possible to sell virtually any item online without stress. Just install the plugin and you are good to go.
The good thing about Bluehost is that after the checkout page the WordPress is automatically installed for you! After the checkout page, you will only need to create a password from the page presented to you immediately after the checkout page.
Login with your details to continue.
- Immediately you login, you will be presented with some free themes from bluehost you can skip that by clicking the button under the page.
- The next page will welcome you to wordpress with a question under asking if “you need any help”. Click I don’t need.
Meanwhile, BlueHost must have sent you your account details to your registered email address. Log in through your cPanel.
Once you’ve login, click my “my site” on the left-hand side to set up your WordPress account.
The next step is to install WooCommerce
- Login into your WordPress admin dashboard.
- On the left-hand-side of your dashboard, go to plugins then click on add new.
- Search for woocommerce plugin by making use of the search box
- Click “Install Now” button to install the plugin and activate it after installation.
- After this, you will be presented with the woocommerce setup wizard.
- Click on Lets Go to continue
- On the first setup page, you will need to indicate the location or country of your business as well as the currency, scroll down to check the box that says “are you going to be selling physical products and if you will be selling in person” this is necessary because of those that will be offering payment on delivery services.
- The next page is the payment gateway, I would recommend Paypal for those that would be selling to other countries but if your payment method is not indicated, you can always add it later.
The offline payment method will allow you to receive payment via bank transfer, payment on delivery etc.
- On the next page you are to specify the shipping method you will be adopting “free shipping or flat rate”.
You can select the price you want to charge for shipping of products. But that is not necessary for now since you don’t know yet, you can always do that later.
- The next page recommended some tools like Mailchimp for email marketing and the next page will ask you to connect your website with Jetpack plugin for your site enhancement. You can skip this step or go ahead and sign up for them.
Once you’ve done that your website is ready to start selling.
The next step is to start Customizing your E-Commerce Website Theme
Although, the WooCommerce plugin must have installed their default theme on your website “Storefront” but you can always choose another.
- To customize your store theme, go to Appearance -> Customize and customize to your taste and you can also purchase a premium theme from themeforest and later download and upload the theme to your website.
To upload the premium theme after downloading it from themeforest;
- Go to Appearance -> Themes-> Add New-> Upload Theme to upload the theme file of your premium theme.
Locate the file on your computer and upload it to your website. Once it’s uploaded successfully, click “activate” to activate the plugin.
The next step is to start adding your Products
To do this, go to Products-> Add Product, add the title of the product and give a brief description of the product, add the product categories, the variations of the product if any, price of the product, product inventory, shipping cost, product image and the product gallery. Then click on “Publish“ button to make it live on your website. Repeat the procedures for other products too.
The next step is to add few plugins and extensions to supercharge your eCommerce website
WooCommerce makes it easy to install other plugins free of charge to supercharge your e-commerce website functionalties.
Below are some of them;
- WooCommerce Multilingual– run your store in multiple languages using this plugin.
- Contact Form 7- your store visitors can contact you directly ny filling the form.
- UpdraftPlus-help back up all your site content, including your products and other store data.
- Social Share Buttons by GetSocial-et your buyers share your products with their friends and family through social media with this plugin.
- All in one SEO pack/Yoast SEO– This plugin helps improve your Google search appearance and makes it possible for your website to be easily found on the web with certain keywords.
Once you have done this, you are good to go. Creating an eCommerce website is not something difficult to do, all you need to do is to follow the above steps accordingly and in no time, you will see yourself designing a professional looking website.
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