Adding an online store to your WordPress website

This article will show you how to add an online store to your WordPress website. It assumes you have already set up your base website which is covered in our guide that shows you how to make a website.

Woocommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It is a free plugin which is well supported and has hundreds of plugins to extend the functionality as required.

Installing Woocommerce On Your Website

To install Woocommerce simply hover over the Plugins menu in your WordPress dashboard and select the Add New option.

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Use the search box to locate the Woocommerce plugin. It should be the first shown in the list.

Click on the Install Now button to commence the installation.

Once the plugin has been installed click on the Activate button to finalise the activation.

Setting Up Your Woocommerce Store

Woocommerce has a setup Wizard which will guide you through a series of questions about your online store. Start by entering your business address.
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Then provide details of the industry your store is operating in.
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Next specify which type of products you will be selling. The most common are either physical products or virtual products, which are known as downloads, but there are additional premium extensions which allow you to sell subscriptions, memberships, take bookings and sell other types of non-standard products.
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Next specify how many products you are looking to sell and whether you are selling elsewhere.
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Woocommerce offer some additional free features which you can evaluate for yourself, but for the purpose of this tutorial we will leave this box unchecked and click Continue.

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The final step in the setup wizard is to choose a theme. As we already have a theme we will just choose the option to Continue With My Active Theme.

Adding Products

Once you’ve completed the initial setup wizard you will return to the WordPress dashboard and the next part of the setup process where the next step is to add some products to your store. 

Click on the Add Products link and you will be given a few options for adding products.

The most simple way to start is with a template, so for this example we will choose the Start With A Template option.

There are 3 template options to choose from:

  1. Physical Product – This is a standard type of product where there is just one version of the item with a single price
  2. Digital Product – This is a downloadable product
  3. Variable Product – Some products will require options, for example, T-shirts have different sizes and colors.

For the purpose of this example we are just going to select the Physical Product option. Woocommerce will load a product template, complete with a description, images and category so you can see how it all works.

So let’s get familiar with the editor! To start with we have the product name field at the top, followed by the permalink which is the website URL and then the content input which shows up as a product description.

Below that we have the product type and price and on the right are the product categories and tags.

The blue button on on the right hand side is where you can publish a new product or if you are editing an existing product save your changes. 

As you scroll further down the editor there is a product short description on the left, which is the description that will display below the price field on the product page.

Then on the right there is a product image which is the feature image and product gallery which allows you to upload additional images if required. 

So start with adding some products and then return to the Woocommerce home dashboard which you can access via the navigation under the Woocommerce dropdown menu. 

Choose Payment Methods

Once you’ve added some products then next step is to choose your payment methods. Click on the link in the Woocommerce home dashboard to access the payment method settings. 

Choose which payment methods you would like to offer users. Paypal and Stripe are the most commonly used but some sites will offer bank transfer. Woocommerce has created a new service called Woocommerce Payments which has some features specific to the platform but their fees are higher than Paypal and Stripe. 

Follow the setup wizard for each of your chosen payment methods and then return to the Woocommerce home dashboard to continue the setup process. 

Add Tax Rates

Once you’ve set up your payment methods the next step is to add your tax rates. From the Woocommerce home dashboard select the Add tax rates option. 

When setting up your tax rates you can choose to use Jetpack which does automatic tax calculations for your store. Jetpack also provides a host of other security related features which you can read up on here.  

Alternatively you can manually add your tax rates or skip this step if sales taxes are not applicable for your store. 

If you choose to install and enable Jetpack, follow the setup wizard and connect your store, then return to the Woocommerce home dashboard to continue the setup process. 

Set up shipping costs

Now that you’ve added your tax rates you can move on to setting up your shipping costs. Select this option in the home dashboard. 

If you’ve chosen to use Jetpack you can set your shipping costs and connect your store to enable label printing. Alternatively you can skip this step and move on to the final step in the setup process. 

Personalize Your Store

The final step in setting up your ecommerce website with WordPress is to personalize it. Select the Personalize your store option from the home dashboard. 

Create a custom home page, add your logo and set a site wide notice if required. 

Once that is complete you now are the proud owner of a Woocommerce website, congratulations!

The final thing you will likely want to do is to customize your navigation to include your main shop page, cart page, my account page and potentially link directly to some of your category pages. Check out this section of our WordPress tutorial that show you how to customize your navigation menu.