Many people who are not web developers often ask me “How To Create Online Store?” , and again, I have noticed most ladies now are into selling products online such as; clothes, footwears, skincare, and others but the problem is most of them believe their WhatsApp status is the best place to make sales, but that is totally wrong, you don’t have to post too much of your products on your status to disturb your viewers.
In this tutorial, I will be teaching how to create an online store to start uploading your products and your clients also make order and payment on your website, all you do is just confirm the order and payment then deliver. While you may be having doubt about how to get customers since there are popular websites online (Jumia) where everyone will always go to purchase goods, I will be giving hints on how to get customers to your store by next week but for now, let’s create our store.
I know that building an online store can be a terrifying thought especially when you are not techy. Well, you’re not alone. Just follow the steps and ask questions if you are stuck.
What You Need To Start Your Online Store
Anyone with a computer can get started within a matter of minutes and without acquiring any special skills.
The three things you need to start an online store are:
- A domain name idea (this will be the name of your online store i.e mystore.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
- Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.
Yep, it is really that simple.
In this tutorial, we will cover:
- How to Register a Domain Name for Free
- How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
- How to Get an SSL Certificate for Free (required for accepting payments)
- How to Install WordPress
- How to Create a WooCommerce store
- How to Add Products to your Online Store
- How to Select and Customize Your Theme
- How to Extend Your Online Store with Plugins
- Learning to Learn WordPress & Grow Your Business
Ready? Let’s get started.
Selecting Hosting Platform
Your domain name is basically your website’s unique address. It’s the part after the ‘www.’ in your URL. Mine is ‘benjaminolaw.com’, for example.
You can buy a domain name from sites like HarmonWeb. I personally recommend HarmonWeb not because it’s my company but I understand the kinda server configuration there and no hosting company in Nigeria has gotten such. The server has gotten 64 up to 128 cores CPU with 256Gb Ram and dedicated resources for each account which no hosting provide will ever allow for shared hosters. HarmonWeb also provides an SSL certificate for your website for FREE.
HarmonWeb has 3 hosting plans which are affordable for you to get started;
Starter Plan = N390/mon – N4,050/year
Business Plan = N850/mon – 9,250/year
VIP Plan = 3,500/mon – 42,100/year
How To Purchase Hosting
Follow the simple steps to see how to purchase hosting and get the domain name for FREE.
You need to visit www.harmonweb.com
When you visit the website, click on “Hosting” on the menu bar and select shared hosting when it drops down or visit the shared hosting link direct from here>> https://harmonweb.com/hosting/shared-hosting
When you get to the shared hosting page, you will see the 3 hosting plans, I will recommend you go for the business for your online store. For the starter and business plan, you get a FREE .COM.NG domain name while for the VIP Plan, you get a FREE .COM domain. Note that you only get these domains for free when you purchase a yearly plan which also gives you 2 months free discount. Now click on “Purchase Now” on any of the plans you will love to use. Any of those plans can create your online store, select the starter plan if you don’t have much to spend.
When you click on Purchase Now, it directs you to the next page where you are to register your domain name. There are 3 options for that, it is either you register your domain name which is the first option we are using now, or you transfer your domain that is already registered with another company to us and if you don’t want to transfer it to us but still use the domain, then you can select the 3rd option which is for you to update your name servers to the ones that will be sent to your mail after purchasing the hosting.
On the registration, we can see the domain extension is on .ac.ke but we need to change it to .COM.NG which will be FREE for us, you can also use another one such as .COM but you will have to pay for any other extension aside .COM.NG. To change your extension, simply click on the extension box and it will show a list of available extensions, click on .COM.NG and input your domain name to continue.
After you input the domain name, click on the “Check” button to see if your domain is available for registration, if it is available, scroll down and click on the “Continue” button. NOTE: Ignore the message that stated “Continue to register this domain for ₦1,000.00NGN”, you will get the domain name for free.
You will be directed the the next page to select hosting billing cycle, ake sure to select 12 months for the billing cycle so as to get discount and also get the domain for free, now click the “Continue” buton to proceed to the next page.
You will be redirected to the next page where you will need to configure and also confirm your domain, just leave that and click on “Continue“.
After this, the next page is the Cart Review page to confirm all your orders, you will find out some addons there such as Weebly site builder and Sitelock for security. Leave them as you may need them in the future. Click on “Checkout” after reviewing and confirming they are all correct.
Now the system will direct you to create an account where you can log in and manage your services. In my case, I already have an account so I will click the button that states “Already Registered?” when I click on it, I will then input my login details such as email and password. Since you don’t have an account yet, fill the form and scroll down to select your payment method.
You can make payment either with your debit card, PayPal, or a direct bank transfer to us. After selecting your payment method which in my case I selected the Debit card payment method, read and accept the terms and conditions and then click on the “Complete Order” button.
When you click that, you will be redirected to the payment gateway depending on your selected payment payment method.
Input you card details here and complete the payment, this payment gateway is fully secured by Flutterwave.
After you have made the payment, you will be redireted to the invoice and the status will show paid.
At this moment, you would have received some messages to your mail which one of them is “Hosting Account Information” open the mail and you will see your cPanel login details as highlighted below;
Now you are ready to start designing your online store.
How To Install WordPress
Installing WordPress is very easy and I have talked about this in several posts, so I will share links below on how to install WordPress from your cPanel.
Now that you have installed your WordPress, les’t see.
Setting Up WordPress
Now after installing the WordPress software, the next step is to log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and start to set-up your store. To login to your WordPress dashboard, visit https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin and then use the username and password you input while installing WordPress to login to the admin panel.
Below is a screenshot of how your WordPress admin dashboard looks like:
Installing WooCommerce Plugin
There are several plugins that can be used to create an online store, however, I personally recommend WooCommerce not because it is the most popular plugin for such a feature but it is simple and has gotten lots of features and addons to help grow your online store.
Oops! Sorry I forgot to mention what plugin is or plugins are; A WordPress plugin is essentially a bit of code that “plugs in” to your self-hosted WordPress site. In human terms, that means a WordPress plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or extends existing functionality on your site.
Now back to installing WooCommerce, simply navigate to the left-bar and click on plugin
After clicking on that, you will see some plugins that were installed by default on WordPress but not activated, leave those ones and click on the “Add New” button ontop.
Now you will be directe to the Plugins installation page, easily search “woo”using the search box, it will load and you will see Woocmmercer, click “Install Now” in the WooCommercer bar afater that, it will load whuch means it it installing, and the button will turn to “Activate” click on the activate button to start setting up WooCommercer.
Now, you need to visit Settings » General page to setup your WordPress site title and description.
Setting up HTTPS to Use SSL
Since HarmonWeb gives free SLL, Your WordPress hosting package came with a free SSL Certificate. This certificate is pre-installed for your domain name. However, your WordPress site needs to be configured, so it loads as HTTPS vs HTTP.
On the Settings » General page, you need to change your WordPress Address and Site Address to use HTTPS instead of HTTP.
Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the save changes button to store your settings.
Your basic WordPress setup is complete. Now it is time to set up your online store.
How To Setup WooCommerce Store
Before you can start selling, there are a few things like currency, payments, and shipping information that you need to set up.
You will be seeing a ‘Welcome to WooCommerce’ notification on your WordPress admin pages. Go ahead and click on the ‘Run setup wizard’ button in the notification.
This will launch the WooCommerce setup wizard where you need to click on the ‘Let’s go’ button to get started.
WooCommerce needs few essential pages for cart, account, shop, and checkout. You can click on the continue button to automatically create these pages.
This will bring you to the next step.
Now you will need to tell WooCommerce where your store is located and which currency and unit measures to use.
After selecting your location and currency, click on the continue button to move on.
Next, you need to enter shipping and tax information.
WooCommerce can be used to sell both digital downloads and physical goods that need shipping.
You need to check the box if you will be shipping goods, or you can leave it unchecked if you will only be selling digital goods.
Next you need to answer the tax question. WooCommerce can help you automatically calculate and add taxes to your prices.
If you are not sure, then you can leave it unchecked. You can always add tax information later from WooCommerce settings.
Click on the continue button to move on.
Next, you will be asked to choose a payment method for your online store.
By default, WooCommerce comes with support for PayPal, PayPal Standard, and Stripe payment gateways. There are many other payment methods available for WooCommerce which you can install later if you need.
The easiest way to accept payment in Nigeria is using Paystack or Flutterwave.
Simply go to the plugin add a new page and install Paystack For Woocmmerce plugin. Just search for Paystack and you will see it. Click and activate it. (I will write a tutorial on that separately before next week Tuesday).
But now let’s use paypal since it doesn’t need installing additional plugin and will be easier.
Simply enter your PayPal email address and click on the continue button.
A lot of people including us, use both PayPal and Stripe. By using Stripe, you allow your users to enter their credit card information on the checkout page without having to leave your site and going to PayPal.
You can setup Stripe by following the instructions on the WooCommerce screen.
Once you’re done, your WooCommerce online store is all setup.
You need to click on the ‘Return to WordPress dashboard’ link to exit the setup wizard.
After finishing the WooCommerce setup, you are now ready to add products to your online store.
Adding Products to Your Online Store
Let’s start with adding the first product to your online store.
You need to visit Products » Add New page to add a new product.
First, provide a title for your product and then some detailed description.
On the right hand column, you will see the ‘Product Categories’ box. Click on the ‘+Add New Product Category’ to create a category for this product. This allows you and your customers to sort and browse products easily.
Scroll down a little and you will notice the Product Data box. This is where you will provide product related information like pricing, inventory, shipping etc.
Below product data box, you will see a box to add product short description. This short description will be used when users are viewing multiple products on a page.
Lastly, on your right hand column you will see boxes to add a main product image and a product gallery.
Once you are satisfied with all the product information you have added, you can click on the Publish button to make it live on your website.
Repeat the process to add more products as needed.
Designing WooCommerce Store
Before we talk about this, I want you to go read my tutorial on How To Design WordPress Website
A WordPress theme is a tool to change the layout and design of your website. Themes customize the appearance of your site, including the layout, typography, color, and other design elements. You can change the theme in WordPress to match your needs and industry.
Head over to Appearance » Customize page. This will launch theme customizer where you can change different theme settings.
If you don’t like the Storefront theme, then you can use another theme by visiting Appearance » Themes page.
If you need help on choosing a WordPress theme, you may like to see my tutorial on How To Choose A WordPress Theme.
I believe you should now be able to navigate around customizing your theme, don’t forget to read my tutorial on How To Design A WordPress Website, that will help. The next thing we should think of now is adding more features to our store.
Adding More Features To Online Store
To add features to your store, you to utilize plugins for this.
Now that you have your online store ready, you probably want to get started with adding other usual elements on your websites such as a contact form, about page, and more.
To further customize WordPress and add features like contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc, you need to use WordPress plugins.
WordPress plugins are apps that allow you to add new features to your website.
There are over 46,000 WordPress plugins available.
Read Also: 12 Essential WordPress Blog Pages to Have
Installing Additional Plugins
Alongside WooCommerce, here are three plugins I really rate for online stores:
1. Yoast for SEO guidance
Having the best online store in the world won’t mean a thing if nobody can find it! Enter, Yoast SEO – the handy plugin that will help you climb the search engine rankings, giving you the best possible chance of securing a spot on page one. SEO stands for search engine optimization; it’s all about making small changes to your site to help search engines ‘read’ and ‘understand’ your content better, and to ‘prioritize’ it well as a result.
2. Securi for security
When you’re dealing with card payments on your site, the security stakes are much higher. While there are free security plugins available (such as Wordfence), I think this is an area that’s worth spending a little extra on. Securi plans start at $199/year, and you’ll need to install the free plugin from the WordPress directory to enable it.
3. Site Reviews for reviews
It has been consistently proven that social proof is one of the most important factors for getting users to take the desired action – in this case, that means buying your products. Installing Site Reviews will enable customers to leave a review on your site.
Read Also: WordPress For Beginners
That is all for today, I will write on how to create a MarketPlace website tomorrow. If you have gotten any question to ask, kindly use the comment section, I will be replying to all comments for further support.
You can see my weekly schedule to follow up with my blog posts, you can also turn the push ntifictaion.