Are you looking to build your online store but confused about where and how to start? Starting your online store may seem like a daunting task at first. But there are thousands of people out there who have built their online store from scratch and made it the best. With today’s digital advancements, you can easily start an online store with minimum financial restrictions and generate maximum profits. However, to build a strong foundation for your online business you need to be wise with what your aim is and how you start your store.
So, we have come up with a step-by-step easy guide to lead you towards a successful process of how to start an online store in 2023.
Why do you need an online store?
There is no better way or time to start an online business in the digital era. There are many resources and inexpensive ways available to start an online store. Having an online presence is crucial if you want to boost your business and reach your target audience. Running an online store will offer you the flexibility of managing your store from anywhere anytime. By switching your store to an online platform, you can break the cycle of traditional brick-and-mortar business.
Additionally, it allows your customers to know more about your business/brands and products, services, and features and let them make a sound and convenient choice. From reduced operating costs to enhanced customer support, starting an online store in 2023 is never a bad choice.
Things you need to start an online store
Starting an online store may take some practice and skills to hone. However, you can make an easy start by making the right choices for a successful online store. Anyone who knows how to use the web and own a system can start to build their store. Following are the three basic things you need to have before setting up your online store:
- A domain name – The business name for your online store
- Web hosting account – This will allow having a live internet presence
- Patience – Being patient with the process is necessary for an easy setup
Steps to Start an online store
Choosing and setting up an online platform
One of the most important things for creating an online store is choosing the right platform to run it. There are several e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, Weebly, and WooCommerce. To make sure you make the correct choice that offers maximum benefit, we recommend choosing WooCommerce+ WordPress. Read Shopify Vs WooCommerce here.
WordPress & WooCommerce offers you the flexibility to run an online store in a more seamless manner than any other platform. WordPress is the most popular and trusted website builder and WooCommerce is the biggest e-commerce platform. So, choosing this combination of platforms is ideal to run your online store and grow it successfully in the long run.
Now to set up your online store on WordPress with WooCommerce, you need a domain name, hosting provider, and SSL certificate. We have already told you the purpose of the domain name and hosting provider above. SSL certificate is necessary to add a security layer to your website so that you can accept private information like a credit card number to accept credit card payments on your e-commerce site.
We advise you to choose a WordPress hosting service for an easy installation and setup of WordPress. When you sign up with such a web hosting service, it will automatically install WordPress for you. You can also pick from the top web hosting services with Seahawk Web Host Rankings and start with an easy and automated installation. You can simply log in to your hosting account, click Login to WordPress and kick off your WordPress setup.
Note: For WordPress to start, you’ll need to modify your DNS and update your existing domain records on WordPress. If you are operating on a domain registrar, you can log in to its settings and manage the DNS there. You can also use a web host service and update your domain records from your hosting control panel.
Setting up your WordPress site
To move forward with setting up your store, you need to log in and set up your WordPress site to integrate the WooCommerce store in the coming steps.
- Navigate to Settings > General and add your site title and a short description of your business
- Now you need to configure your WordPress site to load it as HTTPS instead of HTTP
- Go to Settings> General page and change your WordPress and Site address to use HTTPS
- Don’t forget to click to save changes to store your settings
- Finally, with the above steps, your basic WordPress setup is complete
Set up your WooCommerce Store
To begin with, follow these steps to step up WooCommerce for your store:
- Access the WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and type WooCommerce in the search bar.
- As WooCommerce appears in the results, click on the Install Now button next to it.
- Once the plugin is installed, you will see an Activate button next to WooCommerce.
- Click on the Activate button. WooCommerce is all set and will show you a Welcome WooCommerce screen
- Fill in your basic information for the online store such as address, country, and region, and click on continue.
- Next, you need to choose the store industry closest to the type of store you want to build and click on continue
- On the next page, pick the type of products you want to sell in your store. If your products need shipping, you can add physical products from the options. You can also choose multiple types of products for your store
- Provide some business details like how many products you want to sell. If you do not have any product line yet, choose I don’t have products and select “No” for the option
- Now switch to the Free Features section where you will find a pre-checked box to install free features for your website. Uncheck this option to install other WooCommerce features on your website.
- Finally, choose a theme for your online store to decide on its design and look. You can also select the current default theme and save all the changes.
Select the right Payment gateway for your store
To accept online payments in your store, you need to set up a payment gateway. Thankfully, with WooCommerce you can select from the vast payment gateway options and pick the ideal payment method.
- Go to Woocommerce> Settings page and switch to the payments tab. There are different gateways available there like direct bank transfers, COD, PayPal standards, and checks
- As you scroll down, you will find more options to install Stripe, PayPal checkout, and WooCommerce Payments. Chose the options that fit you the best
- For whichever payment method you select, click the setup button and fill in the required information
- Lastly, click on the save changes button to restore all your settings.
Add products to start an online store
It’s time to add your products and kickstart your online store. Follow the below steps to add products to your store:
- Visit Products> Add a new page and provide a title and short description for the product that you add
- On the right side of the page, you will find the product category box. Click on the add new product category to create a category for your product
- Now go to the product data box and fill in product-related information like pricing, inventory, and shipping
- Now add a product short description below your product data box. This will be helpful when users are viewing multiple products on your page
- Now, add a main product image and product gallery on your page
- Once you have successfully added all the product information above, click on the publish button to make your products live on the page
Select and customize the theme of your store
If you want to kickstart your creativity and make full use of WooCommerce’s wide variety of design templates, you can access several page builder plugins at WooCommerce. There are several WooCommerce themes to choose from and customize the appearance of your store.
You can simply navigate to the Appearance > Customize page where you find different theme settings. You can select and activate the theme you like and start customizing your store as per your requirements.
Install plugins/extensions to add functionality to your store
Now that you have almost finished setting up your online store, you need to add some plugins and enhance its functionality further. More features mean more options for you making your site effective and attractive for users. With WordPress and WooCommerce you can easily access a wide variety of plugins and extensions for your store. These plugins and extensions work like apps on your mobile phone. You can choose from various plugins as per your website requirements and use their features to extend your store capabilities.
Want to take your store to the next level? Read the 10 Best WooCommerce Extensions and know how they can benefit in expanding your online presence.
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Many E-commerce platforms are making it easy and cost-effective to start an online business. Starting an online store in 2023 requires a well-thought-out plan and strategy. It is important to choose the right e-commerce platform, select a niche, and conduct market research to determine the target audience and competition. Platforms like WooCommerce and WordPress make it easy to start your online store with minimal resources yet maximum outcome.
So, don’t be afraid to step out of your traditional business cycle and step into the online world. We hope our article above will help you start your online store and enhance its functionality in the long run.