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It’s been nearly a year now since I started this website. And as I promised in a September Update Challenge I will tell you everything how I started to do the websites for startups and small businesses. And how to build an online store so you can start yours straight away.
Ask Your Friends And Family To Get Started
It all started with a little chat with a friend. She owns the boutique, and she was a bit scared to go online. I convinced her it is quite easy and I’ll help her. So I started to do an e-commerce website. I thought it will be the same as mine, just to add the WooCommerce plugin and to adjust it. Not quite that easy. But not hard either, if you like to do it yourself, just go for it. If you need a help just drop me an email.
Where To Set Up Your Store?
I set up a store with WordPress.org and a Bluehost as a web hosting. They both work well together and to do a store on WordPress is one of the cheapest options. You don’t need to pay monthly fees and you can create professional looking shops.
After I set up Bluehost with the domain name, I had to instal a theme. I asked my friend to choose the theme so she’ll be really pleased with the look of the website. Remember to get the theme for the purpose of the website. Don’t try to customize a blog theme for a restaurant or store. It will be harder to do and it won’t look as good. So she picked the e-commerce theme Shopstar! Great looking minimalistic theme perfect fit for her boutique, she stocks minimalist fashion.
Great Plugins For Your Store
All done and more creative part coming. We started to customize. Start to add plugins. The most important plugin on an e-commerce site is a WooCommerce. I also added YITH Plugins for WooCommerce. With this plugin you can get all that great futures like customizing Thank you page after a successful order and payment; Waiting list; Wishlist, Product Add-ons … whatever you fancy you can add. I also added Badge Managment, you know that tiny badge on the product picture telling you if it’s Sale item or a New item. And then of course all necessary plugins like: Legal Pages, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Yoast SEO, AddToAny Share Buttons, Anti-spam, Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode – you don’t want to see anyone what you working on when you just preparing your amazing store, GTranslate – don’t you want to get more customers from all over the world? If you plan to sell physical products it might happen you will get some returns or refunds, the great plugin is WooCommerce Auto Restore Stock, it will automatically return your Returned/Refunded products back on stock inventory. Save loads of manual work. If you want to live chat with your customers you can add WP Live Chat Support.
Customise Your Store aka Make Your Store Look Great
When you added all these plugins you can start to customize your store. Follow: Appearance-Customise. Over there you can customise colours, fonts, header, add a social media links, widgets on sidebars or footers, menu and of course WooCommerce.
Customise General WooCommerce Settings
You will need to customise your WooCommerce in your general WooCommerce plugin. Find it on your Dashboard-WooCommerce-Settings. Over here you will set up your payment method, shipping, VAT, Emails what customers will receive when they make a purchase and also emails for you.
How To Add Products
Find on your Dashboard – Products – Add New. Name your product, write a little description and then you have to add Product Data. If it is the simple product you just add price, stock level and linked products if there are some. You can even add Variable Product – means one product in different colour, size… . Or a downloadable product.
How To Add Variable Products
Create your inventory, stock level. And then scroll down to Attributes-Custom Product Attribute-click Add. You can start adding your colours, sizes … . When you add colours attribute you need to click add button again for a size attribute and so on. When you’re done, don’t forget to save it. After you go to Variations and start adding your products variations.
Choose colour variation and open it. It will show you a little picture ( add here the product picture in the colour of your variation) this will show a colour option for customers when they scroll through your picture. It will slide nicely.
You can add here great futures like catalogue number, inventory, price and a sale price ( if you wish to add it on sale ), order the product if it’s not on stock, shipping and VAT. You will do this with every single attribute of your product. I said it before WooCommerce is a great plugin for your store. You can easily manage everything.
Now you just need to add a product picture and gallery pictures and a category – easier for customers to browse your products. All this futures you will find on the right sidebar. When everything is ready just click publish and the product is visible on your store.
Other Necessary Pages
When you have your products ready you still need to add some pages to your store. A good one is:
About page– it will give your customers some idea where they buy from, especially now when customers prefer sustainable and small businesses.
Contact – it needs to be visible if they want to ask something or get in touch.
Home – but not necessary. When you have it, the shop looks much better. You can set up your shop page as a home page.
This is what I had to learn when I build an online store, but you can follow exact steps when you want to set up shop on your blog.
This is how I started my freelance building website job. Since then I worked on two other websites. If you wondering: I was paid to build a website only 9 months after I started my website and in the next 2 months I worked on 3 websites. Might be for some of you it is not a lot and took me a long time but for me, it means a huge step to my future. If I consider a year ago I had no idea how to set up a website or I wasn’t thinking about the freelance job and online possibilities.
Have you created an online store? What platform do you use? We can chat in the comments.