How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch Using WordPress

Many entrepreneurs ask themselves, even before launching a business, what allows some retailers to become a success while other simply bite the dust when it comes to the online presence? Whether you believe that the process is straightforward or complicated, the fact of the matter is that you will need to combine a few vital factors: user-friendly interface, high-quality product pages, and a well-thought-out business strategy.

While creating the appropriate conditions may take time, you will be dramatically improving your chances of achieving a higher success than your competitors. And while WordPress was initially designed as a more accessible way to blog online, over the years the technology has improved. Nowadays, WordPress is a full-blown content management system that can power any kind of website –including an e-commerce site.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at a few things to keep in mind when you build an eCommerce website from scratch powered by WordPress.


Getting Started – Installing WordPress

Although we understand that you might have figured that one out yourself, the first step for using WordPress is creating a page on a hosting account by using your domain name. As a general rule, the installation process is relatively easy, and it can take as little as five minutes. If you don’t yet have a hosting provider, WordPress recommends Bluehost as their number one choice. You can use this guide to inexpensively host your WordPress site with Bluehost.

Because e-commerce sites require more memory (i.e., being larger and more complex than conventional blogs), you will need to ensure that you have your hosting need are covered –taking into account the wide range of products or how many visitors you will have on your site.


WordPress eCommerce Options

When it comes to creating an e-commerce website, there are three components that you need to ensure: having product pages, a shopping cart, and a straightforward checkout process.

The easiest way to achieve this is by adding an e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site using a plugin –those pieces of software that allow you to install, modify, and activate into WordPress. To better put things into perspective, you will require a plugin that will allow for the creation of a page for all your different products, in addition to a virtual shopping cart that will give users the chance to add products and then check-out at a later date. Once that is done, the system will sync up with a payments system to accept currencies (i.e., using PayPal or even Bitcoin), and match those payments up with the visitors’ purchased products. Voila, you’ve already done most of the hard work!

To help you with this task, we would recommend using WooCommerce by Automattic, with the actual people behind having created the concept. One of the best things about this platform is that it incorporates the reputation, functionality, versatility, ease of use, and the online community needed to ensure that you have a reliable and long-term solution.

In fact, many SEO experts suggest that WooCommerce features the most search engine optimization-friendly e-commerce platform ever created. Because it automatically gets rid of duplicate content, which is a significant problem for SEO, it will help startups and newbies better handle the growth.

Of course, another excellent advantage is that WooThemes, the company behind the creation, has been a large part of the WordPress community –meaning that there is a level of respect and understanding, support, versatility, and insider knowledge. Best thing of all: it’s free of charge!


Setup Your Online Store

One of the biggest benefits of using WooCommerce and WordPress is the ability to set custom permalinks. As you might know, online retailers have hundreds of thousands of way of displaying new products and advertising them. However, not all are created equal, and at times, it can lead to inefficient URLs.

Another thing to bear in mind is that once you set up a permalink, it can be increasingly difficult to modify. While the defaults are, as a rule of thumb, suitable, you can customize your experience. To do so, go to the new WooCommerce link on your “Dashboard,” then access the “WooCommerce” option, click on “Settings,” and finally on “Products.”


WooCommerce Menu and Settings

WooCommerce is an ideal option for creating a product archive page where you can showcase all your services, products, and categories. Another smart way of looking at it is similar to a blog page, where instead of having all your recent posts and messages you will have your products.

For these purposes, WooCommerce uses a standard WordPress page. By default, it’s called and defined as the “Shop page.” Of course, it’s up to you to spice that name, and you can do so with the following simple instructions: go to “Pages” and click “All Pages.” This will allow you to create a new page, and you can call it whatever you please (i.e., quirky designs, party dresses), or you can leave it as it is.

You can also choose whether your readers or shoppers should see or it, going into “Settings” and clicking on “Reading,” where you can even find the option of making it your homepage. After confirming your changes, click the link to look at your finalized “Product Permalinks.”


The importance of a WooCommerce Compatible Theme

Themes are particularly essential since they add an element of elegant, design, creativity, elegance, and output of your functionality (i.e., what readers are first going to see when accessing your website). Using plugins like WooCommerce for your WordPress site can be tricky, but you’ll want to look for a versatile theme that can be altered, updated, and fits your website message like a glove. Although WooThemes or DeliciousThemes themes are not free, they offer excellent quality and sync absolutely perfectly. They will make your website look high end, but ultimately they are a pricey solution.

Another option is using a WordPress default theme. While they are free of charge, they are also well-made. You might notice that your installation already has one incorporated, but you can change it by going to “Themes,” and then clicking on “Add New.” By comparison with the first suggestion, this is free –mainly useful for those with a tight budget.

An alternative would be using themes such as the ones from ThemeForest, or get a WooCommerce compatible premium theme. Easy to integrate and top-notch, you will need to be highly specific about your needs and wants. There are so many to choose from; we know something will peak your interest.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best WooCommerce WordPress themes you could use right out of the box!

Finally, you could get a Theme Framework and I can mention here StudioPress or Divi. You’ll be able to add specific functionalities (i.e., content to category pages), and make design changes without affecting the way your site works.


Wrapping Up

It doesn’t matter how good you are at selling stuff. Unless you don’t have the system up and running smoothly like a brand new Mercedes engine, you’re going to skip a lot of opportunities and eventually, leave money on the table. This was just a super-introductory guide on how things work with eCommerce websites and how you could easily build one from scratch, on WordPress.

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Madalin Tudose

A web developer with a crush on SEO. Having my skin in the game of website development and digital marketing for more than 10 years already, you might consider me an expert. At least this is what people call me. Honestly, I HATE that term. I prefer to describe myself as a person who takes action and risks. I test every hypothesis, document every step of the process, and implement what works.