When I first started out I wanted the opportunity to work on an all ecommerce site to expand my web design skills. However, most of the design requests I received were for blogs. Well, when you can’t get hired for the type of work you want you have to create the job yourself.
So I set to create my own shop but due to my workload I ended up using third party sites like E-Junkie to get it up quicker and used PayPal buttons when needed. Now that I’m focusing on creating my own digital products I decided give it a go again.
How I created my own eCommerce store
What I used:
- Platform: WordPress.org (self-hosted version)
- Theme: Genesis Framework + Pretty Creative child theme (affiliate links)
- Shopping Cart: WooCommerce
- Payment Gateway: PayPal
To create my shop, my investment was all in sweat equity and zero dollars spent. My domain name and web hosting is already paid for. I’m a StudioPress Pro Member. Therefore, I didn’t have to make a purchase to switch from my previously theme that wasn’t WooCommerce ready.
Meaning to get the shop to match the rest of the site I would either need to use plugins or edited some of the code myself. I’m comfortable editing files of the themes but when it comes to plugins I don’t like to mess around with those.
I still need to work on the rest of the site but that will be a piece of cake for me.
Setting up shop
So I’m using WooCommerce by Woothemes, a free WordPress shopping cart plug-in that gives you the ability to sell products on your site. Before you do anything anything I recommend creating a test site so you can test everything without messing up your live site.
Your WordPress files should be in the main folder for your site, not in a folder called blog or WordPress. When you create a test site it should be installed in it’s own folder. Depending on your web host provider, you test site URL should either be testsite.yoursitename.com or yoursitename.com/testsite/.
You may need to add a piece of code to the function file of the theme, but if the theme you are using is WooCommerce ready they should have taken care of this for you. The WC plugin automatically create the following pages for you – Cart, Checkout, Account, and Shop.
Within the WC plug-in setting area, you can start setting up everything from your payment options, shipping information, coupons, etc. Here’s a screen shot of what that looks like.
Since you are already familiar with creating post and pages within WordPress, creating your products shouldn’t be to hard. Plus WooThemes provides great tutorials you can easily follow. Here’s an example of a new product post along with details of what goes where.
As far as the graphics you have the Single Product Image, Catalog Image and the Product Thumbnails. The size information can be found by using to WC ~> Settings ~> Products ~> Display.
I had to change the single product image size because the images were coming out blurry when resized. I use my FireFox Browser, which allows me to click on my image, and then “view image info”, to get the original size and I use that to create my graphics.
Since I am working on branding this blog, all the product images need to have a certain look. I’m keeping it clean and simple by using the fonts and colors I have choose for my brand along with styled stock images from Haute Chocolate.
Once I got the first product all set up, WC allows me to duplicate that product. Then I just edit it with next product’s details. Right now I only have five products (all services) but plan on adding more including two more services and a line of digital products (including eBooks).
Making WooCommerce really work for your business
There are some additional add-ons that you can add to your shop to help it run effectively but you will have to pay for a lot of them. The ones I’m currently using are for free:
- Genesis Connect for WooCommerce – allow you to easily use WooCommerce with Genesis themes
- MailPoet Newsletters & MailPoet WooCommerce Add-on – to create and send newsletters within WordPress. It’s the only email marketing option I could link to WooCommerce for free. The Add-on plugin allows shoppers to subscriber to your list during checkout.
- WooCommerce Coming Soon – allow you to display products that aren’t ready for sale
- WooCommerce Menu Cart – show your cart in the menu bar
When my shop takes off, I do plan on make some investments in this area. There are a couple of options I want to include such as adding another payment option, having the ability for pre-selling, and products with recurring payments.
I love my new shop. It looks good both on a computer screen and mobile devices.