You need only a few basic things to start a WooCommerce store. While these are readily available essentials, it’s certainly a good idea to deal with them in advance. Once you have all tools and supplies, you can move on to doing the store setup, uploading products and launching your new project. WooCommerce isn’t a managed solution that handles hosting, setup, security certificates and other technical aspects of putting your online store together. While technical stuff usually raises a red flag, we promise it’s really not that complicated.
Here are the six essential things needed to start a WooCommerce store.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. Hence, you need a hosting service provider that supports WordPress websites. The good news is that most hosting service providers offer such support.
The bad news is that you’ll have to make up your mind, examining offers that look quite similar. A WordPress-optimized package isn’t a prerequisite but it can make things easier and eliminate some of the setup. Some companies do offer to handle the setup for you. If you don’t have any experience, this type of hosting may be perfect.
Anticipated traffic is the most important thing to account for when choosing a hosting plan. A small, niche website that isn’t going to get that many visitors can utilize shared hosting. Cloud hosting is a better option because it allows for growth.
Some hosting service providers may add a free SSL security certificate to the package. This is a good choice for WooCommerce websites – you will be handling sensitive user data and financial information. A security certificate is a great choice for building trust.
While this is a prerequisite for all kinds of ecommerce websites and not just WooCommerce projects, the domain name is so important that it should be mentioned. Your domain name can accomplish a lot. It tells the world who you are. It tells the world what you sell. And most importantly – it determines if your brand’s going to be memorable or not.
While many domain names are already taken, you should look for something short and catchy. The name should also be industry-relevant to establish your area of expertise (and to also help with search engine optimization efforts).
The extension isn’t too important. Here’s some additional information and a few useful tips on domain name selection.
You have your hosting, it’s now time to activate WordPress. WooCommerce doesn’t run independently of its parent platform. This is why you need to have WordPress installed and enabled before you could move on.
There are simple WordPress installation instructions that supposedly take only five minutes to follow. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t panic.
Most hosting service providers offer assistance in terms of WordPress installation and getting things going on a brand new website. After WordPress is installed, you can log into your admin panel. It will typically look like this www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.
You probably already know the importance of having a strong user name and password but we need to put emphasis on those once again. Brute force is still being used to hack websites. Hence, choose strong log-in credentials and change those every once in a while to ensure the security of your online store.
04A WooCommerce Theme
WooCommerce is the engine behind your ecommerce website. To make it look good, you need the right design theme. The WooCommerce website has a theme store where you can find free of charge and premium designs.
Free of charge WooCommerce themes are a little bit basic but they are a great choice for smaller projects. The paid designs are also relatively affordable (especially if you compare those to custom website design).
WooCommerce theme featured in the platform’s store are available for 39 dollars. If you look at another theme provider like ThemeForest, you’ll see a range of pricing options. Most of these themes cost between 25 and 70 dollars, which is still pretty affordable.
Make sure the theme you’re choosing is responsive (adapting to the size of the screen that it’s being viewed on), available with SEO features, as well as multiple customization options. Checking the demo before making a purchase is always a smart idea.
To extend the functionality of your website, you should consider the installation of additional plugins. Some of the most popular options for WordPress websites include:
- YoastSEO to achieve better search engine optimization results
- W3 Total Cache to speed up your website and enhance its performance
- A social sharing plugin
- A contact form plugin
- Security plugins like iThemes Security
- A product import/export tool, especially if you plan to be doing dropshipping
Always check the rating and the plugin reviews available in the WordPress store. Plugins are created by third parties and they’re not all the same. Some can result in security vulnerabilities and poor website performance so be careful!
06Google Analytics & Google Search Console
Let’s face it – you need Google to make your project a success. The biggest search engine will drive targeted traffic to your WooCommerce store. These are people searching for specific products, which means they’re interested in what you have to offer.
Google has great tools you can use to track your website’s performance and improve your optimization efforts. Google Analytics is a must-have because it shows your traffic, the demographic profile of website visitors, engagement, your most popular content and your marketing campaign conversion rates.
If you want to do some SEO work, you’ll need Google Search Console. The platform allows you to check the indexing status of your website, its performance for keywords, backlinks and the technical aspects of ensuring proper search engine indexing.
All of these tools, services and supplies will improve the performance of your WooCommerce website. Most of the essentials listed here are either free of charge or very affordable. They add to the cost-efficiency of WooCommerce.
You can get all of these tools and supplies in a matter of days. Just do your research to identify the hosting, themes and plugins that are best suited to your needs.