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      Recommended Steps For New FreeBSD 12.0 Servers


      Introduction

      When setting up a new FreeBSD server, there are a number of optional steps you can take to get your server into a more production-friendly state. In this guide, we will cover some of the most common examples.

      We will set up a simple, easy-to-configure firewall that denies most traffic. We will also make sure that your server’s time zone accurately reflects its location. We will set up NTP polling in order to keep the server’s time accurate and, finally, demonstrate how to add some extra swap space to your server.

      Before you get started with this guide, you should log in and configure your shell environment the way you’d like it. You can find out how to do this by following this guide.

      How To Configure a Simple IPFW Firewall

      The first task is setting up a simple firewall to secure your server.

      FreeBSD supports and includes three separate firewalls. These are called pf, ipfw, and ipfilter. In this guide, we will be using ipfw as our firewall. ipfw is a secure, stateful firewall written and maintained as part of FreeBSD.

      Configuring the Basic Firewall

      Almost all of your configuration will take place in the /etc/rc.conf file. To modify the configuration you’ll use the sysrc command, which allows users to change configuration in /etc/rc.conf in a safe manner. Inside this file you’ll add a number of different lines to enable and control how the ipfw firewall will function. You’ll start with the essential rules; run the following command to begin:

      • sudo sysrc firewall_enable="YES"

      Each time you run sysrc to modify your configuration, you’ll receive output showing the changes:

      Output

      firewall_enable: NO -> YES

      As you may expect, this first command enables the ipfw firewall, starting it automatically at boot and allowing it to be started with the usual service commands.

      Now run the following:

      • sudo sysrc firewall_quiet="YES"

      This tells ipfw not to output anything to standard out when it performs certain actions. This might seem like a matter of preference, but it actually affects the functionality of the firewall.

      Two factors combine to make this an important option. The first is that the firewall configuration script is executed in the current shell environment, not as a background task. The second is that when the ipfw command reads a configuration script without the "quiet" flag, it reads and outputs each line, in turn, to standard out. When it outputs a line, it immediately executes the associated action.

      Most firewall configuration files flush the current rules at the top of the script in order to start with a clean slate. If the ipfw firewall comes across a line like this without the quiet flag, it will immediately flush all rules and revert to its default policy, which is usually to deny all connections. If you’re configuring the firewall over SSH, this would drop the connection, close the current shell session, and none of the rules that follow would be processed, effectively locking you out of the server. The quiet flag allows the firewall to process the rules as a set instead of implementing each one individually.

      After these two lines, you can begin configuring the firewall’s behavior. Now select "workstation" as the type of firewall you’ll configure:

      • sudo sysrc firewall_type="workstation"

      This sets the firewall to protect the server from which you’re configuring the firewall using stateful rules. A stateful firewall monitors the state of network connections over time and stores information about these connections in memory for a short time. As a result, not only can rules be defined on what connections the firewall should allow, but a stateful firewall can also use the data it has learned about previous connections to evaluate which connections can be made.

      The /etc/rc.conf file also allows you to customize the services you want clients to be able to access by using the firewall_myservices and firewall_allowservices options.

      Run the following command to open ports that should be accessible on your server, such as port 22 for your SSH connection and port 80 for a conventional HTTP web server. If you use SSL on your web server, make sure to add port 443:

      • sudo sysrc firewall_myservices="22/tcp 80/tcp 443/tcp"

      The firewall_myservices option is set to a list of TCP ports or services, separated by spaces, that should be accessible on your server.

      Note: You could also use services by name. The services that FreeBSD knows by name are listed in the /etc/services file. For instance, you could change the previous command to something like this:

      • firewall_myservices="ssh http https"

      This would have the same results.

      The firewall_allowservices option lists items that should be allowed to access the provided services. Therefore it allows you to limit access to your exposed services (from firewall_myservices) to particular machines or network ranges. For example, this could be useful if you want a machine to host web content for an internal company network. The keyword "any" means that any IPs can access these services, making them completely public:

      • sudo sysrc firewall_allowservices="any"

      The firewall_logdeny option tells ipfw to log all connection attempts that are denied to a file located at /var/log/security. Run the following command to set this:

      • sudo sysrc firewall_logdeny="YES"

      To check on the changes you’ve made to the firewall configuration, run the following command:

      • grep 'firewall' /etc/rc.conf

      This portion of the /etc/rc.conf file will look like this:

      Output

      firewall_enable="YES" firewall_quiet="YES" firewall_type="workstation" firewall_myservices="22 80 443" firewall_allowservices="any" firewall_logdeny="YES"

      Remember to adjust the firewall_myservices option to reference the services you wish to expose to clients.

      Allowing UDP Connections (Optional)

      The ports and services listed in the firewall_myservices option in the /etc/rc.conf file allow access for TCP connections. If you have services that you wish to expose that use UDP, you need to edit the /etc/rc.firewall file:

      You configured your firewall to use the "workstation" firewall type, so look for a section that looks like this:

      /etc/rc.firewall

      . . .
      
      [Ww][Oo][Rr][Kk][Ss][Tt][Aa][Tt][Ii][Oo][Nn])
      
      . . .
      

      There is a section within this block that is dedicated to processing the firewall_allowservices and firewall_myservices values that you set. It will look like this:

      /etc/rc.firewall

      for i in ${firewall_allowservices} ; do
        for j in ${firewall_myservices} ; do
          ${fwcmd} add pass tcp from $i to me $j
        done
      done
      

      After this section, you can add any services or ports that should accept UDP packets by adding lines like this:

      ${fwcmd} add pass udp from any to me port_num
      

      In vi, press i to switch to INSERT mode and add your content, then save and close the file by pressing ESC, typing :wq, and pressing ENTER. In the previous example, you can leave the "any" keyword if the connection should be allowed for all clients or change it to a specific IP address or network range. The port_num should be replaced by the port number or service name you wish to allow UDP access to. For example, if you're running a DNS server, you may wish to have a line that looks something like this:

      for i in ${firewall_allowservices} ; do
        for j in ${firewall_myservices} ; do
          ${fwcmd} add pass tcp from $i to me $j
        done
      done
      
      ${fwcmd} add pass udp from 192.168.2.0/24 to me 53
      

      This will allow any client from within the 192.168.2.0/24 network range to access a DNS server operating on the standard port 53. Note that in this example you would also want to open this port up for TCP connections as that is used by DNS servers for longer replies.

      Save and close the file when you are finished.

      Starting the Firewall

      When you are finished with your configuration, you can start the firewall by typing:

      The firewall will start correctly, blocking unwanted traffic while adhering to your allowed services and ports. This firewall will start automatically at every boot.

      You also want to configure a limit on how many denials per IP address you'll log. This will prevent your logs from filling up from a single, persistent user. You can do this in the /etc/sysctl.conf file:

      At the bottom of the file, you can limit your logging to "5" by adding the following line:

      /etc/sysctl.conf

      ...
      net.inet.ip.fw.verbose_limit=5
      

      Save and close the file when you are finished. This will configure that setting on the next boot.

      To implement this same behavior for your currently active session without restarting, you can use the sysctl command itself, like this:

      • sudo sysctl net.inet.ip.fw.verbose_limit=5

      This should immediately implement the limit for this boot.

      How To Set the Time Zone for Your Server

      It is a good idea to correctly set the time zone for your server. This is an important step for when you configure NTP time synchronization in the next section.

      FreeBSD comes with a menu-based tool called tzsetup for configuring time zones. To set the time zone for your server, call this command with sudo privileges:

      First, you will be asked to select the region of the world your server is located in:

      FreeBSD region of the world

      You will need to choose a sub-region or country next:

      FreeBSD country

      Note: To navigate these menus, you'll need to use the PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN keys. If you do not have these on your keyboard, you can use FN + DOWN or FN + UP.

      Finally, select the specific time zone that is appropriate for your server:

      FreeBSD time zone

      Confirm the time zone selection that is presented based on your choices.

      At this point, your server's time zone should match the selections you made.

      How To Configure NTP to Keep Accurate Time

      Now that you have the time zone configured on your server, you can set up NTP, or Network Time Protocol. This will help keep your server's time in sync with others throughout the world. This is important for time-sensitive client-server interactions as well as accurate logging.

      Again, you can enable the NTP service on your server by adjusting the /etc/rc.conf file. Run the following command to add the line ntpd_enable="YES" to the file:

      • sudo sysrc ntpd_enable="YES"

      You also need to add a second line that will sync the time on your machine with the remote NTP servers at boot. This is necessary because it allows your server to exceed the normal drift limit on initialization. Your server will likely be outside of the drift limit at boot because your time zone will be applied prior to the NTP daemon starting, which will offset your system time:

      • sudo sysrc ntpd_sync_on_start="YES"

      If you did not have this line, your NTP daemon would fail when started due to the timezone settings that skew your system time prior in the boot process.

      You can start your ntpd service by typing:

      This will maintain your server's time by synchronizing with the NTP servers listed in /etc/ntp.conf.

      On FreeBSD servers configured on DigitalOcean, 1 Gigabyte of swap space is automatically configured regardless of the size of your server. You can see this by typing:

      It should show something like this:

      Output

      Device 1G-blocks Used Avail Capacity /dev/gpt/swapfs 1 0 1 0%

      Some users and applications may need more swap space than this. This is accomplished by adding a swap file.

      The first thing you need to do is to allocate a chunk of the filesystem for the file you want to use for swap. You'll use the truncate command, which can quickly allocate space on the fly.

      We'll put the swapfile in /swapfile for this tutorial but you can put the file anywhere you wish, like /var/swapfile for example. This file will provide an additional 1 Gigabyte of swap space. You can adjust this number by modifying the value given to the -s option:

      • sudo truncate -s 1G /swapfile

      After you allocate the space, you need to lock down access to the file. Normal users should not have any access to the file:

      • sudo chmod 0600 /swapfile

      Next, associate a pseudo-device with your file and configure it to mount at boot by typing:

      • echo "md99 none swap sw,file=/swapfile,late 0 0" | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab

      This command adds a line that looks like this to the /etc/fstab file:

      md99 none swap sw,file=/swapfile,late 0 0
      

      After the line is added to your /etc/fstab file, you can activate the swap file for the session by typing:

      You can verify that the swap file is now working by using the swapinfo command again:

      You should see the additional device (/dev/md99) associated with your swap file:

      Output

      Device 1G-blocks Used Avail Capacity /dev/gpt/swapfs 1 0 1 0% /dev/md99 1 0 1 0% Total 2 0 2 0%

      This swap file will be mounted automatically at each boot.

      Conclusion

      The steps outlined in this guide can be used to bring your FreeBSD server into a more production-ready state. By configuring basic essentials like a firewall, NTP synchronization, and appropriate swap space, your server can be used as a good base for future installations and services.



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      How to Wireframe a Website (In 6 Steps)


      If you’re in the process of creating a website, either for yourself or a client, you’re likely concerned about User Experience (UX). After all, your site won’t be very successful if visitors can’t figure out how to navigate it and find the information they need.

      Fortunately, there’s a handy strategy you can use to work on improving UX before your site ever hits the web. By using a wireframe, you can test drive user flows and page layouts, so you know exactly how they’ll work on your live website.

      In this post, we’ll discuss what wireframes are and why they’re essential in web design. Then we’ll share six steps to help you create mockups for your own site. Let’s get started!

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      An Introduction to Wireframes (And Why They’re Useful)

      A wireframe is like a UX blueprint for your website. It maps out certain features of your site, such as menus, buttons, and layouts, while stripping away the visual design. This gives you an idea of your site’s underlying functionality and navigation, without distracting elements such as its color scheme and content.

      An example of a wireframe.

      The purpose of a wireframe is to maximize a site’s UX potential before it’s even available to visitors. By creating mockups of your site’s UX on paper or with a digital wireframing tool, you can troubleshoot issues before they become a problem for your users. This can save you time and money down the line.

      Whether you’re planning a small one-page site, a huge company portal, or something in between, wireframing can be a beneficial part of the planning process. Unless you’re reusing a tried-and-true template with a UX design you’re confident in, wireframing could provide significant benefits to your site.

      After all, effective UX design focuses on getting your site’s key functionality just right. Without a design that supports a strong, positive UX, you run the risk of higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates. A wireframe will not only smooth out your creative process; it could also help promote your site’s overall success.

      How to Wireframe a Website (In 6 Steps)

      Creating a wireframe can become a time-consuming process, especially if things don’t go well during the testing stage. However, taking the time to iron out UX issues ahead of time will give your site a much better chance of success down the line. The six steps listed below will help you get started.

      Step 1: Gather the Tools for Wireframing

      There are two main methods for creating wireframes — by hand or digitally. If you’re going with the former option, all you’ll need is a pen and paper to get started. Some designers begin with a ‘low-fidelity’ paper wireframe for brainstorming and then create a ‘high-fidelity’ digital version later.

      As far as digital options go, there are a wide variety of wireframe tools available. If this is your first wireframe, or if you’re a single Do It Yourself (DIY) site owner and not a designer, you might try a free tool such as Wireframe.cc.

      The Wireframe.cc tool.

      This simple wireframing tool keeps your drafts from becoming cluttered by limiting your color palette. You can create easy designs with its drag-and-drop interface, and annotate your drafts so that you don’t forget important information.

      Another option is Wirify, a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser.

      The Wirify bookmarklet.

      This tool’s interface turns existing web pages into wireframes. Rather than helping you draft UX design for a new site, it’s most helpful for website redesigns.

      If you’re willing to spend a little money, on the other hand, you might look into Balsamiq mockups.

      The Balsamiq wireframing platform.

      It boasts an easy-to-use, collaborative wireframing interface that’s great for teams and professionals who need real-time collaboration. However, it is limited to static wireframing. If you’d like a more comprehensive tool that can also be used for prototyping (which we’ll discuss later in this post), you might try out Prott.

      Step 2: Do Your Target User and UX Design Research

      Before you start drafting your wireframe, it’s helpful to do some research. For starters, you’ll want to know who your target audience is. This can help you determine which features need to be most prominent on your site so that visitors can find what they need.

      User personas can be a helpful design tool for this part of the process. Try creating some for your potential user groups, so you have a reference you can return to throughout the wireframe design process. Personas can also help create a marketing strategy later on, so hang on to them.

      It’s also wise to research some UX design trends and best practices. This can provide insight into elements such as menu layouts, the positioning of your logo and other significant branding elements, and content layouts. Users find it easier to navigate a website that follows convention when it comes to these features.

      Step 3: Determine Your Optimal User Flows

      A ‘user flow’ refers to the path a visitor takes to complete a specific goal on your website. So for example, if you have an e-commerce site, one user flow might be from a product page to the end of the checkout process.

      Determining the key tasks users will need to complete on your site can help you create the most straightforward user flow for each potential goal. This will help maximize UX by making your website easy and enjoyable to use.

      That said, it can be hard to get into the mind of a hypothetical user. Asking yourself these questions can help when you’re trying to work out your primary user flows:

      • What problems do you intend to solve for users? What goals might they be hoping to achieve by coming to your site?
      • How can you organize your content (such as buttons, links, and menus) to support those goals?
      • What should users see first when they arrive on your site, which can help orient them and let them know they’re in the right place?
      • What are the user expectations for a site like yours?
      • What Call to Action (CTA) buttons will you provide, and where can you place them so users will notice?

      Each of these answers will suggest something vital about the way you’ll need to design your pages.

      Step 4: Start Drafting Your Wireframe

      Now that you’ve gathered your tools and key information for your wireframe, you can start drafting. Keep in mind that the purpose of this task is not to create a complete design for your website. You’re focusing solely on UX, and how you can create a page that is easy to navigate and understand.

      To that end, your wireframe should include features and formats that are important to how your users will interact with and make use of your website. These might include:

      • A layout noting where you’ll place any images, branding elements, written content, and video players
      • Your navigation menu, including a list of each item it will include and the order in which they will appear
      • Any links and buttons present on the page
      • Footer content, such as your contact information and social media links

      Your answers to the questions in the previous step will likely help with this stage of the process as well. Remember to consider web design conventions, user expectations, and information hierarchies when placing these elements on your page.

      There are also several elements that aren’t appropriate for a wireframe. Visual design features, such as your color scheme, typography, and any decorative displays, should be left off of your wireframe. In fact, it’s best to keep your wireframe in grayscale so that you can focus on usability.

      You also don’t need to insert images, videos, written content, or your actual brand elements such as your logo and tagline. Placeholders for these features will get the job done. The idea is to avoid incorporating anything that could provide a distraction from user flows and navigation elements that are fundamental to UX.

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      Step 5: Perform Usability Testing to Try Out Your Design

      Once you have your initial wireframe completed, you’ll need to carry out some testing. This will help you determine if it has accomplished its goal of mapping out the simplest and most natural user flows and UX for your site. There are several ways to go about this.

      If you’re working with a team, your first round of testing will probably take place internally. Each team member should spend some time with the wireframe to see if it makes sense. Have everyone work independently so as not to influence one another, and take notes on any issues they run into.

      However, there are also tools that can provide more objective usability testing for your wireframe. These tests are meant to imitate actual users, which can be particularly helpful. Just because your team of web designers finds your wireframe logical doesn’t mean that the average site user will.

      UsabilityHub is a platform that connects designs with real users to give you feedback on how the average visitor perceives your wireframe.

      The UsabilityHub home page.

      It offers a free plan so that even small sites and non-designers can put this tool to good use. For professional designers and teams, there are also plans that provide advanced features to help with more extensive and in-depth testing.

      Step 6: Turn Your Wireframe Into a Prototype

      After your wireframe has undergone testing, and you’ve determined the best possible UX design for your site, it’s time to turn it into a prototype. Unlike wireframes, which are static, prototypes include some basic functionality so that you can test out user flows more realistically.

      As we mentioned in the first step, it can be helpful to choose a platform that can turn your wireframe into a prototype. Prott, for instance, enables you to create interactive, high-fidelity prototypes from your wireframe.

      The Prott wireframing prototyping platform.

      However, if you prefer a different wireframing tool, some platforms focus specifically on prototyping. InVision is a high-quality platform that makes it easy for teams to work together and communicate about mockups.

      The InVision prototyping platform.

      Whichever tool you choose, you’ll want to put your prototype through another round of user testing once it’s complete. After your prototype has passed, you can get to building your actual site with the confidence that your UX will be top-notch right from your launch date.

      Making Wireframes to Improve UX

      When it comes to designing a website, solid UX is crucial if you want to set your project up for success. Wireframing your website before you start building pages can help you get UX right before you’ve even launched your site.

      After you’ve finished designing your site, you’ll need a hosting plan that can keep up with your stellar UX. At DreamHost, we provide high-quality shared hosting plans that won’t let your users down. Check them out today!



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      9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss in 2019


      While traditional careers have their benefits, there’s something very appealing about being your own boss. You can work whenever, however, and wherever you want to while still pursuing your passion. The tricky part is knowing how to get started.

      With accessible and easy-to-use tools such as WordPress and WooCommerce, setting up shop online is relatively simple. By launching an e-commerce store, you can take your product ideas to the web and access the vast pool of customers available there.

      This article will walk you through the steps to build your online store with WordPress and WooCommerce and become your own boss in no time. Let’s go!

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      9 Steps to Build an Online Store and Become Your Own Boss

      The very first thing you’ll need to start an online store is a product customers will want to buy. We can’t help you with that, unfortunately — your idea has to be all your own! You’ll also need a way to manufacture your product, either by doing it yourself, hiring a company to do it, or some combination of the two.

      Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to set up your online store and start selling your merchandise, which is where the steps below will come in handy.

      Step 1: Secure Your Web Hosting and Domain Name

      The first two things you need to start any kind of website are a hosting provider and a domain name. Your hosting provider will store your website’s files, while your domain name provides an address where customers can find your store.

      If you’re building a WordPress site (which we recommend), you might also want to consider WordPress hosting. These types of plans are explicitly geared towards the platform, and the servers they run on will be optimized.

      Our shared WordPress hosting plans, for example, are ideal for new WordPress sites. You’ll have access to our 24/7 tech support team, and plans are cost-effective, starting at just $2.59 per month for a single site.

      DreamHost’s Shared WordPress Hosting page.

      What’s more, we can also help you register your domain name. You can quickly check the availability of your desired web address, then register it once you’ve found the perfect fit.

      DreamHost’s domain name search.

      Simply fill in some information to complete the process. Domains usually start at $11.99, but if you’re also hosting your site with a shared WordPress plan, you’ll get yours for free.

      Step 2: Set Up WordPress and WooCommerce

      Regardless of your current host, a WordPress hosting plan likely comes with the platform pre-installed or with a one-click installation option. In some cases, you may need to install WordPress manually.

      Next, you’ll need to set up WooCommerce — a premiere e-commerce solution for WordPress (we’ve compared it to other competitors and think it’s the best ecommerce platform available).

      The first step is to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin.

      The WooCommerce plugin.

      Once this is complete, you’ll be prompted to configure your store using the onboarding wizard — fill in the fields as best you can now, or come back to this step later.

      Step 3: Identify Your ‘Value Proposition’

      Before you begin creating content for your e-commerce business, consider identifying and writing out your value proposition. This is simply a statement explaining the mission and value of your business and products.

      Two of the most important questions your value proposition should answer are:

      1. What problem does my product solve for customers?
      2. What makes my approach to this problem unique compared to other similar businesses?

      Establishing your value proposition now should help you create content later. Also, any copy, product, or long-form content (such as a blog post) should reflect the values you identified in your proposition.

      We’d also suggest sharing your value proposition with customers on your website. Most companies do this on an About page or as a ‘Mission Statement.’ Here’s ours as an example:

      The DreamHost About page.

      Sharing your values with customers can help demonstrate why your product is relevant to them. Plus, you might win over customers who might have otherwise purchased from your competition.

      Step 4: Create Your Product Pages

      Now you’re ready to go back to setting up your online store. Navigate to Products > Add New within WordPress to start adding your first item. There are a lot of settings to consider here, but your priority should be your product photos and description.

      Taking Quality Product Photos

      Showcasing your products in their (literal) best light is crucial. Unprofessional, low-quality photos make your site seem untrustworthy, which will discourage customers from opening their wallet.

      As such, make sure your product photos are well-lit and taken in front of a clean background. If you can, take pictures from a variety of angles, and include some close-ups of unique details to help catch customers’ eyes.

      A product photo of a throw pillow from Wayfair.

      Once you have your product photos, make sure to optimize them with a plugin such as ShortPixel or Optimole before uploading them to your site. This will help prevent large media files from slowing your site down.

      Writing Captivating Product Descriptions

      You’ll also want to craft your product descriptions carefully, to help convince site visitors to become paying customers. Keep your value proposition in mind when you’re writing, and make sure to point out information about how the product will benefit customers.

      A product description for a throw pillow from Wayfair.

      It’s vital to make your description easy to scan, as ‘skimming’ content has become more popular over the years. Keeping paragraphs short, while using formatting techniques such as bullet points and subheadings, can convey more information than a brutal wall of text.

      Specifying Product Data

      Finally, for this section, you’ll want to configure the settings in the Product Data section of the product editor. Here you’ll set your product’s price, add a SKU number and shipping information, specify if it comes in any variations (e.g., other colors or sizes), and more.

      The product data section of the WooCommerce Product Editor.

      Take your time with these, as they’re an essential aspect of your store and business. Once you have the basics down, you may want to consider setting up Linked Products to help cross-sell other store items and enable reviews to add some social proof to your site.

      Step 5: Configure Your Tax Settings

      In the U.S., each state has laws regarding sales tax for internet-based retailers. It’s not a bad idea to talk with a tax attorney before your business gets up and running, but at the very least, you should familiarize yourself with the laws in your area.

      To set up sales tax for your products in WooCommerce, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > General within WordPress. Make sure the Enable taxes setting is checked, then save your changes.

      The Enable taxes setting in WooCommerce.

      If there wasn’t one before, you should now see a Tax setting tab at the top of your WooCommerce Settings page. Click on it, then configure the settings on the page.

      You can determine whether your prices will automatically include tax at checkout and what information WooCommerce should use to calculate tax for each product. It’s also possible to add Standard, Reduced, and Zero tax rates if needed.

      Step 6: Specify Your Shipping Methods

      Shipping is a make-or-break aspect of running a store. As such, in the Shipping settings tab, you can add practically as many options as you want to implement a delivery strategy.

      If you’re going to make your products available in a wide range of locations, you might want to create ‘shipping zones.’

      They essentially let you offer different rates to customers depending on where they’re located. If you also want to charge extra for international shipping, you can do so here.

      Step 7: Decide Which Payment Gateway to Offer

      In the Payments settings tab, you can specify how customers can pay for their products. By default, WooCommerce will set up Stripe and PayPal vendors for you.

      The Payment Methods settings in WooCommerce.

      However, you can add additional gateways — including popular solutions such as Square and Amazon Pay — with WooCommerce extensions. In addition, you can enable your customers to pay with a check, cash, or by bank transfer.

      The gateways you decide to offer are ultimately up to you, based on familiarity, ease of use, and transaction fees. However, it’s also important to consider your customers, as these criteria are also their primary concerns. As such, gateways such as PayPal are usually a given.

      Step 8: Run Through Your WooCommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Checklist

      You’re almost ready to welcome customers to your store, but first, they need to be able to find it. SEO is the answer. By optimizing your content for search engines, you’ll make it more likely customers can find you while searching for products online.

      As with many site aspects, WordPress plugins can help. Yoast SEO is a highly rated and effective plugin that can help manage on-page SEO factors such as keyword usage, permalinks, and readability.

      The Yoast SEO plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

      If you want something a little more specialized, you can also look into the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin.

      The Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin.

      It’s better suited to WooCommerce than the free version, and can also help promote your products on social media. At $49 per year, it’s cost-effective and may be a solid investment, especially if it helps to bring in a few more organic customers via search engine.

      Step 9: Publish and Promote Your E-Commerce Website

      While you can keep refining your site, you’ll want to publish at this point — think of it as laying down a ‘marker.’ You’ll also want to make sure customers know who you are and what you do. Promoting your site on social media and through email marketing campaigns can help get you started.

      Fortunately, there are a variety of WooCommerce extensions available to help. You can choose popular services such as Drip, MailChimp, and even Instagram to promote your products to followers and subscribers.

      The WooCommerce Instagram extension.

      Marketing will be an ongoing responsibility, so investing in some tools to help you streamline your efforts will be worth it in the long run. The extensions mentioned above range from free to $79 per year. You can also search the WordPress Plugin Directory for more free solutions, although you may find functionality lacks depending on the plugin.

      Building an Online Store

      No one said becoming your own boss was easy, and there’s a lot of work that goes into starting a brand new business. However, WordPress and WooCommerce can simplify many of the tasks required to get your e-commerce site up and running.

      Ready to set up an online shop? Our WooCommerce hosting packages make it easy to sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform.



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