One place for hosting & domains

      WooCommerce

      How to Run a Successful Sale on Your WooCommerce Website


      Everybody loves a sale. There’s nothing quite like browsing reduced items in the hopes of finding a great deal. You know this, and your customers know it too. The question is: how can you create an effective sale and make sure it brings both new and loyal customers to your business?

      If your store runs on WooCommerce, your job will be that much easier. This handy e-commerce plugin enables you to create a variety of different types of sales, without much hassle. However, you’ll still need to prepare and plan your sale carefully to make sure it becomes a success for both you and your customers.

      In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of running a sale on your WooCommerce store. We’ll talk about the different types of sales you can create, as well as how you can promote and augment them. Let’s get started!  

      Why It’s Smart to Run Sales on Your WooCommerce Store

      You’re probably already familiar with WooCommerce. After all, it’s the world’s most popular e-commerce solution and is used to power nearly a quarter of all online stores. There are many reasons for this, but one is that the WooCommerce plugin makes it incredibly easy to start and run an online store, regardless of your level of experience.

      One crucial aspect of retail that WooCommerce handles particularly well is sales. Running a sale offers many benefits, not the least of which is that it helps drive more customers to your store. The fact is that customers love sales. A sale will also encourage people to buy more, and you can use it to attract both new customers and returning ones. For example, a sale can help sway users who may be hesitant to buy something at full price. Once they’ve made an initial purchase, you can follow up with more offers and information and turn them into regular customers.

      Fortunately, WooCommerce makes it easy to run a large variety of promotions. Best of all, the e-commerce platform also enables you to track your data after the sale is over, which you can use to improve future promotions. We’ll look at that option in more detail later on, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still need to talk about what to do before you start your first sale.

      What You Need to Do Before You Launch Your WooCommerce Sale

      To ensure your sale goes off without a hitch and is a worthwhile experience for everyone involved, you need to plan it out thoroughly. First and foremost, you’ll want to define the length of your sale and decide when it should be launched.

      While it’s a great idea to run sales close to a big holiday or celebration, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to these times. Instead, aim to run several sales over the year, mixing up the duration of each discount. For example, you could run a flash sale that lasts for only a day or two, and later a week-long event.

      When and how long you run your sale depends largely on the type of promotion you’re planning. That’s why it’s important to consider the purpose of your sale, such as which products you’ll include. For instance, the above-mentioned flash sales are great for clearing out excess stock, while an exclusive members-only promotion will help you build brand loyalty with existing customers.

      You should also think about how you’ll promote your sale. This applies both off and on your website. It’s important to spread the word on social media and through ads but equally vital to make the sale visible on your site. Consider highlighting it on your homepage, along with what deals are included. You could even create a dedicated FAQ page with information about the deals, and an ‘On Sale’ page that features all included items.

      If you’re using WooCommerce, the plugin even enables you to augment your sales through the use of extensions and other plugins. You could add a countdown timer to appeal to your customers’ Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), for instance, or create coupons that can be used to get special discounts.

      How to Run a Successful Sale on Your WooCommerce Website (8 Types of Promotions)

      Now that you know how to prepare for your upcoming sale, let’s talk specifics. We’re going to look at eight types of promotions you can run using WooCommerce. You should be able to find at least one option on this list that suits your store’s particular needs (and hopefully more!). Let’s start at the top.

      1. Standard Product Discounts

      A discount is the classic promotion. In short, this is when you specify a temporarily lower price for one or more products. When you do this in WooCommerce, the regular price will usually appear crossed out with the sale price next to it.

      We say usually because the exact appearance may differ depending on your chosen WooCommerce theme. However, the basic functionality remains the same. When you’re editing a product, you can use the Sale price field in the General tab to set the new price without affecting the old one.

      You can also schedule a sale to specify when you want the new price to be active. This lets you choose both start and end dates.

      With this feature, you can easily apply your discounts in advance and even promote your sale ahead of time. This works particularly well for holiday-based sales.

      If you want to apply a discount to an entire category of products, you can do so quickly using a plugin, such as Woo Product Category Discount.

      This plugin enables you to set a percentage or fixed sale price to a specific category or tag. This can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a large e-commerce store with hundreds or even thousands of products.

      2. Coupon Codes

      Coupon codes are another classic marketing tool for enticing potential customers. In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, this is a short code that a customer can enter during the checkout process to get additional offers or discounts on their order.

      This is a straightforward and rewarding technique, which makes the benefit to the customer very clear. Most coupon codes will apply a percentage discount on a customer’s entire order or a specific item (excluding taxes and shipping) and will usually not be combinable with other offers.

      WooCommerce includes a lot of coupon management features by default. You can access them by navigating to WooCommerce > Coupons.

      When you add a new coupon, you can specify the code customers will use to apply the deal. You can also configure the discount the coupon will apply. This can be a fixed or a percentage reduction.

      Perhaps the most important settings are the usage restrictions and limits, which determine how and when the coupon will be valid.

      You should make sure to look over these options carefully; you don’t want your coupon offer to have any exploitable loopholes.

      When your coupon is ready, you can give it out to your users. How you distribute the code will depend on its purpose. A coupon code could be part of a bigger marketing campaign, or it could be intended only for specific customers. As we mentioned earlier, you need to consider your sale’s aim carefully before starting as this will let you know who the recipients of your coupon code should be.

      Your Store Deserves WooCommerce Hosting

      Sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform.

      3. Free Shipping

      Did you know that free shipping is the single most important incentive for online customers? It’s not hard to see why. Shipping costs can inflate an order’s final price considerably, especially if the customer is located far away from where your store is based. The allure of free (or even just reduced) shipping can therefore be a powerful motivator, convincing them to complete their purchase.

      WooCommerce enables you to create a free shipping offer in a few different ways. First, you can use the coupon code method we described earlier to apply free shipping.

      Alternatively, you can also set Free Shipping as an available option for a particular shipping zone.

      Both methods give you a lot of freedom in deciding how the free shipping works and who can use it. For example, you could offer free shipping on all orders over a certain amount for a limited time, create a dedicated coupon that you distribute to particular customers, or spread the word via your social media channels. Either way, your customers will be sure to appreciate it.

      4. ‘Product of the Day’ Discounts

      As we’ve mentioned, sales are a perfect way to highlight specific products. You can even take this a step further and place the spotlight on one particular item.

      You can create this type of offer with the Products of the Day extension. This tool enables you to specify one or more products for a given day, which will be highlighted on your e-commerce site using a widget.

      By default, this is simply a way to encourage the sale of particular products. However, you can sweeten the deal by also applying a discount to each daily item. For example, you can schedule a sale price for a product (which we covered earlier), and then add it to this widget.

      Not only will this technique increase the visibility of the promoted products, but it also gives your users a reason to check your site regularly to see which products will be on sale each day.

      5. Exclusive Members-Only Sales

      A sale is not just useful for bringing in new customers. You can also use it to reward your existing users and members. Offering exclusive offers can significantly increase customer loyalty, which can, in turn, lead to improved word-of-mouth exposure.

      When it comes to WooCommerce, you have a number of options for this type of campaign. For example, you can create coupon codes that you can quickly distribute to select users, such as through an email newsletter.

      Be Awesome on the Internet

      Join our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!

      To ensure that this code can’t be leaked or used by non-members, you can even specify the exact email addresses that can use the coupon.

      You can also use the WooCommerce Memberships extension, which lets you set discounts based on different membership tiers.

      This extension provides plenty of features relating to sales, such as member-exclusive offers. You can also create discounted prices, free shipping, and even ’buy one, get one free’ promotions.

      6. ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ Deals

      A ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ (BOGOF) deal is, as it sounds, an offer where the customer gets one item for free when they purchase another. This could be used in many ways. You can simply offer two of the same item for the price of one, or include a different product as an extra when a customer purchases something complimentary.

      You could also specify different quantities, such as ‘buy three, get one half price.’ All you need is the right extension, which in this case would be Dynamic Pricing.

      As the name aptly suggests, this extension enables you to set dynamic prices for your products by specifying specific criteria. You can determine the number of items that will make the BOGOF offer valid, for instance. The discount will then be applied automatically when the user adds the right items to their cart.

      As with most promotions, the key to making this one work is to ensure that your users are aware of the deal and the specific criteria required. For that reason, it’s best to feature it prominently on your home page, and on individual product pages where applicable.

      7. Discounts For Future Purchases

      We’ve already discussed the benefits of rewarding existing customers to build brand loyalty. Another smart way of doing that is by offering discounts that a customer can use on their next purchase.

      There are a few ways to do this in WooCommerce. The simplest is to create a coupon code that you distribute to your customers, which we’ve already walked you through. The Follow Ups extension makes this method even easier, as it lets you automatically email customers with a notification about the coupon code.

      You can also set up a rewards system that gives customers ‘points’ when they make a purchase. They can then use these points on later orders to get a discount that’s relative the amount they’ve earned. The Points and Rewards extension makes it easy to add such a system to your store.

      To make the deal even sweeter, you can offer double points during specific periods. This will further incentivize your repeat customers to complete more orders and can be used to increase sales during times when your store is usually quiet.

      8. Minimum Order Amount Discounts

      This last technique is a cousin to the BOGOF deal we mentioned earlier. A minimum order discount is a promotion that’s applied automatically when the total value of the customer’s cart exceeds a set amount.

      For example, you could offer a 20 percent discount on all orders above $100. If a customer’s cart total were $112, the discount would bring the order amount down to $89.60 — an attractive deal.

      We recommend that you use Discount Rules for WooCommerce to put this strategy into action. This plugin lets you specify the exact criteria that must be met before a discount is applied.

      This tool also makes it easy for you to manage the discount and lets you change or remove it any time. Plus, it includes several other helpful sales-related features, such as BOGOF and dynamic pricing.

      What to Do After Your Sale Ends

      You might think that once a sale is over, all that’s left to do is count the money you’ve earned and prepare for the next promotion. However, this is far from the ideal way of approaching your sales strategy. If you don’t take the time to analyze the results of your sales campaigns, you won’t be able to optimize future offers to get even better results.

      To do this in WooCommerce, we recommend that you purchase the Google Analytics extension. This will provide you with detailed information about your users’ behavior and purchasing habits. While there’s a lot to consider after a sale is over, these are the most important results you should pay attention to:

      • Interest and usage. How many users showed interest in your sale versus how many actually completed a purchase? This shows you whether you need to work harder next time to close the deal.
      • Time and duration. You’ll also want to consider if the timing of your sales could be improved. To do that, you can compare the latest promotion’s results against similar deals that have run at different times of the year.
      • Sale frequency. If you see a steady drop in conversions for each promotion, it might be worth your while to make sales less frequent. If users know another sale is just around the corner, they’re less likely to buy during this one.

      Take all of these factors into account, and you’ll be more informed and prepared when it’s time for the next sale!

      Promo Power

      Running a sale on your online shop can be both profitable and enjoyable. All you need is a flexible e-commerce plugin and a little preparation to make sure you launch your campaign at the right time and with the perfect offer.

      Do you have any questions about how to run an effective sale for your business using WooCommerce? Join the DreamHost community and start the conversation!



      Source link

      How to Use Printful to Sell T-Shirts and Other Swag with WooCommerce


      Making the decision to jump into e-commerce can be intimidating. There are a lot of factors to consider, including how you’re going to create an online store and ship your products. You also have to take into account the cost of each of those tasks and find a way to manage your budget.

      If you’re interested in selling products such as t-shirts and other fun ‘swag,’ using Printful and WooCommerce on a WordPress site can save you a lot of headaches. By granting you flexibility and providing a cost-effective method for printing on-demand, the combination of these two platforms makes selling your products simple.

      In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons you might consider selling t-shirts and promotional merchandise online and discuss the benefits of doing so with Printful and WooCommerce. Then we’ll show you how to get started with these platforms. Let’s dive right in!

      Why Selling Swag Could Be a Smart Marketing Move for Your Brand

      Finding ways to promote your brand is an ongoing process. The more diverse and creative you can get with your marketing, the more likely you are to achieve success and increase your customer base. With that being said, you don’t want to spend your limited budget on promotional campaigns that don’t work.

      Selling swag has proven benefits and enables you to get a little more creative with your marketing. These types of products can increase your brand recognition since the people wearing or using them will be promoting your brand at almost no cost to you. What’s more, it’s generally a very cost-effective strategy.

      T-shirts featuring a variety of branding material.

      You can turn almost anything you can put your brand on into swag. T-shirts are a common option, as are tank tops, hoodies, and hats. Any products your customers can wear are perfect for promoting your brand. These products are very likely to be seen by other people, and your customers will endorse your brand by simply wearing them.

      There are, however, plenty of other options for swag. Tote bags, backpacks, and phone cases all provide opportunities for brand exposure. Customers aren’t as likely to carry around coffee mugs, posters, towels, or throw pillows, but they might leave these items out in their homes or offices where visitors will see them.

      They might even give those products as gifts, which also spreads the word about your brand. The more products that are out in the world with your brand’s name and/or imagery on them, the better. All you have to do is find a way to get your swag into the hands of your target audience.

      Choosing the Right Tools to Sell Your Swag Online

      Deciding how you will create, store, sell, and ship your products is a serious undertaking. Swag is usually very cost-effective, but choosing the wrong business to partner with could end up costing you more than you’d like. Plus, if you have to go to different companies to find all the services you need, it’s bound to be hard on your budget. Printful solves these problems for you.

      The Printful Home page.

      You can add your branding to a variety of products offered by this platform, and its print-on-demand services mean you don’t have to pay for storage if you don’t want to. Printful even handles shipping and delivers your products in a white-labeled box so it looks as though they’re coming right from you.

      Printful integrates well with a variety of e-commerce platforms, including WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an excellent e-commerce plugin for WordPress users who want to run their own online stores. It’s customizable and flexible so you can use it to suit your specific needs. You have complete control over your content and products, and you won’t have to pay any fees to use it.

      How to Use Printful to Sell T-Shirts and Swag with WooCommerce (In 4 Steps)

      Printful and WooCommerce make it simple for you to get started selling your products online. If you have your branding ready to go, you can set up an e-commerce site for t-shirts and swag in just four steps.

      Step 1: Set Up WordPress and WooCommerce

      If you don’t already have a WordPress site, this first step will be the most time-consuming. You’ll first need to create a new website, which includes acquiring and registering a domain name and finding a hosting provider and plan. Our DreamHost Shared Unlimited and WooCommerce Hosting plans are solid options for this kind of site.

      Once you have a registered domain name and a hosting account, you can install WordPress. Since WordPress is a flexible platform, there are lots of customization options, themes, and plugins you may want to look into to add functionality and style to your site. For now, however, we’ll just focus on the tools you’ll need to set up shop.

      The quickest way to add WooCommerce to your WordPress site is by navigating to Plugins in the sidebar of your WordPress admin dashboard. You can select Add New from the menu, and then search for “WooCommerce.”

      The WooCommerce plugin with the Activate button.

      Once you’ve found it, click on the Install button. When the installation is finished, select Activate. With that, you’ve added WooCommerce to your WordPress site.

      Your Store Deserves WooCommerce Hosting

      Sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform.

      Step 2: Configure WooCommerce’s Settings

      After you’ve activated WooCommerce, you’ll need to configure its settings. The information you input here will be important for receiving payments, displaying your products, and enabling customer behaviors such as account creation and the checkout process.

      The WooCommerce settings Products tab.

      In particular, you’ll want to make sure the following settings are attended to:

      • In the General tab, add your location information, enable tax rates and calculations, and select your currency.
      • In the Products tab, determine which page will display your items, set measurements, and enable or disable customer reviews.
      • In the Payments tab, specify your payment method(s).
      • In the Accounts & Privacy tab, manage the checkout and account creation processes, configure your privacy policy, and determine your data retention settings.
      • In the Emails tab, set up email notifications from WooCommerce to your customers.

      It’s important to note that, since Printful handles shipping, you don’t need to worry about configuring those settings in WooCommerce.

      You should also know that in order to integrate Printful and WooCommerce, you must have the legacy REST API enabled. You can find this option in the Advanced tab, by selecting Legacy API.

      The WooCommerce Legacy API setting in the Advanced tab.

      Check the box to enable the feature, and save your changes. Then, you’re ready to move on to the next phase.

      Step 3: Integrate WooCommerce and Printful

      With WooCommerce ready to go, you can now integrate it with Printful. Head back to the plugins page and search for “Printful.” Then install and activate the official plugin.

      The Printful Integration for WooCommerce plugin.

      Next, select the new Printful option from the WordPress admin dashboard sidebar. Click on the Connect button.

      Alt text: The Connect to Printful page.

      You’ll be asked to approve Printful’s connection to WooCommerce. After you select Approve, you’ll be redirected so that you can log in to or create a Printful account.

      Once you’ve done that, click the button to confirm your connection. This will sync your Printful account up with your WooCommerce store.

      Step 4: Create and Price Your Products

      Now that your Printful account is integrated with your website, you can start filling your store with swag. To do that, select from Printful’s products via WordPress or your Printful account. Then, upload a design for your t-shirt or swag, and position it however you’d like.

      You can also add information regarding what sizes and colors your product will be sold in, and what areas it will be shipped to.

      A new t-shirt created with Printful.

      Printful also enables you to create mockups, which are the product images that will be displayed to your customers.

      Printful’s mockup style options.

      Choose the image you prefer, and then move on to the product description. Here you can add your product’s title, details about the item, and a sizing chart if relevant.

      Once you’ve finished setting up the product and deciding how it will be displayed, it’s time to talk about money. You don’t have to do any math to figure out how much it will cost to create your products and how much you’ll have to charge to make a profit. Printful takes care of all that for you with its profit calculator.

      Printful’s profit calculator.

      Finally, make sure your product visibility settings are not set to Hidden, so your product will appear in your shop, in search results, or both. Then select Submit to Store.

      If you have more swag to create, you can add more products by following the same process for each. Then you’re ready to start selling, and Printful is set up to deliver the products to your customers!

      Site Swag

      Selling t-shirts and other swag on your website is a smart way to promote your brand. Fortunately, the combination of Printful and WooCommerce is a flexible, cost-effective method way to display your customized products and ship them to customers.

      Do you have any questions about using Printful and WooCommerce together effectively? Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook and let us know!





      Source link

      WooCommerce Guide: How to Start an Online Store in 1 Hour


      There are a lot of ways to make money online, but one of the best is to start an online store. But if you don’t have a lot of experience creating websites or selling products and services, where do you even start?

      Fear not. Fortunately, a few simple tools make it surprisingly easy to get your feet wet in the world of e-commerce. By using WordPress as your website’s platform and leveraging the WooCommerce plugin to actually build your store, you can be up and running in an hour — or about the amount of time it takes to watch an episode of your favorite Netflix show. The process will still require some upfront work, but it is totally manageable (even if you’re a newbie!).

      In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to get your online shop off the ground. We’ll discuss the advantages of using both WordPress and WooCommerce and walk you through setting up your store and creating products. Finally, we’ll offer some tips for designing and promoting your site effectively.

      An Introduction to E-Commerce

      Amazon is probably the most famous (and successful) e-commerce website.

      If you’ve never heard of e-commerce before, it’s a blanket term that refers to buying and selling goods or services online. So if you’ve ever purchased something on the internet, you’ve engaged in e-commerce.

      We probably don’t have to tell you how vast and complex the world of e-commerce has become. You can buy nearly anything online, from toothbrushes to houses, and most items are offered by multiple sellers. What’s more, you can purchase digital products, services, and all sorts of other non-physical products as well.

      This means that if you’re interested in becoming a seller yourself, you’re going to have a lot of competition. Don’t be intimidated — it is possible to start your own online store and do quite well. However, you’ll have to put some work in first. The first step is choosing the best tools to build your store.

      Why You Should Consider WordPress for Your E-Commerce Store

      WordPress is an outstanding platform for building your online store.

      While there are other options, such as selling your products through an existing marketplace like Amazon, most people get their e-commerce start by creating their own store. Of course, an online store is just another kind of website. So your first decision will be picking a platform to build your website.

      If you aren’t sold on a particular platform already, we highly recommend WordPress. This free, open-source Content Management System (CMS) is a standout choice for websites of all types. It’s beginner-friendly but so flexible and customizable that you can build almost any site with it.

      WordPress got its start as a blogging platform, but it’s now used for business websites, portfolios, news sites, and much more. It’s also an incredibly popular choice with business owners for e-commerce sites for a number of reasons:

      • The WordPress community has developed thousands of themes and plugins you can use to customize your site, including many tools for e-commerce. This means you can tweak the appearance of your store until it’s just right and add nearly any feature to it, whether you’re running a massive enterprise or a small business.
      • As a platform, WordPress is very secure. New updates and patches are regularly released to combat the latest threats. Plus, there are a lot of ways you can boost site security. This is a big deal for e-commerce sites since they typically deal with sensitive financial data.
      • There’s a vast community out there to support you. Getting involved in e-commerce can be tricky. No matter what question or problem you have, however, there will be plenty of people who can help you out.

      You really can’t go wrong with WordPress for building your online store — no matter how big you want it to be or what you plan to sell. The only caveat is that, out of the box, the platform doesn’t provide dedicated e-commerce features. However, that issue can be quickly resolved by installing the right WordPress plugin.

      An Introduction to WooCommerce

      The WooCommerce plugin adds e-commerce capabilities to your WordPress website.

      There are multiple plugins that can add e-commerce capabilities to your WordPress site. None of them can truly compete with WooCommerce. This free WordPress plugin is the most popular solution for online stores within the platform — and for good reason. Like WordPress itself, WooCommerce is both easy to get started with and endlessly flexible.

      Installing the WooCommerce plugin will immediately add all sorts of useful e-commerce functionality to your site, such as product pages, a checkout option, and a payment system. It offers a number of useful settings and options, so you can tweak your store to meet your exact needs.

      WooCommerce works well for selling physical items, digital products, or both. Whether you’re starting up a small store to sell a few downloads or hoping to move hundreds of products a day, WooCommerce has you covered.

      Key Features

      • Enables you to create dedicated, customizable pages for each product or service.
      • Adds a checkout feature to your site so visitors can make purchases directly.
      • Includes various options for payment methods and shipping.

      Pricing

      WooCommerce is a free plugin and is, in many cases, suitable on its own. If you want to expand its capabilities, however, there’s an extension store offering all kinds of additional features.

      What to Do Before Building Your Online Store

      WooCommerce-specific hosting is the best way to start your store off on the right foot.

      In a moment, we’ll walk you through how to set up an online store using WordPress and WooCommerce. However, there are two things you’ll want to do first. In order for your store to be available online, you’ll need both a domain name and a WordPress hosting plan.

      Your domain name is the part of your site’s URL that comes after the www — for example, dreamhost.com. Purchasing a domain is simple. You’ll have to pay an upfront cost, then a renewal fee each year, but these are usually quite affordable.

      You can think of your domain like an address. It’s one of the key ways people will find you, so it’s important to make your choice carefully. Try to pick something simple and clear but also memorable enough to stand out. Take the time now to find something you’re happy with, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of changing your domain later.

      If your domain is your site’s address, your hosting is where it ‘lives.’ Your web host provider will store your site’s files on its servers, so anyone with an internet connection can access it. There are many web host options, a lot of which are quite cheap. However, it’s best not to rush this decision either. After all, your web host will affect your site’s performance, security, optimization, and much more.

      If you want to run a successful store, these elements are crucial. In addition, you’ll want to look for a host with a solid reputation, excellent support options, and — ideally — WordPress-specific features. It’s also best to select one with solid domain services since it’s easier to manage your hosting and domain in one place.



      Since you’ll be setting up a WooCommerce store, you should definitely check out our WooCommerce hosting. This plan is optimized for WordPress and comes with WooCommerce pre-installed (along with some other helpful tools). You’ll get lots of storage and resource scaling options so you can grow your store, and plenty of support for those times when you need help. Plus, it’s very affordable.

      Your Store Deserves WooCommerce Hosting

      Sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform with optimized hosting, starting at $16.95/mo.

      Before we move on, let’s talk a little bit about security. As we’ve mentioned, keeping your online store safe from hackers and malware is essential. One smart way to do this is through the use of HTTPS, which is a more secure version of the HTTP you see at the beginning of many URLs. If you want your site to run on HTTPS, you’ll need a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.

      We mention this now because, while you can get an SSL certificate through an external source, it’s easiest to obtain it as part of your hosting. For example, our WooCommerce hosting plan includes a free, preinstalled Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. This way, your store will be even more secure right from the very start. SSL certificates are important for most sites these days, but they’re a must-have for e-commerce stores.

      How to Start an Online Store in 1 Hour

      Once you have a hosting plan picked out and a domain in place, you’re ready to start building your online store! Let’s walk through the process, step by step. No developers required.

      1. Install WordPress (5 Minutes)

      The first thing you’ll need to do to get your new website up and running is install WordPress. How you do this will vary, depending on your choice of host. In some cases, you may be able to skip this step altogether. For example, if you opt for our WooCommerce hosting (or our regular DreamPress plan), WordPress will be pre-installed so you don’t have to worry about it.

      If you have a different host or type of plan, you’ll need to log into your hosting account, find the installation button or link, and follow the resulting prompts. If you’re lucky, your host will simplify the process even if WordPress doesn’t come pre-installed.

      For example, on some of our more basic hosting plans, we offer a one-click install option. You simply need to visit your Dreamhost panel and navigate to WordPress > One-Click Installs.

      Select WordPress on the next screen, and you’ll be presented with a few fields to fill out. You can select the domain to use under Install to.

      You can usually leave the other fields alone since they contain more advanced options. Check the Deluxe Install button if you want your site to come with some handy themes and plugins pre-installed, then select Install it for me now! After that, you’ll be sent an email at the address associated with your DreamHost account. It will contain your username and a link to your new site.

      Finally, in some cases, you may need to install WordPress manually. This is a little more involved, requiring a few additional tools, but can still be completed in less than five minutes. If you find yourself in that situation, we recommend following WordPress’ own handy installation tutorial.

      2. Install and Configure WooCommerce (10 Minutes)

      Next up, we have another step you may be able to skip entirely. After all, our WooCommerce hosting comes with the plugin pre-installed and pre-configured. This way, you’re ready to start building your online store from the moment you first visit your new site.

      Still, let’s walk through the process of manually installing WooCommerce and setting it up, in case you have a different plan. You’ll first need to visit your WordPress site, navigate to the Plugins tab, and select the Add New button at the top of the screen.

      Type “WooCommerce” into the search field and the plugin should come up right away. Click on Install Now, and wait a few moments. A new button should appear, called Activate, which you’ll need to click.

      That’s all you need to do to add the plugin to your site. It’s now ready to use and will automatically set up the essential pages you’ll need for your store (such as a shopping cart and checkout page). However, we recommend walking through the short setup wizard to configure a few key options.

      This wizard should appear right after you install the plugin. On the first page, you’ll enter a few key details about your store. This includes where it’s located, what currency it will use, and what types of products you’re planning to sell.

      Keep in mind that you can go back and change any of these settings later. Next, you’ll select the payment options that will be available to your customers.

      By default, you can choose any combination of Stripe, PayPal, and offline payments. If those options aren’t enough, you can always add more through extensions.

      Click on Continue, and you’ll be able to configure your standard shipping rates. You can choose from either free shipping or a flat fee (again, more options are available in the extension store).

      The next two screens offer a couple of extra tools, which you can safely skip for now. Keep moving through until you reach the Ready! step.

      This lets you know you’re done with the setup wizard. There are a few handy links here, such as one to create your first product. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, however, we want to optimize WooCommerce a bit more fully, so select Return to your dashboard instead.

      3. Optimize WooCommerce’s Settings (15 Minutes)

      The WooCommerce wizard gets your store up and running. However, there are a lot more settings within the plugin to configure. To set up a unique store tailored to your requirements, you may need to spend some additional time tweaking it.

      To get started, visit WooCommerce > Settings in your admin panel.

      There are a lot of options here. We won’t go through all of them, but we’ll touch on some of the highlights.

      For example, under the General tab, you can choose what countries you’re willing to sell and ship to and decide whether to enable taxes. The latter is usually a smart idea since neglecting to collect taxes from your customers can leave you facing a hefty bill at the end of the year. If you’re new to the world of sales tax, the WooCommerce documentation offers a handy guide for understanding it.

      In the Products tab, you’ll see the same measurement units you set up in the WooCommerce wizard. However, you’ll also find some options related to reviews.

      You can let customers leave reviews on products, and even give star ratings. This can encourage new visitors to purchase — as long as the reviews are positive! The rest of the sub-tabs here help you customize how products will be displayed, and determine how inventory will be managed.

      The Shipping tab enables you to add more shipping zones, if you’d like, to further customize your methods and rates. You can also configure how shipping works under the Shipping options sub-tab.

      Moving on, under Payments, you’ll find a variety of settings. You can start by deciding how to accept payments from customers, including through in-person transactions such as bank transfers, checks, and cash. You can also manage default payment gateways such as PayPal.

      By selecting a particular sub-tab, you can navigate to a screen containing settings that are unique to each type of payment. There, you can configure each payment type further.

      We’re almost done! The next tab, Accounts, lets you set up how customers’ accounts will work. For example, you can determine where they’ll register on your site and how accounts will be created.

      Under Emails, you can customize what types of notifications will be sent to which email addresses. At the bottom of the page, you’ll also have some options for personalizing what emails sent from your store to customers will look like.

      The last tab, API, contains some more technical settings for advanced users and can be safely ignored for now. With that, you’ve made your way through the entire WooCommerce settings page! You can always return here and make changes whenever you’d like, as you start building your store and getting a feel for how you’d like it to work.

      4. Add Your First Product (30 Minutes)

      With your store all set up, it’s finally time to start adding products! Fortunately, WooCommerce makes the process pretty simple. To add your first item, navigate to Products > Add New in your dashboard.

      If you’ve ever created a WordPress website before, this screen should look very familiar. In many ways, it’s identical to the Classic Editor (which has recently been replaced by the Block Editor). Of course, there are a number of new options and settings.

      Start out by scrolling down to the Product data section. Here, you can choose what type of item this product is, whether it’s downloadable, and what its price should be.

      Under the next tab, Inventory, you can create an SKU (or unique identifier) for the product and configure a few other behind-the-scenes options. Then under Shipping, you can enter the product’s weight and dimensions and choose its shipping class if applicable.

      The rest of the choices in this section are pretty optional, although we’d recommend checking out the Linked Products tab. Here, you can determine what kinds of related products will be promoted to visitors, which is a smart way to increase sales.

      At the bottom of the page, you’ll find the Product short description section.

      This is where you can enter a summary of the item, which will appear on your product listings’ pages. Keep it brief and focus on the key selling point. In other words, how does this product solve a crucial problem or make your customers’ lives easier?

      Scrolling back up, the main editor is where you can enter a full description of your product. Be as thorough as possible here, highlighting its essential features and providing all the information a customer will need to make an informed choice. Most importantly, don’t forget to use the Add Media button to include images of the product, ideally from multiple perspectives. The better potential customers can visualize the item, the more likely they’ll be to open their wallets.

      To enter a main, featured image for the item, you can use the Product image section in the right-hand column. Just under that, there’s an option to create a Product gallery, which is an excellent idea if your item comes in multiple styles or colors. Also in this column, you can add a category and tags to your product.

      This is recommended for a couple of reasons. First, it helps you keep everything organized. Second, it makes it easier for both potential customers and search engine bots to find your products and understand what they are.

      When you have everything set up the way you’d like, simply click on Publish to make your product live! Then you can repeat the process for each additional item. You can always come back and make changes to your existing product pages if information or images need to be updated.

      5. Choose a WooCommerce-Compatible Theme (Optional)

      Storefront is the official WooCommerce theme and is a solid choice for most stores.

      Your store is now set up, and you’re ready to start selling products. However, let’s address one more optional step. One of the nice things about using WordPress to create your online store is that you can use any theme you want to customize its appearance.

      However, you may want to try out a theme that’s specifically designed for WooCommerce instead. This way, your theme will be optimized to work alongside the plugin’s unique features and fit its style. In addition, you’ll often get access to useful content types and functionality that will help you tweak your store further.

      For most people, the best choice here will be the Storefront theme. This is WooCommerce’s official theme and is built from the ground up to integrate with the plugin. It offers flexible design and display options, and you can customize it to match your branding. Storefront is free, although there are extensions you can use to add more options.

      Another bonus? If you sign up for DreamHost’s WooCommerce hosting plan, you’ll have Storefront pre-installed.

      If you don’t like the look of Storefront, however, there are plenty of other themes you can use. ThemeForest, for example, offers a range of premium themes designed for the plugin. No matter where you get your WooCommerce theme, make sure to take your time and choose carefully. A quality theme can do a lot to improve your store’s odds of success.

      Tips for Improving Your WooCommerce Store’s Design

      A simple, well-branded design will help your WooCommerce store stand out.

      Before we wrap this guide up, we want to address two more crucial elements. First up, let’s talk about your store’s design. With both WooCommerce and a theme like Storefront installed, it should be looking pretty spiffy. As you’re building your store and tweaking its appearance, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

      • Incorporate your branding throughout your store, and use its elements consistently. This includes your logo, tagline, color scheme, typography, and so on. If you haven’t developed any branding yet, now is the time to get started.
      • Make sure your store is easy to navigate and search. If people can’t find the products they need quickly, they’ll probably move on to a different store. This means including a prominent search bar and organizing your items through hierarchical categories.
      • Include plenty of images all across your site, not just on your product pages. More importantly, ma ke sure all the images you use are high quality and optimized to show off your items without slowing down your pages.
      • Try to avoid clutter. Keep the focus on what you’re selling and don’t confuse visitors with too much information. A minimalist design can go a long way for an e-commerce business.

      Promoting Your WooCommerce Store

      WordPress offers many tools, like the OptinMonster plugin, to help you market your store.

      Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the importance of promoting your online store. Simply hoping people will stumble across it in search engines won’t be enough — you’ll need to get out there and do some marketing.

      Again, this is a pretty complex topic, and no one approach is right for every store. So let’s run through some of the best ways to promote your e-commerce site and provide some resources you can use to learn more about each one:

      • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising — This strategy is as simple as it gets. You pay a website like Google to have your store appear in relevant searches. Even better, you only pay when someone actually clicks on one of your ads.
      • Email marketing — Building an email list is a hugely popular strategy. You can capture the emails of interested parties, and then send them targeted messages and promotions. Plus, you can do this right from your WordPress site, using a plugin such as OptinMonster.
      • Social media marketing — Everyone is plugged into social media these days, so it’s the perfect place to find potential customers. You’ll just need to choose the right platforms to focus on, then use a few basic strategies to get the word out there about your store.
      • Promotions and discounts — Putting your products on sale or running a special promotion is a smart way to drum up interest and convince people to give you a try. WooCommerce offers its own features to help you do this, and you can also combine this approach with your email and social media marketing.

      Promoting your e-commerce site takes some effort. Just remember that the more channels you use, the better your chances will be for getting lots of eyes on your products or services. The work of promotion is something to focus on before, during, and after the actual launch of your online store.

      Selling, Selling, Gone

      Getting started with e-commerce has never been easier, thanks to all the dedicated tools and solutions that are now available. However, it takes some work to ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Understanding how to build, perfect, and promote your online store beforehand is crucial to its success.

      When choosing the right platforms for your e-commerce store, you can’t go wrong with WordPress and WooCommerce. First, you’ll need to pick a domain and then select a hosting plan.

      Do you have any questions about the platform or how to build your WooCommerce shop? Join the DreamHost Community today and ask us anything!



      Source link