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Setting up a WooCommerce Store (Best Practices and Tools)

  Introduction
WooCommerce is one of the best eCommerce solutions for WordPress. This article will cover the basics of setting up a WooCommerce store to promote and sell your products.
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 Table of contents
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Setting up a WooCommerce Store

Are you thinking of setting up a store to sell your own products? Do you want to open up a website and make your dream of running your own business finally happen?

There are many excellent options to get your eCommerce site up and running quickly in 2022, making running your own online business significantly more effortless than before. In the past, this process involved getting an agency or developer on board and asking them to design a new website for you. Now, launching an online shop has become something you can do alone and in a single day. 

Of all the platforms out there, the best by far (and one used by some of the best websites in the world) is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is s plugin based on WordPress that offers several advantages. For instance, it’s extremely easy to set up and very versatile. It also enables you to run things your way and doesn’t lock you into complicated subscriptions – which can be difficult to stop without putting the future of your business at risk. 

This article will explain everything you need to know to get started with WooCommerce, including some good practices and instructions to set things up so you can launch your eCommerce store today.

How Do You Host a WooCommerce Store?

Since WooCommerce lets you own everything on your store, the first thing you will need to do is to find somewhere to host your website. Many platforms include this as part of a single subscription without any options, but WordPress and WooCommerce give you the space to choose your own , making it extremely flexible.

There are two main options for hosting your WordPress + WooCommerce store:

  • Using a generic web host
  • Using a managed solution

Some users install WordPress and WooCommerce on their own servers or choose a shared hosting company, buying space on common servers. However, if you’re just getting started, the best option is usually to go for managed hosting. What this means is that you don’t need to worry about anything technical like backups and updates, as the setup will be taken care of for you. Your host will do the behind-the-scenes work to make your store run the way it should!

It is therefore better to explore the different hosting alternatives and pick one that suits your pocket and needs. A shared hosting plan can usually give you more independence, but you will also be solely in charge of all technical aspects of your site. With a managed solution, on the other hand, all you need to do is upload your products and fulfill your orders. 

Choosing the best hosting will depend largely on what type of business you want to run and how skilled you are in WordPress. The good part is that, once you’ve made up your mind (no matter which option you choose,) you will probably find it’s pretty easy to set up your store.

Installing WooCommerce and Getting Your Site Designed

Once you have selected your type of hosting, it’s time to get the basics up and running. A great managed host typically gets this done for you, offering WooCommerce as a pre-installed option. In this case, you’ll just need to configure a few things to suit your needs and upload your store items for sale. If you’re running things yourself, you should download, install, and activate the WooCommerce plugin.

You will probably also need a theme or page builder. You can choose a theme from WordPress’ included extensive library of over 9,900 free themes. A page builder, however, offers a few other benefits that are worth considering. For instance, you can:

  • Use pre-built templates and modules to design all your pages
  • Drag and drop components without needing to code them in
  • Apply your branding and colors consistently throughout the shop

Page building tools can help you design your site quickly and easily, showcasing your product range exactly the way you want. There are also some excellent free and paid options to suit your needs.

Getting Yourself the Most Important Tools

After working on your design, it’s a good idea to begin customizing your shop a little more. There are two areas in particular that you should always configure before you launch your WordPress + WooCommerce store. These are your checkout page and your contact form. 

WooCommerce Checkout Page

Checkout is one of the most critical areas to focus on getting right if you want to ensure you succeed in eCommerce. Luckily, WordPress is the world’s largest content platform, so you will have plenty of options to get your business checkout page working perfectly. 

The checkout is a crucial part of your users’ purchasing journey. Unfortunately, some shops divide this process into several pages (for example, to ask for billing information, shipping address, and payment credentials). However, the best checkout experience is one where your customers can quickly purchase your products using a single page

It’s always best to streamline the checkout process as much as possible, making it straightforward and easy to use. By eliminating unnecessary clicks and page loads, you will improve your chances of getting users to buy your products.

WooCommerce Contact Form

Another essential component of your new WooCommerce site is your customers’ ability to contact you quickly. 

If your users don’t find it easy to get in touch with you and ask you questions about your products, they probably won’t feel confident enough to buy them. This is why you need a reliable tool that can enable you to have easy conversations with your customers. You can do this by way of a great form plugin

When looking for the best contact form solution for WooCommerce, consider whether you want to, for example, also add email addresses to your email marketing list. Many stores are happy with a simple form, but if you’re looking for something more complex, it’s worth taking the time to look for a plugin that better suits your needs. 

Other Best Practices for WooCommerce

We’ve covered some of the basics, but there are still a few other things you should consider when setting up your WooCommerce store which will make your store easier to use. Examples of these include defining permalinks to your products in a way that makes them easy to read and great to share, as well as setting up a way to automatically create invoices when someone purchases a product.

Permalink Structure

WooCommerce’s default URL address structure can be very long. Getting the URL structure right from the very beginning is highly recommended. Here’s an idea of what the different URLs could look like: 

  • WooCommerce default: yourdomain.com/?product=275
  • A better alternative: yourdomain.com/apparel/t-shirts/blue-stars-pattern
Defining taxonomy permalinks in WordPress, default settings.

Printed Invoices

Another thing you should keep in mind when setting up your eCommerce shop is how you are going to print invoices to go along with your products. Doing things manually can be a pain, so having an automated system that prints out everything you need to get your products on their way to customers fast is an excellent way to keep things organized. 

The best way to easily automate the creation of printed invoices for WooCommerce is to use a plugin. The right plugin will enable you to streamline this operation, meaning your customers will benefit from a better customer experience because you will eliminate the chance of making an error when preparing an order. 

Other Considerations

Beyond the above, there are, some other best practices that can make a big difference to your shop, including:

  • Make sure your site has an SSL certificate, adding an additional layer of encryption for your customers’ purchases.
  • Connect Google Analytics to understand your audience better, where they go and how you can improve things.

WooCommerce is one of the most flexible online platforms for new stores and includes plenty of options and plugins. You’re guaranteed to find a solution to anything your store may need!

Conclusion

WooCommerce is, without a doubt, the best eCommerce system for setting up your own new eCommerce store. As we’ve seen, the platform offers countless benefits and gives you the ultimate flexibility and customizability.

You will need a great host to get set up. Luckily, there are plenty of brilliant options available. Once you make up your mind, you should also invest in creating a great checkout experience and enabling a robust contact form to facilitate communication with your users. Spend some time selecting the best plugins to support your store functionalities, so you can create a fantastic shopping experience for your customers.

The above should hopefully lay out the foundations needed. If you want to learn more about WordPress and WooCommerce,  there is plenty more information available for new store owners here! 

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Mark Zahra
Mark Zahra
CEO at RebelCode, the team behind WP Mayor, Spotlight Instagram Feeds for WordPress, and WP RSS Aggregator. Follow me on Twitter @markzahra to get my thoughts on running a WordPress business, product design, pricing, marketing, and more.
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