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How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Do you want to start your own online store? We know that building an online store can be a scary thought, especially when you're not a techie. Well, you are not alone. After helping hundreds of users to start their online store, we have decided to create the most complete guide on how to build your online store with WordPress (step by step)

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

What do you need to start an online store?

There has never been a better time to start an online business than today.

Anyone with a computer can get started in a matter of minutes and without acquiring any special skills.

The three things you need to start an online store are:

  1. A domain name idea (this will be the name of your online store, ie
  2. A web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
  3. Your undivided attention for 30 minutes..

Yes, it is really that simple.

You can set up your own WordPress online store in less than 30 minutes and we'll walk you through every step of the process.

In this tutorial, we will cover:

  • How to register a domain name for free
  • How to choose the best WooCommerce hosting
  • How to get a free SSL certificate (required to accept payments)
  • How to install WordPress
  • How to create a WooCommerce store
  • How to add products to your online store
  • How to select and customize your theme
  • How to extend your online store with plugins
  • Learn how to learn WordPress and grow your business

Clever? Let us begin.

Video Walkthrough

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If you don't like the video or need more instructions, continue reading.

Step 1:Setting up your online store platform

The biggest mistake most users make is not choosing the right platform for their online store.

Luckily you're here, so you won't be making that mistake.

There are two popular eCommerce platforms that we recommend:Shopify or WordPress + WooCommerce.

Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution that starts at $29/mo. It's a hassle-free solution where you simply log in and start selling. The downside of Shopify is that it gets quite expensive, and your payment options are limited unless you pay additional fees.

This is why most users choose WordPress + WooCommerce because of the flexibility it offers. It requires some setup, but it's worth doing in the long run. WooCommerce is the world's largest eCommerce platform (see:Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison).

In this tutorial, we will show you how to set up an online store in WordPress using WooCommerce.

To set up your store, you need to have a domain name, web hosting and an SSL certificate .

A domain name is the address of your website on the Internet. It's what users will type into their browsers to get to your website (for or

Web hosting is where your website lives on the internet. It is the home of your website on the internet. Every website on the internet needs web hosting.

How to add SSL in WordPress? "> The SSL certificate adds a special layer of security on your website, so you can accept sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information. This is necessary for you to accept credit card payments on your website. .

Typically, a domain name costs around $14.99/year, web hosting costs around $7.99/month, and SSL certificate costs around $69.99/year.

That's a lot of startup cost.

Fortunately, Bluehost, an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name , free SSL certificate , and a discount on web hosting.

Basically, you can get started for $6.95/month.

→ Click here to claim this exclusive offer from Bluehost ←

Bluehost is one of the oldest web hosting companies, having started in 1996 (before Google). They are also the biggest brand when it comes to WordPress hosting, hosting millions of websites including ours.

NOTE:At WPBeginner we believe in transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, we'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you (in fact, you'll save money and get a free domain). We would get this commission for recommending almost any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we personally use and believe will add value to our readers.

Let's go ahead and buy your domain + hosting + SSL.

Open Bluehost in a new window using this link and continue.

The first thing you need to do is click the green Get Started Now button to get started.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

On the next screen, select the plan you need (launcher and more are the most popular).

After that, you will be prompted to enter the domain name for your website.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Lastly, you will need to add your account information and finalize your package information to complete the process. On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase.

It's totally up to you whether you buy them or not, but we generally don't recommend buying them. You can always add them later if you decide you need them.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Once complete, you will receive an email with details on how to log into your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything from support, emails, and more.

Go ahead and login to your cPanel. You will receive a pop-up letting you know that WordPress with WooCommerce is pre-installed on your website.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Just click the 'Login to your site' button and it will take you to the dashboard of your WordPress site.

Congratulations, you have finished setting up the hosting and the domain part.

The next step is to set up your WordPress site and then your online store.

Step 2. Configuring WordPress

Bluehost has automatically installed WordPress and WooCommerce on your website.

When you first log in to WordPress, you will see a welcome message. You will be asked what kind of website you want to set up.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Go ahead and click the "I don't need help" link. Don't worry, we will guide you through all the necessary steps.

Closing the setup wizard will display the WordPress admin panel, which looks like this:

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

First, you need to visit Settings »General page to set your WordPress site title and description.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Configuring HTTPS to use SSL

Your WordPress hosting package came with a free SSL certificate. This certificate is pre-installed for your domain name. However, your WordPress site needs to be configured, so it loads as https vs http.

About the Settings »General To change WordPress address and site address, you need to change https instead of http.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button to store your settings.

Your basic WordPress setup is complete. Now it's time to set up your online store.

Step 3. Setting up your WooCommerce store

Before you can start selling, there are a few things like currency, payments, and shipping information that you need to set up.

You will see a "Welcome to WooCommerce" notification on your WordPress admin pages. Go ahead and click the 'Run Setup Wizard' button on the notification.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

This will launch the WooCommerce setup wizard, where you'll need to click the 'Let's go' button to get started.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

WooCommerce needs some essential cart, account, shop, and checkout pages. You can click the Continue button to automatically create these pages.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

This will take you to the next step.

You will now need to tell WooCommerce where your store is located and what currency and unit measurements to use.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

After selecting your location and currency, click the Continue button to proceed.

Next, you need to enter shipping and tax information.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

WooCommerce can be used to sell both digital downloads and physical goods that require shipping.

You must check the box if you are shipping goods, or you can leave it unchecked if you are only selling digital goods.

Next you have to answer the tax question. WooCommerce can help you automatically calculate and add taxes to your prices.

If you are not sure, you can leave it unchecked. You can always add tax information later from WooCommerce settings.

Click the Continue button to continue.

You will then be prompted to choose a payment method for your online store.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

By default, WooCommerce comes with support for PayPal, PayPal Standard, and Stripe payment gateways. There are many other payment methods available for WooCommerce that you can install later if you need to.

The easiest way to accept payment is through standard PayPal.

Simply enter your PayPal email address and click the continue button.

Many people, including us, use PayPal and Stripe. By using Stripe, you allow your users to enter their credit card information on the checkout page without having to leave your site and go to PayPal.

You can set up Stripe by following the instructions on the WooCommerce screen.

Once you're done, your WooCommerce online store is fully set up.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

You must click the 'Back to WordPress Dashboard' link to exit the setup wizard.

After finishing the WooCommerce setup, you are ready to add products to your online store.

Step 4. Add products to your online store

Let's start by adding the first product to your online store.

You have to visit Products »Add New page to add a new product.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

First, provide a title for your product, and then a detailed description.

In the right column, you will see the "Product Categories" box. Click '+ Add New Product Category' to create a category for this product. This allows you and your customers to easily order and browse products.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Scroll down a bit and you will see the Product Data box. This is where you will provide product-related information such as pricing, inventory, shipping, etc.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Below the product details box, you will see a box to add a short description of the product. This short description will be used when users are viewing multiple products on one page.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Lastly, in the right column, you'll see boxes to add a main product image and a product gallery.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

Once you're happy with all the product information you've added, you can click the Publish button to make it available on your website.

Repeat the process to add more products as needed.

Step 5. Select and customize the WordPress theme

Themes control how WordPress sites look for users when they visit them. For a WooCommerce store, they also control how your products are displayed.

There are thousands of paid and free WordPress themes available.

Your Bluehost hosting account automatically installs the Storefront theme for your website. You will have to customize it to suit your needs.

Go to Appearance »Customize page. This will open the theme customizer where you can change different theme settings.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

If you don't like the storefront theme, you can use another theme by visiting Appearance »Themes page.

How to start an online store in 2018 (step by step)

If you need help selecting a theme, check out our guide on 9 things to consider when selecting the perfect WordPress theme.

Step 6. Extend your online store with plugins

Now that you have your online store ready, you probably want to start adding other common elements to your website, like a contact form, about page, and more.

To further customize WordPress and add features like contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc., you should use WordPress plugins.

WordPress plugins are applications that allow you to add new features to your website.

There are over 46,000 WordPress plugins available. At WPBeginner, we have the best WordPress plugins to help you add the functionality you need.

We have a step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Here is a list of 24 WordPress Plugins for Business Websites and another with 20+ Best Free WooCommerce Plugins.

Readers often ask us what plugins you use on your website. You can refer to our Blueprint to see the list of plugins and tools we use.

Learning WordPress to grow your business online

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At WPBeginner, our main goal is to provide useful and cutting-edge WordPress tutorials that are easy to understand even for non-expert WordPress website owners (see more about us).

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We also have a guide to show users how to make the most of WPBeginner's free resources.

Many of our users type their question into Google and just add wpbeginner to the end of it. This brings them to the related WPBeginner article.

We hope this tutorial has helped you learn how to build an online store. You may also want to check out these 19 Helpful Tips for Driving Traffic to Your New WordPress Site.

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