Not all that long ago, whether it was an eCommerce website or not, you had to know both design and development. Today, building an eCommerce WordPress site is relatively easy when you have the right tools for the job, and you follow a few simple steps. These steps, along with a case study are described here.
Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name can be a challenge. It should relate to your site’s theme. It should be easy to type or to remember. You will want it to be short and catchy – which will also make it easy to remember. All of this sounds easy enough, but the real challenge is that your domain name must be unique. Just as two houses can’t have the same physical address, two websites cannot have the same domain name.
If your domain name is too long or too complicated, a potential visitor could all too easily make a typing error, and never reach your site. Your selection of a domain name will usually be a critical factor in terms of how many people will visit your online store. Short and catchy is best, although it may be a challenge to find a name that someone else isn’t already using.
Choose a Site Host
A few years back, choosing a hosting company was simple, and hosting services were relatively inexpensive. You can still find low-cost providers, but beware of the fact that, in the website hosting world, you tend to get what you pay for.
- Shared hosting is often the choice of first-time website owners, small businesses, and startups. It is inexpensive; but since you will be sharing a server with a number of other websites, you may encounter bandwidth limitations, overcrowding, and occasional slow response times.
- With Managed hosting, the host still serves a variety of users, but it manages its resources in a way that keeps bandwidth and overcrowding issues to an absolute minimum, or avoids them completely.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and Dedicated Servers are the choice of large companies, institutions, and other heavy users. If your host provides VPS service, you will be sharing hardware with others, although it won’t be obvious. With a dedicated server, the hosting resource belongs to you and to you alone.
Install WordPress and WooCommerce, and Choose a WordPress Theme
Once you have selected a hosting, and acquired a unique domain name, it’s time to build your eCommerce store, a task you can easily do yourself.
Start by Installing WordPress. It takes about 5 minutes to do so, and some site hosts will do it for you. Next, install the WooCommerce plugin. This takes even less time, since you can download it from your WordPress dashboard.
Finally, select a WordPress theme to build your site. Select one that focuses on eCommerce website-building and provides pre-made layouts like those shown here, to get you off to a fast start.
Case Study: Shopkeeper eCommerce WordPress Theme
Shopkeeper is an eCommerce WordPress theme that has all the features you need to build a website and sell products online. Since it is a fully responsive theme, the ever-increasing number of mobile shoppers will have easy access to your store as well.
Shopkeeper is easy to install and set up. There is ample documentation to guide you along the way, and dedicated user support is there when you need it. Working with this WordPress theme is so intuitive however, that you will seldom encounter problems as you go along.
Shopkeeper comes with a selection of pre-made layouts, like the examples shown above. These can serve as the foundation for the look and feel of your website, and for various special pages you intend to incorporate into the site. You never need to start with a blank screen and waste time trying to figure where to begin.
Once you’ve selected a pre-made layout, it’s a simple matter to customize it using the popular Visual Composer page-builder. It’s a matter of drag and drop and a click at a time to create a custom page, without any need for coding.
Here are several examples of customized pages that have been built by Shopkeeper users for their own online stores:
Take a good look and these examples, and revisit the pre-made layout samples that were presented earlier, and you can get an idea as to how you can edit a pre-made layout to get precisely what you want. It’s a quick and easy process, which makes this WordPress theme even more attractive. The goal of Shopkeepers’ authors was to create a tool that anyone could use to build best-in-class online store, and they succeeded. Many different themes can use WooCommerce, and many of them do, but Shopkeeper was developed specifically for use with WooCommerce. What you are getting, is a professional site building tool.
Shopkeeper is constantly being updated as its features are improved upon or enhanced, or new features are added. On-going updates come with the package, so you will always have the most up-to-date tools to work with.
There are two compelling reasons to choose Shopkeeper to create an online store. The first is, this WordPress theme was created specifically for eCommerce use. The second reason is that Shopkeeper was designed to fit hand-in-glove with WooCommerce. The net result is a powerful, yet easy-to-use tool, and power and ease of use equates to elegance.