By Ana Lynn Amelio
If you have been toying with the idea of setting up a store on your website, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we’ll show you how to add e-commerce functionality to your existing WordPress website with WooCommerce using WPX Hosting, the world’s fastest SSD WordPress hosting (yes, seriously).
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a free plugin which allows you to sell products, both physical and digital, from your WordPress website.
Although there are a number of different e-commerce plugins in the official plugin repository, WooCommerce is the most popular option and with good reason.
Main features include:
• Sell anything anywhere – both physical and digital goods in all shapes and sizes, offer product variations, instant downloads, and even sell affiliate goods from online marketplaces. Pair that with numerous extensions and you can offer bookings, memberships, and recurring subscriptions (also works with mobile optimization).
• Ship wherever you like – free shipping, flat rate shipping, or calculate it in real time. Ship only to specific countries, or worldwide. Shipping is highly configurable, and WooCommerce even supports drop shipping.
• Extensive payment options – WooCommerce comes bundled with the ability to accept major credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and cash on delivery. And if you need additional options you can integrate Stripe, Authorize.Net, and Amazon Payments.
• You control your store – WooCommerce gives you complete control of your store, from taxes to stock levels to customer accounts.
Now that we have covered the main features, let’s go through the installation options.
How to Add WooCommerce to WordPress
Like with any other plugin, there are three ways of installing WooCommerce:
- by uploading a .zip file to your site;
- installing it from the official plugin repository; and,
- uploading the files through an FTP program like FileZilla.
We’ll cover all three options.
Installing WooCommerce from the WordPress Repository
This is by far the easiest method to install any plugin.
To get started, log in to your WordPress site and click on Plugins > Add New:
Enter WooCommerce in the search box and then click on Install Now:
After the plugin has been installed, click on Activate Plugin.
Congratulations, WooCommerce is now installed on your website!
Installing WooCommerce through the WordPress dashboard
If you are unable to install WooCommerce through the repository or if you have a zip file of the plugin, you can upload it via WordPress dashboard.
The process of installing it is pretty much the same as though you are installing it from the repository the only difference is in the first step.
First, head to Plugins and then Add New.
Then click on Upload plugin:
Simply drag your zip file to the upload box or browse to where you saved the zip file and click on Install now.
The plugin will be installed and then all you have to do is click on Activate plugin.
Installing WooCommerce via FTP
This is a bit more of an advanced method but as intimidating as it may sound, I assure you it’s not.
To install WooCommerce through FTP you will need an FTP program such as Filezilla and FTP credentials to login to the backend of your host provider.
First, make sure you unzip the plugin folder. Choose an easy to get to destination such as desktop. Second, if you don’t have Filezilla, head on over to their website and download and install Filezilla.
After that’s done, launch Filezilla and enter FTP server name, username and password:
Once Filezilla connects to your website, on the right hand side, click on your public_html folder then click on wp-content>plugins:
Now, on the left hand side navigate to where you saved the unzipped folder of woocommerce plugin and drag it over to the right side into the plugins folder:
Once the folder is completely transferred, log in to your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Installed plugins and then click on WooCommerce to activate the plugin:
Finishing WooCommerce Setup
After you have installed WooCommerce, you need to finish setting it up.
Click on Let’s Go and follow the prompts on the screen:
Install the necessary pages – it’s worth mentioning that this is the only recommended step to finish setting up WooCommerce.
All of the other steps can be skipped and configured later in the plugin settings options.
This will install pages that are necessary for your store to function properly so go ahead and click on Continue:
Store Locale Setup – here you can configure where you are located and basic unites if you are selling physical products:
Shipping & Tax Setup – let’s you select basic shipping and tax options which can be configured more in-depth later through the plugin settings:
Payments – this screen let’s you choose your default payment options and setup your PayPal account if you want to receive payments via PayPal:
Finally, your store is ready and you can proceed with creating your first product:
It goes without saying that WooCommerce works flawlessly with any Woo Theme and in most cases, WooCommerce works with any WordPress theme.
However, occasionally, you may get a message at the top of your dashboard saying your theme isn’t compatible.
Before you decide to change your theme, there is a solution.
If your WordPress website was custom designed, your best bet would be to contact your developer and ask him to help you sort this issue.
For those of you who either bought a theme from a marketplace or opted for a free theme from the WordPress theme repository, there is another solution which involves getting your hands dirty with code.
In most cases, you will need to go to your theme folder, find the page.php, duplicate it, and name it woocommerce.php. Page.php file is usually found in wp-content/themes/YOURTHEME/page.php.
Open up your newly created woocommerce.php in a text editor, or the editor of your choice.
Next you need to find the loop which usually starts with a:
<?php if ( have_posts() ) :
and usually ends with:
<?php endif; ?>
This varies between themes. Once you have found it, delete it and copy this piece of code:
<?php woocommerce_content(); ?>
This will make it use WooCommerce’s loop instead.
Save the file.
If you happen to use a Genesis theme, you are in luck.
Simply go to Plugins > Add New and install Genesis Connect for WooCommerce. Activate it and you’re done.
Once you install WooCommerce, you get core functionality and in most cases, that is enough if you run a simple store with just a few products.
However, if your store is complex and you need more functionality, then you can browse through numerous extensions that add extra features to your WooCommerce store.
The extensions cover almost any business aspect you can think of; from adding extra payment gateways, integration with accounting software, to inventory management, recurring subscriptions , marketing and shipping methods.
Some of the extenstions are free, like adding extra payment gateways such as Stripe, Amazon Payments Payfast; or integration with Google Analytics, Live Chat option or Printful for printing orders.
Others are paid extensions and cover a variety of needs such as integration with Freshbooks, QuickBooks or Xero Accounting, integration with your email list provider such as MailChimp or CampaignMonitor.
The prices range from $29 to $199, depending on the functionality of the extension.
WooCommerce (now owned by WordPress’s parent company) is one of the easiest ways to set up a store on your website and display your products in an elegant way.
On top of letting you sell both digital and physical products, it allows you to be in complete control over your store.
You can set it up to be as simple or as complex as you want it and you don’t have to fear what would happen to your store if an e-commerce platform of your choice suddenly decides to close its door.
And that is one of the most compelling reasons to choose WooCommerce as your store front – naturally WPX Hosting is fully WooCommerce compatible and very fast.