Starting a WordPress-based online shop to sell your own or acquired products and make money? With WooCommerce, setting up your shop is a breeze. How do I install this popular add-on? This step-by-step manual will show you how.
Just a few years ago, managing your own e-shop was a lot of effort. And WordPress was not really considered the way to go in that area. Since the launch of WooCommerce in 2011, this has changed. There is a reason this comprehensive shop solution is among the most popular WordPress add-ons of all.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that can essentially be added to every WordPress blog. (More about the current system requirements here.) You don’t need a separate WordPress installation or a new blog or shop domain for operation.
Note: To test the future shop comprehensively before it goes live, we recommend setting up local test environment. One good solution for this is the pre-configured XAMPP or alternatively MAMP for OS X.
The plugin itself is installed within a few minutes:
- Log in to WordPress
- Open the Plugins area in the left navigation bar
- Click the Add New button (next to Plugins)
- Enter woocommerce in the field under Search and confirm with the Search Plugins button:
- After that, you choose the WooCommerce Plug-in from WooThemes by clicking Install Now there. (The version code is the same as the current WooCommerce version so it might be different than in the picture.) Confirm the subsequent message asking you if you really want to install the Plugin with Okay:
- Wait for the successful installation process on the following page until you see the message “Successfully installed the plugin WooCommerce”. Complete the installation now by clicking Activate Plugin:
- When activated, WooCommerce automatically creates some pages like Checkout, Shopping Cart or the Shop itself, that are necessary for the online shop. For this, you only have to confirm the Install WooCommerce Pages button:
Note: In some cases the installation over WordPress backend doesn’t work, like in the case of lacking server authorization. Then, the Plugin folder “woocommerce” (downloaded here to your computer beforehand) has to be uploaded via FTP including all sub-folders and files to the “/wp-content/plugins/” server directory. Then, the plugin can be activated in the “Plugins” WordPress area. Continue with step 7 of this manual afterwards.
Note: If the WordPress Installation was completed and set up correctly and in the German language version, WooCommerce will automatically be set up in German, too. However, you should still check this during the installation, look at this article for example.
With a welcome screen (similar to the following image) WooCommerce indicates that the installation was completed successfully:
Note: The pages automatically created by WooCommerce (see the “Pages” area in the left navigation bar of WordPress) contain a so-called shortcode, which opens the corresponding WooCommerce feature. Example: the checkout page contains the shortcode ““.
It’s possible to embed own content before and after these shortcodes, which are then displayed above and below the actual shop. The shortcodes themselves, however, must not be deleted or changed in order for WooCommerce to work properly.
Just like with the installation of WordPress itself, the rule is: If you expect a complicated setup process, you will be disappointed. 😉
Setting up WooCommerce
WooCommerce offers tons of solutions to customize your online shop according to your needs, to add products, to change the general appearance, to use your own themes (design templates) and many more possibilities.
How to set up and optimize the individual WooCommerce areas – like the shop or products area – will be explained further in a loose series of articles, so it is always worthwhile to follow the MarketPress blog on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
Making a WooCommerce shop legally secure
Online shop owners in Germany and Austria face particular challenges when it comes to complying with current laws and regulations. A reminder or cease-and-desist-letter from a competitor’s lawyer – maybe because of missing mandatory information about products, shipping times etc – can cause a lot of costs. That’s why we developed WooCommerce German Market, which helps making an existing WooCommerce shop legally secure.
How to set up WooCommerce German Market will also be explained in a following article.
Do you have general questions about installing WooCommerce? You can ask them in the comments at the end of this entry.
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