If you currently have a WordPress site and are looking to monetize it, adding an online store can be a simple and profitable solution. However, if you’ve never set up an e-commerce store, you may not know where to start. In fact, you may find the prospect so overwhelming that you are hesitant to take the next steps.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution in the WooCommerce WordPress plugin. With over 3 million active installs, this tool is one of the most popular e-commerce solutions available, and offers tons of useful features. More importantly, installing and setting it up is easy.

In this post, we’re going to provide an in-depth WooCommerce tutorial on how to add this plugin to your WordPress website. We will walk you through the installation, explain how to add products to your store, and tell you what you need to know to manage the plugin. We’ve got a good bit of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

An Introduction to WooCommerce

The WooCommerce plugin.

WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress plugins available for building an online store. It’s endlessly flexible thanks to the number of extensions available for it, and is perfect for selling both digital and physical products. Plus, it offers plenty of useful features to get your store up and running.

Key Features:

  • Thanks to the hundreds of free and premium extensions available, WooCommerce is very flexible and can be customized for most online storefronts.
  • It comes bundled with the ability to accept major credit cards, PayPal payments, bank transfers, and even cash-on-delivery payments.
  • Built for WordPress, this plugin integrates seamlessly with the platform, and gives store owners and developers plenty of control.

Price: The WooCommerce plugin is open source and free. However, there are several free and premium extensions available, as well as bundles that range in price from $0 to $299. How you choose to use WooCommerce will depend on your site and the type of store you want to build around it. Fortunately, this solution is flexible enough that it can fit most, if not all of your needs.

How to Install WooCommerce on Your WordPress Site (2 Options)

Before you install a plugin or make any change to your site, we recommend that you perform a site backup first. Once you have a copy of your website saved, you can learn how to setup WooCommerce and start the installation process.

1. Install WooCommerce Through Your Dashboard

Start by logging in to your WordPress back end and selecting Plugins. Click Add New, and search for WooCommerce. Once it appears, click on Install Now. This will add it to the Plugins area of your dashboard.

Under the Plugins screen of your admin panel, you’ll now be able to find WooCommerce. Click Activate to start it running:

Automatic WooCommerce Installation

You have now successfully added WooCommerce to your WordPress site and activated the plugin. Next, you’ll be presented with a setup wizard to configure your store’s basic settings. Let’s walk through the process briefly:

  1. First, you’ll need to enter some basic information about your store, such as its location and currency.
  2. Next, you’ll be prompted to choose the payment types you’d like to use (your default options are PayPal and Stripe).
  3. On the following screen, you can provide information that will help the plugin calculate shipping costs for your products (if you’re selling physical goods).
  4. Then, you can activate an optional choice that will enable the plugin to calculate and charge taxes, which means you don’t have to do that yourself.
  5. Finally, you can choose to install Jetpack on your site as well. This is a handy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and security plugin for all types of sites, not just stores.
  6. After that, you’ll be prompted to start adding products!

In rare cases, you may be unable to install WooCommerce automatically from the WordPress dashboard (or you may simply prefer a manual approach. In that case, see the alternative installation instructions below.

2. Install WooCommerce Manually

If you want to control the placement of your plugin, you can install it manually instead. To do this, you will need an FTP client such as FileZilla:

The FileZilla FTP client.

As with an automatic installation, we recommend that you back up your site before you add the plugin.

Here’s how to manually add WooCommerce to your WordPress setup:

  1. Download the plugin to your local computer. The file should be a zip archive, so remember to extract it before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Using FileZilla, navigate to your site’s web directory and find the wp-content/plugins folder.
  3. Upload the plugin folder to the wp-content/plugins directory.
  4. Go to the Plugins screen in your dashboard, select WooCommerce from your list, and click Activate.

Once you have activated WooCommerce, follow the steps in the previous section to configure your store’s basic settings. Once that’s done, you are ready to add your products!

How to Add and Manage Products in WooCommerce

A product listing as a WooCommerce tutorial.

Now that you have your store in place, it’s time to learn how to use WooCommerce. You should notice that there are new tabs available in your WordPress admin menu. Start by choosing Products, and then Add Product.

You should see two new widgets in your post editing screen, Product Data and Product short description:

Adding a product in WooCommerce.

Under Product Data, choose whether your item is downloadable as a digital product and whether or not it is on sale at a discount. There are more options for digital products, depending on what you are selling. Then, create a short description of your product.

Keep in mind that products in your store should always suit your site’s niche when possible. For example, if you have a site that reviews fitness equipment, you should make sure your online store sells the highly-reviewed examples of that product, as well as other fitness-related items. Maintaining a strong focus for your store is a smart way to build a dedicated customer base.

WooCommerce Tutorial: How to Manage the Platform (4 Key Screens)

Once you’ve learned how to add products in WooCommerce, you have several options for managing and maintaining your items within the plugin. Let go through a brief WooCommerce plugin tutorial, and take a look at four screens you should become familiar with.

1. Orders

The orders screen in WooCommerce.

Under the Orders tab in WooCommerce, you will see a list of the products that customers have recently purchased in your store. If you are offering digital products, you can see who purchased what, as well as the pricing details. If you are selling physical products, you’ll see even more information. This screen displays what items need to ship, what orders are still being processed, and if you need to put any on hold.

It’s smart to become familiar with this screen, since you’ll probably be spending a lot of time here. Staying on top of your WooCommerce store means that ensuring that all orders are processed and fulfilled correctly and on time. Even if you’ve automated some of these tasks, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on this screen to make sure everything is running smoothly.

2. Coupons

The coupons screen in WooCommerce.

If you are offering coupons or discounts on your products, you can customize them on this screen. To access this area within WooCommerce, go to Coupons and select Add New.

You can use the General tab to edit basic coupon information, while Usage Restrictions enables you to set a minimum that your customers must spend in order to receive the discount. Finally, Usage Limits lets you set the number of coupons that can be used per customer.

Providing coupons is a great way to encourage end users to purchase from your store. Just be sure to include an expiration date, so customers know how long they have to take advantage of the discount.

3. Accessing Reports

How to access WooCommerce reports.

Analytics tracking within any platform enables you to study your progress, whether that is in terms of conversions or actual sales. Using the reporting system of WooCommerce lets you record this data, and see which products perform the best and which could use some tweaking.

To access your reports, choose WooCommerce > Reports from your WordPress admin screen. You can view the data based on sales, categories, or stock.  You can also export this information to a CSV to view it in a spreadsheet, if you prefer that method for tracking your data.

4. Customizing WooCommerce Settings

The WooCommerce general settings screen.

The Settings area of WooCommerce is probably the most impressive part of the plugin. You can use it to customize almost every aspect of your online store. There are several tabs available, and we encourage you to explore each of them. Here are a few of the most vital settings to check out.

  • General. In addition to setting up your currency information, the General tab enables you to customize your base, selling, and shipping locations. You can also use it to set up site-wide notices, which can be used to advise customers of anything from service outages to sales and discounts.
  • Products. To customize your product data, including measuring systems, default displays, and download methods for digital products, access the Products tab. You can also use it manage your product ratings and reviews.
  • Tax. This section enables you to apply taxes to your products. You can also use it to customize whether the price of the product includes tax or not. Finally, you can set your rates and determine when and how they are applied.
  • Shipping. As the name implies, this tab is where you control your shipping locations. You can also edit different display options and pricing, and restrict availability to specific countries. This is a very important screen, as it enables you to manage your shipping costs by limiting locations.
  • Checkout. The Checkout tab is where you set up the pages needed for customer checkout, like your cart and your Terms and Conditions. Use this section to enable users to purchase without creating an account, or force them to create one first. You can also choose what type of of payments you will accept, such as PayPal or bank transfers.
  • Accounts. Use the Accounts tab to control what your customers see and where they will land, depending on their actions. This is also where you set up the registration process for your end users, and customize what returning buyers see when they access the checkout page.
  • Emails. The Emails tab is where you customize the support emails generated by WooCommerce. For each support type, you can edit the sender options and even the visual style of the messages. This helps you provide a personal touch to the automatically-generated emails.
  • APIUse the API screen to enable the REST API, as well as Webhooks. This area is for more technically-savvy users and is meant a developer’s tool, so proceed with caution when making changes here.

The Settings area of WooCommerce will take some exploration and research on your part, so we encourage you to get to know it along with all of the other features of WooCommerce. Please note that if you are running a self-hosted WordPress site, you will need to either create a WordPress.com site or sign in using Google to access WooCommerce’s support options. However, their documentation is extensive and available without a login.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a way to monetize your site by selling physical or digital products, WooCommerce is a great tool to help you get up and running quickly. Not only is the plugin free, it is easy to install and set up. Plus, it’s backed by an avid community of users you can tap into for help.

In this WooCommerce tutorial, we discussed how to add the plugin to your WordPress website. To briefly recap, we talked about:

  1. Installing the WooCommerce plugin, manually and through your dashboard.
  2. Adding products to your store and customizing them.
  3. Managing the plugin itself, and understanding key screens.

Do you have any questions about adding WooCommerce to your site? Let us know in the comments section below!

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