WordPress is the best platform to create an ecommerce website that is totally free. In this article, we shall see how to create an ecommerce website without having to spend any money and without any coding; the quickest and easiest way possible.
Before building the website, you need to
- Get Domain and Hosting
- Install WordPress for your ecommerce website.
You can read our article on Getting Domain, Hosting and WordPress installation.
Once you have a live website, you can follow the steps in this article to create your ecommerce website.
Themes & Plugins
In the WordPress platform, we mainly use 2 types of software known as Themes and Plugins.
A Theme is a framework of how your website will look from the front-end (storefront). It mainly has to do with the appearance of your website with things such as Header, Footer, Page Layout, etc., You can have only one active theme for one website. So you need to choose a theme which best suits your purpose. Some of the free themes for WordPress are really good.
Plugins add functionality or features to your website. WordPress is known for its plugins. Many features that you need for your website can be added in the form of plugins. There are thousands of plugins for WordPress many of them are free. You need to be careful in choosing plugins for you free ecommerce website as they are developed by different developers and so all of them may not be completely compatible with each other.
Choosing a Theme & Plugins for your Ecommerce Store
As I have mentioned already, there are many free themes and plugins in WordPress. But making full use of them takes some time to learn. As a beginner, you don’t need to spend that much time to launch your first ecommerce store. The quickest and easiest way is to use Astra free WordPress theme and plugins such as WooCommerce, Elementor, and Astra Starter Sites plugins. We shall see how to create a free ecommerce website using these tools.
Installing Astra Theme
The first thing you need to do is install your desired theme because it affects the overall appearance of your website. To install the Astra free theme,
- Go to the dashboard of your WordPress website which is the backend of your site.
- On the dashboard, there is an “Appearance” menu, under this menu there is a “Themes” option. Click the “Themes” option.
- It will open a page with a default theme installed. You have to change it. Click the “Add New” button which is found on top.
- You will go to a page with some popular themes. Use the search bar on this page and search for “Astra” theme.
- You can find the Astra theme by Brainstorm force as shown in the picture.
- Click “Install” option on the theme and the theme will be installed on your website.
- Then click “Activate,” and Astra theme will become the theme for your ecommerce website.
Installing Astra Starter Site Plugin
Now you have successfully installed a theme for your ecommerce site. It’s time to install the plugins. The most important plugin we need now is Astra Starter Sites Plugin. This plugin gives us a list of websites which can be readily imported so that we don’t have to create a ecommerce website from scratch. To install this plugin,
- Go to the “Plugins” menu on the Dashboard of your site.
- Under the “Plugins” menu you can find “Add New” option. Click it, and you will go to a page showing all popular free WordPress Plugins
- Use the search bar on this page to search for “ Astra Starter Sites”. It will look as shown in the picture.
- Click “Install Now” on this plugin and install this plugin on your website.
- After installing click “Activate” and activate the plugin on your website.
Importing an Ecommerce site from the Astra Starter Sites
Now that we have activated the Astra Starter Sites plugin, you can import a website of your choice. To do so,
- Click the “Astra Sites” option in the “Appearance” menu on the dashboard
- On the Astra sites page, choose “Elementor” as you favorite page builder
- You can find many websites on this page, and you can see some are tagged “Agency” which means they are premium and you have to pay to use them
- But there are other websites which are free, and we can use them
- On top, near the search bar, you can see some menu options, click “ecommerce” option, and it will only show ecommerce websites
- Choose a site which not tagged as “Agency” and click on it to see “Details and Preview”
- You can see that it requires plugins such as “Elementor” and “Woocommerce” before you can import the site
- Click “Install Now” for both the plugins, and they will be installed and then activate the plugins
- After Elementor and Woocommerce are activated, you can find an “Import This Site” button. Click this button, and this site will be imported to your website.
Hurrah! You have created a functional ecommerce website in a matter few minutes! Now you just have to change the settings, and add your products to your site and you are ready for business.
Using Woocommerce Plugin
Woocommerce is an ecommerce plugin which gives the core ecommerce functions for your store. After importing the Starter site, go the Woocommerce settings and give your personalized settings for your store like your Email, Payment options, Accounts, Taxes, and Shipping, etc.,
You will find a “Product” menu on the dashboard. Here you can Add and Edit your Items, Images, Description etc.,
It takes some time to learn but once you have learned it, Woocommerce becomes very easy to use, and you can manage thousands of products and millions of customers with Woocommerce.
Using Elementor Plugin
Elementor is a page builder plugin. Elementor helps you to edit all of the pages of your website including your product pages, all from the Visual editor(WYSIWYG). You can design your pages in any way you want them to look using Elementor. It also has 24 widgets like Image carousel, Video embedding, Icons, Buttons and so much more which can be used to build an attractive and operational website.
So take time to explore Elementor page builder.
Web Design for your Ecommerce store
There is a Myth that making an ecommerce store with elegant design is what drives people to buy from an ecommerce store. It is a busted myth i.e, people don’t buy from a store because it is designed flawlessly.
I did what most people do — I concentrated too much on creating a great looking store instead of actually trying to make a sale.
– Oberlo co-founder Tomas Slimas
You don’t need to spend months designing a perfect website your logo or your colors and fonts. The important thing is to create a store which is operational and put it into the test phase and launch ASAP. Focus on acquiring the customers, and in the meantime, you can experiment with the design.
Do you want more for your ecommerce store?
This article gives you the basics of creating an ecommerce website, Not to mention that all these are free tools. But once you have tested the website you may need more features for your ecommerce store, and you would have to look for other premium options.
You might feel all the progress that you made is a waste. Don’t worry; your work will not go to waste because you can extend the features of your website with some premium options from the same tools.
Premium Tools to Continue
You can get Astra Pro which is a plugin addon for Astra theme. It has specialized features for ecommerce store. You can also get Astra Agency Bundle which gives you more sites(we saw earlier in Astra Starter Sites) to import from. So don’t need to worry about designing from scratch.
You could also get Elementor Pro which addon for Elementor free plugin. It gives you 30 more widgets in which there are 4 specialized Woocommerce widgets and other essential widgets such as Price table and Price Listing. There is also an important feature called Custom Breakpoints which helps you to create Mobile and Tablet friendly designs for your site.
WordPress platform for ecommerce opens you to unlimited possibilities. It takes some time to getting used to. Once you start to understand how this platform works, you can make the best use of it. You can create an ecommerce store which gets you the maximum returns for your time and money. So, keep working with WordPress and keep enjoying all the benefits!
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