Do you want to start an online store in Nigeria and make money passively? If yes then you might want to stick around to the end of this post.
Don’t worry; I know creating an online store yourself may be a little scary most especially if you not a techy. But not to worry, we all started that way and the more reason I’ve come up with this post.
All that’s required of you now, is your undivided attention for the next few minutes to follow through- this tutorial guide.
Choosing your online store platform
To successfully build an online store, you need to decide and choose the platform upon which your online store will be powered. This is often the biggest mistake most people make by not choosing the right platform for their website.
The good thing is, you are here now. So you won’t be making the same mistake.
To begin with, I’m only going to recommend two of the most popular eCommerce platform, which of course is Shopify and WordPress.
Building your online with Shopify
Shopify is a complete and ready-made e-commerce solution that helps you to create an online store within few seconds to sell your goods. With Shopify, you can easily customize your storefront, accept credit card payment, organize your products and finally, track and respond to orders. All these will be accomplished with just a few mouse clicks.
Why Shopify is such a popular e-commerce platform owes to the fact that anybody can sell online with Shopify be it techy or novice. All you need to do is sign up and the Shopify wizard will take you through the whole process.
What could be the downside to Shopify may be their monthly recurring fee of $29 for the basic plan. Although this might not be an issue since you will be making more from your online store. But if you feel you can’t go with the price, I guess you need to stick around as I put you through the whole process of setting up an online store with WordPress through WooCommerce plugin.
Building your online store with WordPress through WooCommerce plugin
At the end of this tutorial your online store should look somewhat similar to the image below. although it might varies depending on what you want to sell.
Most users prefer building their online store with WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin because of its flexibility. Using the WordPress platform will save you some cost compare to Shopify. Though it requires some time setting it up, it worth doing for the long run of your website.
What are WordPress & WooCommerce?
I guess some might not really understand the relationship between WordPress and WooCommerce. Let me clarify that so this tutorial can be a smooth class.
WordPress is an online open source website creation tool that’s written in PHP. WordPress is probably the most flexible blogging and website (CMS) content management system for users just getting started.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a free WordPress plugin that adds e-commerce functionality to your website. The plugin is specifically built for WordPress to allow you create a beautiful online store with just a few clicks.
In summary, WooCommerce is the simplest and best way to turn your WordPress or existing WordPress website into a fully functional e-commerce website. In other words, an online store so to speak.
Who or what can you sell using WordPress + WooCommerce?
You can use the platform to sell your product if your industry falls into the categories but not limited to:
- Jewelry and accessories
- Toy and games
- Craft and books
- Digital products
- Clothing and fashion
- Food and beverages
- Art and photography
- Furniture and household
- Subscription based website
- Other people’s products (Dropshipping)
- Bookings etc.
Basically, you can say WooCommerce allows you sell anything with a price tag on it.
How to Build an Online Store with WordPress Using WooCommerce Plugin
To successfully set up your store you need the following:
- Domain name
- Web hosting
- SSL certificate
A domain name is the road map to your online store on the internet. In other words your website address, your domain name will be what your users or customers will type in their browser to reach your website.
Your web hosting, on the other hand, is where your website lives on the internet. It’s more like a remote server that keeps your website data and also makes it accessible to whoever wants to visit your website. Think of it as the house your website is living on the internet while your domain name is the address to that house.
SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layers. It’s encryption protocols use to secure exchange of information on the internet. Simply put, it adds a security layer on your website. This will allow accepting sensitive information such as credit card and other personal information. Every online store needs an SSL certificate to accept credit card payment on their website.
There are over hundreds of different web hosting and domain name providers but I usually recommend NameCheap and HostGator. They are few of the reliable and affordable hosting providers even recommended by WordPress.org itself.
Usually, a domain name normally cost around $12-$14 and web hosting 4-$7/month. SSL certificate is usually around $60/year. But not to worry, there is a way you can get your domain name for less than $10 with free website protection. Most interestingly you could also get up to 60% off your web hosting purchase.
All you need to do is just make sure you read this through.
Shall we begin?
Step 1 – Get a Domain name and Web host
What you need to do now is get a domain name for your website. I recommend you get that from NameCheap, to do that visit www.namecheap.com. Their domain names are relatively cheap compared to others.
While choosing your domain name, always go for catchy and easy to remember domain names. You could also choose a name related to the product you want to sell. Once your domain name is ready scroll down to view your cart.
You’ll receive free domain name privacy to your order. This could cost much with others, but you’ll get it for free with NameCheap.
After this, confirm your order by creating an account and enter your billing address. Once you check out, your domain name is ready and you’ll receive a notification in your inbox.
Next, you need to host your website, to do this I recommend HostGator. You could also get your domain name with HostGator which is around $12/year because they are also very reliable.
But the reason I recommend separate web host and domain name provider is because of security. It’s not always good to put all your egg in one basket.
Besides NameCheap is cheaper with domains and costly with Web Hosting. Obviously, they both have their area of specialty which makes both of them a good combination.
So to host your website, just visit HostGator.com.
Go for the business plan which is always the best. The plan will allow you to build a secured e-commerce website with SSL certificate worth $60 for free for the first year.
You also get unlimited monthly visitors with the business plan, so it’s a win-win.
After choosing your plan, proceed to the next page where it’s going to ask for your domain name.
Since you’ve got your domain name at NameCheap at a lower price, then choose the … ‘I Already own the domain name’ and proceed to the checkout page.
But in case you’ll like to get your domain name from HostGator, click the ‘Register a new Domain’. The next page is the checkout page where you fill your billing addresses.
Enter your billing address and uncheck the add-on boxes they are good but not necessary.
Here at Torchbankz.com, we have a special discount link with HostGator that will get you a discount up to 60% on your web hosting purchase.
Using the discount link will automatically validate your coupon code and the discount will be applied automatically.
Next, for those that will be getting their domain name from NameCheap, you need to point your domain name from NameCheap servers to your web hosting account – HostGator.
To do this, just follow the steps below.
Head over to your NameCheap account and log in. Once there, beneath the ‘Dashboard’ section you will see your domain name. Click on the “Manage” button.
Once you’ve clicked the Manage button, scroll down to the “Nameservers” section.
Click on the drop-down menu and select the last drop-down “Custom DNS”.
What you need to do now is head back to your Email and from the mail HostGator sent you; you should see your Nameserver details there. It’s going to look like the image below.
Just copy the details and paste them into your NameCheap account accordingly.
When you are done pasting it, click on the green checkmark to save the changes. You can now relax your domain name is pointed to HostGator.
Step 2. Install WordPress
After your checkout, HostGator will create an account for you and send your Cpanel details to your email address. Check your inbox to get your Cpanel login details.
Once you’ve login locate the Quick install icon and click it.
You can find the quick install icon under the “Software/Service section.
Next, click ‘WordPress’ in the left side menu under ‘popular installs’, and then click ‘Install WordPress’.
Fill the following details in other to set up your WordPress account.
- This will be your domain name
- Your subdirectory. You can leave this empty because it’s not necessary
- This will be your admin email address and it’s very important so make sure you use your best email address
- Enter the name of your online store here.
- This is your admin username name
- Your first name
- Last name
- Finally, click Install WordPress once you are ready to move forward.
You will see a progress bar at the top of the page to notify you once the installation is complete.
Once it’s completed an email notification with your WordPress username and password as well as the WordPress dashboard link will be sent to you.
At the end of the installation, you might want to reset your password. To do that, click on my install to reset your WordPress Admin password.
Always choose passwords with numbers and special character for a stronger password.
To login to your WordPress admin dashboard visit … www.yourdomainname.com/Wp-admin
Congrats your WordPress is completely setup you now a step closer to building your online store.
Step 3. Install the WooCommerce Plugin
Before you can start selling with your WordPress website you need to install the WooCommerce plugin. It’s the plugin that will now transform your website to an online shopping store.
To install the WooCommerce plugin follow these steps:
- Login to your WordPress Admin dashboard
- Go to “Plugins” >> Add New
- Search for “WooCommerce”
- Click “Install now”
- Clicks activate and follow the WooCommerce setup wizard to build your online store.
To finish the setup, WooCommerce needs some essential pages for account, shop, cart and checkout. All you need to do is click continue and follow the wizard.
The first page is about your selling location and your currency.
Additionally, you need to specify the kind of product you want to sell and if want you want to sell them in person.
Next, you’ll be required to select a payment option for your online store.
WooCommerce comes with the two most popular payment gateways by default, PayPal and Stripe. Both of these payment gateways are not visible in Nigeria. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to receive payment. You can later install the payment gateway you’ll be using.
To accept payment offline, toggle the arrow below PayPal.
The next page is the shipping page.
WooCommerce can help you calculate and add taxes to your prices automatically. If you are not sure about the weight and units you can leave it unchecked and later edit it from WooCommerce setting.
The Extras page is about the Storefront Theme and Automated taxes. WooCommerce can activate a free Storefront theme to get started with your online store.
Additionally, it can also calculate your taxes if you want by checking the box. The Storefront theme is the default e-commerce theme for WooCommerce but you need a more standard theme to make your store stand out. In respect to that visit ThemeForest.com for premium themes.
The next page is about the Jetpack plugin this is required to enhance your website.
Finally, click the create product button to add your first product.
Step 4. Install a New Theme
The theme you use for your website is very important. This is because it’s the theme that will determine how your website will look to your users. Most importantly they control how your products will be display to your customers.
The WooCommerce plugin should automatically install the WooCommerce default theme by Storefront on your website. If eventually you don’t like the theme and you would like to add another theme to your online store; then follow this simple step.
Login to your WordPress admin dashboard, at the left side-bar click on Appearance >> Themes >> Add New. You can then browse through them and select the one you want.
There are two ways to this, you can either get a premium theme from the popular Themeforest.com or change it to another free WooCommerce theme. But for the sake of this tutorial I recommend a premium theme called Enfold from Themeforest.com.
It’s a very responsive and multi-purpose eCommerce theme most especially for online stores.
Since it a premium theme you need to purchase it first before you can install it on your website. To do that, follow this link… Enfold by Themeforest.
Once you’ve purchase the theme, the download link will be sent to you. Download the theme and login to your WordPress dashboard to install it.
To install it, click on Appearance >> Themes
What you need to do next is click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the page.
Next, click the ‘Upload Theme’ button to upload your theme file.
After this, choose the file you downloaded earlier, select the file and click install now.
You should see the installation progress immediately it started installing and once it’s installed click the activate button to activate the theme.
Step 5. Add your first product
Now that you have a fully functional website, let’s start by adding the first product to your online store.
To do this, go to your dashboard >> Products >> Add Product
Immediately you clicked the Add Product button you should see a full content editing screen like the image below. Here is what you need to know:
- The product name goes here
- This is the full description of the product. You can add image, video, columns etc. basically anything that goes with your product.
- This is the central product section. This section allows you to clarify the type of product you will be selling, physical or downloadable products. In this section you also get tabs for various parameters of the product:
- General – prices and taxes
- Inventory – this showcase your stock level
- Shipping – weight dimension and cost of shipping
- Linked Products – settings for cross-sales. You can see something like this on Jumia website ( like, “ Customers who bought this also bought that”)
- Attributes – colors of products
- Product Short description. Summary of what your product is all about.
- Product Categories. You can group similar product together here.
- Product Tags. This is just an additional way to help you organize your database of products.
- Product Image. This is the actual image of the product.
- Product gallery. This allows you to add additional product image to display the uniqueness of your product.
Click the big blue “Publish” button when you are done with the settings and your product will be published and visible to your customer.
After adding some handful of products to your database, your product section should look like the below image.
Step 6. WooCommerce Plugin and Extension
One of the things that make WooCommerce a better and impressive eCommerce solution is because of the various extension and plugins available to fortify your online store.
There are hundreds of extension and plugin available for both WordPress and WooCommerce but let’s pick few and save the rest for later.
- Payment Gateways: these plugins allows you to accept payment from your customers. The default payment gateway for WooCommerce is PayPal but PayPal is not visible in all countries, hence the third party payment gateways. I have a list of WordPress payment gateways for Nigerians that can help your online store.
- Shipping extensions: this is going to come in handy if you want automatic integration of shipping rate to your products. This plugin will automatic add the shipping distance to the price of your products. They are integrated with company such as UPS, FedEx etc.
- WooCommerce Booking: this will allow your customer to book for an appointment with your service or product.
Other Plugins to Supercharge your Online Store
Besides the WooCommerce extension there are other plugins that can further assist your online store:
- Force Regenerate Thumbnail. This plugin will allow your website to load faster by resizing all your product images.
- Yoast SEO. This one will improve the entire SEO of your website.
- Enhanced Media Library. It allows you to add your product images in separate categories.
- W3 total Cache. Its speed up your website through caching
- MonsterInsights. This one helps you to integrate your website with Google Analytics.
- UpdraftPlus. With the help of this plugin you can easily back up your site content, including your product image and other store data.
How to Create an Online Store in Summary
As you can see, it’s not as difficult as it seems all you need to do is take it a step at a time.
Here is the breakdown:
The first thing you need to do is Get a domain name, host your website by signing up for a Web hosting account. If you get your domain name from NameCheap as I recommended make sure you point your Nameservers to your Web hosting,( HostGator recommended ).
What’s next, you need to install WordPress and log in to your WordPress admin dashboard. After that, install WooCommerce and follow the WooCommerce wizard for setup.
Finally, add your first product to start selling.
Make sure you get yourself the 60% discount from HostGator because you’re the reason I put everything together.
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Have any question? Please use the comment box and I will get back at you immediately.