Building your first online shop using WordPress


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WordPress is a free and open source content management system. It is based on PHP and MySQL. It can be used to design and create a wide variety of websites, such as blogs, business directories and online communities. In this post, we shall be using WordPress to design an online shop using WooCommerce.

Before you create your online shop:

1) You must obtain a domain name: Obtaining a domain name is very important because it will enable your customers to uniquely identify the web address of your online store. There are many services that will let you quickly create and register domain names at a very affordable price. Many of these services can be accessed through a simple google search for “domain name registrars”.

2) You must obtain a web host for your online shop website: Obtaining a web host for your online shop website is important, because it not only makes your website accessible to the public, but it also ensures that your website is always available. To obtain a web host for your online shop, you can perform a Google search for “web hosting sites” to provide options for web hosting, from which you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

3) You must install WordPress: To install WordPress, go to to download the WordPress package unto your local computer. The next step in the installation process is to unzip the downloaded WordPress package and upload WordPress to the hosting account (that you have already obtained in step 2). The third step in the installation process is to create a MySQL Database to store the information generated from your WordPress website.

After creating the MySQL Database, configure the wp-config-sample.php file (that can be found in the previously downloaded WordPress folder) to specify which database your WordPress website should pull information from.

After the wp-config-sample.php file configuration is complete, open your web browser and go to the installation page to run the installation script. Depending on where you installed the script, you will find it at either of the following URLs:



*NOTE: Be sure to replace “” in the URLs above with your actual domain.

After doing this, you should see a welcome page that says, “Welcome to the famous five-minute WordPress installation process!”

The last step of the process is to fill in the fields displayed on the web page with the required information and click the “Install Now” button. After you have gone through all the processes described above, you should see the following message: 

Creating your online shop:

1) You must install the WooCommerce plugin: To install the WooCommerce plugin, navigate to your WordPress Dashboard/Plugins/Add New. Once there, type “woocommerce” in the search field. You will then see WooCommerce as the first search result, as shown in Fig. 1 below:

Fig. 1

Next, click the “Install Now” button next to the WooCommerce plugin as indicated in Fig. 1. After some time, the button next to the plugin will change to “Activate” as shown in Fig. 2. Go ahead and click that “Activate” button.

Fig. 2

After clicking the “Activate” button, you will be led to WooCommerce’s onscreen launch/setup wizard. To begin the setup process, click the “Let’s go” button on the page as shown in Fig. 3:

Fig. 3

The first step of the WooCommerce setup process is creating the essential pages that will be displayed on your online website. These essential pages are:

–       The Shop page: This is where your products are going to be displayed.

–       The Cart page: This is where your customers can go to adjust their orders before proceeding to the checkout.

–       The Checkout page: This is where customers get to pick the shipping/delivery method and pay for their items.

–       The “My Account” page: This is where registered customers of the online shop will be able to view their past orders and manage their other details.

The next step of the WooCommerce setup process is setting up your store locale, as shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4

This involves providing basic information about your online shop, such as the origin of your business, the currency that you accept, and your preferred units for product dimensions.

WooCommerce also helps you to add sales tax to your products. If you are going to add sales tax to your products, just click the main tax box, as shown in Fig. 5, and select the option of whether you will enter the prices of your products, either inclusive or exclusive of sales tax.

Fig. 5

*NOTE: Even though WooCommerce will pre-fill the tax settings for you, you still need to verify current taxation rules with your local authorities, especially if you are not in the US.

The next step of the WooCommerce setup process is to pick a payment method for the products that you will be selling on your online shop. Select the appropriate payment method for your online store and click “Continue” when you are done, as shown in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6

2) Start adding your products: To make your online store fully operational, you need to place some products in the database of your online store.

To add your first product, go to your dashboard and then to Products/Add Product as shown in Fig. 7.

Fig. 7

This will give you access to the “Add Product” page shown in Fig. 8, where you’ll need to provide information on the product that you would like to add.

Fig. 8

The table in Fig. 9 below describes the various parts of the “Add Product” page.

Once you have provided all necessary information about your product, click the “Publish” button on the page to add your product to the WooCommerce product database.

After you have added several products to your database, the Products section in the dashboard should look something like this:

3) Choose a theme for your online store: By default, WooCommerce works with any WordPress theme. However, you can choose special WooCommerce-optimized themes that will make all WooCommerce elements look great.

The official WooCommerce theme most often used for online stores is called “Storefront.” The default version of this theme is free, and it can be obtained through the following steps:

–    Go to Appearance > Themes > Add New

–       Type “storefront” in to the search box and hit enter.

–       Hover over the Storefront screenshot.

–       Select the “Install” button.

–       Click on Activate


After you have followed all the steps above, you should be able to find your newly created online store at

*NOTE: Be sure to replace “YOURDOMAIN” in the URL above with the domain name of your online shop.


I hope that this tutorial has provided you with all the basic skills you need to help you to create your own online store using WordPress.

David Sasu is a senior studying Computer Science in Ashesi University. He is passionate about understanding technology and using it to solve important problems. He is currently working on the creation of information systems for under-funded orphanages in his country, Ghana. He hopes to specialize in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity to enable him to create systems to help safeguard and improve the African continent.


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