Since Etsy’s latest fees price hike it seems more and more people are wanting to jump ship and sell their items on their own website. I’ve always been an advocate for having your own website and an Etsy store (but that might just be because I’m a bit of an e-commerce geek!)
After trying many different platforms over the past 10 years or so I have come to the firm decision that WooCommerce is my favourite and the most functional of all shop platforms AND luckily for us, it’s also one of the easiest and cheapest ways to set up your own e-commerce website to sell you handmade items. So, lets find out a bit more about WooCommerce and how it works
What is WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a fully customizable eCommerce platform plugin that you use on a WordPress website.
Bit too technical? Ok let’s break it down a bit.
Wordpress is the buildings blocks of a website – since we’re talking about businesses lets say WordPress is just your bog-standard brick building with empty and plain walls, floors, windows and so on – it works as a building but we don’t know it’s purpose or what it does. When you add WooCommerce to WordPress you go from having an empty building to a full-on fancy shop front with shelves, displays, products and all the things that let you know this is a business you want to be spending your money with.
Why you should be using WooCommerce
It’s the easiest way to build a flexible, secure and fully customisable eCommerce store. You can use all kinds of SEO tricks (like how we use longtail keywords on Etsy) to get your products noticed on Google…oh and did I mention that its free?
The plugin for WooCommerce is 100% free, the only thing you have to worry about is hosting fees for your website (which can be as low as $4.95/£3.90 a month if you use the host I recommend) and even then that’s still a lot cheaper than other platforms such as Shopify who want a minimum $29/£22.90 a month.
How to set-up your WooCommerce Shop Step By Step
Step 1 – Choose your business/shop name
Already got your shop/business name sorted? Jump to Step 2
Hopefully, you’ve already got some ideas in mind for what you’d like your business name to be (if not check out this post on How to choose a business name) so what we need to do first is run it through some tools to make sure it’s not already being used by someone else. I like to use this tool from the National Business Register, you can type in the name you are thinking of using in the search bar and it’ll tell you if there is a Business Name registered that matches, a Limited company set up with the same name and the domain name search results.
If you’re chosen name is free then you’ll also want to look and see if it’s social handles are free using something like Namecheckr. If your shop name is already taken by someone on social media pages as a username you could consider adding ‘UK’ to the end of it or ‘shop’.
Step 2 – Buy your domain and Hosting
I host all my domains and websites (this blog included as well as 9 others and any website I set up for clients) through a company called Dreamhost and I honestly wouldn’t personally consider recommending any other platform.
If you’re brand new to building websites and would like a step-by-step on how to purchase a Domain and Hosting you can follow this guide here.
They do work out to be slightly more expensive than some other hosts, by a $/£ or two, but their customer support is second to none which is worth it’s weight in gold. If I have ever had a problem with a site I could jump on their Live Chat feature any time of the day or night and they would have the issue sorted for me in less than an hour AND they would explain what the issue was and how they fixed it which is something I really appreciate.
They are also one of the only hosts who don’t hike their prices after your first year with them – what you pay is what you will always pay, no hidden fees or funny business.
Step 3 – Install WordPress
Once you’ve got your hosting and domain all set-up we can move on to installing WordPress. WordPress is your website builder and it’s what we will be using to run WooCommerce.
If you’d like to follow a step-by-step on how to use the WordPress One-Click Install on Dreamhost you can find one here.
Step 4 – Install WooCommerce
Now that you’ve got WordPress installed you can add the WooCommerce plugin, once that’s activated use the set-up wizard to make sure all your details are added in and then you can start adding products to your shop!
Unsure how to Install WooCommerce? This video will show you how
You’ve got your very own self-hosted, cheaper than Etsy and Shopify, fully customisable and SEO optimised shop to sell your handcrafted and handmade items from!