What are WordPress and WooCommerce?

laptop with an e-commerce store on the screen and a hand holding a credit card

So let’s start this with the very basic question. What are WordPress and WooCommerce? The short answer is they are software used to create websites and online stores. WordPress is Open Source software that is free for anyone in the world to download, customize, and use to create engaging online experiences. WooCommerce is also Open Source software that is free to use but it specifically modifies a typical WordPress website and turns it into an e-commerce site with the basic parts a store needs like the ability to add products and a shopping cart system that allows customers to make purchases.

Okay, but what does that mean to me?

Selling your custom product is easy with WordPress and WooCommerce. Photo by Jeswin Thomas from Pexels

It means that with very little investment, you can build an online store and start selling the products you want to share with the world. Do you make custom, hand-crafted apparel for steampunk enthusiasts but live nowhere near your customers? Build a WooCommerce store! Get that plague-mask-mounted-to-a-hat to the cosplayer so she can complete that steampunk outfit in time for Comic-Con!

So, how do I get started with WordPress and WooCommerce?

I’ll go over this process in more detail with future posts but the basics are:

  • Get web hosting
    • Remember, you really get what you pay for with this one.
  • Install WordPress (if not already part of a web hosting package)
  • Install WooCommerce
  • Find a theme and customize
  • Add plugins and extensions for features
  • Add products
  • Sell!

Some of the steps above have complicated parts to them. Simply installing WooCommerce doesn’t magically make a store. You have to configure things like the payment gateway so you can accept payment for the products your selling. The products themselves need to be added to the store with images, information, pricing, and (if a physical product) shipping dimensions. Which opens the topic of configuring shipping zones and the shipping methods within them.

I am not trying to make this sound too simple, nor too complex. It is a simple process with some complex steps. My intent with this blog is to continue to try and answer the question, “What are WordPress and WooCommerce?” by showing the basic steps to set up a site and store. I will also dive into common issues I see in my daily work as a WooCommerce Happiness Engineer.

Stay Tuned for more WordPress and WooCommerce help!

This is the first in what will likely be several categories of posts. I will post as often as I can about WordPress, WooCommerce, and my experiences with them as I continue in my career. Feel free to leave a comment or question and subscribe if you like.

Kind regards!