Lesson 1: Install the WooCommerce Plugin

Log in to your WordPress website as an administrator and hover the mouse pointer over the Plugins item in the left sidebar menu.

01 plugins menu

Click the Add New menu item. This will bring you to the Add Plugins screen, where you can search for the WooCommerce plugin.

02 add plugins

Note: DON'T click on the Upload Plugin button. This is used to install a plugin from a zip file downloaded from a plugin supplier.

Enter woocommerce into the search panel.

03 search for woocommerce

This will find the WooCommerce plugin, plus various other plugins related to it. We will be looking at some of these later in this training course, but at this stage we will install and activate just the main plugin.

04 install the woocommerce plugin

Click the Install Now button. The plugin should take a few seconds to install and you should then see the Activate button.

05 activate the woocommerce button

Click the Activate button. After a short time, the WooCommerce plugin is activated and the new WooCommerce menu appears in the WordPress left sidebar.

06 woocommerce plugin activated

However, different versions of WooCommerce handle initial setup differently. I'll try to cover them all here, but the end result is the same. You may not see the new WooCommerce menu immediately, as you may be taken directly to the WooCommerce setup wizard, where you start by entering your store details.

06 woocommerce store details

Enter your store details, starting with the region where you will be doing most of your sales. Note that while you can select countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia, if your business is in the US, you have to select a state. This is because the US has different state-based tax rules and choosing a state allows WooCommerce to set up a default tax regime. At a later stage, you will be able to create tax rules for every jurisdiction you expect to make sales in.

Enter the details and click the Continue button.

You may be asked to allow WooCommerce to gather information.

06.2 allow woocommerce to collect information

This is totally up to you. I normally disallow it to avoid possible site slowdown.

The next screen asks you what industry your e-commerce store is in.

06.3 select industry

Select any that apply and click the Continue button. Note that this has no effect on your setup. It's just for WooCommerce's internal statistics.

The next screen asks you to select your Product Types.

06.4 choose product types

I normally choose the first three, which are free, to keep my options open. There are additional product types, that you can purchase for an annual fee. I won't explore these at this stage. I think we've got enough to go on with!

Then click the Continue button to see the next screen, where you will enter your business details and, optionally add some free features.

06.5 enter business details

It doesn't really matter what you enter here, though it's simpler to select No for the "currently selling elsewhere" question.

You can click the Continue button to proceed to the next tab or click the Free Features option at the top.

06.6 add free features

If you click the checkbox Add Recommended Business Features to My Site and click the Continue button, the following plugins are installed:

  • Google Listings and Ads
  • Jetpack
  • MailPoet
  • Pinterest for WooCommerce
  • Tik Tok (x WooCommerce)
  • WooCommerce Payments
  • WooCommerce Shipping & Tax

You can then choose a theme, either free or paid.

06.7 choose a theme

You can choose to list all themes, paid themes or free themes.

I've chosen the free theme Deli.

Once you've selected a theme, click the Choose button.

This will install and activate the chosen theme.

If you elected to install the recommended business features, the next screen you see will be the Jetpack setup.

06.8 create a jetpack account new

I'm going to leave that just now.

In the next lesson, we'll go through setting up all these new plugins, including Jetpack.

But what if your version of WooCommerce didn't take you to the WooCommerce setup wizard?

You may see this instead.

07 start woocommerce setup

Click on the Start Selling button.

This will bring up a screen with 8 tabs for you to work through (it only has to be done once, unless you need to come back later and make changes).

You can also get to this screen by clicking Settings in the WooCommerce menu in the WordPress left sidebar.

07 woocommerce settings

In either case, the first tab, General is displayed.

08 setup general tab
09 setup general tab

Enter the information requested. Unless you have good reason to change, accept the default settings to sell and ship to all countries, enable tax rates and calculations and enable coupon codes. More details on these later.

Click the Save Changes button when finished and select the next tab, Products.

10 setup products tab

You can leave everything at the defaults here, unless you need to change the measurement units to suit your target market.

Click the Save Changes button and move to the next tab, Tax.

11 setup tax tab

How you fill in this tab depends very much on your target market. Customers in the US are used to seeing prices ex-tax, with Federal and State taxes added at checkout. Customers in other jurisdictions (particularly those that use a simple VAT or GST) expect the price to include tax, with no extra tax surprises at checkout.

So complete this section according to your target market.

You may have to add additional tax classes later.

When complete (at least for the time being) click the Save Changes button and move on to the next tab, Shipping.

12 setup shipping tab

You don't need to do anything here if you include shipping in your price and can then advertise it as Free Shipping.

If you want to add shipping at checkout and optionally make it dependent on destination, you can do so via Shipping Zone, Shipping Options and Shipping Classes.

I'll cover all of these in a separate set of lessons.

But here's a quick example of starting to use them.

Click the Add Shipping Zone button.

13 shipping zones

Note: This whole area is a massive rabbit hole and I believe is best left alone until you have some products in place. That will help you to decide what to do about shipping. In the meantime, you can just add your average shipping cost to your products and advertise them as "free shipping".

In the meantime, let's start to explore the options, so that you're aware of what can be done.

In the Shipping Zones screen, you can set up different shipping zones based on country of delivery and even down to individual postcodes!

Here's an example of one shipping zone set up with two shipping methods.

14 shipping zone and methods

This is an extraordinarily powerful and comprehensive part of WooCommerce and very easy to get stuck on.

So I'm going to leave it here and produce a separate set of lessons covering all the options once we have some products in place.

Go to the Payments tab to see the WooCommerce payment options.

15 woocommerce payments

Scroll down to add your personal or website name to what the customer sees on their bank or credit card statement.

16 woocommerce payments

Click on Manage in Stripe to specify where you want your funds deposited.

That's it. WooCommerce is installed.

In the next lessons, I'll cover all of the powerful options that you can set up in WooCommerce and its allied plugins.

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