How to Start an Online Store in Nigeria and Make Money
Do you want to build an online store? Building an online store can be terrifying especially when you are a beginner. We decided to write this comprehensive article on how you can build an online store to help beginners to get started.
Things You Need to Start an Online Store
Now is the best time to start an online business. A lot of business transactions are taking place online. I know you wouldn’t want to be left behind. Businesses that do not have an online presence in this day and age are losing a huge amount of revenue.
If you have a computer with an internet connection, then you can get started right now regardless of whether you have web development skills or not.
Below are three major things you need to start an online store:
1: A domain name
A domain name is the name of your online store. For example, livingmediainternational.com It is very important that you choose a domain name that is short. Choose a domain name that reflects your business name or the nature of your business.
2: A web hosting account
A web hosting account is where your website files live on the internet. That are lots of good web hosting service providers you can choose from. If you are not techy, you can go for managed web host account. I host the website of my clients on the Google Cloud Platform. It gives me the best hosting results. You can also go for a managed cloud hosting service. It might be very expensive. Just check out SiteGround or HostGator, you might get a good deal on managed cloud hosting.
3: Your time.
In the business of web development, time is very important. Whether you are developing a website, a blog, or an online store, you need to dedicate some valuable time to ensure your project is completed in record time.
In this article, I covered:
- Domain name registration
- How to choose the best hosting for WooCommerce
- Steps to get an SSL Certificate. SSL Certificate is required for accepting payments.
- How to install WordPress
- Steps to create a WooCommerce store
- How to add products to your online store
- Steps to select and customize your online store theme
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Step 1 of How to Start an Online Store and Make Money:
Setting up Your Online Store Platform
One of the biggest mistakes most beginners make is choosing the wrong platform for their online store. We have two popular eCommerce platforms that you can choose from. You can go for Shopify or you can use WordPress and WooCommerce plugins.
Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution. Its pricing starts at $29 / month. This may be expensive for many beginners. Shopify is a hassle-free eCommerce solution. Once you register with Shopify, all you need to do is just log in and start selling your products.
However, one of the downsides of using Shopify is that it is quite expensive. Another drawback of Shopify is that your payment options are limited unless you pay additional fees.
For the reasons above, most people go for WordPress and WooCommerce plugins. The combination of WordPress and WooCommerce offers incredible flexibility. The combination of WordPress and eCommerce requires some setup, but it’s worth doing.
For the records, WooCommerce is the world’s largest eCommerce platform
In this article, you will see step-by-step, how to set up an online store in WordPress using WooCommerce.
Just as I pointed out above, to set up your online store, you have to have a domain name, a web hosting account, and an SSL certificate.
A domain name is the address of your website on the internet. It is your domain name that users will type in their browsers to load your website. An example of the domain name is google.com and livingmediainternational.com.
Web hosting on the other hand is where your website files live on the internet. In other words, it’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website on the internet has web hosting.
The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate adds a special security layer to your website. SSL is the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure. Your online store will only be allowed to accept sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information when it has the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate issued to it.
The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is required for you to accept credit card payments on your online store.
A domain name costs between $10.99 to $20.00 / year.
The price of managed web hosting starts from $3.99 / month. The more you are willing to pay for web hosting, the better the quality of service and products you will get. The cost of some managed cloud hosting starts from $25.00 per month.
SSL certificate costs around $69.99 / year.
For the sake of this article, all my examples will be done using the Bluehost web hosting provider. You see my choice of the top 4 best web hosting providers this year.
To purchase your domain + hosting + SSL, head over to the website of Bluehost.
Open the website of Bluehost in a new tab using this link and follow the steps below.
First, click on the ‘Get Started Now button.
On the page that opens, select the hosting plan that suits your requirement. You can choose either Starter or Plus. They are the most popular hosting plan for beginners.
After choosing your hosting plan, then, enter your choice of a domain name for your online store. If the domain name you just choose is not available, adjust the name a bit or take any of the names suggested by the hosting provider.
Then, add your account information. Ensure that you enter your email address correctly. It is very important.
Towards the footer of this page, you will see optional extras that you can purchase and add to your hosting.
Once you complete all the required fields and make payment, you will receive an email from your web hosting provider. The email comes with details on how you can log in to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). It is at your cPanel that you manage relating to your online store hosting. From your cPanel, you can manage things like support, emails, and other things.
With the login details on your email, log in to your cPanel. Once you are logged in, you will see a popup message informing you that WordPress with WooCommerce is pre-installed on your website.
Then click on the ‘Login to your site’ button. This will take you to your WordPress website’s dashboard.
Congratulations, you are done with the hosting section.
The next step is to set up and customize your online store.
Step 2 of How to Start an Online Store and Make Money.
Setting up WordPress
WordPress and WooCommerce were automatically installed on your website.
At your first login to your WordPress installation, you will be greeted with a message asking you the kind of website you want to set up.
Click on the ‘I don’t need help link. This will close the WordPress setup wizard, then you will see your WordPress admin dashboard which looks like the image below:
Then visit Settings, then, click on ‘The general page to set up your online store title and description.
The next thing is for you to set up HTTPS to Use an SSL certificate
Your hosting package probably came with a free SSL Certificate. If it did, then it is pre-installed for your domain name. Go ahead to configure your online store so it loads as HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTTP is the default.
To configure your SSL, head over to Settings, click on the General page, then, change your WordPress Address and Site Address to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Simply add letter ‘s’ to HTTP, period.
When you are done, scroll down to the bottom of the settings page, then click on the ‘save changes’ button. This will store your settings.
At this stage, your basic online store setup is complete. Now it is time to fully set up and customize your online store.
Step 3 of How to Start an Online Store and Make Money.
Setting up Your WooCommerce Store
Before you can start selling on your online store, there are more things that you need to set up. Things like payment options, currency, and shipping information.
On your WordPress admin page, you will be seeing a ‘Welcome to WooCommerce’ notification. Click on the ‘Run setup wizard’ button in the notification to get started.
When you click on the ‘Run setup wizard button, the WooCommerce setup wizard will be launched. Then, click on the ‘Let’s go button to get started.
The WooCommerce plugin needs some essential pages for cart, shop, account, and checkout. Click on the ‘continue button to automatically create these essential pages.
At this step, you will tell WooCommerce the location of your store, the currency you accept, and the unit measures to use.
When you are done with the task above, then click on the ‘continue button to move on to the next stage.
Next, enter your shipping and tax information.
You can sell both physical goods that need shipping and digital downloads on WooCommerce.
Check the box if you will be shipping goods. Leave the box unchecked if you will only be selling digital goods.
Then, answer the tax question. One of the good features of the WooCommerce plugin is that it can help you automatically calculate and add taxes to your prices.
If you are not sure of what to enter, then you can leave the box unchecked. On the WooCommerce plugin settings, you can always add tax information.
Click on the ‘continue button to move on to the next stage.
At this stage, choose a payment method for your online store.
WooCommerce by default comes with support for the following payment gateways; PayPal Standard, PayPal, and Stripe. However, there are many other payment methods available for the WooCommerce plugin that you can install.
Using PayPal Standard is the easiest way to accept payment online.
To implement this payment solution, simply enter your PayPal email address and click on the ‘continue button.
You can implement both PayPal and Stripe payment solutions. Stripe allows your users to enter their credit card information on your checkout page. This ensures that your users do not leave your site and go to PayPal to complete payment.
To set up Stripe, follow the instructions on the WooCommerce screen.
Once you’re done with setting up your payment information, your WooCommerce online store is all set up.
Click on the ‘Return to WordPress dashboard’ link to exit the setup wizard.
When you are done setting up WooCommerce, then you can now add products to your online store.
Step 4 of How to Start an Online Store and Make Money.
Adding Products to Your Online Store
To add products to your store, on your dashboard, visit Products, then click on the ‘Add New page to add a new product.
On this page, you need to provide a title for your product and then a detailed description of the product.
You will see the ‘Product Categories’ box in the right-hand column. Click on ‘+Add New Product Category. This will create a category for this product. This allows your customers to sort and browse products easily.
You will the Product Data box when you scroll down a little. The Product Data box is where you will provide product-related information like inventory, pricing, shipping, etc.
Below the product data box, there is a box where you can add a product short description. The short description is used when users are viewing multiple products on a page.
In your right-hand column, there is a box to add the product’s main image. You will also see a product gallery where you can add other images of the same product.
Click on the ‘Publish’ button once you are satisfied with all the product information you have entered. This will make your product go live on your website.
To add more products, repeat the process.
Step 5 of How to Start an Online Store and Make Money.
Select and Customize WordPress Theme
Themes are used to customize the looks of your online store to the users when they visit it. They also control how products are displayed on a WooCommerce store.
There are lots of custom and free WordPress themes that you can use to customize the appearance of your online store.
Bluehost automatically installs a ‘Storefront’ theme for your website. If you want to settle with this theme, then go ahead and start the customization of your store t suit your needs.
On your WordPress dashboard, head over to ‘Appearance’, then, click on the ‘Customize’ page. This will launch the theme customizer. This is where you can change the different settings of your theme.
However, If you don’t like the ‘Storefront theme, you can use another theme by visiting the Appearance » Themes page or you can purchase and upload a theme to your website.