Since we live in the age of technology, the only logical step in which you can take your business is opening an online store. That will allow you to reach a wider audience, which in turn means more customers, or at least potential customers. Even though starting your own online store might sound complicated to you, once you read this article you will realize that it is actually not as complex as you probably thought.
The real question you need to ask yourself isn’t whether you should start your own online store, but how, and that is where we can help you. While we do that, we will cover another thing, and that is the price of your online store. We will focus on creating an online store using WordPress, with a WooCommerce plugin. So, even though WordPress is free, there are many extensions, themes and features that can help you create a better online store that are not free. We will cover those costs in this article so we can give you a general idea of how much starting your own eCommerce store will cost you.
WordPress – The Cornerstone of Your Store
Before we go into details, it is important to say a few words about WordPress, which will be the basis in which you will build your online store. WordPress is an open source tool for website creation that allows you to make your own blog, or website, or as we will see in this article, online store, for free (25 more reasons to use WordPress). That means that there will be no costs involved in this initial step to creating your store. However, even though using WordPress is free, this is only the beginning and the next step you need to take is selecting a great eCommerce plugin for your website.
WooCommerce – The Best WordPress eCommerce Plugin
As we have mentioned in the introduction, we suggest going with WooCommerce as your designated eCommerce plugin for your online store. Even though there are many other eCommerce plugins you can choose, WooCommerce is probably the safest and most popular solution that has a great rating and has been downloaded more than 5 million times.
WooCommerce lets you sell physical as well as digital products, regardless of their shape or size. You can also sell affiliate products from other online stores, you can offer variations of your goods or instant downloads if you are selling digital products. WooCommerce also allows you to provide free or flat-rate shipping and you can also choose whether you want to ship worldwide or limit yourself to particular countries.
This plugin is compatible with all major credit cards, but also with PayPal and bank transfers. You can also set cash on delivery option with it. There are also many other options that are specific for certain areas and regions, so you will have a wide array of payment options to choose from with WooCommerce.
What the best thing about WooCommerce is? It is completely free! There is however some premium features and extensions but we will discuss those later. For now, your online store is on a good way to start operating and the budget is still a nice zero.
Hosting Your WordPress Online Store
There are many alternatives and choices you can go with when it comes to a perfect web host for your website, or in this case, online store. There are some things you need to take into account when you choose your web host, particularly the size of your website and the number of goods and products you will offer, as well as the type of the goods you plan on selling. This means that entry-level hosting or even shared hosting is good enough to cover you if you want to start out with a small size inventory. You will be able to level up once your business grows if you want to. If you, however, want to start out big, then going with a higher standard web host would be a smart choice.
Those planning on launching with a large store, or scaling their store quickly, would be better off start out with a high-performance web host. Premium managed WordPress hosting is a good option for serious eCommerce stores. This is due to the fact that your store will be hosted on a server that is optimized for WordPress for a faster loading website. The addition of expert support staff who are proactively monitoring your website, as well as being on hand should anything go wrong, can alone justify the higher price tag.
HostGatorSign Up »
HostGator offers numerous hosting options at different prices. For those that are starting with a large inventory, there is a premium option that costs $79 per month. However, there are also various budget options, with the lowest price set at $3.95 per month.
HostGator can provide you with an opportunity to completely customize your website, since it has various building tools you can use and scripts you can install. There is a support you can contact at any time and you can also cancel your contract for the first 45 days with a complete refund.
InMotion HostingSign Up »
Another great hosting service you can go with is InMotion. There is a premium, high-standard option available for $99.99 a month, but there is also a shared hosting alternative for only $2.95 a month. That means that InMotion can be your choice whatever the size of your website is and regardless of the traffic you attract.
This web host is not only cooperating with WordPress, but also Joomla, PrestaShop and b2revolution. It has a great customer service and always available support center and is one of the best rated web hosts available.
BlueHostSign Up »
This web host can provide you with a complete hosting solution for $2.75 a month. You will also receive a free domain and free site builders. It is one of the most compatible and one of the best web hosting services for WordPress websites.
They also offer a money back guarantee and customer support that is of a very high standard. You can also use their services to migrate your current website to a new address.
If you are building a bigger online store and you are looking for stronger hosting plan, I suggest taking a look to our list of recommended WooCommerce hosting providers.
Choosing the Perfect Theme for Your Online Store
Now that you have decided on a web host for your online store, it is time to choose an appropriate theme for your WooCommerce store. There are so many options when it comes to WordPress themes that many users find it difficult to choose a perfect theme for their need. The first thing to think about is whether you want a free or a premium theme.
Free WooCommerce Themes
Choosing a free theme for your online store might not be the best solution, even though you can later upgrade to a premium theme if you want. However, that would require a lot of work since you would have to spend a lot of time and effort to transfer and reformat your images, as well as product descriptions so they can fit the new theme and its style. That might even end up costing a lot more than going with a premium theme from the very start. That is why our recommendation is finding a great premium theme for your online store.
Premium WooCommerce Themes
Premium themes are a safe way to go, and you should accept that cost since it will help you in the long run. For 50 to 100 dollars, you can find a fantastic premium theme. ThemeForrest is the best website to find amazing WooCommerce themes for your online store, regardless of what you plan to sell.
For instance, if you are going to sell watches, the Swiss Eagle theme would be perfect for you. Or, if you plan to sell fashion products, going with Trendo would be a smart choice. Whatever your product is, there is a corresponding premium theme you will be able to find at ThemeForrest and you can be sure that whatever theme you choose it will be well designed and supported by its creators at all times.
Premium WooCommerce Extensions
So far, you have spent somewhere in the region around $100, if you went with a premium theme like we suggested. That isn’t much, but the last thing on our list might raise your expenses a bit. The next, and last thing you need to focus on before you can start selling your products on your online store, are premium WooCommerce extensions.
There are many WooCommerce add-ons, but we will focus on some of the most popular ones:
Additional Payment Options
Once you decide on the right WooCommerce plugin, you will be provided with basic payment options. However, if you wish to expand this choice for your customers, you can go with some additional payment options:
- PayPal Pro – This extension enables you to take credit card payments from PayPal directly on your online store. This add-on will cost you $79.
- Pay with Amazon – If you want to enable your customers to pay with their Amazon accounts, you must add this extension, but that will not add anything to your cost since it is completely free.
- Stripe – This extension allows your customers to pay directly with Stripe. This add-on also costs $79, just like PayPal Pro.
Table Rate Shipping
This feature enables you to assign different shipping rates that will depend on the individual information about every client, as well as their order. Such details include the size and weight of the goods they purchased, their location, and many others. There are many table rate shipping add-ons, but probably the most popular option is Table Rate Shipping by WooThemes that is available for $199. This is the most expensive option, but it is also the best one.
In addition to these extensions, there are also many others you can find on the WooCommerce store. Some of the most popular ones are PDF invoice, available for $25, Social Coupon, available for $22 and WooCommerce Abandoned Cart Pro, available for $99, to name just a few from the wide array of extensions available to you.
After you have chosen your extensions, your online store is ready to start working. As you probably know by now, whatever type of products you plan to sell, WordPress is a great choice for you. The total cost of your online store will depend on the number of premium extensions you want to add to your website, but those costs are not so big and will surely pay off. You only have to be smart about the choices you make and think carefully about the features you need in your online store, so you can make a wise decision about premium extensions to add to your website.