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How to Build an Online Store Using a Free WP Plugin

If you have been looking for a way to sell your products or services online, then look no further! The process is much easier than you might think.

Setting up an online store is one of the most valuable things that you can do for your business. Expanding your store to reach online customers will increase your customer growth and overall revenue. But, in order to sell your products or services online, you need to have a website that can handle an online store. As much as we talk about WordPress, it might not surprise you to hear that WordPress can do that too. Cool, right?

While setting up an online store may seem difficult and time-consuming, it is a very easy process. The free plugin that you will need to install is called WooCommerce (which we will show you how to do later). This site was created to allow store managers to run an eCommerce site without having to utilize a web developer.

WooCommerce is a free, flexible, and customizable plugin that will allow you to build a web store, quickly and effectively. This plugin is fantastic for those who are launching their own business, designing sites for clients, or revamping an existing site. WooCommerce also allows its users to keep track of incoming sales, reviews, and stock levels. It comes with shipping and payment options such as Paypal Standard, BACS, and cash on delivery. 

WooCommerce is completely customizable. It will allow you to choose your website design, enhance your store with free and paid extensions, modify the core plugin code, leverage hooks and filters, modify functions, and build on top of the API and webhooks. WooCommerce also comes in the form of a mobile app that you can download to manage your store on the go! 

To get started, you will need a WordPress website and some products or services that you want to sell. 

  1. Log in to your WordPress website. Before you do anything, you will first need to install WooCommerce. Remember- this is a FREE plugin! Look for Plugins on the left-hand panel on your screen and press Add New. In the search bar on the top right-hand corner, search for WooCommerce and click Install Now. The correct plugin’s author will be listed as Automattic. You can see it listed in the box in blue. You might have to wait a few minutes for the plugin to install. Once it has installed, press Activate.
  1. That plugin is now active on your website- Cool! You will now have access to the WooCommerce Setup Wizard. The Setup Wizard will help you configure your web store’s settings such as location information, the types of products that you are selling, and payment and shipping methods. The great thing about the Setup Wizard is that things are not permanent! You can always go back later and change your information if it changes. It will first ask you to enter information about your store’s address, the currency you accept, and whether you will be selling digital or physical products. 
  1. Next, you will need to detail which payments you will be accepting using your online store. It will automatically offer the option for you to use Stripe or Paypal, but you can also choose to accept other forms of payment such as checks or cash. All you really need to do is select the options that you would like to use and WooCommerce will set them up for you. There are more extensions that you can add that will allow you to add payment processing.
  1. Next, you will need to choose a shipping method. You can also control how customers will be charged for shipping. This section all depends on how you would like to set things up. You can set one rate for your specific business area or other rates for people outside of your business area. 
  1. After you have configured some of the basic settings, you can now review additional add-ons. These add-ons are not necessary to operate your store but the add-ons can simplify some aspects of setting up your store. 
  1. You are almost done! Before you complete your setup process, you have the option to enable JetPack. Jetpack is another WordPress plugin with unique features that can help with setting up and operating your store. This plugin is not required, however, due to recent legal changes, U.S. citizens will want to enable Jetpack. It enables better security, store monitoring, store stats, and product promotion. 

WOOHOO! You have just installed and set up your online store! If you have completed all of the steps above, then your store is ready to us. You can start adding products once you have gotten to this point. After installing WooCommerce, you will see two new tabs available on your dashboard’s side menu: WooCommerce and Products. WooCommerce contains your store’s settings and Products contain your product settings. 

You can continue modifying the features and options to fit your liking. Once you have started adding your products, you are ready to start selling! Don’t be afraid to blast your eStore on social media to grow your customer base! You can thank us later… Get to sellin’!

How to Build a Social Network Using a Free WP Plugin

Did you know that it’s possible to create a social network on your WordPress site? Well… it is! You can literally turn your WordPress into a social networking platform by using the free WordPress plugin, BuddyPress! 

Why would you want such a plugin on your website? The better question is, why would you not want to install this plugin? If you would like to turn your site into a community of users, add social media features, or attempt to build an entire social media platform with WordPress, then this is the plugin for you!

BuddyPress will allow you to take your site beyond the typical blog or business page. In recent years, BuddyPress has been used as a campus-wide social networking platform for universities, as an internal communication tool for companies, as a niche social networking for very specific interest groups, and for focused communities for products and services. It is also integrated with bbPress to enhance community forms. 

By following just a few easy steps, you can gain all the social media features that you have come to know and love from your favorite social media platforms. BuddyPress comes with multiple social media elements that can integrate directly into your site. Some of those elements include detailed user profiles, published updates, the opportunity to join groups, private messaging, group messaging and so much more. It allows website visitors to network with each other, stay updated on new information, and stay in touch with things going on in the community. This social networking plugin allows you to build your own online platform for any online or offline community!

One of the coolest things about BuddyPress is that there are over 500 plugins available to help you add unique features to your site. But, you do not have to use them! If you only want to use a select few, BuddyPress will adapt to that and only show the menu items and pages for the features you have enabled. Did we mention it is FREE?

This multi-feature packed plugin is easy to integrate into your website and it is very easy to get started! BuddyPress can be installed on your site directly from the WordPress plugin directory.  Are you ready to Install?

  1. To begin, log in to your WordPress website’s admin area and find Plugins on the left-hand panel on your screen. Hover your mouse over Plugins. You will see that you have a choice between Installed Plugins or Add New. Press Add New. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a search bar that will allow you to search for options. In that bar, search for BuddyPress. 

2. You will see that BuddyPress shows up on the left-hand side of the screen. In the BuddyPress box, press Install Now. BuddyPress then installs into your system and you will see the option to activate. Press Activate

3. After you have pressed activate, you will see this popup. 

4. The picture above is basically welcoming you to the newly activated plugin and letting you know about the recently updated version of BuddyPress. From there, you can click the X in the top right-hand corner and mess with the settings on the newly installed BuddyPress menu, located under the settings sidebar menu. 

5. You can individually activate or disable any component. This makes BuddyPress extremely beneficial for those who only want to add a few of the many social networking elements to their website.

6. Under Components, check any element that you think would fit nicely into your site. You can also uncheck elements that you do not think would look good on your site. This is really where you can add all of your social networking elements.  As you can see, the tabs next to components are Options, Pages, and Credits. The Options button allows you to access the toolbar. The Pages tab allows you to configure the pages that are using the BuddyPress plugin to show member information and their activity. You can also set up the registration and activation Pages in the Pages tab as well.  

This is what your page will look like if you do not yet have any members on your site. The down arrow next to members will allow you to associate a WordPress page with each BuddyPress component directory. Use the down arrow to view the list and choose. The options range from live web chat, to blog, to test page, to set an appointment, and much more.

From there, you can begin adding people to your social network! In addition, the visitors to your site can register to become members! Feel free to play with the different features available to see what you like the best!

Wasn’t this process easier than you anticipated? Are you ready to start your own social network? Go get ’em!