Installing WordPress and WooCommerce
WooCommerce was designed as a WordPress plugin from its conception. Everything that WooCommerce has done is done on top of the WordPress platform. So, while this is a book about mastering WooCommerce, we can't start talking about WooCommerce until we make sure a few basic things are taken care of in your WordPress installation.
We're going to make sure your WordPress site is set up correctly and then install WooCommerce. To do that, we're going to look into the following:
- Why and how you should use test sites
- Creating an ad-free admin experience
- How to install WooCommerce
- Configuring settings through the WooCommerce welcome wizard
Once you've done all of the preceding, you'll have WooCommerce installed on a test site and you can start building your online store.
Let's first look at why and how we should use test...
Importance of test sites
If you've been a WordPress developer for a while, you're probably familiar with test sites. And while they're important in regular WordPress development, they're critical in WooCommerce development. The following screenshot shows what a website development process looks like:
With a typical WordPress development project, you'll build custom functionality on your local machine. Then, you'll upload it to a test site where the client usually approves it. Then, you move the test site to the live site, replacing data and files.
And this works great for most WordPress projects. But when it comes to e-commerce, there are two problems:
- You can never replace the live database: Since an e-commerce site is always on and always accepting new orders, payments, and marking items as shipped, you can't replace the live database with...
Creating an ad-free experience
Both WooCommerce and Jetpack, a plugin we'll install later in this chapter, include promotions. And these promotions make it less clear what's going on. And if you're developing this site for a client, you want to recommend plugins—you don't want your plugin doing that for you.
As an example, in the following screenshot, there's a promotion for premium functionality:
To make this book clearer, I'm going to install two plugins that remove these ads, which lets me share more useful screenshots and will give you and your clients a much cleaner user experience.
Let's first install something...
Let's get started by actually installing WooCommerce on our site. Perform the following given steps:
- Search for WooCommerce under plugins in your admin menu:
- Click Install Now followed by Activate. This will take you to the welcome wizard, which will help you to configure all of the settings you'll need to get up and running.
Now we can configure the general settings in WooCommerce, followed by payment and then shipping.
General store settings
The first screen shows all of your general settings—things like where your store is located, what currency you accept, and what type of products you sell, which will set some smart defaults:
Go ahead and enter all of this information. One...
There's one final thing we can do to make our experience in WooCommerce a little nicer. Click View Dashboard to get back to the WordPress administrator. You should see approximately four nags (depending on your store settings and what add-ons you installed) and one of those nags is huge. You can see the nags here:
Let's temporarily disable the PayPal, Stripe, and Facebook plugins and switch back to a default theme. Here's our dashboard after disabling a few plugins:
Switching to a default theme so we don't see storefront nags and disabling some payment gateways will temporarily remove the nags so you can actually see what you're doing in the administrator. This will make it much easier for you to follow along with this book and will give you a cleaner and easier user experience.
Don't worry—we'll continue customizing those...
Before we could install WooCommerce, we had to make sure our WordPress site was set up correctly and that we could build everything in a properly setup test site.
Once we had that, we installed a few plugins to keep our admin interface free from ads. We then installed WooCommerce and Jetpack and configured a number of basic settings through the welcome wizard. With these steps, you can set up and test as many WooCommerce sites as you want.
Now that we've done all of that, we're ready to create products in our store. Configuring products will be covered in the next chapter.