INTRODUCTION TO THIS TUTORIAL
WooCommerce is an increasingly popular method of selling online. It’s success is down to both its own design and simplicity but also to its host Content Management System: WordPress. As WordPress has increased in popular use, so has WooCommerce.
The purpose of this series of posts is to provide detailed instructions for the non-technical Shop Manager. It hopes to explain how to run an online shop, covering adding and editing products, handling orders and making sense of WooCommerce’s various settings. The need for such a tutorial has really arisen out of my own work as a WordPress and WooCommerce developer. It would be so useful to have a plain, straightforward guide to hand over to my clients once their eCommerce website has been setup.
We will start with the central purpose of WooCommerce: adding stuff to sell!
ADDING & EDITING PRODUCTS
Step 1: log in to your WordPress dashboard (if this step is unfamiliar, just add ‘/wp-admin’ to your web address, e.g. ‘www.your-website.com/wp-admin’, and enter your username and password).
Step 2: In the left-hand menu, click ‘WooCommerce’, then ‘Add Product’.
Step 3: This will load a page with all the options for your specific product. First, enter a title. This will appear on your website and in search results, so make it suitably descriptive.
SEO tip: the product title is probably THE most important single aspect of making your product visible to Google and other search engines. Bear this in mind as you choosing the wording for your product title!
Next, enter a product description (below where it says ‘Add Media’). This is the longer of the two descriptions you can add. Adequately describe your product but also remember to make it a persuasive sales pitch!
Note, you can add images to this section, but it’s probably best not to, as there is a dedicated section for displaying pictures (covered below).
SEO tip: use of the headings in a product description is also an opportunity to improve SEO. Headings have more weight for search engines. To add a heading, change the setting from ‘paragraph’ to either ‘h1′,’h2’, ‘h3’ etc. It’s important to put good descriptive keywords inside these headings. For example, instead of describing a vacuum cleaner in a heading called “Powerful suction”, put something like “Powerful suction removes more pet fur”. This way folks searching for “vacuum cleaner pet” in Google are more likely to land on your product’s page.
Step 4: categories and tags! These are important. First categories are used mainly for navigation (these have a marginal impact on SEO, so name relevantly). Categories should enable your potential customer to locate the product as easily as possible. Click ‘Add New Product Category’ to enter a product category (assuming the category you would like to place this specific product in does not already exist on your website – if it does exist, simply tick the box and move on to tags, below). Enter the category name. If you wish to add a category within another category simple choose the parent category in the drop down menu below where you typed the category name. Once done, click the ‘Add New Product Category’ button below.
Tags are similar to categories except instead of navigation they help with searching. Enter as many of these as you like but the rule is keep them relevant. Tip: especially use tags which aren’t included in your title. Think particularly of on-topic keywords that your customer might search for to improve their chances of finding your product.
Step 5: Below ‘Product Tags’, you have ‘Product Image’. Now this is where you add the main, featured product image (or if you only have one image to add, the one product image!). This image will appear prominently on the product page and in search results etc. I recommend deciding on a standard size of product image (this will vary depending on your website), but once you have a decided size, use that size for all the product images you add. This ensures a professional, consistent look for your website.
To add the image, click ‘Set product image’. The box that opens up is the standard WordPress image uploader and media library. It displays the images already on your website and allows to you to upload new ones. Click the ‘Upload Files’ tab and then ‘Select Files’. This is where you locate and upload the desired image from your computer.
SEO tip: Images can have text attached to them, meaning they can be used to sharpen your SEO. Once the image has uploaded, look at the ‘Attachment Details’ on the right. Enter details for these describing the image and the product it represents. Particularly focus on the ‘Alt Text’ field.
Click ‘Set product image’ to complete this step.
Step 5: if you have more images to add, click ‘Add product gallery images’ to add additional images. This will be the same procedure as above, including the SEO tip.
Step 6: Product Data (left of the Tags and Images). First, you need to decide on a product type. You have 4 options. These are…
- ‘Simple product’ – the default selection, this a straightforward product with a fixed price. This is probably the type you want
- ‘Grouped product’ – the easiest way of thinking about a grouped product is that it’s like a container that you can put other individual products in
- ‘External/Affiliate product’ – as the name suggests, this is a product on somebody else’s website
- ‘Variable product’ – this is a product with options that you can set
Assuming you select ‘Simple product’, we have the remaining details to set (I will cover the other types later). These remaining details are
- ‘SKU’ – the stockkeeping unit is way of keeping track of items in stock by giving them a unique identifier. WooCommerce will work just fine without one, but it can be handy particularly if you have another stock management system to link up to
- ‘Regular price’ – clearly this is where you input your desired price for the product you’re adding
- ‘Sale price’ – If you want to reduce the regular price as a promotion for example, enter the sale price here. The great thing is that your website will usually display the old price crossed out and the sale price highlighted, so your customers know what a great deal they’re getting!
Now you’ll see that this is everything under the ‘General’ tab. We’ll plough through the other tabs only making comments where we think necessary. The ‘Inventory’ tab is where you can enable stock management. In other words, when one item is purchased, the stock level will be depreciated by 1.
The ‘Shipping’ tab is where you can enter weight and dimensions. This data can be used to select the appropriate shipping/delivery method. Accordingly, the ‘Shipping class’ can be defined to override any other shipping settings.
If you want a message to try and sell other products when a customer begins order this product, you can choose ‘Up-sells’ or ‘Cross-sells’ in the ‘Linked products’ tab. Or if you want to put this product into a group (see the ‘Grouped Product’ above), here’s your chance.
The ‘Attributes’ tab gives you the flexibility to add specific features to your product. For example, if your item can be ordered in a specific colour, you can add an attribute called ‘colour’ and enter the value ‘green’. (For variable products, you can add choices using attributes which then affect the price if desired.)
The ‘advanced’ tab lets you enter a ‘purchase note’ visible to the customer after purchase. Usually this would be a note specific to this product, such as “This product will be packaged as fragile”. ‘Menu order’ means that you can add an arbitrary ordering system which can override the A-Z or date order, for example.
Lastly ‘Enable reviews’ means that customers and site visitors can both write and read reviews of your product.
That’s it for ‘Product data’!
Step 7: Next we have the ‘Product Short Description’. This is what will display on search results and below the product title (note, these details vary depending on your specific website). If you do not set a short description, an excerpt will be retrieved from your long description.
Step 8: Add your product! Scroll to the top of the page and click ‘Publish’. This will immediately make your product live on your online catalogue. (Note, if you want to check your product looks okay before you publish, click ‘Preview’ to see how it would appear.) A couple of other notes, near the publish button you can other options, such as ‘Status’, where you can unpublish something by click edit and changing its status to ‘Draft’, ‘Visibility’, where you can make the product private or password protected, and ‘Publish immediately’, where you can schedule a product to be published.
Well I hope you enjoyed this step by step guide to adding a product to WooCommerce!