It has been a busy few weeks. Not so much in the studio, but at my computer. I haven’t been creating with glass; I have been creating a new website with an eCommerce store. I thought I would share an overview of what I did in case others are out there wondering about doing the same.
My website has needed an update for a long time to make it mobile friendly which is referred to as being responsive. In addition, the Etsy shopping platform that I have been using is making some changes. I have decided I want more control over my own shop. I have tried hosting my own eCommerce site before, but it was just way too complicated and difficult. But progress has been made in the world of small business eCommerce and it was time to tackle this once again.
I have had my own web domain and self-hosted WordPress blog for many years. WordPress has also evolved from a simple blog platform to one that can do so much more. Unfortunately, I would say it is still not easy but very doable. As someone whose background was in computer systems, back in the day, I am grateful and it is helpful.
I installed the plugin WooCommerce for WordPress. I read many articles and watched several videos on the great things the WooCommerce plugin could do. That gave me the mechanics of storing products and handling sales. Next I imported my Etsy products through the use of another plugin called, appropriately enough, Etsy Importer. It was very helpful, but did require many hours of going through the products and correcting categories and removing links back to Etsy. Then I needed a way to display a shop. The way a WordPress site is displayed on a computer is through the use of something called a theme. More reading and videos led me to the Flatsome theme. It has a lot of things straight out of the box that you can use to set up a shop, but it did require patience and time to set up the way I wanted. There is a learning curve and if you are not tech savvy it can be a bit daunting. To use it I had to do some tweaking on my web server. Scary because I know how to do it, but don’t always understand the why part.
I spent days and long nights working to get my site up and running. After a few helpful testers (family members) checked out the site, there was more that needed to be done. The site was slow and I learned about something called image optimization. The purchase of another program (Short Pixel) and six hours of processing resulted in optimized pictures. At least that is what the program is telling me. As I was tweaking things yesterday, I somehow broke it and lost my homepage! I finally got it back and realized it was time for a break. A few things are still not working the way I would like, can’t seem to get the predictive search box to work, but for now it will do.
So should you be looking around my new and improved website and you find something not working, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note or leave a comment. Now I just have to learn about SEO and how to drive traffic to my site to make sales.