A Step by Step Guide to Creating a Clothing eCommerce Site with WordPress

Man Working Laptop Denim Shirt Desk
Photo: Shutterstock.com

Perhaps you are looking for a side hustle or a little extra income, or maybe you want to create your own clothing brand with a serious ambition to make it a multi-million-dollar brand. Either way, if you have the time and it does not cost too much money to get something like a t-shirt or clothing range up and running–you may as well give it a go. Even if it doesn’t work out, you have learned some excellent new skills that you could even sell as a service in its own right.

Shopify or Woocommerce?

Setting up the shop itself is quicker than using Shopify. WooCommerce is easy enough, but only if you are familiar with WordPress websites. For Shopify, you start a free trial and get going, whereas, with WooCommerce, you will first need a WordPress website.

To get a WordPress website, however, you will need a hosting provider and a domain name provider. Dreamhost is an excellent option for your hosting needs. From this review, you can see why

WooCommerce may need more maintenance too. Shopify is more simple to get started with. With WooCommerce and WordPress, it’s much easier to customize and create a bespoke site. If you can’t code or update a theme or template yourself, there are thousands of WordPress developers to be found on Facebook Groups and sites such as PeopleperHour.com

Today we have chosen to look at WooCommerce because:

  • It’s free
  • Creating a WooCommerce site teaches you lots of transferable skills.
  • It is easier to personalize.

About 60% of websites in the entire world are made using WordPress. If you know a lot about WordPress, you have the skills and knowledge you can use in the job market.

Buy a Domain & Hosting

To explain what hosting is – imagine that your website is like a house; the hosting would be the land for the home, and the domain would be the address. WordPress itself would provide both the foundation and basic structure of the house. Metaphors over, for now, head over to a hosting provider such as HostGator.

T-Shirt Store
Photo courtesy

Click on “hosting,” then “Shared hosting,” then the “Hatchling Plan.” You can always upgrade to a more expensive plan at a later date.

After you have clicked on “Get Started,” you will be taken to another screen and prompted to enter the desired domain name. A domain name is the website’s name; for example, my old website was NiceMMA.com.

At this time, I would buy only one domain, probably with the .com suffix, and I would also buy the domain privacy feature.

Choose your billing cycle and hosting plan using the dropdown menus, and enter your details to create a HostGator account. The default is 36 months or three years, which is probably a bit of a commitment for most people!

Regarding the add-in or add-on features, I would only use the free HTTPS hosting; everything else I would uncheck. When you are happy with everything, click checkout and purchase your domain and hosting.

Install WordPress

Login to your HostGator account, click on the “Hosting” tab and click to install WordPress with 1-click.

T-Shirt Store
Photo courtesy

When prompted–select your domain and leave / the directory option untouched for now.

Click “next” and enter your details to create an admin user. Keep these details safe–screenshot them or write them down.

Agree to terms of service and click to install. It may take a few hours to go live on your domain.

Login to WordPress

The quickest way to log in to a WordPress website is to go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. So if my website were nice-mma.com, I would go to nice-mma.com/wp-admin.

There I would log in with the admin-user details that I created earlier. To create a new password, click “Users” in the left-sidebar, scroll down to Account Management, and enter a new password.

Install WooCommerce

  • Go to “Plugins,” then click “Add New,” and then search for “WooCommerce.”
  • Click install and then activate.
  • On the left-hand menu, you should see “WooCommerce” added.
  • Click on WooCommerce and click to activate the setup wizard.
  • Then you just need to go through each step and add your details.

You will need to add a few personal details, then add your PayPal email address so they know where to send payments, and you will need to set how much you will charge for the shipping of products. Once it is all set up–you will need to start adding some products!

Adding Products

It might be worth looking into where your Printful T-shirts and clothes will be shipped from and how long it may take to get to your customers. If you use Google Shopping Ads to advertise your products, you will need a returns policy, contact address, and telephone number visible on your website.

If you run your shop as a side hustle, you could always use a virtual address and receptionist to handle calls. You can find out more regarding Printful’s shipping speeds here.

The easiest way to add clothing products to your website is to use a third-party service such as Printful.com. You should first ensure that WooCommerce is updated to the latest version (which it will be if you’ve just installed it).

Go back to the side menu, click “plugins” again, and then “Add New.” Not search for “printful.” You should see the Printful for WooCommerce plugin.

T-Shirt Store
Photo courtesy

Install and activate the plugin. Now you should see “Printful” appear in the side menu.

Click “Printful” in the side menu, and you should be prompted to change the permalink settings. Change these to anything but “plain,” and remember to scroll down and click “Save Changes” once you’ve selected a new permalink structure – for example, “Post Name” should work fine.

You will also have to enable the WooCommerce Legacy API. To do this, click on “WooCommerce” in the side menu, then click on the “Advanced” tab, and then click on –  | Legacy API|  – now click the box to enable the Legacy API and click “Save Changes.”

Now when you go back to Printful on the side menu, you should see a giant “Connect” button to connect Prinftul to Woocommerce. Click “connect” and then “approve.”

You will now be prompted to create a new Printful account or sync to your existing one. If you do not have a Painful account, now would be an excellent time to get one – fill in the details.

When you are done, you should be taken to a screen with the option to “Add Product.”

T-Shirt Store
Photo courtesy

Click “Add Product” and choose “Men’s T-shirt” for this example. Next, you can upload your design work, where the creative magic happens.

It is always best to upload your artwork in ‘vector’ format so it can be scaled up and down without losing quality. You can convert png and jpg to vector format online using a website such as vectormagic.com.

You can drag and drop your designs into Printful, choose sizes and color options for the t-shirt and choose who will model the t-shirt on your shopfront!

Choose the image formats and then edit the product description. If possible, writing a unique and detailed description is a good idea. The generic ones that many Printful customers will end up using – won’t rank well on Google.

Next, choose your pricing. You can decide how much to add to Printful’s standard prices, equating to approximately how much profit you will make on each sale.

Once you have finished – the t-shirt should automatically be imported into your WooCommerce store as a product. And there you have it!