E-commerce is an increasingly popular field. More and more people are turning to the Internet to start their own businesses at low cost, and a store is a basic and easy way to give that a shot. In the past, setting up a website and building an online store were quite complicated tasks. They required advanced knowledge of computer programming and web design, so it was hard for ordinary people to get involved. Now, however, there are many automated tools, templates, and platforms that take care of much of the grunt work, allowing you to make the executive decisions. One of the most popular platforms on which to build an online store is Magento. Magento has many advantages, including its ease of use, its excellent documentation, and the wide range of available plugins that let you enhance and extend the capabilities of the platform. In this post, we will walk though the basic steps for you to setup Magento and create your own store. As user-friendly as the process is, it does take some time and guidance to do it properly. You can, of course, try to set everything up on your own, but it is sure to be a much smoother and faster experience if you follow this guide instead.
The first thing to do is understand the hosting and domain you control. For this guide, we will assume that you already own a domain and use a hosting service. If you don’t have those two elements yet, or aren’t sure what they are, then you should consult a guide about what hosting is and why it is important before continuing on with this guide. The most likely outcome is that your hosting service has a control panel where you can dictate many different options and make changes to your site. The most common kind of control panel is called cPanel- many hosting services use it or a slightly-modified version of it to create a control panel for you. In any case, this guide will assume that you have cPanel. If you do not, try to follow along as best you can and adapt the instructions to your control panel- most of them tend to be pretty similar, because they all need to provide the same functionality. The first thing you need to do is long into your control panel.
You should have an icon area in your control panel in the central or right panel that is called “Software/Services.” Different panels might have a slightly different name for this icon area. You should see an icon called QuickInstall. It’s a software tool that provides you with a list of software, and QuickInstall automatically downloads and installs anything you want from that list. Different hosts might have different installers, so the name could be different. In any case, click on your installer and look through the list until you see Magento. It should be in the e-commerce section. Select it and click the continue button.
Next, you have a choice to make about your domain. You can let Magento be installed at the root directory, so that your store is the first thing people see, or put in in a subdomain, such as www.mysite.com/myshop. The choice is yours, but many people prefer to leave it at the root so customers can find the shop easily. To leave it at the root, leave the box after your domain name blank. Fill in the rest of the information. Be sure that automatic upgrading is enabled- this will provide you with security and design updates. Also make sure that “use mod_rewrite” is enabled, because it makes your URLs easier to read. Click “Install Now.” You may need to wait up to 48 hours until the site is fully prepared, so don’t worry if it is not up right away. Once you can reach the site at the domain you specified, log in with your credentials. You have now installed Magento.
Setting Up Your Shop
The administrative panel of Magento is your hub, where you can start doing all the other tasks to setup Magento as a shop interface with real products. First, just explore. Look into the various menus and icons and see what is inside. That’s a useful way to see for yourself how you can get things done. Here are a few short examples. To add new products, click the Add Product button in the upper right. This takes you to a series of screens where you fill out important attributes of the product, including its price and a description. To modify your products, go to the admin panel and click Catalog, then Manage Products. Here, you can add images, change attributes, add tags, and more. To set up payment methods, navigate through System, then Configuration, Sales, and Payment Methods, which brings you to the screen where you can add credit cards, Paypal, and other forms of payment. You can place restrictions on the cards you allow and the nations that can use each payment method if you want. If you pick Shipping Methods instead of Payment Methods, you can do something very similar for shipments.
Magento is easy to use and quite flexible, so if you need more functions you can find a plugin that will add them for you. The basic tools are simple, yet powerful. This tutorial got you through the hardest part, which was the installation, and introduced you to the most important menus and configuration areas in the store itself. The rest will come down to the vision you have for your particular store and how you want to execute it.