7 Ways You Can Use WooCommerce to Make Money Online (2020-2021)
The most popular way to make money online is through eCommerce, which is simply selling products or services online. If you plan on using WordPress to start an online store or to sell your services, you will need the WooCommerce plugin to make this possible.
In this guide we will look at how WooCommerce works and how you can use this eCommerce plugin to make money online.
- What is WooCommerce and how does it work?
- How to setup an online store using WooCommerce and WordPress
- 1. Start a clothing store
- 2. Start a catering business, event planning or food business
- 3. Start a dropshipping business
- 4. Sell online courses
- 5. Create a membership site or a subscription site
- 6. Create an affiliate store or sell external products
- 7. Create an online store for your physical business
What is WooCommerce and how does it work?
WooCommerce is a free, open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large sized business using the free WordPress software.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free content management system (CMS), in simple terms it’s like an operating system for your website. You can use WordPress to design your website and publish content.
However, WordPress was initially designed for blogging purposes, so if you want to sell online products or services you will need a plugin that will convert your WordPress site into an online store.
This is where WooCommerce comes in.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin for starting and growing an online business. According to data gathered by BuiltWith, over 28% of all online stores use WooCommerce (as of 2020), this is more than popular platforms like Shopify (20% of online stores use Shopify) and Magento (8% of online stores use Magento).
These figures are not surprising since over 34% of all websites use WordPress (75 million websites). WooCommerce also works with any theme and is compatible with most WordPress plugins.
How does WooCommerce work?
WooCommerce takes your simple WordPress site and injects it with special code to grant it eCommerce functionality. This gives your WordPress site the ability to sell products, accept payments, set shipping rates and more.
Below are some of the features WooCommerce adds to your WordPress site:
- Add physical or digital products for sale on your site.
- Product ratings and reviews.
- Payment processing using Stripe and PayPal. Accept credit cards, Direct Bank Transfer, checks or Cash on Delivery.
- Add multiple shipping options, from pickups or local delivery.
- Set shipping rates for products, you can add a flat rate, free shipping or specific rates for each product.
- Show tax options based on your customers shipping address, billing address or your store’s operating address.
- Calculate major country and state tax rates automatically.
You can also use official and third party WooCommerce extensions to add even more powerful features to your WordPress store:
- Add multiple currencies to your store.
- Take online appointments and bookings.
- Create membership sites and sell monthly subscriptions.
- Offer and sell gift cards to your customers.
- Set wholesale prices for your products.
- Add a wishlist for customers to save products.
- Add minimum purchase rules.
Despite it’s many features WooCommerce is actually easy to use, below we’ll look at how you can setup an online store using WordPress and WooCommerce.
How to setup an online store using WooCommerce and WordPress
Setting up an online store using WooCommerce and WordPress is very simple, you just need to do the following things:
Buy web hosting
Web hosting is a service that stores all of your website files on a web server, basically like an online home for your website.
There are many types of web hosting plans you can choose, however for an online store I recommend buying managed WordPress hosting for the following reasons:
- Your website will be hosted on a dedicated web server, giving it access to more resources than regular hosting.
- Due to having it’s own dedicated web server, your website will be a lot faster and have better performance in general.
- Your web server will be managed by the hosting team, taking care of software updates, maintenance and security.
- For the service you get, managed web hosting is actually cheap starting from $30 per month.
I use Kinsta’s managed web hosting for HomeGrown Income and I recommend using their Pro and Business Plans for an online store. However if you are starting out on a budget, you can use their Starter plan and move onto a Pro or Business plan later.
Buy a domain name
Once you have chosen a web hosting plan, the next step is to buy a domain name for your online store. Whilst web hosting is the home where your website lives, domain names are the addresses people will use to reach your website.
For example, homegrownincome.com is the domain name for HomeGrown Income, whilst Kinsta hosts and delivers our website so you can have access to it.
To buy a domain name, go to Namecheap and search for your chosen domain.
I recommend choosing a “.com” domain for your WordPress store. If you cannot find a “.com” domain, try adding the words “shop”, “store” or “online” to your domain name. For example “shopmybusiness.com” or “mybusinessstore.com”.
Once you have bought your domain, the next step is to point your domain to Kinsta and connect it your WordPress site.
Fortunately this is a simple process, the following guide will show you how to point your Namecheap domain to Kinsta in 3 steps:
For additional reference, these quick guides show you how to add your Namecheap “A Records” to Kinsta and how to change your Namecheap nameservers:
Once you have transferred your domain name to your hosting account, the next step is to install WordPress.
To get started, go to your Admin Dashboard. Once there, select “Sites” on the left sidebar menu, then click on the “Add Site” button.
Next you just need to fill out the form for adding a new site, below are the sections you will need to fill in and information about each one.
Choose a physical location for your website (if you are installing multiple websites you can set a specific location for each one). This is where your website data is actually stored and served from.
I recommend choosing a location closest to your intended users, as the closer your website is to your customers, the faster it will load.
Choose a name for your website. This name is only for you to see and will be shown in the MyKinsta dashboard, it won’t be visible to your visitors.
If you already pointed your domain to Kinsta, you can select “custom domain” and that domain will be used when creating your WordPress site.
You can also add your domain after creating your new site. On your MyKinsta dashboard, click “Kinsta DNS” on the left side menu and click “Add Domain” on the next page.
Note: If you choose the custom domain option, a temporary domain will not be created for your site.
Kinsta provides these temporary WordPress URL’s so your site can be accessed until you point a domain to it. However if you have already pointed a domain to Kinsta, a temporary domain won’t be needed.
- To create a new WordPress site, select “Add a Brand New Install”. When creating a new site, this is what you’ll want.
- If you are migrating a WordPress website to Kinsta from another host, then “Don’t Install WordPress” is what you want. You can easily migrate your site to Kinsta with the Duplicator plugin.
- You can also clone an existing WordPress installation.
Next you need to add a title for your website, this is the title that visitors will see on browsers. For example, as you know the title of this website is “HomeGrown Income”.
This is where you will create a username for you to log into your WordPress site. You can create new users once you have logged in. I recommend creating a unique username for security purposes.
Create a password to log in to your WordPress installation. You can use the “generate new password” option to create a highly secure password.
Add an email address where WordPress will send important notifications to.
Select the language you want to use WordPress in. You don’t have to write content in the same language as your WordPress interface so feel free to choose your native language even if you are writing content in English.
Tick this box if you would like to create a WordPress Multisite installation. This is for running multiple, very similar sites under one WordPress installation. Most of you won’t need to tick this box.
If you are creating an eCommerce website WooCommerce is the most popular and best eCommerce plugin out there. Check this box to install it automatically. If you somehow you forget to check this option, you can always install WooCommerce after WordPress has been installed.
Once you are finished, click Add in the bottom right corner. It should take a few moments for the site setup to complete, you will receive a notification via the admin dashboard when it is ready.
That’s how you install WordPress and WooCommerce using Kinsta’s admin dashboard.
Note: To install WooCommerce manually, login to your WordPress dashboard and on the left side menu go to Plugins → Add New. Next search for WooCommerce then install and activate the plugin.
Choose a theme
Once your WordPress site has been installed you can now choose a theme. The great thing about WooCommerce is the fact that it’s compatible with any theme, however you still want to choose a theme that was built for an eCommerce site.
To install a WooCommerce theme, log into your WordPress site and go to Appearance on the left sidebar menu. Under Appearance click on Themes, then click on the Add New button.
Next click Upload Theme, then click Browse and choose the zip file you downloaded after buying your theme. Once you have chosen your theme file, click “Install Now” to add the theme to your website.
Once the WooCommerce theme has installed, click Activate to enable the theme for your site.
Finally you just need to setup a business email so customers can email you using contact forms on your site. I recommend using G Suite or Office 365 to create a branded, professional email with your websites domain. You can get started from as low as $6 per month.
For example if your WooCommerce store is named myonlinestore.com, you should create an email address named email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next you need your WordPress site work with your business email address. Fortunately this step is very simple, just install the free WP Mail SMTP Plugin. This will configure your WordPress site to send emails, allowing contact form enquiries to be forwarded to your business email address.
Once installed you just need to choose one of their built-in SMTP mail providers. If you’re using G Suite for your business email choose the Gmail SMTP and if you’re using Office 365, you can choose the recommended SMTP.com or Pepipost SMTP options.
Once you are done, your WooCommerce store is ready. You just need to start generating income through your online business, thankfully I have 7 different business ideas you can look at.
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Now lets look at 7 different ways you can make money with your WooCommerce store.
1. Start a clothing store
When it comes to eCommerce, fashion is one of the most popular and profitable markets to get into. The great thing about starting a clothing store is the fact that you can sell accessories too, increasing your range of products and average order value.
Selling clothing and accessories online is a good choice since the products are usually lightweight, cheap and small.
This allows you to make a comfortable profit whilst saving money on shipping and storage due to the weight and size of the products.
Here are a few examples of clothing that you can sell using WooCommerce and WordPress:
- Bikini’s and swimsuits
- Tracksuits and sportswear
- Summer tracksuits, summer dresses and other summer clothing
- Cosplay costumes, props and wigs
- Printed t-shirts, printed hats and printed tracksuits.
- Shoes, sneakers and high heels.
- Bags, phone cases, belts, glasses, watches, wigs and hats
There are three main ways you can use WooCommerce to sell clothing online:
Method #1 Buy clothing and accessories wholesale
You can buy your clothing and accessories in bulk from suppliers on Alibaba. This method requires you to have the money needed to purchase the products up front, however you can always start off with smaller order quantities. When placing your first orders, 20-50 pieces per product with up to 5 products is a good start if you haven’t built up a customer base yet.
If you already have decent sized customer or follower base, you can start of with 50-100 pieces per product and if you have a large following you can purchase a couple hundred or a even thousand pieces per product for your first orders.
When buying clothing and accessories wholesale, there are two ways you can manage and ship your inventory.
The first way is known as self-fulfilment. This is where you have the supplier ship the products directly to yourself, you then take care of storage and delivery whenever a customer places an order.
If you choose to pack and ship your products yourself I recommend installing WooCommerce Shipping, this free extension lets you print your own shipping labels with 90% off USPS rates.
The second way you can manage and ship your inventory is through using a fulfilment centre. Fulfilment centers are warehouses that store your inventory and ship every order customers place through your online store.
You just need your supplier to ship your inventory to their warehouse and in most cases you pay a fee for every order that is shipped.
This method would cost you $129.00 annually, but if you’re using a fulfilment center to ship your products it’s worth it for the convenience. When you break it down, it works out to only $10.75 a month to have a warehouse team receive, store, package and ship your inventory for you.
Method #2 Print-on-Demand (PoD)
You can create designs and have your supplier prints them onto t-shirts, hats phone cases etc. Print-on-Demand is a service where suppliers print your designs onto their products and ship them out on a per-order basis.
You just need to provide a design for the printed goods whilst the supplier takes care of the inventory and shipping, in return they take charge a fee for every order that is processed.
With Print-on-Demand, the product is only made and shipped once an order is placed. For example if you are selling printed t-shirts, as soon as a customer buys one from your store, your supplier prints the design onto the t-shirt and ships it to the customer. The name “Print-on-Demand” explains the whole process.
Creating designs for your Print-on-Demand store is easy, if you have design experience create yourself. If you’re not a designer you can use Fiverr to find designers who will bring your ideas to life for an affordable price.
Here are two searches for Print-on-Demand designs using Fiverr:
Here are 7 Ideas for Print-on-Demand designs:
- Mental health
- Funny designs
- Birthdays & special occasions (new baby, graduation etc.)
- Celebrations (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Saint Patrick’s Day, Ramadan, Chinese New Year etc.)
- Your own unique brand or designs
When choosing to create a Print-on-Demand store you will need an account with a Print-on-Demand supplier then connect your account with your WooCommerce store. Printful and Printify are both great Print-on-Demand services which will easily integrate with your WooCommerce store.
Method #3 Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a retail fulfilment process where you don’t keep the products you sell in stock. Instead your supplier stores your product and delivers it to your customers.
Dropshipping is similar to Print-on-Demand since with both methods you don’t have to buy any inventory. The difference between the two is that with dropshipping you can sell virtually any product and you have access to thousands of different suppliers.
The most popular and trusted method for finding dropshipping products or suppliers is by using AliExpress and importing the products directly into your store. You simply go to AliExpress and search for a product to dropship, then on the results page sort the results by “Orders” so you are shown the most successful products first.
Once you have found a product you want to dropship you just need to import it into your WooCommerce store. For this you have to install a WooCommerce dropshipping extension and for this you have a few options:
- AliDropship WooCommerce Plugin (recommended) – $89 one time payment
- AliExpress Dropshipping for WooCommerce – $79 annually
- WooCommerce Dropshipping – $49 annually
I recommend the AliDropship WooCommerce Plugin since it’s the most powerful of the three and you only have to pay once instead of a recurring annual payment.
There is a dedicated dropshipping section on this blog post so keep reading for a more detailed breakdown on dropshipping and how it works.
Now that we looked at the three different ways you can start a clothing store with WooCommerce, lets go over the recommended extensions and integrations for your fulfilment method.
Recommended WooCommerce extensions and integrations for your clothing store:
- WooCommerce Shipping (Free) – If you plan to pack and ship orders yourself.
- Shipwire WooCommerce Extension ($129) & a Shipwire account – If you plan on using a fulfilment center.
- Printful or Printify if you plan to use a Print-on-Demand service, plus Fiverr for designs.
- AliDropship WooCommerce Plugin ($89) – If you plan on dropshipping your orders.
- WooCommerce Anti-Fraud ($79) – To detect fraudulent transactions.
Pick a theme for your clothing store
You can use WooCommerce’s free Storefront theme and one of it’s child themes (Galleria or Threads) for your clothing store. However I recommend browsing Themeforest and TemplateMonster for a larger range of themes with diverse styles and features.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for your clothing store:
- Storefront (Free) + Galleria ($39) or Threads ($79)
- WooCommerce Fashion themes on Themeforest
- WooCommerce Fashion themes on TemplateMonster
- WooCommerce Clothing themes on Themeforest
- WooCommerce Clothing themes on Templatemonster
2. Start a catering business, event planning or food business
WooCommerce is a great platform to build a website around a catering or food delivery business. Catering and food delivery are very profitable home business’s and you can combine platforms like Deliveroo and UberEats with an online store to boost your earning potential.
When it comes to starting an online catering business, there are a few things you need to consider:
- Do you plan to deliver your food or have customers collect it?
- Do you plan to offer a “fast food” service where customers can order and get their food within an hour?
- Do you plan to deliver your food using a courier service or by delivering the food yourself?
- If you plan on using a courier service you may need special, temperature controlled packaging.
- If you are delivering fresh or cooked food via courier you will need fast (1 day) delivery times.
Your needs will be different depending on the type of catering business you plan to start. You may also need
7 types of catering or food delivery businesses you can start:
- Dessert and cakes (Wedding cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, birthday cakes etc.)
- Meal preparation service (pre-made, freshly cooked meals, popular with the fitness community)
- Meal kit delivery (seasonings and ingredients, recipes and sauces etc.)
- Confectionery (sweets, chocolates, cookies etc.)
- Freshly prepared/cooked food (Italian cuisine, American food, Afro-Caribbean cuisine, Korean food etc.)
- Events catering (weddings, meetings, ocassions)
- Fast food/Takeaway (Burgers and fries, Pizza’s, Chinese etc.)
There are three main ways you can use WooCommerce to run a catering or food delivery business:
Method #1 Fast food service (delivery a short period after ordering)
Building a food ordering system with WooCommerce is like creating an online store, you add your food items as products, then add the information and pricing.
However you want your WooCommerce store to look like a food delivery site, with food menus and options for extras like sides. Luckily there are WooCommerce plugins that can achieve this.
WooFood is an online food delivery plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce.
WooFood does the following:
- Creates interactive order menus with different design options
- Lets you offer delivery and pickup options for customers
- Links your website to multiple stores
- Automatically sends orders to a store nearest to your customer
- Set a maximum distance for delivery
- Let customers enter their postcode/location to see if delivery or pickup is available (like Pizza Hut and Dominoes)
- Lets you accept or decline orders
- Automatically fill in and complete customer addresses using Google Maps API
- Print order receipts
- Lets you set delivery hours
This is an all-in-one solution for creating a food delivery website with WooCommerce. It is also the most suitable plugin for business owners on a budget since you get many different food delivery features in one plugin.
To install a WordPress plugin or extension, go to Plugins → Add New. Next click Upload Plugin, then scroll down and click Choose File, find the plugin you downloaded and click Install Now. Once installed click Activate to enable the plugin.
Method #2 Courier delivered food
You can create an online food delivery business with WooCommerce and use a courier service to take care of your deliveries. This would work like an ordinary eCommerce business, you list your food items for sale, customers make a purchase and your courier delivers within 1-3 days.
If you plan to use a courier service for your food delivery business, here are a few things you need to consider:
- Fresh, cooked, cold or frozen food may need to be shipped in chilled or frozen, temperature controlled packaging.
- Desserts and cakes will need sturdy and fitted packaging to prevent damage during transit.
When selling food online through a courier service, the less processed the food is, the quicker it needs to reach the customer. For example if you are selling ready made meals, they should reach the customer ideally the next day. In this case, next day delivery is the best option, 2 days at the latest.
However if you are selling highly processed foods like chocolate bars or cookies, 3-5 days is acceptable since these foods take a longer time to degrade than fresh foods.
I recommend that you use a courier that is known for same day, evening and next day delivery in the area where you’re based.
Method #3 Catering by booking only
If you are running an events catering business, taking online bookings may be more suitable for you. This is due to the fact that you will be delivering a larger quantity of food and may need to know additional details such as:
- The number of people that will be served
- Individual orders for every guest
- Food intolerance and allergies
Since you will be dealing with a larger number of customers and placing personal orders, you will need a booking system where customers can choose an available time slot for delivery.
You can do this using WooCommerce Bookings which enables your customers to do the following:
- Make reservations and bookings
- Make bookings via time slots
- Make bookings via date range
- Set time slots as un-bookable for times when you won’t be free
- Set a minimum and maximum number of people per booking
- Offer special pricing for groups, certain days or individuals
WooCommerce Bookings costs $249 per year but it is a powerful online booking plugin for WordPress and should be considered by any serious catering business. When broken down, it works out to only $20.75 per month for a powerful, full-featured bookings and reservations system.
Recommended WooCommerce extensions for your catering business:
- WooFood ($199 one-time payment) – For a takeaway, fast food or same day delivery food business
- WooCommerce Bookings ($249 annually) – For an online catering an events business.
Pick a theme for your catering, events planning or food business:
Finding a theme for your catering, food or events planning business is simple, I have added some theme searches below to help find the right one.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for your catering, events planning or food business:
- Takeaway themes for WooCommerce
- Food themes for WooCommerce
- Catering themes for WooCommerce
- Event planning themes for WooCommerce
3. Start a dropshipping business
If you’re looking for a low cost business idea, you can use WooCommerce and WordPress to start a dropshipping business.
Dropshipping works by selling products that you don’t keep in stock. Instead, whenever an order is placed on your store, it buys the product from a supplier who then ships it to your customer. This way you get to sell online without handling any inventory.
You make money with dropshipping by listing the product for sale at higher price than your supplier.
So if your supplier is selling a product for $2, you list it for $10 and when an order is placed, your store buys the product for $2 whilst you keep the difference of $8.
Since you don’t have to buy or store any inventory, dropshipping is one of the cheapest ways to start selling online. With dropshipping, the only cost you have is setting up your online store.
When dropshipping, you want your store to automate the order fulfilment process and this where dropshipping plugins come in. Dropshipping plugins let you import products from AliExpress to your store, they also take care of the order process, sending orders to your suppliers to be delivered.
I recommend the AliDropship WooCommerce Plugin because of the following features:
- Search for and import products from AliExpress
- Confirm orders with one click instead of ordering manually
- Product information is automatically updated by the minute
- You can choose to search only for products that offer fast and free ePacket shipping
- It automatically checks your orders for tracking updates and emails the information to your customers
- Comes with built-in and customizable themes
- Run sales and offer discount coupons
- Import product reviews from AliExpress for social proof
- It automatically sends follow-up emails to customers who abandon their shopping carts without buying
- You can earn up to 12% commission from every order placed for AliExpress products
- Integrates with WooCommerce
As mentioned earlier (in the clothing business section), importing products from AliExpress is the most popular method. I recommend importing products that use ePacket shipping, this is a fast and free shipping service designed specifically for eCommerce. It’s available for parcels under 2kg and in some cases under 5kg (for the UK).
If you need help finding a top selling product, you can use the AliExpress Dropshipping Center to track a products sales performance.
Recommended WooCommerce extensions for your dropshipping store:
- AliDropship WooCommerce Plugin ($89) – WooCommerce dropshipping plugin with the most advanced features.
- WooCommerce Anti-Fraud ($79) – To detect fraudulent transactions.
Pick a theme for your dropshipping business
When choosing a theme for your dropshipping business it’s best to go for clean, minimal themes. I’ve listed some theme searches below to help you find the right one.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for your dropshipping store:
- Minimal WooCommerce themes
- Dropshipping themes for WooCommerce on Themeforest
- Dropshipping themes on AliDropship
4. Sell online courses
Selling an online course is a great way to make money online with WooCommerce. Online courses can be sold in different formats, they can be sold as videos, multiple choice quizzes, text-based lessons and many more.
The biggest benefit to selling online courses is the fact that it’s a digital product. Digital products only need to be created once, then you can sell it as much you want. Digital products can be hosted online and new copies can be created and sold instantly, this makes it easier to grow your business and make money.
Selling online courses can be very profitable for the following reasons:
- You’ll have higher profit margins since you only create each course once, there’s no need to restock.
- Since courses can be hosted online or easily duplicated, you can sell hundreds or thousands of courses a day.
- It’s much easier to scale a digital product based business. You’ll have less costs than a traditional eCommerce store.
- You get to make money from what you already know.
Below are some ideas for online courses you can sell with WooCommerce and WordPress:
- Technology – Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, Deep learning courses etc.
- Blogging – How to start a blog, marketing, monetization etc.
- Art – Character design, how to draw, how to paint, etc.
- Cooking classes – Vegan cooking, Italian cooking etc.
- Business – How to start a business, how to freelance etc.
- Finance – Forex trading, Cryptocurrency trading etc.
- Design – Web design, Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, etc.
- Entertainment – Music production, piano lessons, guitar lessons etc.
There are two main ways you can use WooCommerce to sell courses online:
Method #1 Sell courses directly through your WordPress and WooCommerce site
Selling courses through your WordPress site using WooCommerce is simple. The team behind WordPress and WooCommerce have built all the tools you need to sell courses online and offer additional physical or digital products all from the same website.
You just need two plugins to start selling courses online with WooCommerce:
- Sensei LMS – A free online education tool with quizzes, lessons, grading capabilities, and more.
- WooCommerce Paid Courses – a premium extension that allows you to monetize the courses you create for just $129.
To install Sensei LMS just do the following:
- Log into your WordPress admin panel and go to Plugins → Add New.
- Enter Sensei LMS into the search field.
- Once you’ve located the plugin, click Install Now.
- Click Activate.
- Click Install Sensei LMS Pages to complete the installation. This will create two new pages on your site: Courses and My Courses:
- Configure the settings by going to Sensei LMS → Settings.
Once you complete the Sensei LMS setup, you will see the following menus in your WordPress Admin sidebar:
- Sensei LMS
Once you have installed Sensei LMS, you just need to purchase and install WooCommerce Paid Courses so you can link your course to a WooCommerce product and sell it.
To install WooCommerce Paid Courses, just do the following:
- Get WooCommerce Paid Courses and download the plugin file.
- Go to Plugins → Add New.
- Click on Upload Plugin and then on Choose File.
- Browse to the location of the woothemes-sensei.zip file that you just downloaded.
- Click Install Now.
- Click Activate Plugin.
Method #2 Create a WordPress and WooCommerce site, then link to an external course platform
You can also create a standalone website and link to a course built with a course builder. For example if you have a website related to cooking, you can create a cooking course on Thinkific or Podia and then link your website to the course.
This option is best for people who need a simple way to create and sell online courses through their site. All you need to do is create your course and then link it to your WordPress site.
For example with Thinkific, you simply link your WordPress site to your Thinkific site or you can link directly to your Thinkific checkout page.
With Podia you can use buy buttons, product cards and text links to sell your courses through your website. You can sell courses through blog posts or any page on your website using this method.
Below is an example of a Podia product card:
I’ve linked some useful resources to help you create and link online courses to your WooComerce site:
- How to create and sell successful online courses with Thinkific (Webinar)
- How to link Thinkific with your WordPress website
- How to create and sell profitable online courses with Podia
- How to link Podia course with WordPress website
Recommended WooCommerce extensions or integrations for your online course business:
- Sensei LMS (Free) – To integrate a Learning Management System to your WordPress site so you can create courses.
- WooCommerce Paid Courses ($129) – If you want to sell online courses through.
- Thinkific (from $49 per month) – Online course creation and hosting platform with certificates, progress reports, memberships, quizzes, and more.
- Podia (from $39 per month) – Online course creation and hosting platform with memberships, quizzes and more.
Pick a theme for your course business
When looking for a theme to use with your online course or site, it’s best to look for themes created for Learning Management System’s (LMS) or online learning. I’ve listed some theme searches below to help you find the right one.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for your course business:
5. Create a membership site or a subscription site
WooCommerce is the perfect tool for creating a membership or subscription based site on WordPress. Whilst membership and subscription sites might seem the same, they are actually different.
Membership sites are websites with gated access to certain content or perks, to gain access to these gated areas, users need to become a member. Memberships don’t have to be sold, in many cases you just need to create a free account to access the gated areas.
Examples of gated content or gated perks include:
- Being able to view the site without seeing adverts
- Unrestricted access to reports, stories, videos or blog posts
- Access to forums and discussion boards
Examples of membership sites include:
- Community sites
- Educational sites
- News sites
- Q&A Sites (Quora etc.)
Subscription sites are websites where a user can buy a access to a service of part of the website by paying a recurring monthly fee.
Examples of subscription sites include:
- Software as a Service sites (SaaS)
- Subscription box sites (Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox etc.)
- Video streaming sites (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc.)
- Premium dating sites
Despite their differences, membership site and subscription site are both used interchangeably due to the fact that a lot of membership sites use a subscription based pricing model. For simplicity I will refer to them both as membership sites
Here are the most helpful plugins for creating a membership site or subscription site using WooCommerce and WordPress:
- WooCommerce Memberships ($199): If you want to restrict certain areas of your site (such as blog posts, videos, pages or products), WooCommerce Memberships is the right choice. You can sell access via a product in your store, restrict content for members only, or grant membership access upon registration. You can also use Memberships to offer product discounts and free shipping.
- WooCommerce Subscriptions ($199): If you want to offer automated recurring billing, you’ll need WooCommerce Subscriptions, along with a subscriptions-compatible payment gateway (Stripe is free to use so I recommend using them).
- bbPress (Free): bbPress lets you add forums to your membership site for member and community communication.
- Teams for WooCommerce Memberships ($129): This plugin adds corporate, family, or team capabilities for your memberships — you can sell to a group of members instead of an individual member, and let an owner manage billing and access for a team.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for your membership site:
6. Create an affiliate store or sell external products
WooCommerce makes it easy to sell external products through your WordPress store. You can add affiliate products for sale or add products that you already sell through services like Amazon FBA.
What is an affiliate store?
Affiliate stores are eCommerce sites that link directly to a product you are promoting in return for a commission.
To create an affiliate store you first need to sign up and get approved for an affiliate program like Amazon Associates for example. You can also sign up to affiliate programs for other products and services as long as they have one.
You then need a WordPress site with WooCommerce installed and an appropriate theme for the products you want to sell. Starting an affiliate store is a great way to monetise your blog, personal website, YouTube channel, Instagram page or Snapchat account.
Creating an affiliate store on WooCommerce works like this:
- Create an online store with WordPress and WooCommerce
- Sign up to the affiliate program for a product you want to sell
- Once approved, add each product to your WooCommerce store
- Get the product links with your affiliate ID, then add the links to the correct products
- Promote you affiliate store to your fans, viewers, readers etc.
Before we look at how to add affiliate products to WooCommerce, let’s quickly look at selling Amazon FBA products through WooCommerce.
Can you really sell Amazon FBA products on a WordPress site using WooCommerce?
WooCommerce lets you sell ANY external product through your store as long as you have the product’s URL. For this example we will look at adding Amazon FBA products to WooCommerce.
If you run an Amazon FBA business, you can create your own branded website and link the buy buttons to your Amazon listings. Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA) is a service provided by Amazon that provides storage, packaging and shipping for Amazon sellers.
Fulfilment By Amazon is simply a fulfilment center service for Amazon sellers who don’t want to physically handle inventory themselves.
That’s all it takes. Adding affiliate products to your WooCommerce is the same as adding any external product, you just need the URL. Le’s look at the process below:
How to sell external products on WordPress using WooCommerce:
Creating an online store for oyur Amazon FBA businessis very simple. Once you have installed WordPress and WooCommerce, do the following:
- On your WordPress Admin sidebar go to Products → Add New
- Add a title for the product you are adding.
- Next scroll down to Product data and select External/Affiliate Product under the Product type drop-down menu.
- Copy the product URL and paste it into the Product URL box
If you’re adding Amazon affiliate products, you can get the URL from your Amazon Associates account dashboard. You just need to search for the product and then click on the Get link button.
Note: If you’re adding Amazon affiliate products to WooCommerce, you need to leave the “Price” field empty, this way users can see the price on Amazon instead.
The reason for this is that price and stock levels for Amazon products can change at any time.
Due to this fact Amazon’s affiliate program policy doesn’t allow you to manually enter price information on your affiliate site.
If you’re adding Amazon FBA products, just copy the link for the listing page. Since you’re adding your own Amazon FBA products you can also add the price information too.
Once you have added the external link for your product, you can scroll back up and write a short description for your product. On the right sidebar, go to Product image to add an image for your product. If you want to add multiple images you can go to Product gallery on the right sidebar.
Once you are done, click the Publish button to take your product page live on your website. To add more external products to your WooCommerce site just repeat this process for each one.
Pick a theme for your Affiliate Store or Amazon FBA connected store:
Minimal themes are best for affiliate stores or stores selling external products. I have linked some theme searches below to help you find the right theme for your store.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for your Amazon FBA store on WordPress
7. Create an online store for your physical business
If you run an offline business, for example a brick and mortar retail store or a mobile service business, starting an online store will enable you to increase your profits. When you take your business online, you are giving your business access to a wider range of customers.
For example, if you run a brick and mortar retail store, having an online store will enable you to sell your products nationwide and across the world. You will greatly increase your customer base and profit potential by giving millions of people access to your products.
Same way if you run a mobile service business, for example if you run a mobile nail salon, you can create an online store and take bookings from a wider range of customers. You can choose to serve customers only in your city or even expand into neighbouring city’s and locations.
Below are a list of offline businesses that can benefit from an online store built on WooCommerce:
- Clothing stores
- Sports equipment stores
- Outdoors and camping stores
- Spas and salons
- Vitamin and supplement stores
- Book shops
How to start an online store for an offline business:
Starting an online store for your offline business with WooCommerce is simple. Once you have setup your hosting, installed WordPress and installed WooCommerce, all you need to do is pick a theme and the right extensions.
Recommended WooCommerce extensions for an online store:
- WooCommerce Anti-Fraud ($79) – To detect fraudulent transactions.
- WooCommerce Shipping (Free) – If you plan to pack and ship orders yourself.
Pick a theme for your physical business’s online store
Choosing a theme for your online store will depend on the type of business that you run. I’ve added some theme searches below to help you find the right one.
Recommended WooCommerce themes for an online store:
There you go, 7 ways you can use WooCommerce to make money online.
I hope you find this guide helpful is monetising your WordPress site. If it did help you, feel free to share this guide with anyone who would find it useful.
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