Website Express allows users to quickly and easily create a free website and online store powered by WordPress and WooCommerce.
Read this article for an outline of the steps needed to set up Website Express.
Setting a subdomain
When users first enter Website Express, they are prompted to configure some initial settings, including their business’ name, a marketing tagline, and a subdomain name.
By default, the subdomain will be set to match the business’ name. We recommend choosing a subdomain name that is similar enough to the business’ name that it is easy to remember and recognizable for customers who search for the business online.
Once users have chosen a domain name and tagline, they can proceed to design their site by clicking Next.
Choosing a site template
Website Express comes with 7 site templates that make it easy for users to start designing their site. These templates can be used as a foundation for a site’s appearance and content, and users can edit and rearrange the layout of any template they choose in the following steps.
The templates provided are designed with specific types of businesses in mind. Each template is listed below, along with some recommendations for the types of businesses that each template is designed for. Click on the preview link to see a live version of each template.
- Clothing Stores
- Pet Stores
- Comic Book/Board Game Stores
- Moving companies
- Life coaching
- Private preschools
- Cooking schools
- Associations (Soccer, Football, Academic)
- Marketing Agencies
- Software Businesses
- Home Painters
- Renovation companies
- Maid services
- Handyman services
- Craft Businesses
- Yoga studios
- Fitness centers
- Dance studios
- Niche fitness facilities
Editing the site using Divi Builder
Once a user has selected a template, they can customize the template with information relevant to their business.
To start, users can click to enable the Visual Builder. This will provide users with a visual interface that simplifies the process of customizing the site and does not require writing any code.
Moving the cursor over different elements of the site will reveal editing options. To swap out placeholder images, users can double-click the image to remove, edit, or replace it. All images used in the page are saved in WordPress’ content library, should users want to reuse them later. Selecting the text in any section allows users to edit font, text size, and more. Users can also click and drag the edges of page elements to resize them.
To add another section to a page, users can move their cursor over an unoccupied section and click the plus sign. After selecting a layout and content, the new section will be created.
To save their changes, users can click the purple button at the bottom of the screen and a save button will appear on the right.
Return to the WordPress dashboard by clicking in the top left corner. On the dashboard, users can begin to build and manage their online store using the pre-installed WooCommerce plugin.
Users can find reporting on their site’s traffic, speed, and popular pages in the top left corner of the Website Express dashboard.
Setting up an online store using WooCommerce
Step 1: Create a WooCommerce account
Before a user sets up their store they will need to create a WooCommerce account. They can do this at WooCommerce.com by signing up using their Website Express login information.
Step 2: Follow the Setup Wizard
After creating a WooCommerce account, users will have access to the WooCommerce Setup Wizard to configure their store’s key settings like location information, payment and shipping methods, and types of products sold. Everything chosen in the setup wizard can be changed later in the WooCommerce plugin settings in the WordPress dashboard.
First, enter information about the store’s address, the currency accepted, and whether the store will sell digital or physical products (or both).
Step 3: Choose payment processing methods
Next, users must choose which payments they’ll accept through their online store. Stripe and/or PayPal are available by default, as well as offline payments like checks and cash.
Select the options you’d like to use, and WooCommerce will set them up for you. Extensions that work with further payment processing methods are also available.
Step 4: Choose a shipping method
Users can configure how customers will be charged for shipping. It’s possible to set one rate for a specific business area, as well as other rates for customers outside of the business’ typical service area.
Step 5: Choose optional add-ons
Once the basic settings for the WooCommerce store have been configured, users can review optional add-ons. None of these add-ons are necessary to run the store, but some, such as Storefront, can simplify certain aspects of setting up the store.
Step 6: Finish setup
Before completing the setup process, users can choose to enable Jetpack, a WordPress plugin with additional features that can help in setting up and running the store. This plugin is not required, however WooCommerce recommends that users in the U.S. may want to enable Jetpack given recent legal changes.
After completing the steps above, the store will now be ready for use, and users can begin adding products to it.
Managing an online store using WooCommerce
After installing WooCommerce, two new tabs will be available on the WordPress dashboard’s side menu: WooCommerce–which contains store settings, and Products, containing product settings.
Users can follow the link at the end of the Setup Wizard or go to Products > Add New to begin adding products to your store.
WooCommerce has extensive documentation and tutorials on how to set up, manage, and operate a store, including how to add products, sell and ship them, manage orders, and more. These are linked below.
Add and manage products
Managing a site using Website Express
Backing up and restoring a site
Under the Backups tab in Website Express, users can view a list of backups that are created daily. If a site is experiencing errors because of recent changes, it’s always possible to restore a site to a previous working version using these backups.
Each backup also shows relevant information to help with the decision of which backup to restore a site to, like WordPress version, size of the database, size of the files, and the number of Posts, Pages, and Plugins. Users can restore a backup by clicking the Restore link to the right of the backup they wish to use.
Note that Website Express users can restore their site from only their two most recent backups.