How to create an eCommerce website in Magento

Today, eCommerce has become an essential channel for every business, retailers are opening their online store to reach target customer more easily and effectively.

You are also seeking for a way to start your own online store but don’t know where to start? There are many choices out there so you hardly can decide which platform should be used to setup your store. Let’s list out some options: Magento, Wocommerce, Shopify, Bigcommerce… So which way to go?

The answer to your question is MAGENTO and here’s why

Let’s take a look at Builtwith’s Data about most popular E-commerce technologies (Builtwith is a website that collects technology data used by websites over the internet).

most popular ecommerce platform

We can see that Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms that occupies 11% of eCommerce websites over the internet. But why we recommend Magento as the platform to start building your online store? Here are some reasons

  • Magento is 100% open source, not like self-hosted platform like Shopify, that means you will have full control over the platform
  • Magento is dedicated to eCommerce, not like Wocommerce, an extension of WordPress to create online store.
  • Magento is flexible. there are thousands of Magento themes and extensions to integrate with your original store. You can craft a store with the functions you want.
  • Magento is scalable, Big brands like Samsung, Nike, Ford, Lenovo are using Magento. That means Magento fit small to large commercial enterprises.
  • Magento has a huge and Supportive community that help you get out of difficulties when using the platform.

Step by Step to create your first Magento eCommerce store

There are 4 steps to create an eCommerce website in Magento, here’s quick Navigation:

STEP 1: Choosing a domain

How to choose a domain for your store

STEP 2: Choosing a hosting

Choosing the best hosting for your store

STEP 3: Install Magento

Step by Step Magento installation for every type of hosting

STEP 4: Tweak your Magento store

Some basic setting for your store

Step 1: Choosing a domain

A domain is crucial for every website because it’s how people will find your Magento website using internet browsers.

domain of a website

A domain is something like this: yourbusiness.comyour-brand.net.

Why choosing a domain is important?

  • It’s your “first impression”: Domain is the first thing people look at to enter your site, so make it good for a positive impression
  • It acts as your brand: On the internet, people will remember your domain as your Brand
  • Domain affect SEO: For new sites, Domain slightly affect SEO of a website as it makes search engine more easily to categorize your website

Tips to choose a good domain

  1. Make it brandable: A brandable domain means that when someone hears or see the domain name, they will think about a brand name of your business. Example: Nike.com, Magento.com, Lazada.com
  2. Make it pronounceablePeople will be more likely to remember a pronounceable domain
  3. Make it shorta short domain is easier to type and remember
  4. Use .com as your domain extension.
  5. Make it intuitive: People can guess what your website content is about from your domain
  6. Avoid trademark problems: Make sure the domain is not violating anyone’s trademarks or the domain might be removed by domain provider if there’s request from the trademark owner.

Where to buy a domain

Domain should be purchased a domain at trusted provider such as:

(price for .com .net .org domain)

After you have got a domain for your store, proceed to step 2

Step 2: Choosing a hosting

Hosting is where you store your Magento website’s data, including Code and Database.

There are 4 types of hosting to choose

  • Shared hosting: Many host share the same server, they run under the same operating system and share resources of the server
  • VPS hosting: VPS also run on the same physical server, but each VPS is assigned with a dedicated resource operating system, more customizable than shared hosting
  • Dedicated hosting: An independent physical server, you own all the resources and not sharing with anyone
  • Managed hosting: Managed hosting can be a shared, a VPS or a dedicated hosting. You will pay an extra fee to the hosting provider, and they will monitor and manage your server to ensure everything is operating smoothly.

There are loads of hosting providers, and they offer similar services. Choosing the most suitable hosting that is well optimized for Magento is a hard task. Since this is the guide for beginner, we recommend starting with the most simple option: Shared hosting on SiteGround with GrowBig plan:

siteground growbig plan magento hosting

For those who are interested in reading more details about choosing a hosting for Magento, we have already released an intensive tutorial here: https://magebeginner.com/best-magento-hosting-reviews

Step 3: Install Magento

It’s effortless to install Magento on a shared hosting with Cpanel and Softaculous application like SiteGround.

Access Softaculous

Go to Cpanel dashboard

Navigate to AUTOINSTALLER section of Cpanel and click on Softaculous

open softaculousIn Softaculous interface, click on Magento 1.9 to start installing Magento to your hosting

install Magento via softaculous Next, click on install tab to enter information

install information magento

Installation setting

Now, there will be 2 section Software Setup and Site Setting

The Software Setup section allows you to choose which platform to install to your site, select as below

software setup

  • Choose the version you want to install: Select the Magento version you want to install, here we use Magento 1.9.3.4
  • Choose Protocol: select HTTPS if you want to run your site on HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol. In this guide, I will install on HTTP protocol as I have not purchased an SSL certificate
  • Choose Domain: select the domain of your online store
  • In Directory: specify where you want to store your Magento code files. If leave blank code files will be placed in root folder
  • Cron Job:  A CRON is a script that is automatically run at certain points. Magento requires CRON to execute its functions such as sending order emails. Here we can set 1 or 2 mins.

Site Setting section allows you to create admin user for your Magento site

site settings magento installation

Here you can define Admin’s usernamepassword, and email. In advanced options, you can create a new database used for Magento site. You can use defaul values in this section.

Once you have finished, click on install to proceed. Wait a few seconds for Magento to be set up to your hosting.

successful magento installation

If the installation is successfully, you will see the URL to access your site as well as Admin URL (Backend)

Click to see your very first eCommerce store in Magento

magento site

To install Magento on VPS Hosting or dedicated hosting, refer this tutorial

Step 4: Tweak Magento store

Now you have a default installation of Magento, there are a lot of things to be done to have a fully functioned Magento store. However, since this is a beginner’s guide, I will cover only some significant tweaks for Magento. More guides can be found at tutorial sections on our site.

We will start with the following basic tweaks to the store

  • Add new product and category to Magento store
  • Configure Payment method and transaction email
  • Display products on Homepage
  • Track and monitor your store

1. Adding new product and category

Adding Category

First, we will start by adding some categories to our new Magento store.

Go to Catalog > Manage Categories > Add Root Category

add category to Magento store

Fill in category name and description and select Yes in Is Active field to enable category. If you have subcategories, click on Add subcategory to add subcategory to the root category

After everything is done, click on Save Category to save changes

Adding Products

Second, we will add some products to our store and assign them to specific categories

Log into Magento backend, go to Catalog > Manage product > Add Product
add simple product magento

In Attribute set, select Default value. In Product Type, we choose Simple Product

Next, we have to complete product information

product information

There are many fields in Product Information section:

  • General tab: Allow to specify product’s Name, SKU, Weight, Tax, Visibility (in search) and Product status. After you complete, select Product status as Enable to enable product
  • Price: here we can set price of product
  • Meta Information: For SEO purpose, this is product page information on search engine including Meta Title, Meta Keyword, Meta description
  • Image: you can upload product Image and set product thumbnails here
  • Description: Description for product on product page
  • Inventory: Set product’s quantity in stock
  • Website: As Magento support multiple stores, this is where you set which store to assign the product .
  • Categories: Set categories for your product

When everything is done, click on Save and Continue to save your product

2. Configure Payment method and transaction email

Payment method

To config payment method of your store, go to System > Configurations > SALES > Payment methods

payment method

Now you can enable, disable payment methods on checkout. Magento is dedicated for eCommerce, so there are many options available here, for example, Paypay, Sagepay, Authorize, Cash on Delivery….

Now we will setup Cash on Delivery payment method. Click on Cash On Delivery Payment and complete the required information as below

cash on delivery

To select multiple countries from the list, hold CRT and left click to select. Click on Save config when you finished

Transaction email

Now we continue with editing transaction email and set which email template and email address will be used to send to customer when they place an order

To create a new email template, go to System > Transaction email > Add new template

new email template

Select a premade template and click on Load template. Here you can see template content which can be edited to suit your business, click save template when everything is done

Now we will set store email address, go to System > Configuration > Store Email Address. Fill in the email you are going to use and click on save config

store email address

Now, the last step. We will define which email address and which email template will be used when customer order a new product.

Go to Configuration > SALES > Sale email

sales emails information

Complete the following fields:

  • Enable: Select Yes to enable sales email
  • New Order Confirmation email sender: specify which email to be used to send to customer when they place a new order, this is the email we set in Store Email Address section above
  • New Order Confirmation email Template: Specify which email template to be used as sales email. Select the template we created in New Email Template section
  • Send Order Email Copy to: Set bcc email to receive sales email

Save changes when everything is set

3. Display product on Homepage

Now we will display the product we created to homepage,

Before we begin, we need to set permission for  ‘catalog/product_list’ block to enable this block to be displayed on homepage. Navigate to System->Permissions->Blocks, add permission for catalog/product_list block as below

set block permission

To display All products on Homepage, do as follow:

Navigate to CMS -> Manage pages > Homepage > Content and click on HTML button to edit content on Homepage

edit homepage magento

Put the following code in HTML editor to display all products on Homepage

Save page and go to System > Cache Management > Flush Magento cache to update setting

flush cache magento

Go to your store and see the result

demo store magento

4. Installing Magento Themes and extensions to Get More out of Magento

As stated in the first part, flexibility is one of the most crucial things that make Magento the best free eCommerce platform. Magento has a huge collection of Magento themes and Extensions in the market including both free and paid versions.

When you’re getting familiar with Magento, you can choose to add many more features to your Magento store to suit your need using Themes and Extensions.

A Magento theme enhances your store’s design, improve customer’s experience which leads to improving the chance of getting sales.

Magento extensions add more or improve the existing features of your Magento store, equip it with the latest technologies of eCommerce. We can run an in-house Affiliate program, Gift Card or Loyalty program by using Magento extensions.

For example: One step check out is one of the best extension that every Magento store owner should get to improve checking experience. The extension reduces payment steps to just 1 step, make it easier for the customer to pay for their order.

There are many places to obtain good themes and extensions:

For Magento theme: 

  • Magento Connect: This is official Magento market place. There is a huge collection of both free and paid themes for Magento, easy to filter by price, popularity.
  • Themeforest Magento theme section: Place for high-quality Magento themes, all are paid theme with excellent support.
  • Template Monster Magento theme: A giant in theme industry and of course, they also provide high-quality Magento themes
  • Other theme providers: Well-know Magento theme providers such as Ubertheme, Rockettheme, venustheme

For Magento Extension

How to install Magento themes and Extensions to your store

You can read the following article to learn how to install Magento themes and extensions to your store

  • How to install a Magento Extension
  • How to install a Magento theme

5. Track and monitor your store

When you got your site up and start selling your product and getting sales from customers, how do we know:

  • What is the source of the traffic to our website?
  • What type of traffic brings the most sales?
  • How long a customer spends time on your site?
  • …..

For me, an essential part of running an online store is understanding the way our store works through statistics to spot Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

I always use Google Analytics for every of my website. This is by far the best free tool provided by Google to help you carry out the analysis in a comprehensive and accurate manner. Here’s an example

analytics for ecommerce

You can track down lots of data, for instance, what is the biggest source of traffic, how much of new users come to your website, how many pages they read before leaving your site. How many transactions they made to your site.

Start Growing your Magento eCommerce store

Now that you have your very first eCommerce website running on Magento platform and you know the basic of running and maintaining an online business. Once become more comfortable with Magento, it’s time to make your business step to next level.

We hope you find this guide helpful and we will keep updating the post with more content so that you will be able to catch up with the latest eCommerce trends and technology.