How to run your own, on-demand, almost free online apparel shop for free.
To run your own free online apparel shop, thats right you wont have to pay a dime, not even t-shirts, they will be printed and dispatched on demand as they sell. Fully featured, with customer accounts, sales reports, automated taxes, even an SSL certificate to keep your customers data safe. These steps should take about 30 mins to follow unless you buy a domain then it can be up to a couple of days for a domain to fully park or point at a website.
Step 1 – Aquire free hosting :
First head over to 000webhost.com and sign up for a free account.
Next create a website and name it appropriately.
Step 2 – Install WordPress:
Select install WordPress using the button in the ‘build website’ tab on the left sidebar of the dashboard.
Once installed you will be prompted to create a login for your WordPress site. Once complete the sites admin dashboard will display.
Step 3 – Install Woocommerce:
From here hover your cursor over the plugins section on the left sidebar and click ‘Add New’.
Once the page loads search for ‘Woocommerce’ and install the plugin called Woocommerce. It will take a moment to install, dont navigate away from the page. Once it has installed click activate.
At this point you will have to fill out the Woocommerce sign up form.
Step 3 – Install streetshirts Plugin:
Once complete go back to the ‘add new plugin’ page and search for ‘streetshirts’. Install and activate this plugin as you did Woocommerce.
Now hover over the Woocommerce option in the left sidebar of the admin panel and select ‘streetshirts’, you will now have to complete their sign up form.
Once complete you will be directed to instructions on how to design & upload new shirts & other apparel as products to your store.
Step 4 – SSL Certificate:
Before your website is ready for customers it will need an SSL certificate, there are a few ways to get this.
The easiest and cheapest way is to install the wordpress plugin called SSL Zen. Just search for it on the wordpress dash using the ‘add new plugins’ menu, install & activate it. If you followed these steps skip to the last paragraph of this section to see how to wrap up your site security.
If you buy domain for your shop and use it with Cloudflares free plan and utilise their shard SSL certificate. Or you can pay $14 for a lifetime certificate for your domain.
If you do bite the bullet and buy a domain, you will need to point/park the domain at your web shop. To do this in 000webhosts cpanel go to the ‘tools’ menu, then select the ‘set web address’ option.
Follow the instructions on the right side of this page to park or point your domain.
Once complete go to cloudflare.com, signup, input your newly acquired domain and follow the instructions. This process with Cloudflare does include having to change the name-servers of the domain so it can take up to 48hrs to take effect worldwide.
After that, not only will your website be protected by Cloudflare but will share their SSL certificate.
Once you have your certificate linked to your website then install and activate the ‘force https’ plugin. When active, make sure both options on its settings menu are enabled and save them. Finally, on the left hand side bar, scroll down & click the ‘Settings’ option, now look for the first two settings that are web addresses and add an ‘s’ (without the apostrophes) to both boxes at the end of the http, so they change from ‘http://your-wp-site.com/foo’ to ‘https://your-wp-site.com/foo’.
Well done! You are now the proprietor of your very own free online apparel shop. At this point, all that is left to do is design tees and promote your store. Promotion will be key to acquiring customers, it can be done in achieved in many ways. SEO, ad campaigns, social media campaigns and even traditional marketing like flyers and posters can help. There will be a follow up article on website promotion and SEO.
Dont Stop There
You could make many brands or stores with the steps listed. The Woocommerce plugin is versatile and allows for almost any online retail strategy imaginable, from digital goods & services to subscriptions and drop shipping. Check out https://shop.boejaker.com to see our online business that mixes sales methods using Woocommerce.