Installing the WP e-Commerce plugin
At this point, you should already have WordPress installed. If you do not, please visit http://wordpress.org/download/ to grab the latest version. Some web hosts also offer a one-click install of WordPress via cPanel or another control panel.
Installing the WP e-Commerce plugin is no different than installing other WordPress plugins. There are two ways to do so:
- Directly from the WordPress Dashboard
- Manually using your favorite FTP program
Installing from the WordPress Dashboard
This is by far the easiest and most convenient way to install new plugins for WordPress. All you need to do is log in to your Dashboard, expand the Plugins menu in the left-hand side column, and click on Add New, as shown in the following screenshot:
In the Search box that displays on the resulting page, ensure that Term is selected as your search option, and perform a search for e-commerce. The WP e-Commerce plugin should be one of the top results. The following screenshot shows the Search Plugins option:
All that’s left is to click on the Install button, and WordPress will handle the rest of the installation for you. The following screenshot shows the search results with the WP e-Commerce plugin on top:
If you prefer the tried-and-true method of installing plugins manually, that’s also an option. First, download the latest version from:
or use the alternate download site:
Next, decompress the downloaded ZIP archive with the tool of your choice. We should now have a folder called wp-e-commerce, as shown in the following screenshot:
Using your preferred FTP/SFTP program, we need to upload that entire folder to the wp-content/plugins directory on your server. See the following screenshot to view the wp-e-commerce folder properly uploaded next to a few other plugins:
The full path to the wp-e-commerce directory should be:
Now that we have successfully uploaded the plugin, let’s activate it. Open your web browser and log in to your WordPress Dashboard. Under the Plugins section, you should now see an inactive plugin called WP Shopping Cart, as shown in the following screenshot:
Click on the Activate button to enable the plugin. On the left-hand side of the WordPress Dashboard, we now have a new section called Products, as shown in the following screenshot:
Congratulations! You have now taken the first crucial step in building an e-commerce site. Let’s now continue paving the way for our shop by addressing some functional and cosmetic issues within WordPress.
Installing third-party themes
One of the major strengths of WordPress is how easy it is to customize and alter. This is especially true with regard to themes. If you have the knowledge, experience, and patience to build a theme for your site completely from scratch, you are more than welcome to do so. For the rest of us, it’s easy to install and tweak a pre-built third-party theme.
The official site for previewing and downloading WordPress themes is: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/. As of this writing, there are well over 1,000 themes available. Most third-party themes are free, though a number of so-called “premium” themes are also available at varying price levels.
For our upcoming music shop, let’s select a free theme. One popular and appropriate option is the Crafty Cart theme (http://bit.ly/crafty-cart). This theme just happens to be designed with the e-Commerce plugin for WordPress in mind, making it a solid starting point for our shop. Another nice feature is that it’s completely free to use for both personal and commercial purposes.
No matter which theme you choose, all third-party themes can be installed in one of the following two ways:
- Through the WordPress Dashboard
- Manually via FTP