Getting Started on Dropshipping with Alidropship

An Introduction to Dropshipping

Dropshipping is one of the ways to have a business with low startup cost and low risk as well, and Alidropship is one of the most popular means to do it.  Please refer to our post about dropshipping for an introduction. Basically, these are the simple steps defined:

  1. You will find dropshipping suppliers whose products you want to sell with a markup. You then display these products on your eCommerce website.
  2. When someone visits your website and orders a product, you, in turn, place the order with the dropshipping supplier, keeping the difference between what your customer paid you and what you will pay the supplier for your order.
  3. The supplier then takes care of the product packaging and shipping. These suppliers already know you are dropshipping and they will not send any label or identifying packaging that the product came from them.

Simple and low risk right? So are you ready to get started? Here is how to get started with Alidropship.

What is Alidropship?

Alidropship is a company that will provide you with the tools to get you started on the dropshipping business.

Their main dropshipping products are 2 plugins, Alidropship and Alidropship Woo (which works with WordPress’s WooCommerce site). These plugins are to be installed into your WordPress site. These plugins work with their specific free WordPress themes which you will also install.

To keep the explanation simple, what the plugin mainly does are

1) import products from the suppliers of AliExpress into your website,

2) Set automatic price formulas for these products,

3) Lets you place the orders automatically from your website’s backend to the supplier. It also automatically updates the product’s status (price changes, availability).

Not familiar with WordPress website building? Not a problem – Alidropship also offers custom website service and can build your website according to your specific instructions which starts at $299.

Getting Started on Dropshipping with Alidropship

To get started with dropshipping via Alidropship, here are what you need:

A Payment Gateway and A Credit Card

You need a means to accept online payments (credit cards, debit cards, and Paypal). To be able to do that, the two most popular solutions are by having a Paypal account, or Stripe. Stripe however, is limited compared to Paypal. Hence have a Paypal account. Paypal also accepts credit cards and debit cards so once you have a Paypal account, you also can accept credit and debit card payments.

When purchasing your customer’s order from AliExpress, some suppliers do not accept Paypal, so you also need a credit card to purchase from AliExpress.

AliExpress Account

Go to Aliexpress.com and apply for an account because you can only buy from Aliexpress when you have an account with them (no guest ordering allowed).

A Niche or Specific Market

The single biggest mistake when starting out with dropshipping is that one gets too overwhelmed and excited that one tends to put a general store and sell everything possible.  If you have a general store, you will not get an audience of passionate buyers, your targetting is too broad, and hence, you will be spreading yourself too thin. You will hardly get dedicated followers.

Besides, there are already big names with general stores like Amazon, Ebay, etc, and it will be extremely difficult to compete with those. If you have a specific niche, you get a passionate customer base who can remain loyal to you and have more targetted advertising and all.

Research Your Niche

Here are a few ways to research good niches to begin your business:

Google Trends (FREE)

Google trends will show you the interest of the public according to the products you are planning to sell. For example, shall you sell, bags? Wallets? Jewelry? Simply go to Google Trends, type a term on the Explore field, and add these search terms, just like so:

Google Trends will also show interest by region:

and related queries (for e.g. bags: hand bags, plastic bags, etc)

Other good sources of niche research will be Trendosaur and Terapeak, though they are paid services but would be worth it in the long run.

Unicorn Smasher (free)

Unicorn Smasher is a free application that actually gives the performance of products in Amazon, but since many products of Amazon also come from Alibaba (AliExpress’s wholesale counterpart), chances are you can see Amazon products that are also in AliExpress and see what products from Alibaba/Aliexpress are selling well.

It also helps to remember that when dropshipping, US remains to be the biggest market potential, and since Amazon’s biggest locale is the US, any information that Unicorn Smasher can give will be useful.

To use Unicorn Smasher, install it from Chrome Webstore. Once installed, you will see it on the right end of your browser bar as shown below.  Next, go to Amazon, type a product category for e.g. personal blenders then click the Unicorn Smasher app. You will see the top-selling products, revenue, and more:

 

These are just some of the FREE tools for niche/product research, and it helps to really research your niche and decide, because choosing a niche is one of the most important steps you will take. Once you have chosen your niche, the next step is to get your domain name (yourstorename.com)

Get Your Domain Name

Choose your domain name and check for availability. My strongest recommendation is to get it from Namecheap. They have the lowest prices around and simple account interface when managing your domain/s. To get your domain, click here. Once you have an account and have bought your domain, you will need to login to your Namecheap account to connect your domain to your website and this is done after you buy your webhosting, because it is in the webhosting’s control panel that your website’s data will be stored.

Get Your Alidropship Plugin and Webhosting

The next step now is buying the plugin and the webhosting. Their plugin (Alidropship or Alidropship Woo) is a one-time fee of $89, while their webhosting starts at $48 a year.

A common question from newbies is: what is webhosting?

Webhosting is what keeps your website up and viewable on the internet. It is like your rent of internet space. It is within the webhosting’s Control Panel that the website will be created.

There are many webhosting services available, but I suggest when it comes to Alidropship, is to get their webhosting services so that they have access and can address any issue you might have.  To get their plugin and webhosting, click here.

Once you have bought the plugin and the webhosting, they will send you via email the plugins and themes in zip form which you can upload later. But first things first, is connecting your domain with your webhosting.

Connect Your Domain with Webhosting

Once you buy the webhosting from Alidropship,  they will send you 2 nameservers via email. These nameservers will serve to bridge your website in the control panel, and the domain. The nameservers look something like this:

ns29.alidropship.com
ns30.alidropship.com

You need to login to your Namecheap account and copy paste these two nameservers under your domain. When you have logged in to your Namecheap account, look for the domain on the Dashboard, click “Manage” on the right of the domain, and under Nameservers, copy paste the 2 nameservers given:

dns setting

Then click the Checkmark to Save. Your webhost and your domain are now connected.

Once you have done this, send an email to Alidropship that you already connected the domain to their webhosting, and ask them to install WordPress in the Control Panel, the theme, and the plugin. Since there are 2 types of Alidropship plugins and 5 themes, all of which they sent to you via email, you can always change it after they have made an initial installation.

After they finish installing WordPress, the theme, and the plugin, you can now start building your website. You can also skip all this hassle and order a custom store instead.

Which to Choose: Alidropship or Alidropship Woo

As I mentioned earlier, there are two Alidropship plugins: The basic Alidropship plugin and the Alidropship Woo.

The basic Alidropship plugin is compatible with the Rembrandt, Michaelangelo, and Da Vinci themes any of which is very easy to use and customize. Hence the basic plugin is perfect for those who are starting.

The Alidropship Woo plugin integrates with a WooCommerce theme. It is a more complicated theme compared to the basic ones, but it has more features.  For example, more flexible shipping rates and classes, wish list, to name a few. If you have experience with WooCommerce, I suggest you use this one.

Customize Your Website

In a previous post, I enumerated how to go about customizing your WordPress  (WP) website. Since the themes of Alidropship are all WP-based, you can refer to that post for general site customizations, including the recommended plugins. Then, for the basic themes (Rembrandt, Da Vinci, or Michaelangelo), an added portion is the Customization which is actually very intuitive and easy to follow.

This is for the basic themes. For WooCommerce, I will not discuss here anymore because presumably when you choose the Woo Plugin and theme, you already know your way around WooCommerce quite well.

Price Formula

When you The price automatically calculates according to the price formula in your settings. There is already a recommended pricing formula in the basic themes. In the WooCommerce version, you might want to think of your pricing strategy, tapering off the profit margin as the base price goes higher.

Social Media Accounts For Your Store

It goes without saying that, you need to create social media accounts for your business. FB, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, so you can include them in your site.  A lot of advertising and traffic generation come from social media so this step is important.

There will be a separate post for using social media in your business.

Setting Up Your Payment Gateway

For the basic themes, under AliDropship, go to Settings. You need Your Paypal API, Paypal Username, and Paypal Signature.  You can get this by logging in to your Paypal account and go to Seller Preferences.

For the WooCommerce themes, go to WooCommerce>Settings>Checkout>Paypal, and fill out accordingly.

1.Login to your Paypal Premier or Business account and click Seller Preferences

How To Set Up Your Payment Gateway for eCommerce

2. Click API -> Update

How To Set Up Your Payment Gateway for online store

3.  Click Manage API Credentials

How To Set Up Your Payment Gateway for dropshipping

4. Click open each of the “Show”…and..

How To Set Up Your Payment Gateway for an online store

5. On your website’s backend, go to Alidropship > Settings, or for Alidropship Woo, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout > Paypal

How to set up your payment gateway in your online business

6. Put the API Credentials as shown below, and click Save Changes. Now you can accept Paypal,  credit cards, and debit cards. Yay! 🙂

Setting Up Your Payment Gateway for eCommerce

How To Start Getting AliExpress Products on Your Website/Store

Now that you have activated your payment gateway, we can start getting products from AliExpress into your store.

Activate Your Plugin License

When you ordered the plugins, you will receive via email an exclusive LICENSE KEY for the plugin. Copy paste the LICENSE KEY into the Alidropship section of your site’s backend.

How to Dropship wih Alidropship

Once the License is activated, you can now start importing products from AliExpress by following the next steps.

Install the Alidropship app on your Google Chrome Extension

You need this app to be able to import products from Aliexpress to your store. Simply Google for “Alidropship Chrome Extension” and add/install to Chrome.

how to get started dropshipping with alidropship

Create Your Product Categories

Importing products right into the proper categories within your store can be done. Hence before importing products, you need to create the product categories.  So go to Products>Product Categories and start creating. For example, in a makeup niche, the following categories could be Lips, Nails, Eyes, Face, Accessories.

Import Products

In the Alidropship Section, you can start importing products either by creating filters or clicking Use Direct Import which directs you to the AliExpress site. I strongly suggest you use the Direct Import instead of using keywords and creating filters. Reason: there are many other filters you can apply when you are directly in the AliExpress.

When at the AliExpress site, these are the recommended filters

  • Free Shipping
  • 4 Stars and up
  • ePacket shipping
  • AliExpress Sellers Score (located when you click on each product)

ePacket shipping is an affordable or sometimes free shipping that does not take too long (normally 12-20 days). One of the challenges of dropshipping is the long shipping times, from 20-60 days even more for certain countries. This is one of the main reasons for a customer asking for a refund. Faster shipping options are also costly, actually costing more than the product itself 99% of the time, so this is out of the question. With ePacket, it provides free or low-cost shipping that only takes a few weeks.

Make sure when you import a product that you are importing into the right category as shown on the upper part of the page.

Strong tip: Do not EVER use Bulk Import

Never ever click the “Import 30 Items” or so. You would want to scrutinize each product, the corresponding description, and the Seller’s score, wouldn’t you? Choose each product one by one and wisely.

Here you can see I have checked Free Shipping, 4 Stars and Up, and clicked on the upper right gears to set up the country/countries and show only those with ePacket shipping. You can ship worldwide without having to put all the countries on the upper right, putting the US there is just a default setting to show shipping fees.

When you hover over the ePacket bar, you will see if the product has free ePacket shipping or a certain amount. Keep in mind the shipping fee and incorporate it into the total price and declare Free Shipping.

When you click on each item, you will see the Seller’s score. You will not see this when you import items by bulk.

Alidropship Seller's Score

Refine Your Product Listing

After you have imported products, go to your Import List and review/refine each product listing for grammar errors, remove too many unnecessary pictures (which can affect your page’s loading time) and words that should not be there. Some listings say, dropshipping at Aliexpress allowed, or accepting wholesale, or have products at the cost price – you need to remove those!

You also would want to scroll down at the Product Information at the lower part of the product posting and review the attributes.  You can remove the unnecessary information like, dropshipping etc.

Also, review the SEO Title and the Meta Description of each product because this is the information that will appear in search engines or when you or any site visitor uses the social sharing. You can put this when you have installed Yoast as recommended as one of the important plugins you need to install when you first set up your customizations.

Remember the rules about SEO Titles and Meta Descriptions in the WordPress post? Treat each product listing like a post, with the focus keyword, SEO Title, and Meta Description.

Once you have refined everything, click Publish on the right, just like when making posts.

Make A Test Order Before Promoting

Make a test order, order a product for yourself to make sure everything goes well.

Your First Order – What To Do

When you get an order, you will see it in the backend under Orders and an email notification as well. When you get it, here is what you do:

Click open the new order and you will see complete order details plus a PLACE ORDER AUTOMATICALLY on the upper right. Click that (you must sign in to AliExpress to be able to get to the order page in Aliexpress).

Once you sign in at AliExpress, you will be redirected to the order with a Shipping Address. If the Shipping address that appears is NOT the order in question, click the Select Another Address below until you see the right customer details:

Once you select the right customer, proceed with placing an order. When you get to the product page to order, make sure you choose the right and the best shipping option by clicking on the downward arrow: (Choose ePacket whenever available)

 

Managing The Long Shipping Times

The main drawback of dropshipping is the long waiting times. This is the single most important reason why customers ask for a refund. These are the recommendations to manage long shipping:

  1. As much as possible, choose a product with ePacket shipping. If it costs a bit more, just mark up your price to incorporate the shipping.
  2. Keep communicating with your customers weekly just to know you are closely monitoring shipping.
  3. Maintain a good relationship with customers. Have customer activities, collect their birthdays whenever possible and greet them. This can be automated via Mailchimp. When you have a good customer relationship, they will be more patient with waiting times.
  4. When they have started to complain, offer a freebie, like a low-cost item in exchange for waiting out a few weeks more.

What is Dropshipping – Low-Cost, Low-Risk Startup for Newbies

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a good online business model to start with.  There are many dropshippers who have built million-dollar businesses through the years. This is the process simplified:

  1. You have an eCommerce website that displays other drop shipping supplier’s products with a markup already from their price.
  2. When a website visitor orders through your website,  you, in turn, place the order with the supplier, complete with your customer’s details, keeping the difference between what the website visitor paid and what you will pay the supplier.  For example,  on my website, I displayed a product from a dropship supplier that costs $2.00. On my website, I will display it as $6. When a website visitor orders through my website, I will then place the order with the supplier and I keep the $4 difference.  Instant profit. 
  3. The supplier takes care of the shipping of the item. You don’t need to keep inventory, handle products, nor shipping.

Clearly, dropshipping is a low-cost, low-risk eBusiness. You do not need to buy or keep a huge inventory. You only buy the product when the website visitor has already paid you.

This particular business model has a very easy learning curve. This is very important because one of the reasons eBusiness newbies fail is due to information overload that a newbie finds overwhelming and he/she is unable to take action.

What you need to start a drop shipping business:

PC plus a good internet connection

An eCommerce website (hence you need a domain and a web hosting service) that has dropshipping capability. (If you are totally new to website building, don’t worry, most companies offering a dropshipping business  offer website set up for a reasonable fee).

A payment gateway – a way to accept online payments. The simplest way is to open a Paypal account. Paypal accepts both Paypal AND credit cards. Shopify though has a built-in payment gateway so it is indeed an easy set-up with Shopify.

How much will it cost you all in all? It depends on the drop shipping providers you choose, which will be enumerated below.

Some of the popular drop shipping service providers

Alidropship

AliDropship is the best solution for drop shipping  When you sign up for Alidropship, you just need to buy a plugin one-time for $89 (one plugin license per website) plus their recommended web hosting, which starts at $48/year, including an SSL license (an SSL license gives added security to the site, a must for eCommerce stores). Normally an SSL license alone is at least $20 and higher, but with their web hosting, it is free.

 

The Alidropship plugin lets you import products from Aliexpress (which is a big directory of drop ship suppliers) directly into your website, then you can edit the product specifics before making it appear on your store.

Alidropship themes are WordPress-based, so if you know your way around WP, especially WooCommerce, then you can set up your online store easily.   Their 3 Alidropship themes plus 2  WooCommerce themes are all WordPress. If you want to set up your WordPress website yourself, refer to our WordPress post.

Not to worry if you have absolutely no experience with WP.  You can opt to order a custom website, starting at $299. If you want to see the themes, a demo of Alidropship stores, and the success stories click here to know more about Alidropship.

We will post a separate article for Alidropship soon.

Shopify + Oberlo

Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for drop shipping because the store is relatively easy to set up even for newbies.

Once you have signed up with Shopify for your eCommerce store, you will use an app called Oberlo to easily import products from suppliers directly into your Shopify store and once a customer places an order, you place the order with the supplier, who, in turn, ships directly to your customers.

The Oberlo marketplace is where you can find a wide variety of products from suppliers who provide fully automated order fulfillment services.

You can also opt to apply for an account with Oberlo first and once you sign in to your account, there is an easy set up there for your Shopify store. Oberlo has a free starter plan just to try out and get your feet wet and is perfect with Shopify’s 30-day free trial as well. Click here to start with Oberlo. Take a look at this:

dropshipping with Oberlo

Shopify, however, is not just limited to products from Oberlo.  You can also integrate other dropship products from other suppliers.

Your Shopify store has a built-in payment gateway as well; should there be a refund, it just takes a click of a button and the customer gets a refund in 3 days.

They also provide awesome customer support so running your store is worry-free.  Their plan starts with as low as $13 a month for the Basic Package.  You can have a 30-day free trial, set up your store, and pick a plan later. To know how to start drop shipping via Shopify, click here.

We will also post a separate article to know more about Shopify.

Salehoo

Salehoo is a huge directory of drop shipping and wholesale suppliers around the world. You can find drop shippers in your own country that ship internationally. And because they are suppliers from all over the world, chances are you will find products that are not commonly available with other dropship platforms. They have more than 1000 dropship suppliers and 8000 wholesalers.

Access to these dropship suppliers and wholesalers will cost only $67 a year. (only $5.58 a month!) with a 30-day money-back guarantee. These suppliers have been screened and verified for your peace of mind.

They have more than 1.6 million products that they are actually tracking so that you can easily find niches that are profitable, affordable, trending, and low in competition.

You can sell them whether through sites like Amazon and eBay or have an online store yourself.  Though having an online store is a separate added investment, it definitely has advantages.

You can add Salehoo’s products on your site with Shopify, or WooCommerce, among others. We shall post a separate article on this.

Click here to get started with Salehoo.

There are, of course, other drop shipping providers but these are the most extensive in product and supplier reach.

Which One To Choose?

There is no good or bad choice here. You can make money online with any of these – but one thing is certain – whichever you decide to do, you need to consistently do marketing. That includes social media marketing, SEO, content marketing/blogging, email marketing, and a few more marketing ideas.

You can have a purely online store, but without valuable content, without email marketing, your best bet is to consistently do advertising every day and hopefully you gain traffic and backlinks enough to make you rank in search engines.

Then again, the chances of you getting backlinks and traffic are higher when you have articles that offer great information. Information that makes people want to cite your articles on their own websites or share them around in social media for traffic. As I mentioned before, a backlink is when other websites mention your website. How can one do that when they have no interesting content worth citing in other websites?

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Popular Online Business Models

popular online business models

With more people accessing information online, buying things through the internet, the opportunity is increasingly becoming more lucrative online.  There are several business models and this introduction will enumerate the most popular online business models.

Because this is a course for beginners, we will begin with the low-cost, low-risk online businesses, just to get your feet wet and introduce you to the online income opportunity

The Popular Online Business Models Today

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is when you promote other people’s/company’s products with an affiliate program and earn a percentage from the sales bought through your affiliate link. It could be anywhere from single digit to as high as 50% commission or even more.  Some programs even have a recurring commission, especially for subscription products or services.

The main task is, once you are accepted into the affiliate program, you will be given an affiliate link to serve as a tracking for all goods bought through your marketing efforts, and that is all. The company will be the one to take care of product or services delivery.

Most companies with affiliate programs will expect you to have a website to promote their products and accept you to be an affiliate, but not all require it.

We shall have a separate post to discuss affiliate marketing exclusively.

PROS of Affiliate Marketing

  • Low-risk, low-cost startup
  • No need to take care of placement of orders nor shipping; very hands-free

CONS of Affiliate Marketing

  • Sometimes percent commission is smaller, but this varies greatly
  • Needs a lot of promotion, digital marketing

    Dropshipping

dropshippingDropshipping is also promoting other drop shipping suppliers’ physical products through your website. Once a customer orders through your website,  you will, in turn, place the order with the supplier, and keep the difference from what the website customer paid to you and what you pay to the supplier. The supplier takes care of shipping it to the customer.

PROS of Dropshipping

  • Low-risk, low-cost startup capital
  • No need to take care of  shipping
  • Good profit margin
  • Instantly receive profit

CONS of Dropshipping

  • Longer shipping time – 2-4 weeks or more
  • Requires more effort as you will have to watch the orders and place it every time there is a new order
  • Needs consistent promotion

Know more about drop shipping by clicking here.

Private Labelling

Private Labelling is when you order from wholesale suppliers and sell by retail the products with your own private label placed on the product.  Hence, you can have a big company without needing a manufacturing plant nor research and development department of your own.

PROS of Private Labelling

  • Huge profit, you can buy something for let’s say $2 and sell it for $20
  • No need for a manufacturing or R & D team.

CONS of Private Labelling

  • Huge upfront cost since you buy in bulk
  • You need to take care of the shipping unless you find a fulfillment center to do the packaging and shipping, in other words, fulfillment of orders
  • You need to do marketing as well

There is one of these popular online business models that is increasingly becoming the dream of many, and worthy of mention  – Amazon FBA  (Fulfillment by Amazon).  This is when you sign up with Amazon as a seller, ship your private label products to Amazon, and Amazon takes care of putting your products on display on their website (through a listing that you created of course), and Amazon takes care of packaging and shipping.

Because of the huge customer database of Amazon, one need not worry about website traffic and just conduct pay-per-click and giveaway promotions within the Amazon portal.

More details about these online business models will be discussed in separate posts.

 

 

WordPress – Build Your Website [Step-By-Step Tutorial]

WordPress (WP) was a website builder initially for blogging, but it has also added themes that make it suitable for online businesses via their WooCommerce themes. If you choose just to do blogging refer to our related article.

Most websites are using WP (58%) so whether you want to go into an online business or just find jobs as an SEO writer or website builder, chances are, the one who will hire you will likely ask if you are familiar with WordPress, as you will be posting your article on their WP site.

First Task: Installing a Local WordPress site

Before we work on a live site, we can practice building a WordPress website offline by installing a local WP, in other words, a WP site that is only on your PC.

Install a local WordPress site into your PC: by downloading InstantWP here: https://instantwp.com/.  Download either for Windows or MAC.

Once you download it, you will have a file in .zip format. Click that .zip file and extract to a local folder on your PC.   When extracting the zip file into a folder, you might want to choose your Desktop as a destination for your InstantWP folder for easy access.

Once you have the InstantWP folder on your PC (if you extracted it in your Downloads folder, you might want to drag it to the Desktop), click the folder open, and click the one with the icon:

wordpress

When you click that icon pointed above.  This is what you will see next:

InstantWP login for Offline WordPress

Click on the upper right (WordPress Admin) and you will see a login page.  On the login page as it says, use Admin as Username and Password as Password.  Once you log in,  you will see the Dashboard.

Install a Theme

The first thing you should do is install a theme. See Appearance on the left and click Themes

WP Theme Installation

Hover over the theme you want, let’s say the Twenty Seventeen Theme. Click Activate.

Customize Your Site

You can start clicking each section one by one, such as Site Identity. This is where you put your

  1. Site’s Title (your website’s main topic for example). and
  2. any tagline you want,
  3.  even your logo.
  4. Site Icon. Site Icon is the small icon you see on the browser tab.

Just feel free exploring this part. Remember this is an offline WordPress and you can experiment all you want.

Site Identity

Speaking of logos, on your live site, especially if it is an eCommerce site, you want to think long-term, so you might want to think of branding.  You would want to consider getting a logo, and so far the best source is Fiverr. A logo can go as low as $5, and you get to see all the artist’s past work and over-all rating.

Add Your Main Menu

This comprises of the main parts of your website in the navigation bar. Examples are: About Us, Our Company, Our Products, Our Services, Contact Us and so on.

WP Main Menu

You can make the Main Menu by first creating the Pages, the Main Categories, or even Custom Links that will go into the Main Menu. Before you get overwhelmed, here is the step-by-step.

Determine Your Main Menu’s Content

First of all., determine the elements of your main menu and create each element. The Main Menu’s elements are commonly either of the following (1) Pages (2) Custom Links (3) Categories. We need to create all of them first.

  1. For Pages, click on Page on the left, click Add New, then start creating the Pages you want (About Us, Company Profile, Contact Us). Creating WP Pages
  2. Categories – let us say your website has several Products or Services and so your posts will be about them.  Under Posts >Categories.  Create the Categories you need, for example, Products is one category, then Services is another category. In the example below, the Categories I created are: Creating WP Categories
  3. Custom Links: These are URLs of specific pages. This will be done when you get to the Menu Section. To get there, go to Appearance>Menus.          To Create Custom Links: For example, for my main URL https://howtogetstartedonline.com I can type that URL in the space provided and put HOME as the text to appear in the Menu  Creating Custom Links in WP

Add The Elements to Your Main Menu

Now that you have created all the elements you want for the Main Menu, all you have to do now is check all that you want to go to the Main Menu, then click Add To Menu, and click Save Menu after.

Choose Your Top Menu

After you have added all the elements you want in the Main Menu, click on the Manage Location beside the Edit Menu tab on top and choose your top menu by choosing Main Menu, and click Save Changes.

choosing the Top Menu in WP

Add the Widgets

The Widgets are the additional features that you can place on your web page’s sidebar/s or footer mostly. For example, the List of Categories is a Widget, the Recent Posts is a Widget. Go to Appearance > Widgets. It will lead you to this Page:

Adding Widgets in WP

Simply drag the widgets you want to your Sidebar or footer as shown above.

One of the most popular of the Widgets is the Text Widget because there are many things you can do with it. You can put a plain text, you can add an image, or embed a video or the script of your mailer sign up form. Take a look at this footer:

footer

To create this footer, here are the simple steps:

Create the different pages (About Us, Privacy Policy, etc). and get the permalink/URL:

About Us permalink

Then in the Widgets area:

Drag the Text Widget on the left to the Footer area on the right.

Click the Widget open, type in the title (“Company Info” in this case).

Then on the field area type the first one, About Us, then make an internal link out of it by getting the permalink as shown above.

Then Click Save. You have just built the footer.

Footer widget

 

Add the Plugins You Need

Plugins are the added features/functionalities that you want for your website. For example, A Contact Us form, or a Social Sharing plugin, or a plugin that reduces the size of your images, or a Social Accounts plugin. Add the features you need, but just remember plugins also affect the website’s speed, so do not overdo the installation of plugins, and make sure it is Compatible as indicated.

Plugins

Important Plugins

  1. Contact Form for e.g. WPForms
  2. Image Compressing Plugin – e.g. Image Optimizer – to improve site loading speed
  3. Social Sharing Buttons (preferably floating buttons)
  4. Social Links to your Social Pages
  5. Anti Spam e.g. Akismet – block spam comments
  6. Jetpack – Site Stats – know the website traffic, source of visitors (FB? Search Engines>
  7. Yoast – to check the SEO-friendliness of your article as well as sitemap
  8. Backup Plugin – BackUpWp or Updraft
  9. Cache Clearing

Check The Settings

Go to Appearance > Settings. Click on each one just to explore (General, Writing, Reading, etc). Mostly there is nothing there to edit, but you may want to be familiar with these sections.

WP Settings

Launching Your WP site

Get a domain

The domain is your website’s URL (www.mystorename.com). It need not be your website title. Get a domain for your website. My recommended domain registrar is Namecheap. Aside from their low price, the interface is quite easy to use and manage. You can get your domain by clicking here.

Get Your Webhosting

Once you have your domain, you need a web hosting. What is web hosting?

It is the service to keep the website you built viewable on the internet.  In simple terms, it is your rent of the internet space. It can go as low as a few dollars a month or you can opt for the yearly hosting. What are the recommended hosting providers available?

Web hosting Providers

The details here are for the starter packages but you can always upgrade as your business grows.

1. Inmotion

I have had good experience with Inmotionhosting. Price is reasonable and response time is good. For more information, you can visit the Inmotionhosting site.

  • FREE Domain
  • 2 Websites
  • Disk Space: Unlimited
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited
  • Email: Unlimited
  • 90 Day Guarantee
  • Free Data Backup
  • One-Click WP Install
2. Bluehost

with web hosting starting at $2.95 a month (click here for Bluehost).

  • FREE Domain
  • 1 Website
  • FREE Site Builders
  • 1-Click WordPress Install
  • 24/7 Support
  • 5 Email Accounts 100 MB per Email Account
3. A2 Hosting

Starts at $3.92. Click here to know more about A2 Hosting

  • 1 Website
  • 5 Databases
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Unlimited Transfer
  • cPanel Control Panel
  • Free SSL & SSD
  • 99.99% Uptime
  • Anytime Money Back Guarantee
4.  Crazy Domains

 CrazyDomains’s web hosting offers a very low price whether from a single website to unlimited websites. They also have your worry-free managed WP hosting for as low as PHP49.50 to PHP150.00 for 5 sites.  Click Here for Crazy Domains Webhosting rates

 

  • EASY Control Panel
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • 24/7 Friendly Support
  • Instant Activation

Since you are starting you can start with any of the web hosting provider’s basic package, then scale up as you need more space.

Connect Your Domain and Your Webhosting

Now that you have both the domain and the web hosting, the next step is to connect them to each other. That way, the website that you built in the web host’s Cpanel, will show up online through your domain name.

Once you buy a web hosting, the web hosting provider (e.g. Inmotionhosting) will email to you two domain nameservers for example:

ns.inmotionhosting.com
ns2.inmotionhosting.com

What you should do next is to log in to your Namecheap account. On your domain name, you will see “MANAGE” on the right, click that, and on the Nameservers part, choose Custom DNS, then put the 2 nameservers (given by your web host, an example is above) in the fields and click the Check button to save.

dns setting

Your domain and your hosting are now connected (give it up to 72 hours to take effect though or to “propagate”, meaning to be made available on the internet.

Installing WordPress on Your Domain

Now that your domain and your web hosting are connected, you can contact the web host to ask them to kindly install WordPress on to your domain (Yes they can install it for you).

Once it is done, your web host provider will give you a login page to your domain/website, plus the username and password. Typically the login page is www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin

Put the username and password the web host has provided, and you are on your website’s backend.

Now, remember the steps we did in the offline WordPress? Now you can start doing the steps on your live site: Starting with installing a theme.

Next thing you should do after installing a theme is to go to the Plugins section and install a “Coming Soon” page (just make sure it says Compatible with your Version) while you work on the website’s menus, pages, and content. Then start building your website!

Making Your Website Live and Conducting Maintenance

Website Indexing

Once done constructing and inspecting your website, disable the Coming Soon Page and submit your domain name to Google and other search engines for indexing/listing. It takes a few days for your site to be listed on search engines. Here is one of the sites you can submit your domain: http://www.freewebsubmission.com/

Website Updates

Meanwhile, on the backend of your site, plugins, themes or WordPress versions get newer versions so you need to check for updates. Here is where all the updates needed are listed in one page:

Website Updates

Be sure to backup your website first with plugins like Updraft or WPBackUp before clicking on the updates.

Website Monitoring

Get alerts if ever in the unfortunate event that your website goes down for any reason with the free service of https://www.freewebmonitoring.com/ 

It helps to have this monitoring service that will give you an email alert. These are some of the common reasons a website can go down:

  • Webhosting provider’s issues
  • Overuse of resources (too many images, videos beyond the capacity of your web hosting subscription)

 

 

 

 

 

What is Blogging and Why Is It Important to Online Success

blogThe term “blog” came from web + log, wherein a person would write a journal or log on the web.  from weblog it is now popularly known as blog – this is how blogging came to be.

Blogging has become increasingly popular and is the way of influencing people in today’s modern times. There are food blogs (food reviews), fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, travel blogs and so on.

Now, this site is primarily to teach readers to get started with an online business, so where does blogging come in? Why can’t we just create an online store and sell products?

THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOGGING FOR ONLINE SUCCESS

CREATES CUSTOMER INTEREST

A product may not be a need of a website visitor, but with proper and well-written description and information, it has a greater likelihood of convincing the website visitor to buy.

GENERATES LEADS

Let us say I am selling eBooks on Relationships. Will I just go to an online forum to say I have an eBook on relationships? Or will I promote the article I have written in my website about how to win an ex back? Writing articles in your blog thus leads readers to your site.

ESTABLISHES AUTHORITY

One need not be an expert in a particular niche to sell products. But when you have a blog about your niche, it translates to a sense of authority towards your readers.

HELPS IN GOOGLE RANKING

googleLet me start by saying that of all search engines, Google is the most popular, with about 80% of internet users using it as their default search engine. And Google loves useful content – let us say there are 10 new online stores in your niche or market. If all of that were pure online stores,  Google will not really be able to assign authority.   But if you offer good information and valuable content by way of substantial articles, you will have a greater likelihood of ranking over online stores that do not have a blog section.

A study by one online guru showed that longer articles ranked higher in Google. Articles were as long as thousands of words per article even.

 IMPROVES BACKLINKING

What is backlinking? Backlinking is when other websites refer back to yours.  And when you offer good content, other websites will cite your useful content in their website too.  Google perceives this backlink to you as a vote of trust. The more websites linking back to you, the higher you will rank in Google and the more website visitors it will create.

Furthermore, this can make your site go viral. One very good content that people want to keep sharing especially through social media, can suddenly make your website popular.

BLOGGING BASICS – WRITING ARTICLES THE RIGHT WAY

In the past, one just needs to write away.   With search engines, notably Google, updating their algorithm for ranking websites and web pages, one needs to write articles in a way that is friendly to search engines.

So what are the basic skills one needs for blogging?

  1. KEYWORD RESEARCH

    You need to know the focus keyword when writing an article.  You need to know, in particular, which Keywords are high in monthly search volume, but low in competition. In other words, a search term that internet users are popularly typing, but not too many websites are using that search term.  Keyword research is very important because that is one of the ways Google will rank your web page or website. How else will Google know what your topic is about?

  2. SEO WRITING

    What is SEO writing? It is writing articles in a way that search engines love, such as using keywords the right way, structuring articles using headers, images with keywords also “embedded” (alt text) and using internal and external linking.  There will be more about this in the article specifically for SEO Writing.

  3. WORDPRESS

    bloggingIn this site, learning how to blog includes learning at least one website platform, and we might as well learn the most popular, which is WordPress. WordPress is, in simple terms, a website builder.  Why WordPress?

     

    WordPress is the most popular of the “website builders” or content management systems (CMS).  58% of websites in CMS use WordPress, and of all websites around the world, 25% are using WordPress.

    Hence, even if you do not decide to create an online store, learning WordPress is, in itself a potential source of income for blogging. Bloggers with a lot of followers are earning big time from companies. Yes, companies will pay a heavy sum to a blogger with a heavy following, because the blogger has become an influencer.

    Lastly, if you become an expert in WordPress, you can also earn by building websites for others or managing/maintaining sites for them.

    Now that you know the importance of blogging, let us get to the first step – Keyword Research.