Enabling WordPress for e-Commerce – Part II: Initial Setup and Configuration

In Part I of this series, I provided an overview of four different free options for integrating an e-Commerce setup into WordPress. Ultimately, I decided to use the open-source YAK (Yet Another Kart) shopping cart plugin. As of this writing, the current version of YAK is 1.0, and WordPress is 2.2.1.

Get WordPress Going

Now it is time to install and configure WordPress. Installing WordPress is fairly easy. If you must install from scratch, WordPress offers a famous 5-minute installation guide. Many web hosts also offer easy, 1-click installation of WordPress. One such host that I recommend is A2 Hosting, as installing WordPress with them literally took about four seconds.

Once you have WordPress installed, choose a theme that you like (or design your own). There are literally thousands of themes available (some much better than others). I prefer simplicity over flashiness, so I settled on an elegant 2-column theme that’s widget ready and includes an “options” page.

No matter what theme you choose, let’s work on making it a little less “bloggy” and more like a traditional web site. 🙂

To Comment, or Not to Comment?

Unless you have a need for “comments” on your e-Commerce site, I suggest disabling comments entirely. Navigate to Options, then Discussion, and uncheck the options about comments:

disable_comments.png

If after disabling comments, your theme shows any indications of “No Comments” or “Comments Off,” you can rip those out pretty easily. Navigate to Presentation, then Theme Editor, and then choose Single Post on the right. Find and delete this little snippet of code (note: you should make a backup of the file just to be safe):

< ? php comments_template(); ?>

Depending on your theme, do the same thing on the file called something like Page or Single Page.

Static Front Page

Newer versions of WordPress have an option to use a static front page rather than display the latest posts. Since all YAK products will show up as posts, it’s wise to use a static front page. Create a new page that you would like to use for the front of your site (I called mine Welcome). Navigate to Options, then Reading.

wp_static-front-page.png

Select your page from the list. Voila.

Bring In the Widgets

If you’re a WordPress user, you probably already know about Widgets. They’re slick little drag-and-drop icons that allow for easily changing your sidebar(s). Here is a screenshot:

wp-widgets.png

For an e-Commerce site, Widgets are the ultimate tool. Here are a few ideas: Create a “Featured Product” widget and rotate it out once a week. Create a drop-down list with links to product categories. Add notices about sales or discounts. The possibilities are endless.

Install YAK

Now let’s add YAK, the backbone of our WordPress e-Commerce site. Install YAK as you would any other WordPress plugin (ManagePlugins — click Activate). Under the Manage menu, you will find a new entry for yak.

manage-yak.png

At this point, you should configure YAK’s Settings to your needs. There’s a plethora of options, but some of the important ones to configure are:

  • Currency Symbol – such as $, £, €
  • Money Format – the format of the digits (decimal places)
  • Currency Format – a combination of the previous two settings (for the creation of a result such as $100.00)
  • Default Country – USA, Canada, Tokelau, whatever
  • Product Category Name – Since each product will appear in a post, you need to set a category for your wares. The default is simply products, which works for me.

Note: be sure to also set a value for the Auto Discount option, as by default to offers a slight discount on all items. Set it to the value of 1 if you do not want to automatically offer a discount.

auto-discount.png

I overlooked this option at first, and this drove me crazy until I noticed it. I couldn’t figure out why none of my prices worked! 🙂

When you are finished, click Update Options. Congratulations, you have finished the initial setup and configuration for both WordPress and YAK.

Part III of this series will cover the fun part: adding products to your site and setting up the payment system. Stay tuned.

Update: Part III has arrived.

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Author: misterIM

Site administrator. Technology enthusiast. Linux lover. As Martin Luther said of me:

He is the master of the (bank)notes. They must do as he wills. As for the other [finance authors], they must do as the (bank)notes will.

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