First thing which platform should I choose? I think the easiest way to build a webshop is to use a CMS system. Because the CMS systems are very popular and well-tested systems. And these systems are easy to use and easy to customize. I advise you to choose WordPress. Why? I’m a software developer, so I can use any CMS system easily, but my customers can’t use most of the CMS systems. My experience is my customers can learn WordPress in a short period and they can use it easily without my help. And you will see at the end of this article WordPress is very user friendly.
Second thing how can you setup a shop? After you install WordPress to your host (I recommend to use Fantastico installation, this is the easiest way) you should install a webshop plugin. But which plugin? I always use “WP e-Commerce”. It’s free and easy to use. Int he past few month the developers have made big changes int he plugin. I think the plugin now very comfortable and easy to use. So I recommend to install this plugin. After the installation you can upload your products. This plugin will automatically save your products from thefts. The plugin will rename your uploaded products, so nobody will find the products on your host by name. And every customer will get a time limited download link. You can setup the time limit.
You can extend the plugin features with premium plugins like: Amazon S3 plugin, Members only plugin, DropShop etc. So I think this plugin is a good choice and you can use it for free.
Third thing how can you customize your site? WordPress is a very flexible CMS system. You can easily change your theme (the appearance of your website) and install plugins. You can choose from many free themes. And I recommend you to extend your WordPress with a few very useful plugin:
- All In One SEO plugin – setup easily your SEO settings
- All In One Webmaster plugin – setup easily Google analytics or Google webmaster and other statistic softwares
- WP Security Scan – checks your WordPress website/blog for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions
- Secure WordPress – beefs up the security of your WordPress installation by removing error information on login pages, adds index.html to plugin directories, hides the WordPress version and much more.
- Bulettproof Security – protects your website from XSS, RFI, CSRF, Base64, Code Injection and SQL Injection hacking attempts. One-click.htaccess WordPress security protection. Protects wp-config.php, bb-config.php, php.ini, php5.ini, install.php and readme.html with.htaccess security protection. One-click Website Maintenance Mode (HTTP 503). Additional website security checks: DB errors off, file and folder permissions check… System Info: PHP, MySQL, OS, Memory Usage, IP, Max file sizes… Built-in.htaccess file editing, uploading and downloading.
- Exclude pages – This plugin adds a checkbox, “include this page in menus”, which is checked by default. If you uncheck it, the page will not appear in any listings of pages (which includes, and is usually limited to, your page navigation menus).
Of course you can install more plugins to make your shop more user-friendly like share buttons or automatic backup plugin. That’s all. Your shop is now up and running!