Add a WooCommerce Store to an Existing WordPress Site

How to Add eCommerce Functionality to an Existing WordPress Site via the use of WooCommerce and Multiple Installations of WordPress on the Same Domain Name

As much as possible, we try to make WordPress tutorials that answer specific questions our readers have posted via Comments. This tutorial addresses  a number of questions that have come up more than a few times since launching our WooCommerce instructional series back in July 2012.  Specifically, in this Upload WP tutorial we'll attempt to answer John's questions which are as follows…

“My questions are similar to Alexa’s.  In fact, I may be asking the same questions, but since I, too, am a novice I want to make sure I am understanding correctly.  I built a site (thebaukegroup.com) using WooThemes Canvas theme.  Now I want to add WooCommerce to it (specifically, to the thebaukegroup.com/foryou sub-site).  I want to use the WooStore theme for my eCommerce portion of the site.

My questions are:

  • Do I need to set up a sub-domain for my store and use WooStore on that?
  • Or, can I simply add the WooStore theme to my existing site, then have a page that only uses that theme?  Specifically, someone would select the, say, “Shop” page then be able to use the entire WooCommerce/WooStore Shop theme from there?

Thanks,

John”

The answer to John's questions are that both methods work well.  However, simply adding the WooStore theme to his existing Canvas theme business site as a sub-directory is the method we'll show you how to accomplish in this tutorial. Specifically, we'll show you how to install a second version of WordPress (on a sub-directory of the main domain name) and add a fully functional WooCommerce powered store to any existing WP site.

If you have a classic Blog, a Business style site, Magazine style site or any other type of website that is built on WordPress you can easily add an eCommerce store.  This method allows you to display two completely unique WordPress themes on the same domain name while maximizing the functionality of WooCommerce.  Keep your existing WP Blog or Business site intact while displaying the store on a theme that's built specifically for WooCommerce.

This is a win-win solution that offers the best of both worlds.  A simple analogy to physical construction would be that it's like adding a retail store to your existing place of business without disrupting your daily operations.  No one would be effected by the contractors and construction zone because it's being built in a way that keeps your existing business model completely intact.  In other words, this method will not cause issues with your main site because the WooCommerce shop won't be linked up to your main site until its ready.  You can take your time and build the eCommerce addition the right way.

How to Add a WooCommerce Powered Store to an Existing WordPress Site

In the tutorial video below we use an Elegant Themes theme (the Trim theme) for the main demo site.  The URL to view the demo site is; MaKnits.com.  For our WooCommerce shop demo site we use the WooStore theme.  However, it's very important to stress that this process will work regardless of the WordPress themes you use for your main website and store.  If you'd rather test this process out before investing in a premium theme then check out the Mystile theme.  Mystile is an excellent free WooCommerce specific theme that will get you started.

OK… Now that we've laid out the groundwork, it's finally time to explain how to add eCommerce functionality to any existing WordPress site via the use of WooCommerce and multiple installations of WP on the same domain name so let's get started…

Step 1: Install WordPress on a Sub-Directory of the Main Domain Name

To install a second version of WordPress on the same domain name start by logging into your Hosting account. In the tutorial video our hosting provider is BlueHost.  However, it's important to stress that this process will work with just about any hosting provider that makes it easy to install WordPress.

How to Install WordPress on a sub directory Once logged into your Hosting account click on the WordPress simple scripts icon and install it on the following sub-directory…

IF the URL to your existing WordPress site is something like:  YourMainWPSite.com

You would install the second version of WordPress on the sub-directory: YourMainWPSite.com**/Shop

** The URL to you WooCommerce shop will be:  YourMainWPSite.com/Shop (you could also use “Store”)

The WordPress simple script will take over and install the second version of WordPress as the sub-directory YourMainWPSite.com/Shop.  When the installation is complete, make sure to save the log-in credentials because you'll need them to manage your WooCommerce shop going forward.

The URL to access the WordPress admin for your eCommerce site will look like the following:  http://www.YourMainWPSite.com/shop/wp-admin

Step 2: Install the WooCommerce Plugin in the Store WordPress admin

Log into your newly created eCommerce WordPress admin and install the WooCommerce Plugin.  To install WooCommerce go to Plugins > Add New > search for WooCommerce > Install and Activate the Plugin.  After the plugin has been successfully installed and activated create the WooCommerce Pages.

Step 3: Upload and Activate your WooCommerce Specific Theme

The next step in the process is to upload your WooCommerce specific theme.  Once the theme has been uploaded go ahead and activate it.  We use the WooStore theme in this example but any other eCommerce theme will work just as well.

Step 4:  Setup the WooCommerce Store

Obviously, you'll want to have your eCommerce site completely setup before linking your main site to it.  By setup I mean that products have been added, the site has been customized and tested.  The WooStore theme (and all of the WooCommerce specific themes) are highly customizable so making the store look like it matches the color scheme / font scheme of your main site should be relatively easy to do.  It's a good idea to try and make your main site and store as uniform as possible.

Note: Refer to our WooStore tutorials for guidance on setting up your WooCommerce shop.

Step 5: Link your Main WordPress Site to Your WooCommerce Shop

After your eCommerce site has been setup, the final step in the process is to link up your main WordPress site to the WooCommerce shop.  There are many methods in which to link to the eCommerce portion of your site.  In my opinion, the best way is by adding a “Shop” link to your top navigation via the use of Custom Menus.  Most WordPress themes support custom menus in regards to controlling the main navigation of the site.  If your theme does not, then you could always add a link to the side-bar of your main site via the Widgets section in the WP admin.

That's it!  So if you're looking to start selling your own products, then follow the steps above to add professional eCommerce functionality without disrupting your existing WordPress site.  As always, please feel free to ask questions via the Comments section below.

37 thoughts on “Add a WooCommerce Store to an Existing WordPress Site

  1. I don’t see where or how to leave an email, so I’m asking here. First I want to say that I am sooooo glad to have found you Adam! Your videos are professional, easy to follow and great!

    Okay, here’s the deal with me: I’m working on a friends blog. This friend has a regular WordPress.org blog. He made t-shirts that he wanted to add to him blog. However his goal is to sale multiply things on his site, so I suggested he do an ecommerce site using woocommerce. Before adding the subcategory {I think that’s what it’s called} to his blog. I just added the woocommerce to his site. When I did that I used Paypal {and another Payment Gateway}. Things seemed fine in that area. Now though since I’ve added shop as the subcategory and deleted the woocommerce that was on the original site. Paypal doesn’t seem to work. The cart doesn’t check out. Do you have a video that demonstrates more of going through the checkout process?

    Thank you very much 🙂

    • Hi Robert,

      We’re in the process of creating a full tutorial on setting up digital products with WooCommerce. The videos are actually done but we’re still working on the written portion. In the mean time, I’ll give you the links to view video tutorials on setting up digital download products with WooCommerce…

      WooCommerce Digital Download Product Setup Tutorial video 1: http://youtu.be/97s6lMXApiw

      WooCommerce Digital product setup tutorial video 2: http://youtu.be/b9FnffQ2Gxo

      WooCommerce digital product setup tutorial video 3: http://youtu.be/NN6eRjA-X5Q

      Let me know if the videos are helpful and stay tuned for the written portion of this tutorial later this week. Thanks,

      Adam

  2. Teddy, first off thank you for your tutorial, you have been a great help. I’m far from a techie but starting putting together this site spoolstopusa.com. Its a ways from finished and not think ahead, I now realize it’s not responsive and does not work well at all with mobile devices. I tired messing with the theme Hustle but had not luck. I like how this looks but wonder if I should just start over or is they and fix to my problem?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Philip,

      Thanks for your support and positive feedback. It’s very much appreciated! In terms of the theme not being responsive. My recommendation would be to do a quick Google search for “Plugins to make WordPress theme Responsive”. I’ve not yet tested any of the plugins that claim to make WordPress themes responsive but I know there are a few out there. So I would start by looking for a plugin that can help make it responsive. If that doesn’t work then you can go with a new, responsive theme that is built for WooCommerce. I’d start by trying to find a plugin though. Best of luck with your site and thanks again for your support.

      Adam

  3. Hi,
    Your video tutorials are amazing, it has helped a great deal but recently while trying to update some plugins, my sidebars shifted to incorrect positions which has affected every single page. My dashboard now displays this message: Your Theme does not declare woo commerce support. am using sentient theme.

    Thanks

    • Hi – Thanks for your support! It sounds like an issue related to upgrading to WooCommerce 2.0. I’ve not yet tested the latest version of WooCommerce with the Sentient theme so if you’ve found a solution please let us know. Or, if you’re still struggling with it let us know as well and we’ll take a closer look. Thanks,

      Adam

  4. Hi There,

    I’m using the woocommerce framework on a themeforest theme (mayashop). I’ve been following your tutorials, and when I get to part 5 where you set the featured image (which I set to 420pixel x 420 pixels) the image just sits on top of my description and not in a structured way. Can you help me resolve this?

    regards,

    Daniel

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your question and I apologize for the slow response time. I just took a look at your site and was not able to see an issue with the featured image. Have you resolved the issue since posting this comment? If not, please provide more info / be more specific and I’ll take a closer look. Thanks,

      Adam

  5. Hoping you might have a suggestion for my dilemma: I’m working on a woocommerce wordpress site to sell art prints, and they will all have the same two size and ten paper options, with the same price for those options from print to print. I’m hoping I don’t have to enter the same twenty variations’ information for all two hundred prints. Do you know of any way to bulk edit variations or create a template for a product that shares variation options? Thanks for your great tutorials–

    • Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your question. You could use Global attributes or you could duplicate each product.

      Start by creating the first product and use that as the template product. Then go to Products > hover over your template product and click Duplicate. That will copy over all the attributes and variations. You’ll just need to edit the title, long description, short description and images. So if you choose to use the “duplicate” / “Copy to new Draft” option that would work.

      Using Global attributes might be a better / faster option. Create your global attributes by going to Products > Attributes > Add New Attribute (e.g. Size) > then click “Configure Terms” > enter each term (e.g. if the attribute were Size then the terms would be Small, Large, XL and so on). After setting up your WooCommerce global attributes you can go ahead and start adding your products. The global attributes will already be there and you wont need to setup them up for each product.

      Configure WooCommerce Global Attributes

      WooCommerce Variable Product Global Attributes

      Please let me know if this helps.

  6. Hi teddy,

    Great tutorial!

    I’m wanting to use the woocommerce shopping cart plugin that may have some compatibility issues with the OptimizePress theme.

    I thought maybe you could install the shopping cart plug-in on a sub directory install of WordPress. The shopping cart would have to communicate with the main domain so that the membership site would function correctly. For example, when someone buys a gold membership I want them to be automatically registered on the main website as a gold member. I would require woo commerce subscriptions in this case.

    This would require a bit more than just a link in the navbar. It would need some automation to manage registration on my membership site which uses wishlist member.

    Thanks!
    BJ

    • Hey BJ – Thanks for the positive feedback on this tutorial. I’ve not yet had a chance to work with OptimizePress so I’m not sure if it’s compatible with WooCommerce or not. I’m going to go ahead and publish your comment in hopes that someone out there will chime in with thoughts on how to solve this issue. Thanks again for your support! Adam

  7. Hey,

    Wanted to know how I can make my homepage on wootheme to call my original home page on my existing WP site.

    • Hi Evans,

      I’m not sure that I’m understanding your question. Please provide more info on what exactly you’re trying to accomplish and I’ll do my best to help. Thanks,

      Adam

  8. Hello, thanks for offering such great video tutorials. Your YouTube channel is a great way to bring viewers to your website. I’d like to add a WooCommerce store to an existing theme that I purchased from ThemeForest. Is there a way for me to embed shopping content within my existing theme, without having to create a new one? Thanks!

    • Hi Pete,

      Thanks for the complements on our WooCommerce tutorials. Our Youtube channel has played a huge roll driving traffic to UploadWP.com and growing the site for sure. In regards to your question on adding WooCommerce to your existing ThemeForest site. The quick answer is that if your specific theme is WooCommerce compatible then it will be easy to add eCommerce functionality to your existing site without having to create a separate one. What is the name of the theme you’re using? I recommend looking at the specs of that theme to see if it is compatible with WooCommerce. I know that many of the ThemeForest themes do support WooCommerce. If you find that yours does, simply install the WooCommerce plugin and go from there. Just follow our tutorial series on building a professional eCommerce site with WooCommerce.

      If your theme is not integrated with WooCommerce then follow the steps in this tutorial on “Adding a WooCommerce Store to an Existing WordPress Site”.

      Thanks again for the positive feedback and let me know when/if any other questions come up.

      Adam

  9. Great Information! Thank you!
    I've been trying to post a question but I don't think is going through.
    I've already downloaded and activated the plugin WooCommerce and added some of my products. But before I proceed I need to know if I had to have added or created the shop on a sub-directory before activating the plugin? or is it ok to create the sub-directory after downloading and activating the plugin? Thanks for your response.
    Arlette

    • Hi Arlette,

      Thanks for the positive feedback and for your question. It should be ok to create the sub-directory after downloading and activating the plugin. Thanks again for your support.

      Adam

  10. I am new to wordpress (a whole new world).. I have a wordpress website and recently installed Ready Commerce, but am not happy with a few things so I want to change to woocommerce. The Ready Commerce is a plug in. So I am trying to device a strategy that will not dismantle my current store. My plan is to add woocommerce to a subdomain and work on it from there. Or can I do what was described above and create a sub directory. I have been successful using a subdomain without interrupting my current site, but what will happen if I add a cart to a subdirectory and already have a functioning cart on my main wordpress domain.

    • Hi Ellane,

      Since you already have a functioning store built into your current site, the best option is most likely to follow this tutorial on adding a WooCommerce store to an existing WP site. Multiple installations of WordPress on the same domain as demonstrated in this tut will keep your current store intact while you build your new WooCommerce powered estore. When the new store is ready, simply add a link to your navigation to make it live. Let me know if this helps answer your question. Thanks,

      Adam

      • Thank you Adam.. I will move forward as you suggested. I really appreciate your feedback! The tutorial seems straight forward enough as well. Have a Great Day!!

        Ellane

  11. Hello Adam,

    the tutorial is great! Just what I needed. I do have a question. Will this also work if I upload WooCommerce to a subdirectory of a subdirctory which contains my main files. URL looks like this: MySite.com/wp_files/woocommerce_files. Will that work the same? Will it still produce the MySite.com/shop?

    Thanks

  12. Hi
    Just found this tutorial which is just what I was looking for. Thank you. However, not sure what to do with the install of WordPress in my cpanel. It is asking me for Database Name, Table Prefix, Site Name, Site Description etc. In your tutorial you never had to enter anything like this. Question is when you did your install was a new database created?
    Again thanks for your input.
    Kari

  13. Hi, saw the video on youtube, thanks for the upload, very helpful. I was thinking of using the same technique for a new blog on my site because I dont like the blog built into the site. So I was thinking of installing another wordpress blog theme under the subdirectory mywebsite.co.uk/blog

    But I'm thinking – is that going to increase page load time when mywebsite.co.uk is loading because it will be trying to load 2 wordpress installations?
    So to simplify, in your video you have one wordpress install on the main domain and then you install a second for your ecommerce store on the sub directory /shop
    But does that not increase the page load time of your main wordpress site?
    Hope I'm making sense 🙂
    Thanks

  14. excellent tutorial – so easy to follow – was up and running in no time – just got to add products now and market the store and er… all those other things!

  15. Hey Teddy,

    Im working on adding a list of hotels that includes Hotel name, Images, Descriptions, Locations to my clients site. It needs to display hotel information similar to products in a woo commerce site with image and hotel information. However I don’t need the purchase functionality. This will be for display purposed only, as the selling will be done via an agent. Since there are thousands of hotels that need to be listed, this could take some time. I would like to upload all of this information via a spreadsheet. I would like to include image urls as well in the spreadsheet. Is there a plugin thats similar to woo commerce that might accomplish this?

  16. Hello, I am late to this party so I hope you are still answering questions. I am interested in the alternative option you mentioned in the very first part of the article [can I simply add the WooStore theme to my existing site, then have a page that only uses that theme? Specifically, someone would select the, say, “Shop” page then be able to use the entire WooCommerce/WooStore Shop theme from there?].
    I am helping my son’s elementary school set up a shop online to sell lunch. I’m not an expert but I’m the closest thing they have. 🙂 The site already exists and I don’t have access to the domain set-up, etc. which would really be over my head anyway.
    So I can edit the site, add new plugins, add-ons, pages, etc. but that’s pretty much the extent of my authority. I added woocommerce and it seems to work perfectly for creating products and even the payments. But I can’t figure out how to actually create the store on the site…do you have a video that shows the option of setting up a page within the existing site.
    Thank you sooooo much for making these videos. They are extremely helpful and easy to follow.

  17. Hello, thank you for sharing. I have one question regarding this topic.
    In both cases, whether if I installed a second version of WordPress on the same domain for Woocommerce, or on a sub domain. It would be considered a different website with my main one (blog site) right?
    Under both circumstances, is it possible to set up plugins on the homepage of the main website to show product info from the Woocommerce sites? And how to do this, thanks.
    To be more specific, I want to show Features products from my Woocommerce store with thumbnails, product name, price, promotion and all info on the homepage of the blog site. And vice versa, on the Woocommerce site, in the blog/ article section, is it possible to set it up so that it shows posts from my main site?
    Thank you very much.

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