Creating Products in WooCommerce, Step by Step

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You’ve just been handed a thankless job, listing a gazillion items for sale in your company’s WordPress shopping cart. Maybe I can help — following is a workflow that I put together some time back for my own purposes, managing the product catalog of a small aerospace manufacturer with whom I consult on marketing issues. My experience is with WooCommerce within the Flatsome theme, so your setup might be somewhat different, but at least this tutorial will give you a jump-start. Good luck and I start making money!

Step 1: Create a new product category

(This is the really, really, simple part…)

  1. Go to WordPress dashboard / Products / Categories.
  2. Complete fields under “Add New Category.” Fields are self-explanatory.
  3. Press “Add New Product Category” button.
  4. Add the new category to the website’s menu.

Adding product categories proves especially useful when your prospective customers sort of know what they want but don’t know exactly what they need. By placing categories within your top-level or second-level menu architecture, you make it easy for them to browse the site until they find the perfect selection.

Step 2: Create a “simple” products

For our purposes, a simple product is one that has no variations. It comes in one color, one size, one scent and one design. It is the easiest type to list. If your product has variations, you have two choices:

  • Create a new product for each version, such as “Slinky Black Dress – Small” “Slinky Black Dress – Medium” etc. Each will have its own separate product page.
  • Create a “variable” product. This is a single product page with drop-down lists that let the customer choose from available sizes, colors, etc. I’ll be adding a workflow for variable products at a later date, but for now we’ll confine ourselves to simple products.

Caveat: you will also see many other useful options not mentioned here, but that’s only because I don’t happen to use them myself. Feel free to experiment.

  1. First, Go to WordPress dashboard  / Products / Add New Product.
  2. Product Name. This is the name of your product and also the title of the page. You can call it Cellular Toaster Oven, Overstocked Mars Rockets, or whatever you’re selling.
  3. A Permalink field will automatically appear with the product page’s new URL. You may edit it if you wish. However, it’s not advisable to edit it after you have published the page online, or anyone who has linked to it won’t be able to find it again.
  4. Product Short Description. Scroll down near the bottom of the page to find this text field. (Don’t ask me why, I always thought it should be at the top.) Write your basic sales/teaser copy here. When published, the copy will appear near the top of the page.
  5. Scroll back up to the just below the Permalink. You’ll see a large, unnamed text field. Write a more detailed description of the product, lists of features, specifications or other information that you wish to share. When published, the copy will appear near the bottom of the page.
  6. Easy WP Meta Description. This is a useful plugin that I use. Write a description of the page, not too short but no longer than 155 characters. Sometimes Google and other search engines will display it along with the page title when ranking your page. It doesn’t come with WooCommerce, so if you want this capability, add it (or any one of several other similar plugins) to your WordPress first.
  7. Product Data / General / Regular Price. Insert the regular retail price. Don’t include a dollar sign. If for some reason we don’t want to list the price online — such as if you want the customer to contact you for price quote — leave it blank and don’t enter any shipping information.
  8. Product Data / General / Shipping. Insert weight, length, width, height and/or shipping class if it is necessary for your system to calculate shipping costs; if not, leave it blank.
  9. Product Categories. Check one or more of the appropriate boxes. If you have subcategories, the box will appear indented. For ever box you check, when a customer is looking at that category or sub-category page they will see that product listed.
  10. Product Image. This will be the most prominent image on the product page. Click the link. It will take you to a dialog box where you can either select an existing image in your WordPress media library or upload a new one from your local drive.
  11. Product Gallery. Optional; use only if you have more than one image of the same product that you want to show customers

Step 3: Show they world your genius

When you’re done (or just need to take a break):

  • If you’re not ready to publish the page, press the Save Draft icon.
  • If you’re ready to publish, press the Publish icon.
  • If you’re fixing the $#@! mess that someone made of the page earlier, press the Update button to republish the corrected version.

Now, after you have created one product, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you create another one.

  1. Go to Products / Products.
  2. Locate an already-published page that’s close to what you want the new page to look like.
  3. Press “Duplicate.”
  4. Change the page title and Permalink.
  5. Change the text, categories, shipping, images etc. as desired.
  6. Publish as a new page.

David Arv Bragi, profile picture

David Arv Bragi is a multidisciplinary journalist with experience in health, safety, personal finance, technology, arts and cultural topics. He is also a former team leader and volunteer in community/tower emergency response teams. He currently lives just outside of Bellingham, Washington.