How to build a domain marketplace

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Creating a domain marketplace using WordPress

Building your own domain marketplace isn’t as far out of reach as you think.  If you are new to WordPress or web development the learning curve can be somewhat steep.  I taught myself how to build WordPress websites and marketplaces which took me a long time to get comfortable with the functionalities and learn a bit about SEO.  The following guide will help you to understand the process of building a domain ecommerce site from hosting to launch.

Website Hosting

Hosting is a crucial part of building a website and the hosting provider you choose is just as crucial.  I have used a couple of different hosting providers over the years but have found HostGator to be my go to.  Host Gator offers great customer service and affordable monthly hosting.  If you don’t have a hosting acct I recommend trying HostGator.  The following coupon will save you 99% on your first months hosting fees so you can try it for just $1.  Copy and paste this coupon  (1dollarhosting).

If you are just a beginner, you will be fine just getting a starter hosting plan.  WordPress is also great for setting up email accounts for domains if you are planning to email potential buyers about purchasing your domain.

The starter hosting plan at HostGator offers you unlimited storage space and email accounts and you can add as many domains to your plan as you’d like.  You will also be given a free $100 Google Adwords gift card to help to promote your site.

Creating a domain marketplace WordPress site

After successfully creating a hosting account, you will be given login credentials to access what is called the cPanel (Control Panel).  The cPanel is the central hub you will use for creating your WordPress site and also has lots of other tools and templates you can use to promote and manage your new WordPress site.

Step 1: Adding domain to cPanel

The first thing you need to do is add your domain name to your hosting account or you can purchase a new domain through Host Gator for around $10 usd.

To add a domain to your Host Gator cPanel scroll to the DOMAINS section in your cPanel and click on the “Addon Domains” link.

Enter the new domain name, enter a password and other info and click ADD DOMAIN.   Now that you have added a domain to your cPanel, you will need to adjust the name servers in the DNS section at your domain registrar.  The host gator name servers to use for your account can be found on the front page of the cPanel in the left hand bar near the bottom of the page.  It may take some time for the name servers to change with your domain registrar.  You may need to clear your browser cache before you see any changes.

Step 2: Installing WordPress for your domain marketplace

Now that you have added your domain and have updated the domains nameservers with your registrar, you need to install wordpree for your domain name so you can start building your domain marketplace.

In the front page of your cPanel near the bottom under SOFTWARE AND SERVICES you will find a “Quick Install” icon.  Click this icon to install WordPress on your domain.

On the next screen you will find links to multiple platforms for building websites.  In the main menu you will find

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • PrestaShop
  • WHCMS

Since we are building a WordPress site we will obviously click the WordPress link in the main menu.  I may write additional tutorials later on about building sites with the other platforms so be sure to check back.

After you click on the WordPress menu you will be taken to the WordPress installation page, click the “INSTALL WORDPRESS” button to install WordPress for your domain marketplace.

Step 3: Logging into your WordPress site

The easiest way to navigate to your new WordPress site to login as an administrator is to type the following in your browser:

http://domainname.com/wp-admin

type your domain name and extensions followed by /wp-admin at the end.

  • For basic WordPress user training I suggest the training articles over at SiteGround

Step 4: Choosing a WordPress theme

There are free themes and there are paid themes for WordPress and you need to decide which theme you want to use.  Each theme offers different functionality and some may not be best for creating a domain marketplace because we will be using a plugin for WordPress called Woocommerce.  There are free Woocommerce compatible themes available for free and I would suggest first using a compatible theme.  Here are a couple FREE WordPress themes that are compatible with Woocommerce.

  • Storefront – Great theme to use for a domain marketplace, get it free here
  • Mystile – Another good theme to use, get it free here
  • Wootique – A powerful theme for ecommerce websites, get it free here

Note:  You will need to download the theme you choose as a zip file to later upload it to your wordpress site.

Step 5: Uploading your WordPress theme

In the sidebar of your WordPress site you will see a section called “Appearance“, hover over the button and then click on the Themes option.

In the themes section you will see that there are already 3 themes included with your WordPress installation.  You will be installing a different them.  At the top of the themes page there is a button called ADD NEW, press this and upload the theme you downloaded as a zip file earlier.

Note:  Some themes that you download need to be extracted and re-zipped as the theme content is a separate folder inside of the downloaded zip file.

Step 6: Adding WordPress plugins

For the purpose of this domain marketplace we only need to upload the Woocommerce plugin.  There are many other good plugins you can use for SEO (Yoast SEO Plugin), graphics and effects on your site, opt in forms and anything else you can think of.

So, to upload the Woocommerce plugin so we can display and manage products you need to go to the Appearance tab and click on plugins.  Just like the theme upload now you need to upload a plugin.  Once you have successfully uploaded the Woocommerce plugin you will see a woocommerce tan and products tab on the left screen navigator in your admin dashboard.

Step 7: Adjust site settings

In your admin dashboard under the Appearance button there is a “customize” option.  Click this option and you will be taken to an editing screen where you can change your websites logo, change which page is displayed as your home page and other options like background colors and site title and tag line.

You can adjust the settings whoever way you prefer but the key setting for the store will be to set your shop page as the homepage.

Step 8: Add products

Now that you have done some basic editing to the customisation of the site you can start adding domain names or products to your shop page.  At the top of your screen there is a button (+New) click this and choose “NEW PRODUCT”.

Add your domain name as the title of the post.  On the right sidebar you can add a featured image which will be the product image or domain logo that will appear on your shop page.  You can add a description of your product and set a price for it.  Repeat adding new products and build up your store.

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