A Beginner’s Guide on How to Build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace using WordPress
Welcome to what we believe to be the best online tutorial currently available for beginners wanting to launch their first multi-vendor website.
This in-depth guide is designed to be foolproof. We will cover all the steps on how to build a website like Amazon, holding your hand every step of the way.
Our aim is for you to have your own e-commerce marketplace up and running by the end of this article.
With time and effort, you could even turn your website into a fully operational business, charging online vendors to list products and advertise on your Amazon-style site.
Our tutorial consists of 3 main stages:
- Stage 1. Which Website Platform to use and why (CMS)
- Stage 2. How to choose your Domain name & Hosting provider
- Stage 3. How to Install the Website Platform & Classifieds Theme
Once completed, your Amazon-style website will be ready to accept product listings from vendors anywhere in the world.
In no more than 30 minutes this example website could be yours!
However, before we jump in with stage 1, let’s have a quick reality check.
How to start a business like Amazon – A reality check
Amazon is a multi-billion dollar company, with at the time of writing there are almost 600 million products listed on its website. Jeff Bezos is also currently the richest person on the planet.
This may well be an obvious point to make, but by following this guide you will not be in a position to take on Amazon at its own game.
However, you will be able to create a fully functional e-commerce website that allows independent vendors to list products for sale.
And similar to Amazon’s business model, you will be able to charge vendors advertising or commission fees for listing products on your site.
In short, once your site is launched and you have spent time growing your audience you will have a business generating income in much the same way as one of the most successful enterprises in the world today.
And that’s definitely something to be excited about!
So without further delay, let’s take a look at stage 1 so we can get our website build underway…
Stage 1: Choosing the website platform
We recommend that you use an established website platform to build your site like Amazon in 2021. The platform is commonly called the “Content Management System” or as we will use throughout this guide, the CMS.
Why should you be using a Content Management System for your website build?
The answer to this is simple – a CMS makes things a whole lot easier.
A good CMS will provide you with all the tools you need to create and manage your website, without stepping into a classroom for 3 years (or doing a long online course) on computer code and web design.
The CMS allows the website owner to control every aspect of their site using an intuitive interface, once you log in you can change themes (to control the look of your site) add plugins (to control the functionality of your site) and of course add content such as words, pictures, and videos.
If that wasn’t enough, the world’s most popular CMS (a system called WordPress) is extremely easy to use, while being absolutely free to install.
Why WordPress is the easy choice for your Multivendor website?
Well, we’ve covered two major points already, WordPress is free and easy to use. Let’s dig a bit deeper, however:
- The internet has an almost endless supply of WordPress tutorials (video, written content, and courses) covering everything you would ever need to know about building and managing your site.
- WordPress has a ton of options when it comes to e-commerce. From premium themes (much like we will discuss below); to sophisticated plugins that will do all the work of running a multi-vendor product website for you.
- Your site will be ‘responsive’ meaning it will look good on all screen sizes.
- The company behind WordPress strives to keep it regularly updated. The CMS provides high-quality website performance, functionality, and security.
In this tutorial, you will be shown all the steps to build a multi-vendor marketplace using wordpress.
Now we have covered the basics of the CMS and why you should opt for WordPress, let’s jump in and start building the actual website!
The practical steps for this include:
- Purchasing the best beginner Web Hosting for WordPress
- Registering a FREE Domain Name
- How to install the WordPress CMS
- Installing a Multi-Vendor WordPress Theme to provide all that lovely Amazon-style functionality
- Uploading demo content so that you have a template in place ready for launch
Stage 2: Choosing your Web Host & Domain Name
Now we’re making some progress. With stage 2 you will start the process of purchasing the necessary services to launch your new online e-commerce business; namely your web hosting and domain name.
Let’s take a brief moment to explain those services:
- Domain Name – The domain name is the address that your website uses so that people can find it. www.Amazon.com is a domain name. All websites need one of these.
- Web Hosting – Another essential element of any website is web hosting. This is the service that you use to store all your website data so that users can access your site 24/7.
Note: If you sign up by using one of our links, BuildASiteLike.com will make a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. We use those funds to keep the site running as a completely free resource. We want to continue improving what we offer, adding more valuable guides, and helping you guys get started online.
In our recent in-depth hosting review, iPage was chosen as the best hosting service for beginners available today
They provide very affordable, feature-rich WordPress hosting (along with excellent live support) at an incredible $1.99/month.
They offer a FREE years domain registration. And if that wasn’t enough you can also claim $500 worth of extras on sign up.
You will not find a better web hosting deal than that anywhere else today.
To continue on, let’s purchase the iPage Hosting plan and register a FREE Domain Name.
On the iPage home screen simply click the Get Started Now Button.
On the following screen (below), you will be asked to type in your chosen domain name.
A little about domain names
Now we don’t to scare you about the prospect of choosing a domain, however to a certain extent you will want to consider this carefully.
The name forms part of the branding of your business. It is possible to spend weeks and weeks coming with an appropriate domain name for your website.
However, as you will see below, many are already taken (which makes the process even harder).
Some good resources for finding available names and coming up with ideas are:
The above sites are domain name generators, that allow you to experiment with names and see what is available.
For this tutorial, we will not be purchasing the actual domain, so I typed in “ThisIsMyExample.com”. After that I pressed search.
Good stuff – the domain name is available
Don’t worry, if you receive a message that states the domain has already been taken. This is very common, especially for .com domains. (Although if you settle on something after using any of the domain name generators listed above you should have no problem).
That being said, with new extensions being released all the time, there are still many variations available.
You can either try a different name or maybe opt for a different extension such as .net. In the case of an e-commerce site, you could even try .store
The results page will show you available alternatives so make sure you browse through this for ideas.
Once you have chosen an available domain, click Next, choose my term.
Now you can choose a 1, 2, or 3-year duration term for your web hosting plan.
In our example, we opted for a two-year plan. (The plan total will be calculated for you on the right).
After choosing your term press Next, customize my plan.
Now you will be offered a number of addons for your site.
They are as follows:
- Domain Privacy – Definitely select this. Domain Privacy will put a stop to spammy agencies contacting you to sell their services. With Privacy on, they will not be able to find your details on the registry list.
- Website Security & Daily Backup – Yes here too. This will mean your site is backed up and secured against viruses.
- All in One WordPress Bundle – Don’t bother with this.
- SSL Certificate – Yes here too. From July 2018 Google started to prefer websites with valid security certificates. You will definitely need one for an e-commerce store that takes payment from users.
After customizing your plan, click Continue to Payment.
Well done, Stage 2 is almost complete!
After the iPage payment confirmation, you will be asked to create your iPage login credentials.
With this done, we can actually start building your new website!
It’s time for the final stage…
Stage 3: Installing WordPress & a Multi-Vendor e-Commerce Theme
i. Installing WordPress Using the iPage SimpleScripts
Once you have logged into your iPage control panel you should see a screen similar to the one below:
Click My Installs (SimpleScripts).
On the next page Click WordPress.
The default settings here should be left as is.
Click Install and iPage will kick in to take care of the install for you, (during the install you will be asked to create your WordPress login details, however).
Finally, after agreeing to the WordPress T&Cs, you will click complete and…
Congratulations! WordPress is now installed
We are really getting somewhere now.
However, there is still one more important step to make. We need to install that all-important e-Commerce, multi-vendor market place WordPress theme.
You will see why if you head to the front page of your site: (by entering the domain name; example: mydomain.com).
It’s looking a little empty and devoid of style right now.
Not for much longer, however…
ii. How to install a Multi-Vendor e-Commerce WordPress Theme
With the WordPress installation complete, we can now turn your website into the Amazon clone that you are after.
First, you should log in to the WordPress admin panel. (Do this by adding /wp-admin after your domain name, as in: mydomain.com/wp-admin)
The login page will ask for the credentials you created during the WordPress install. Type these in to see the screen below.
Welcome to the main WordPress admin area.
As explained when we covered the CMS details earlier, the WordPress admin area will allow you to publish new content, install plugins, and with the aid of a theme, give your site the look and function of a successful e-commerce store.
It is also the place where we will install our fancy website theme.
So let’s go and purchase that now…
Where to Buy the best Premium WordPress Themes
[Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.]
There are too many WordPress theme marketplaces to list.
However, when buying a new theme you will want to make sure the market place you are buying from is trusted.
Reputable marketplaces will offer extensive customer support, as well as a strict quality review process on the themes that they list for sale.
The following market places are what we rate as the best:
- Elegant Themes
- Template Monster
- Engine Themes
- Thrive Themes
- Theme Fuse
- Theme Furnace
What’s the best multi-vendor WordPress Theme?
We have come to the conclusion that MartFury is the best multi-vendor WordPress theme available after extensive testing.
Not only does this all-in-one option mean that you do not have to go out and purchase expensive plugins in order to enjoy full e-commerce functionality, but it also provides complete one-click install and comprehensive demo content meaning an absolute beginner can hit the ground running with their new site.
Not only is it novice-friendly, but MartFury also has a whopping 4.92 out of 5 stars average rating. With over 622 sales at the time of writing, this theme is definitely proving popular.
Let’s now visit ThemeForest in order to purchase our new theme.
The link above will take you to the main MartFury sales page.
Click the Buy Now button.
On the checkout page, fill in your First name, last name & email address then click Next.
It is unlikely that you have already signed up to the ThemeForest website; in which case you will be asked to create a username and password
After this, you will need to verify the captcha.
Finally, click the Create Account & Continue Button.
Now you will be asked for your billing details.
Fill in the relevant details and then click Save and continue.
After making payment via the method of your choosing you will receive a confirmation success message.
Now it is time to download your new theme.
Hover over your username (you will find this in the top right corner of the screen) and click downloads.
The MartFury theme should be visible for you to download (similar to the screenshot below).
Click the green download button.
This will reveal two options:
- All files and Documentation – This option allows you to download the theme, licence information and other related documentation, all in one zip file.
- Installable WordPress files only – Click this and you will download the theme files only, in one single .zip file.
We will be selecting option number 2; the installable WordPress files only.
Click and download the zip file to your desktop.
With the siles safely on your local hard drive, head to your main WordPress dashboard again (mywebsite.com/wp-admin).
We will now be returning to the WordPress theme selection page we visited earlier.
Hover over Appearance and then click on Themes.
Installing MartFury into WordPress
This is where your Amazon style will really start to take shape. Very soon we will have a fully functional multi-vendor e-commerce store.
As mentioned earlier, the authors of MartFury have designed their theme so that can be easily installed by absolute beginners.
The video above will show you exactly how that’s done.
Once installed, the video below will show you in just a few simple steps how to upload all the demo content so that you have a fully functional website, just like the one we showed you at the beginning of this article.
Uploading the demo content
An overview of the final steps
To make sure we take you to the very end of the process, here’s a quick overview of what the installation and demo upload videos will cover.
- How to install the MartFury theme.
- How to one-click install all the plugins that came packaged with your new theme
- How to upload all the demo content so that you have a fully functional site ready for launch
Remember, installing the demo content will mean that your website actually looks completely finished. This give you something that you can begin marketing to potential vendors so that they will list their products on your site.
With the demo framework in place, you can add and delete the content as you see fit until you have a website that is ready to receive vendor payments and commission fees.
Watch out Jeff Bezos, there’s a newcomer in town! 🙂
- 9 Essential WordPress Plugins for All Beginners
- MartFury Instructions page
- Official MartFury Author’s Youtube Channel – Lots of helpful guides from the theme authors showing you all you need to know about the MartFury theme.
How was your experience building this website like Amazon? Was the guide easy to follow? Is there anything you would like to see added? Post your comments in the message section below as we would love to hear your feedback.
And finally, if you like what you found here please Share it with friends. It will help us get the word out on what we are trying to do here; getting absolute beginners started online so they can buildaSitelike… 🙂