A Beginner’s Guide on How to Build a Multi Vendor Marketplace using WordPress
Welcome to our easy to follow tutorial on how to build a website like Amazon. In this guide we will explain everything you need to know, to start your own multi-vendor e-commerce website.
Designed for absolute beginners this guide will hold your hand every step of the way.
Follow the steps in this Ultimate Guide and you will have your own Multi-vendor website up and running by the end of this article.
You will even be able to turn your website into a fully operational business, charging vendors to list products and advertise on your site.
Our Build A Site Like 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 it’s 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 it’s 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: Which Website Platform to use & why
Why do website owners need Content Management System (CMS)?
A Content Management System takes a lot of the complicated, hard work out of building and running a website. As a beginner you will definitely want this.
A good CMS makes getting started online very simple. It will provide you with an easy to use interface where you will be able to design and manage the content on your website, without the need of learning any complex code.
The world’s most popular CMS is called WordPress and is very user friendly. It is also completely free to use.
We will take the lid off of WordPress shortly. First, let’s discuss a little further what the Content Management System does.
What does a Content Management System (CMS) do?
The content management system allows the website owner to control every aspect of their site using an intuitive interface.
In may ways the process is similar to the way you manage your Facebook account.
Once you have logged into your Facebook page you can post pictures, comments and updates all with just a few taps of the keyboard or phone.
The CMS will give you a similar easy to use system to control your website.
From your CMS dashboard you can alter the whole look of your website, add new pages with written content and images, as well as install plugins that will increase the overall functionality of your website.
And remember, we can do all of this without touching a line of code.
The whole system has made web creation available to everyone, no matter their skillset.
Why choose WordPress as the CMS for your Multivendor website?
WordPress is the industry leader when it comes to simple to use CMS. When looking to build a multi vendor marketplace, WordPress really does provide everything you need.
Let’s look at just a few reasons why this CMS should be your go to choice:
- WordPress is completelt FREE and very easy for beginners to use.
- The internet has an almost endless supply of WordPress guides and tutorials 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.
- WordPress is constantly being updated in order to provide superior website performance, functionality and security.
In this tutorial, we will show you how to build a multi vendor marketplace using wordpress.
Now we have coverd the basics of the CMS and why you should opt for WordPress, the rest of this guide will cover the practical steps of building your new website.
This will include:
- Purchasing the best Web Hosting for WordPress
- Registering a FREE Domain Name
- Installing WordPress on to your hosting plan
- Installing a Multi-Vendor WordPress Theme that will give you Amazon style functionality
- Uploading demo content so that you have a template in place ready for launch
Stage 2: Choosing your Hosting & Domain Name
Stage 2 is all about choosing our Hosting Service and Domain name.
Let’s spend a moment explaining these terms:
- Domain Name – The domain name is the web address that leads to your website. www.Amazon.com is an example of a well known domain name.
- Web Hosting – The Web hosting service is what you will use to store all your website data so it is available online, 24/7. Every website needs to have Web Hosting of some kind.
Note: If you sign up by using our links, we will earn a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. We use those funds to run Buildasitelike.com as a completly free resource. We aim to continuing improving the site, adding more valuable guides and helping beginners get started online.
In our opinion, iPage is the best hosting service for beginners available today
The service provides feature-rich WordPress hosting with excellent live support, starting at only $1.99/month.
Not only that, iPage offers a FREE years domain registration as well as $500 worth of extras on sign up.
We have searched around and this is currently the best hosting deal you will find in 2018
So let’s go ahead and purchase our iPage Hosting plan and register our FREE Domain Name.
Once you have reached the iPage home screen you will need to click the Get Started Now Button.
This will then take you to a screen where you will be asked to choose your own domain name.
For this tutorial we typed in “ThisIsMyExample.com”. After typing in your desired domain name, you will press search to see if it is available.
Nice, 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.
However, with new extensions being release 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.
This screen gives you the option to choose a 1, 2 or 3 year term for your hosting plan.
The term you choose is completely up to you. Your budget and how long you wish to own the website for are all determing factors.
In our example we opted for a two year plan. (The plan total will be calculated on the right-hand side of the screen).
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 – Select yes for this. Domain Privacy will help stop spam phone calls and texts from design agencies that have looked at the domain sale database and seen you have recently bought a domain name. With Privacy set to yes they will not be able to contact you.
- Website Security & Daily Backup – We recommend yes here too. These two extras are the most beginner friendly ways of keeping your site backed up and virus free.
- All in One WordPress Bundle – This unneccessary, your chosen theme and our other guides will show you what plugins you need right out of the gate.
- SSL Certificate – Say yes to this. From July 2018 Google will penalise websites in search that do not have 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.
(Note, iPage will display more offers to you. Scroll to the bottom of each page and click ‘no thanks’, until you see the purchase confirmation page).
Well done, Stage 2 is almost complete!
After the iPage payment confirmation, you will be taken to a screen where you can create your username, login password and other security details.
Once you have finished this, you will be able to login to your iPage hosting account by clicking the login button at the top right side of the screen.
Now 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.
You can leave the default settings on this next page as they are.
Click Install and iPage will begin the all important process for you.
Part way through the install you will be asked to create your login details (Username and Password) for the WordPress admin area.
Finally, after agreeing to the WordPress terms and conditions, you can click complete and…
Congratulations! WordPress is now installed
We are really getting somewhere now.
However, there is still one more important step to make.
If you head to the front page of your website (by entering the domain name; example: mydomain.com), you will see only a very basic version of your website.
This is the default WordPress theme in place. With this theme and next to nothing in the way of content, your new website still looks a million miles away from the Amazon style enterprise that you aim to launch.
Not for much longer however.
It is now time to purchase and install your multi-vendor e-commerce theme!
ii. How to install a Multi-Vendor e-Commerce WordPress Theme
With the WordPress installation in place, we can now transform your site into the Amazon clone that you are after.
First we need to login to the WordPress admin panel.
You can do this by adding /wp-admin after your domain name.
Using our mydomain.com as an example; the admin URL would be: mydomain.com/wp-admin
This screen will ask you to enter the username and password, that you chose during the WordPress install process.
Once you have successfully logged in you will see a screen similar to the image above.
This is the main WordPress admin area of your website.
This is where all the behind the scenes magin takes place.
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.
Before we move on to purchase our relevant theme, let’s spend a moment to get aquainted with the theme installation page.
For this you will need to move your cursor to the left sidebar menu and hover over Appearance. Cick on Themes.
The screenshot above is taken from Buildasitelike.com.
We have have many of the default WordPress themes installed, however only one theme is currently active. (A Child Theme; we have chosen this because it allows us to safely customize the site to our needs).
However, to create a website like Amazon we are going to need a something else.
For that we would need to purchase a premium theme.
Where to Buy Premium WordPress Themes online
[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 a ton of WordPress theme marketplaces online. A quick Google search will show you that.
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.
In our opinion, the best Premium Themes can be found at the following places:
- 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 worpress 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, 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, 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.
With all that said, it is now time to visit ThemeForest so we can 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 unlikley 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.
Available Payment Methods
ThemeForest offers 3 secure payment methods; Debit/Credit card, PayPal and Envato Credit.
Debit/Credit Cards and Paypal will incurr a 2$ surcharge. To avoid this you can add credit to your Envato account, and pay via that instead.
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 on 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 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… 🙂