So you want to build an auction site?
It can be a very profitable model, but there’s one thing you need to know first…
This is a complex website. There’s no way around that.
In order to build a successful auction website, you’ll need a variety of tools. The good news is that you don’t need to hire developers to get all the functionality for your site.
Here’s what you need to build the auction website.
The tools you need
You can think of an auction website as a modified eCommerce website.
In other words, you’re making a regular eCommerce site to start with, but instead of static offers, there are timed offers. Additionally, you may want to have members list their own products for sale. This adds a lot more complexity to the site, but it’s still doable.
To build this site, you need the following five things:
- A domain
- Web hosting
- An eCommerce WordPress theme
- An auction plugin
With that made clear, let’s talk get into the specifics of each requirement.
Get a domain name
You’re probably familiar with domain names already, but let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
A domain name is the address of a website. For instance, this is the Compete Themes website and the domain is www.competethemes.com.
You can think of your domain name as your site’s digital real estate. It’s like the land you’ll build your website on. Before you can do anything else, you need to purchase a domain name.
Now, the hard part isn’t affording it. In fact, it’s only going to cost you $8-15 per year. The challenge is in finding a name that is still available. That’s why I’ve put together a step-by-step guide that will give you tips for finding an excellent, available domain name.
You’ll learn some of my favorite tricks for scoring the perfect name for your site.
Once you have a domain name picked out, you can get a live website very quickly.
If your domain name is like property then hosting is like electric and plumbing.
Your site needs to be “hosted” in order to load and function when someone arrives at your domain address.
There are tons of hosts to choose from, but the one I recommend for new WordPress users is Bluehost.
Bluehost is the hosting company I used for my first WordPress website nearly 10 years ago. I’ve recently tried them out again and they still offer a solid, reliable service.
When you signup with Bluehost, you’ll get to register your domain for free. Even better, they’ll automatically create a WordPress site for you. You don’t actually need to do anything besides create a Bluehost account to get a live WP site.
This is all going to happen fast, so just to summarize…
The next step is to take your basic WordPress site and transform it into an eCommerce website.
Create an eCommerce store
WordPress has basic publishing and member functionality built-in, but for more advanced features, it uses plugins.
Virtually all eCommerce WordPress sites use the same plugin for this functionality: WooCommerce.
WooCommerce will allow you to add products and sell them from a store right on your site. It’s a comprehensive solution and like WordPress, it can be further extended with more plugins.
Not every theme supports WooCommerce, so you’ll want to make sure you pick out one that does. All 19 of our free themes have full WooCommerce support, so give them a look. You might also like our collection of the best premium eCommerce themes.
Once you have WooCommerce and a new theme installed, you’ll have your shop online.
Now, of course, you don’t want a regular eCommerce store, you want an auction website. This last step will transform your regular product pages into live auctions.
Add an auction plugin
To add the auction functionality, the most popular solution is WooCommerce Simple Auctions.
This plugin is made to work with WooCommerce and will allow you to create full-fledged live auctions.
Some of the awesome features included are:
- Reserve prices & buy it now
- Set start and end dates & times
- Widgets for ending soon and featured auctions
- Email notifications
- Full auction history
With this plugin added to your site, you’ll have all the functionality you need to create a live auction website.
You can find more WooCommerce auction plugins here if you want alternatives.
Updates for a marketplace
This guide was written for an auction website where you, the site owner, add and manage all of the auctions. However, if you want to create a site like eBay where members add their own auctions, that’s possible too with a few changes.
You’ll still use Bluehost, WooCommerce, and whichever eCommerce theme you’ve selected. In fact, you’ll still use the WooCommerce Simple Auctions plugin too.
In addition to the existing tools, you’ll install the Dokan plugin to add the multivendor marketplace features you need.
Your site needs to give members detailed profiles and an interface they can create and manage their auctions. Plus, they’ll want data for their sales history and Dokan includes all of those features too.
While the WooCommerce Simple Auctions plugin gives you, the site admin, the option to create auctions, your members won’t have these options available in their interface yet.
In order to allow members to create and edit auctions, you’ll need the Dokan Simple Auctions plugin as well.
To summarize, if you want to create a site like eBay where members create auctions, you’ll need all of the original tools plus Dokan and Dokan Simple Auctions.
Yes, it’s quite a lot of products, but to be fair, a multivendor auction marketplace is a very complex website, and this is by far the cheapest and easiest way to build it.
Prepare for launch
With all of the tools added to your site, you’ll have all the functionality you need.
It will take some time to learn the ins-and-outs of WordPress and the various plugins and themes, but you’ll never have to touch a line of code or hire developers.
Once you’ve got a working website, you can begin recruiting members and you’ll be turning a profit before you know it!
If this guide on building an auction website with WordPress helped you out, or if you know someone else who might enjoy it, please share it before you go.