How to Create an Online Software Store using Code Review and the Crosswinds Framework

If you’re selling a software product — be it a traditional piece of software or something like a WordPress plugin or theme — you’re going to need to build a website for it. Here’s how you can use the Code Review theme to create that amazing website.

a person working on code on a laptop with three other monitors behind the laptop

If you’re selling a software product — be it a traditional piece of software or something like a WordPress plugin or theme — you’re going to need to build a website for it.

Let’s be real, if your software product doesn’t have a website, it basically doesn’t exist in today’s world.

And more importantly, it’s the best way to sell your product and manage any license key functionality you might have with it as well.

The good news is that the tools for building your software product website continue to get better and easier to use.

That includes the Code Review theme from the Crosswinds Framework. The theme is a WordPress block theme, meaning that you’ll be able to build and customize your entire website right in your dashboard — no coding needed!

And Code Review is built specifically for software product websites, from support for both Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce and their many add ons to sell your product to patterns that allow you to quickly create amazing landing pages that will drive sales and more.

So let’s walk through how you can create the perfect website for your new software product using the Code Review theme and WordPress.

Why You Should Create a Website for Your Software Product

The reality is that you really need a website for your software product. In today’s world, if it’s not online it basically doesn’t exist.

People are always searching Google for a solution to a problem that your software solves. So if you don’t have a website for your software, Google won’t know that it exists and therefore won’t show it to people in searches where it should appear.

It’s as simple as that.

And with the way tech is these days, having your own website for your software products gives you a ton of control.

You don’t have to worry about some marketplace taking a large percentage of the cut for each sale you make. You control how your product is displayed, what is shown and how everything looks. And you can do things like add a blog or create a video library to show how it works.

A website for your software product allows it to get found in Google searches and gives you all the control you need to build an amazing website for it.

Why Use WordPress to Create a Your Software Product

So why should you use WordPress to create your software website?

For starters, WordPress is an open source content management system. In short, that means you own your content. You’re not renting on someone else’s proprietary software. Wix or Squarespace or Shopify might be a good place to start, but at the end of the day you’re at the mercy of what they decide. And migrating away from them can be a challenge.

With WordPress, once you download the code from, you “own” the code. You can take your website anywhere you want and move from web host to web host if you need to.

Also, you can customize everything on your website. The new site editing features in WordPress core allow you to change colors and fonts, customize your headers and footers and build all of your pages right from your dashboard. There’s no code that you need to stress or worry about.

Plus, there is a wide array of plugins (both free and paid) that you can install and use on your website. As you’ll see, there are a number of different plugins that you can use to sell your software and manage updates for them to (if they are WordPress plugins and themes). And there are tons of other plugins that allow you to help your SEO, add amazing forms, add security to your website and so much more.

WordPress allows you the freedom to create an amazing website for your software product(s) that you truly own and completely customize. It’s the perfect fit for what you need!

Easy Digital Downloads vs. WooCommerce vs. Freemius

There is a lot of debate in the WordPress world about what is the best tool to sell software products.

Personally, I still find Easy Digital Downloads to be the best.

It’s built specifically for this kind of thing, unlike WooCommerce. You don’t get all of the extra bloat that you get with Woo. Instead, EDD simply focuses on selling digital products, including software.

And while Freemius is an enticing option, at the end of the day, they take a pretty sizable cut of all sales, especially if you’re just starting out (it’s 27 percent on the first $1,000 of sales). Whereas out of the box EDD is free.

Now, there is the pro version of EDD that is $500 per year at it, but that comes with everything that EDD offers, which includes an incredible library of add ons that can add so much functionality to your site.

There’s a software licensing addon that allows you manage licenses and updates for any WordPress plugins and themes you sell. And there’s an add on for recurring payments, extra payment gateways, invoices and so much more.

At the end of the day, using EDD allows you the most amount of control and flexibility for your software for the best price.

Why Use the Code Review to Create Your Software Product Website

Now why is the Code Review theme the best theme for your software website?

Code Review is a block theme which allows you to tap into the new WordPress site editor tools. That means you’ll be able to create and customize your entire website right from the dashboard and not have to worry about pesky CSS, HTML or PHP.

You can change the fonts and colors to match your branding. You can choose a header and footer you want or build your own. And you can create a homepage that is unique and perfect for your business.

And you can do it all through your dashboard.

Plus, Code Review is built specifically for software websites. It has built-in support for Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce. There are tons of patterns where you can show off features and screenshots for your software for people to see and help convince them to buy it.

And there are over 200 patterns in total that you can use to craft absolutely amazing pages throughout your website.

It’s the perfect way to create a software website that you can completely customize without having to deal with any more code than you have already.

Create a Plan for Your Website

Before you start to create your business website, you first need to create a plan for the website. After all, if you don’t create a plan, you’re basically planning to fail.

And the good news is that your plan doesn’t have to be formal or complicated. In fact, just writing down some of the most important parts in a Google Doc is completely fine.

Here are some of the most important things that need to be in your plan.

First, think about what you’re going to need for this website. You’ll need copy for your homepage, other pages and download pages, and you’ll probably need at least screenshots of your software in action and maybe even a video or two.

Next, you’ll need a number of different add ons from Easy Digital Downloads for licensing and managing updates (if you’re selling WordPress products) as well as dealing with Recurring Payments, connecting your store to other marketing tools and more.

And finally, you will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting. But we’ll talk about those two things in the next sections.

Purchase a Domain Name

Now that you’ve created a plan for your website, the next step is purchasing a domain name.

You can take a much deeper dive into the world of domain names and how to pick the perfect one in another blog post, but here’s the short version.

While there are a bunch of top-level domains (i.e. .com, .org., .store., etc.) that you can choose from, it’s generally the best idea to choose a .com domain (it’s also generally the cheapest).

Also, you’ll want to come up with a bunch of different domain names in case your first one is already taken. And considering how long the internet has been around, there’s a good chance that several of your ideas have already been taken. It never hurts to have too many domain name options.

Next, make sure that your business name is in the domain name. This will help both customers remember your website and it can help with search engine optimization.

Finally, when you have your list of domain names, you can purchase the domain at, Namecheap and Hover among other domain registrars.

Select a Web Host

Once you’ve got your domain name, it’s time to choose a web host.

This is probably going to be your biggest decision to make with your software website.

If you choose a good web host, you’re going to have a wonderful time with your website. You won’t have to worry about whether or not your website is up and running. You won’t have to stress if your store suddenly takes off and you start selling a lot of products all at once. And if things do go wrong, you’ll have people dedicated to helping your website get back up and running.

But if you choose a bad web host, you’re going to have a really bad time. Your website will likely go down at all of the wrong times. If you suddenly become a viral hit, your website might not be able to handle that load. And good luck getting quality customer service to get your website back up and running in a timely fashion.

You can dive deeper into each of your options for web hosts in this blog post.

But for this guide, I highly recommend using WP Engine, Pressable or A2 Hosting to host your website since these hosts are built with ecommerce in mind and have tools to help your online store succeed.

Setting Up Your WordPress Website

Once you’ve purchased the domain name and web hosting, it’s time to get started with setting up the website.

The good news is that any web host that’s worth anything will either set up the website for you when you make your purchase or have a one-click installer for you.

Once the website is set up, let’s dive into the settings.

In the general settings you’ll be able to set your site title and site tagline as well as make sure the administrator email is set to your email. You can also customize the date and time format used throughout the website and the language.

In the reading settings you can choose to set a specific page to be your homepage. We’ll come back to this one when we get around to creating the homepage.

There are also settings for discussions and comments as well as for writing new content. Those aren’t super important, but feel free to go through them to see what they do and whether or not you want to change them.

The last group of settings is permalinks, and these are pretty important. They set how the URLs for your post, pages and other content are built. WordPress will not automatically add redirects if you change the permalinks later, so you really need to choose now how your permalinks will look. Personally, I like using the “post name” style of permalinks.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you delete the “Hello World” blog post since we don’t really want people to see that post.

Adding in the Code Review Theme

Now that you’ve got your website all set up, it’s time to start to turn it into your perfect software website. And you’ll start by adding the Code Review theme to your website.

To get started, go to “Appearance” in the left-hand menu in the dashboard and then select “Themes”. In the themes screen, hit “Add New Theme” and then hit “Upload Theme”. First, you’re going to need to select the zip file for the Crosswinds Framework as this is the parent theme for Code Review.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to go back to the “Upload Theme” screen. You’ll then need to select the zip file for Code Review that you downloaded after you purchased the theme. If you need to download any of the zip files, you can access it from your account page. Then hit “activate” after it’s been installed on your website.

Now that the theme is installed and activated on your website, it’s time to start customizing the theme to match your branding and what you want for your online store.

To get started, go to “Appearance” and “Editor”. This will open up the site editor for your website. Here you’ll be able to choose a style variation that matches or comes close to what you want, or you can go to “Colors” to change the colors manually to be whatever you want them to be.

You can also change the fonts for your buttons, headings, links and regular text. You’ll also be able to change how various blocks look at a global level.

Finally, you can choose the header and footer you want or you can build and customize your own. And you’ll be able to edit every template, from the default page and post templates to all of the other templates without having to deal with PHP or CSS.

To really take a deep dive into just what you can do with the site editor, you can check out the other blog posts I wrote about it or check out the website.

Adding in Easy Digital Downloads to Your Website

Once you’ve got the theme set up, it’s time to set up the Easy Digital Downloads plugin so that you can sell your software as well as manage updates and any licensing you might need for your software.

If you’re using the free version of EDD, you can simply go to the Add New Plugin screen and add and activate the plugin that way. If you’re going with the pro version, you’ll need to download that ZIP file from your EDD account and upload it to your website.

Once you’ve got it activated, you’ll want to go to the EDD settings screen and set up all of your settings. Most of the settings are pretty self explanatory, but make sure that you connect your store to your chosen payment gateway and that you set the email content for all of the different situations where EDD would send an email.

Also, if you’re going to install any add ons, like the software licensing, recurring payments, etc., now is a great time to do that so that you can set those settings for your software products as you’re adding them to the site.

Once you’ve got the settings for the store all set to your liking, it’s time to add in your software products. Adding downloads in EDD is as easy as creating a new post or page. You’ll add in the name of the download as the title and then create the content for the download page just like a new page.

Code Review comes with several different full page patterns you can use to get started with a layout for your downloads or you can use the various other patterns to create your own layout.

After you’ve added in the content, you’ll need to add in the download file and fill out the remaining settings, such as price, version number, etc.

When you’re satisfied with how it looks, hit publish to make the download live. And continue this process until you’ve added in all of your software products.

Adding in Other Plugins

Now that you’ve got the store already to go, it’s time to add in other plugins to help your website.

First, you’re going to need to upload the Crosswinds Blocks plugin that you got when you purchased Code Review. You can download the zip file from your account page and then upload it by going to “Plugins” -> “Add New Plugin” -> “Upload Plugin”, and then activate the plugin.

Once you’ve done that, there are some other plugins that I would highly recommend you use on your website.

First, I would use the Yoast SEO plugin for your SEO. There’s a free plugin that you can use, but I definitely recommend getting the premium version so that you have access to their WooCommerce SEO add on, which will be a big help for your software website.

Next, I use the Site Kit by Google plugin for analytics. This makes it super easy to connect your website with Google Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager and other Google website tools.

Also, I personally recommend using Gravity Forms for forms on your website. It’s a really powerful forms plugin and there are integrations with WooCommerce, so you can create amazing forms if you want.

Another cool plugin is Block Visibility, which allows you to show or hide blocks based on any combination of factors like logged in or logged out, screen size and more.

Finally, I recommend using Wordfence for security on your website. Again, I think it’s worth paying for their premium product since you’re running a website, and that protection will be more than worth it.

You can also add in plugins for events, social media and almost any other type of functionality you want to add to your site.

Finish Creating Your Website

So now that you’ve got your website set up, Easy Digital Downloads installed and set up, landing and product pages ready to go and those plugins added, it’s time to finish creating your business’ website.

Don’t worry, you’re almost to the finish line!

Setting Up Your Header

If you haven’t done so already, make sure you take the time now to finish setting up your header through the site editor.

The type of header you choose is completely up to you, but there are a few things you should have.

First, the text needs to be legible. Second, make sure you have a menu that includes your top level pages and makes it really easy to navigate through your website.

Finally make sure you have a call to action button, like “Get Started Now” or something similar, in the header as well.

Also, putting your basic contact information in a top bar variation of the header is not a bad idea either.

If you haven’t set up your footer yet, now is the time to do so as well.

Like the header, the variation of footer that you choose or build is completely up to you. You’ll just want to make sure that it includes some of the following items.

First, make sure you have the copyright date and info in your footer and that it stays updated. The Crosswinds Blocks plugin has a copyright block that does all of that for you.

Next, make sure you have at least one menu in your footer. Really, if you have a large website, using menus in one of the multi-column footer variations would be a great way to help your customers be able to navigate through the site.

And finally, make sure that you have contact information in the footer, including email address and maybe a small contact form. And make sure to keep this information updated if it ever changes.

Additionally, you might want to have links to your social media profiles here in the footer as well.


The good news is that Code Review comes with several different homepage patterns you can use for your homepage. All you need to do is choose one of them from the modal that appears when you add a new page or through the “Homepage” patterns category in the patterns selector. Then you’ll need to add in your text and images.

Or you can use a combination of hero section patterns, features section patterns, products section patterns and other patterns to create your perfect homepage.

Either way, your homepage should include images of your software in action, a brief bio of what your software does, your software products, a hero section with a large image, enticing text and a call to action button and whatever else you think you need for your website.

When you’ve created your homepage, you will need to go back to the Reading settings page and select this page as the static homepage for your website.

About Page

Your about page is a chance for you to tell the story of how your software product came to be, why it exists and how you help people find what they need.

So use this as an opportunity to really talk about yourself.

The good and bad news is that there’s no one real right way to create an about page. It’s all up to you.

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your about page.

First, make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct. Really this applies to your entire website, obviously, but definitely make sure everything is right on the about page. Nothing ruins the mood more than bad spelling and grammar.

Next, be sure to add in images and even a video if you have one. A wall of text can be a challenge to read. So break it up with images that help tell your story.

On a similar note, make sure that you don’t have paragraphs that are massive walls of text. Break them up into smaller chunks that are easier to read. And contrary to what you might have learned in school, one sentence paragraphs are perfectly fine.

Finally, it’s a good idea to include a call to action at the end of your about page. Take the reader to a page you want them to see, like your store page. Don’t just leave them on the about page. Otherwise they might just leave your website.

Team Page

If you’ve got a team of people working on your software products, you’ll probably want to show them on a team page.

The good news is that Code Review makes it easy for you to quickly create a team page. It’s one of the patterns that appears in the modal when you create a new page or you can find them under the “Team Members” patterns category.

You can add a photo of the employee, their name and title, a bio and even contact information if you want.

Contact Page

Finally we have the contact page, and it’s one of the most important pages on your website. If someone has a question about your software, they are going to need to use this page to ask you that question.

Your contact page will need to have your phone number, email address, links to social media profiles and maybe a contact form (especially if you don’t want to post your email address).

Code Review includes several contact page patterns you can use. You can find them in the modal that appears when you create a new page or under the “Contact Us” patterns category.

Taking the Website Live

Now that you’ve created your software website and everything looks perfect and ready to go, it’s time to take your website live!

How you take your website live will depend on your web host. In some cases all you need to do is just let people know that your software website is live. In other cases, especially with WP Engine, you need to change the domain for your website. Be sure to check with your web host ahead of time and reach out to them if you have any questions.

But once your website is launched with your domain, it’s time to let people know about it. 

Be sure to post about it on your social media channels. Put up signs in your store letting your customers know that you have a website. Add it to your signature in all of your emails. Basically, tell anyone that will listen that you have a website.

Also, make sure you add your sitemap to Google Search Console. If you’ve set up the Site Kit by Google plugin, you should now have a Search Console account. So go in there and add in the sitemap for your website so that Google will index it and it will start to appear in search results.

But congratulations! You’ve finished creating your software website!

What to do After You Launch the Website

So now that you’ve created your software website, you’re completely done with your website, right?


The thing about software websites (and all websites really)  is that you need to be active in managing them.

Since you’re using WordPress, you’ll need to make sure you’re updating WordPress core, plugins and themes on a regular basis so that you keep them secure (and get the latest and greatest features).

You’ll also need to be updating your information, especially if you change addresses, contact information or hours of operation. Otherwise you risk showing potential customers the wrong information.

Another thing you’ll need to do is work on your SEO so that more and more people find your store from search results. That might include writing more blog posts, improving your linking strategy and other things. If you have Yoast SEO Premium, you should have access to their courses which can help guide your strategy.

What you specifically have to do after you launch your website will depend on the software you’re selling and your website. But just know ahead of time that your website will not be complete with the launch. You will still have to manage it for as long as it’s on the internet.

Start Building Your Amazing Software Product Website Today with Code Review

So, are you ready to get started creating your software product website with Code Review? Awesome!

You can click the button below to purchase Code Review and take the first step to building your website. In addition to the theme, you’ll also get the free Crosswinds Blocks plugin, which will add even more functionality to your website with over 20 new blocks.

And you won’t be alone while you build the website. You’ll get an onboarding sequence to help you learn how to use the theme and show you what you can do with it. Plus, there are guides and tutorials that can help you if you ever get stuck.

So take the first step towards building an amazing software product website by purchasing Code Review today!