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It’s 2020 and everyone’s on the internet. Taking your business online is the best thing you can do to ensure long term success. Moreover, if you’ve got products to sell, this is a no-brainer.
So, how do you set up your own e-commerce? Well, sure, you can go ahead and sign up for an amazon seller account to list all your products there. But, is that the best way to go? I don’t think so. Because there’s a better alternative – WordPress.
Wait, isn’t WordPress just a blogging platform? Yes. But it’s so much more than that. It’s versatile and dynamic. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can easily turn it into anything you want; in this case – an awesome and reliable e-commerce website.
Before we go ahead, it’s important that you know how to create a WordPress website. Honestly, it’s not that difficult and you can probably do it in 5 minutes.
WordPress For E-commerce
In this article, I’ll go over some powerful features of WordPress that make it an excellent choice for running your e-commerce website.
Let’s get started!
Getting Started is Inexpensive
Did you know that WordPress, the most popular Content Management System (CMS) on the internet, is totally free to use? That’s good news.
Just to clarify, even though you can get the software for free, you do need to pay for a domain name and a web hosting service. Think of hosting as a home for your website on the internet so you don’t want to skim on that.
You can easily get a domain name for somewhere around $10-$12 for a whole year. Moreover, there are a lot of companies that give you a free domain if you buy web hosting from them.
So, how much does a web hosting cost? The answer is – it’s complicated.
You see, web hostings come in multiple level ups – the more features you want, the more money you’re going to have to spend.
On paper, you can get started with as little as $3 a month or you can go up; all the way to $5,000 a month. It totally depends on what your requirements are and it’s something that you have to decide beforehand.
Plugins, Plugins, Plugins
By default, WordPress is a great piece of software to create capable websites. But, what if it’s not a perfect match for your needs? Enter plugins.
Think of plugins as small addons, bits of codes, that enhance the overall functionality of WordPress. And, there are hundreds to choose from.
Want something to manage your inventory? There’s a plugin for that. What about one for communicating with your customers? Check. Managing your earnings? There’s a plugin for that too.
You get my point, right? WordPress, on its own, is awesome; plugins make it even better. And, choosing the right ones can make your store robust and intuitive.
Just to nudge you in the right direction, here are some of the most useful e-commerce plugins for WordPress:
- WooCommerce: This is the most commonly used e-commerce plugin for WordPress; and for all the right reasons. You can set up and manage the whole store with just one plugin. Moreover, it takes care of a lot of things that are essential for creating a good store – like, security, the responsiveness of the store, payment gateways, reviews, inventory management, and lots more.
- Easy Digital Downloads: Want to sell digital products (music, courses, ebooks, graphic arts, etc.) instead of physical products? EDD has got you covered. It’s easy to use and comes with tons of extension support like payment gateways, recurring payments, reviews, etc.
- MemberPress: This is possibly the best e-commerce extension if you sell digital products based on subscriptions, pay per views, or membership plans.
Picking a theme is one of the most important things you’ll do while setting up your e-commerce store on WordPress.
A theme decides how your website looks and functions. It makes your website attractive and easy to use (think of your menus, sidebars, search layout, etc.). The process of a visitor turning into a customer depends a lot on how easy it is to interact with your website. A proper theme can make this whole journey a walk in the park.
I cannot stress enough on this point – a theme has to be simple, elegant, and easy to use. It shouldn’t overwhelm the visitors with lots of information. Rather, the whole activity of landing on a page and buying a product should be finished in just a few clicks.
And, there are tons of WordPress themes designed with keeping e-commerce in mind – both free and paid – that can do just that.
Security And Support
Security is an important part of any website. But, when it comes to e-commerce websites, its importance shoots up ten-fold since such websites need to store personal information of their customers including records of financial transactions.
By default, WordPress is extremely secure. It’s been around for ages and has undergone a lot of substantial upgrades over the years. Not only that, but the team still works very hard to find new ways to make its platform even more secure.
That sums up WordPress’s part for securing your e-commerce store. But you, too, should take some time to make sure that your website’s security is top-notch. You can do that by:
- Keeping the software (including themes and plugins) updated
- Making periodic backups of the whole website
- Installing firewalls
- Limiting the number of login attempts
Here’s an awesome guide by WPBeginner that explains WordPress security in more detail.
As mentioned earlier, WordPress has been around for a very long time and is used by millions of people.
Creating and running a successful e-commerce store on WordPress isn’t as easy as creating just another website. At some point, you are bound to run into some issues. This is where the WordPress support community comes in.
In fact, there are so many resources to help you out, all you need to do is perform a quick Google search and your problem will be solved. Communities like the official WordPress support, StackExchange, WPBeginner, WP Tech Support, and a lot more.
The point is, if you’re having a problem with WordPress, there’s a high chance that someone has already faced it and there’s already a solution on the internet.
Use The Power Of Blogs To Increase Sales
At its core, WordPress is a blogging platform. You can use this to your advantage. It is highly recommended to start a blog on your e-commerce website. Not only you can explain your products better, but, by implementing SEO in your content, you can attract thousands of potential customers that you couldn’t have otherwise.
Not entirely sold on the idea of incorporating blogging into your e-commerce website? Well, here are a few more benefits that might change your mind:
- Engage with your customers
- Build brand awareness and loyalty
- Improve your social media efforts
- Informative blogs brand you as an industry expert
- People read blogs and reviews before making a purchase online
- Free marketing