All new entrepreneurs want to succeed. Unfortunately, not every business reaches success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of startups don’t survive the first year. Lack of funds, bad marketing, ineffective partnerships, wrong target market, and insufficient research are the reasons new businesses fail.
However, the pandemic gave businesses a level playing ground. Everyone needed to use the Internet to reach their target customers and leverage technology to deliver their products and services.
In some ways, the pandemic made the widespread adoption of e-commerce inevitable.
E-commerce success doesn’t happen overnight. Part of that success is knowing how to create, design, and use a company website. WordPress, the premier software for website development and designing, makes it easy for businesses to have their e-commerce site. Easy and free to use, WordPress allows business owners to manage their e-commerce sites with utmost flexibility.
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system that supports various website types, including blogs and e-commerce sites. A fourth of all sites on the Web use WordPress because its features promote ease of use and flexibility.
WordPress offers a wide range of themes, some of which are specifically designed for online stores. It allows business owners to customize their website’s look, functionality, and features. Website owners also have absolute freedom in managing their e-commerce site.
Furthermore, WordPress also supports plugins that improve functionality and meet user experience standards. Some of these plugins specifically provide e-commerce functionalities to WordPress websites, turning them into fully functional online shopping sites.
These functionalities include customer account creation, digital storefront displays, shopping cart, checkout, online payment, subscriptions, social media integration, and more. Moreover, as WordPress is open-source, it regularly supplies websites with security patches and feature updates.
To maximise WordPress for e-commerce, business owners need to know the basics of setting up and optimising a website. With WordPress, you can create a website from scratch or improve your existing website.
One of the first things to consider when setting up an e-commerce site on WordPress is using a hosted platform or self-host your website.
A hosted platform such as Shopify will cover all technical aspects of setting up and running your online store. This is a good option if you’re not familiar with web development or don’t have the time to manage the website yourself. With hosted e-commerce platforms, orders, carts, payments, and invoices, among other aspects, are automated.
Meanwhile, self-hosting your WordPress e-commerce site gives you more flexibility and control over your store. However, you can still enjoy automated features through plugins.
There are many WordPress plugins available for e-commerce. A plugin is a type of software that adds features or functionalities to an existing program.
Some of the most popular e-commerce plugins for WordPress include WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, and Shopify. These plugins allow you to set up your online store, manage your inventory, and process payments. These plugins essentially turn a basic website into an online store.
To set up an e-commerce website with WordPress, you need to install the WordPress software, set up a hosting account, and install a shopping cart plugin. Then, you can proceed to create product pages and add product images and descriptions. You can also add a plugin for accepting payments through PayPal or other payment processors. Let’s take a closer look at these steps below:
The domain name and hosting provider make up the foundation of your website. A domain name is your website’s address on the Internet, while the hosting provider stores your website’s files on their servers.
When choosing a domain name, it’s essential to choose one that is short, easy to remember, and relevant to your business. Ideally, you should choose a website name that represents its service and products and, as much as possible, bears a relevant keyword. The name should also be unique and memorable to your target audience.
If your chosen domain name is not available for purchase, you may need to get creative with your website name or choose a different extension (.com, .net, .org).
Furthermore, when choosing a hosting provider, you need to consider server load speed, server uptime, customer support availability, and scalability.
Once you have your WordPress site set up, the next step is to select an e-commerce plugin. This will allow you to sell products and offer services through your website. One of the most popular and well-supported e-commerce plugins for WordPress is WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is free and easy to use and set up. It offers a wide range of features, including creating product pages, accepting payments, and tracking orders. It also integrates with various payment processors, such as PayPal and Stripe.
Once you’ve installed WooCommerce, you need to set up some basic information, including your store’s name, address, and currency. You’ll also need to create a password and set up your payment gateway.
You can now begin designing your WordPress e-commerce site. You can choose from the wide selection of free and paid WordPress themes to get started quickly. You can customise your chosen theme by changing the font styles, colours, header, and images, among other elements. Proceed to populate product pages with images and descriptions.
After creating your product pages, it’s time to set them up for search engine success. If you want your target customers to find you on search engines like Google, make sure to include the following:
- Keyword-rich title tags and content
- Meta descriptions
- Images and videos with descriptions and alt tags that include keywords
- Schema markup to help search engines better understand your content
As a free content management system, WordPress offers ultimate flexibility and functionality for business owners, big or small. If you’re planning to build an e-commerce site, explore what WordPress has in store for you to make your website a part of the e-commerce revolution!