When starting an ecommerce business, you first need to build a website that sells. WordPress can help you with that. It’s the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world powering 36.3% of websites according to W3Techs statistics.
Creating a profitable ecommerce site requires a fine-tuned CMS platform like WordPress, and it depends on many factors. Below are four essentials of a successful ecommerce platform – all available on WordPress.
- A mobile-optimized structure: WordPress provides numerous plugins to help you develop a mobile-friendly site.
- Well-planned product listing pages.
- A shopping cart and checkout page optimized for users.
- Actionable and informative copy, preferably optimized for SEO.
Creating a profitable ecommerce site using WordPress assures you of a robust, scalable platform.
Creating a Profitable Ecommerce Site on WordPress
To create your WordPress e-commerce site, you first need to secure a domain name and a hosting provider. Then configure the site into an e-commerce platform using the right plugins and themes before adding your products and web content.
1. Secure the Perfect Domain Name
You need a unique website address to help customers reach your site. The standard low rate of a domain name is between $10 and $20 per year. If you are lucky, you could find your name of choice available – one that is memorable and close to your brand name. You can also buy one if it’s available for resale and you have the budget.
2. Get a Hosting Provider
Next, you need to find a hosting provider. Pick one that supports your ecommerce platform vision and offers plenty of room for growth. If you can afford it, skip shared hosting because sharing server space with other WordPress ecommerce sites makes your website only as strong as the weakest link. What’s more, since you will be dealing with customer data and credit card details, it’s not worth the risk.
If your online business sells downloadable digital products, you should consider a dedicated hosting plan that offers you a lot of storage.
3. Install WordPress
You can install WordPress using one of two ways:
- A one-click install using your hosting dashboard. It’s the easiest option if your hosting provider of choice offers a one-click install.
- Manually downloading WordPress and uploading it to your account. If your hosting provider has no one-click install option, you need to download WordPress on your computer and upload it to your dashboard.
4. Install and Configure an Ecommerce Platform
Choosing the right WordPress ecommerce plugin is critical for your online business because it will enhance your platform for business, which means more opportunity for growth. You need to do enough research to settle on the best plugin for your specific business.
For instance, some ecommerce plugins are suited for selling digital goods such as eBooks, music, photos, etc. Others are made for selling physical products that require shipping, i.e. a drop-shipping business.
Consider the following factors when selecting a plugin: payment solutions, apps and integration, support options, as well as design and customization. Some examples of top ecommerce plugins to consider include WP eCommerce, WooCommerce, or Ecwid.
Once you settle on your plugin of choice, you need to install and configure it.
- Install and activate the plugin.
- Add your business details.
- Select payment options you will accept through your store.
- Confirm shipping options.
- Select complementary plugins and themes. You can add these later.
- Activate Jetpack. Among other things, it will enable you to set up payment and automate taxes down the line.
5. Choose a Theme
The theme you select will become the basic design for your site and content. WordPress ecommerce sites are entirely customizable, allowing you to edit and add to the HTML code to come up with a unique design. You can also buy premium templates from third parties.
6. Add Products
Since you installed Jetpack, you can use it to add products on your site. Some of the details you need include product name, price, main product image, additional product images, product descriptions, and categories.
7. Install additional Plugins
You should install other plugins for things like SEO guidance, security, and reviews. While Jetpack does handle security for your site, you’re likely going to want a dedicated plugin or need additional services for a well-rounded ecommerce site it doesn’t offer. Look into products such as Yoast SEO to help your site get seen by your target market Redirection to make their user experience the best it can be when they visit.
8. Add SEO-Optimized Content that Converts
9. Take Your Site Public
Once you are satisfied with your new ecommerce site, turn your site public to make it visible.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) sets compliance requirements that all ecommerce websites must follow. Major credit card companies govern these requirements to ensure the secure handling, storage, and transmission of cardholder information.
All WordPress ecommerce sites dealing with card payments require PCI compliance to protect the Card Data Environment (CDE). WordPress has both free and premium security plugins such as Wordfence and Securi, respectively. For your PCI compliance, you will need premium security plugins.
There you have it. Creating a profitable ecommerce website using WordPress has never been easier since the platform has a simple user interface with free plugins and themes. Once you secure your domain name and hosting provider, you can use WordPress to set up your site and start selling online. You will need plugins for an ecommerce platform, security, SEO guidance, and reviews. You also need to ensure PCI compliance to protect your business and customer data.
Jordan MacAvoy is the Vice President of Marketing at Reciprocity Labs and manages the company’s go-to-market strategy and execution. Prior to joining Reciprocity, Mr. MacAvoy served in executive roles at Fundbox, a Forbes Next Billion Dollar Company, and Intuit, via their acquisition of the SaaS marketing and communications solution, Demandforce.