Are you thinking about setting up an eCommerce website? Are you familiar with WordPress? Do you want to be able to set up the website on your own? If your answer is yes to all these questions, then things just got a little less complicated for you. You want to know how to make a website and get started with your online shop. Why can this be easy for anybody? I will try to explain why and how:
WordPress is more than just a free CMS
If you worked before with WordPress websites, then you are already familiar with everything you can do on this amazing platform. Even if you are just now starting to learn it, you will soon find out that it was built for the people. This means that you don’t have to be a coder in order to build a WP website. Anyone can do it.
Few people dared to think about what WordPress will become when the first version was released. Back then, it was merely a blogging engine, based on basic scripts and mostly HTML themes. However, blogging was trendy at that time and this is probably why a strong community of contributors and enthusiasts quickly formed around this new platform. Why was it – and still is – so successful? There are two major reasons, and they are both closely related to the community. On one hand, there are the users. People like platforms that are open and that are on a continuous evolution. They like usability, ease of use and most of all, WordPress’ versatility due to its modules and plugins. On the other hand, there are the contributors, the coders that add to the plugins and themes repository. Both groups are strongly connected as more users lead to more opportunities for developers, while the plugins and modules they create attract more and more users and vice versa.
Here are some of the reasons you should choose WordPress to build a website:
- WordPress is free
- There are plugins for anything you can think that you would need on a website
- There are thousands of premium themes to choose of
- Even if you need a custom theme, it will not cost too much
- There are at least two dedicated e-commerce plugins that are efficient and reliable
- For every problem you encounter, you will find more than one answers on the web due to WordPress’ popularity
- Everything is customizable with WordPress
eCommerce solutions for WordPress
There are several eCommerce solutions of which to choose when setting up an online shop based on WordPress. Each of them is an option for somebody, and whether you choose it or not depends mainly on what you want. However, I will choose the best two of them for this article and I will explain why.
Option one: Shopify
We’ll start by recommending the most popular eCommerce solution for WordPress: Shopify. This is the premium option for starting an online shop, as it will cost from $9 to $299 per month, depending on your options. However, considering all other premium options available online, Shopify is quite affordable for a medium sized business. It’s not a mystery why more than 400,000 online shops already use this plugin. If you have a budget for setting up your shop, you can try it. You can get a free trial for the first two weeks.
Benefits of Shopify:
- Easy to integrate into WordPress as a plugin
- Premium eCommerce solution, which means it features a 24/7 support
- Shopify is secure
- Hundreds of different designs to choose from
- Integrations with Facebook and Twitter.
- Facebook Messenger support
- Multiple payment options, easy to set up and deliver invoices
Option two: WooCommerce
If your budget is limited or if you just want to try for the first time an eCommerce platform, you can choose WooCommerce, the second most popular and versatile plugin for WordPress. WooCommerce is free, easy to set up and most of all, it was recently acquired by WordPress, which means it is officially supported by this CMS. You can also find premium themes that integrate this plugin efficiently and many more other plugins that are capable of enhancing its usability. By default, WooCommerce does not feature all types of payment and cannot deliver invoices. However, there are free and premium plugins able to fill in the blanks, all available immediately and easy to set up and integrate into your shop.
Benefits of WooCommerce
- It’s free
- Very easy to set up. You can post your products in just a few minutes
- Huge community that will cover for the lack of official support
- Many themes to choose from. Some are free, some may cost
- Officially supported by WordPress
- Its functionality can be easily extended through additional plugins
Don’t forget to choose an appropriate domain name and a good hosting service
Obviously, you should start with choosing an appropriate domain name for your shop and a good web hosting service, suitable for WordPress websites.
There are several major domain registrars, such as Namecheap, Godaddy orand you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Some of them will also offer affordable hosting services while others will give you something else. Regarding the domain name, choose something that is easy to remember, and of course, related to your business. For instance, if you are trying to sell bikes, use the word „bike” in your domain name. Or, if you already have a brand, try to find a name that describes or identifies it.
Also, when you choose the web hosting service, search for a company that officially supports WordPress in order to avoid any problems caused by incompatibilities or significant down times caused by the use of specific plugins or scripts. Apart from the WordPress support, also look for uptimes close to 100%, 24/7 online support and enough bandwidth for your estimated traffic for the first two or three months.