Online businesses are thriving now more than ever. According to Statista, there are about 1.79 billion people who shopped online in 2019, and the number is projected to increase steadily each year.
Whether you’re planning to start an online business from scratch or to move your brick-and-mortar store online, the most important part is choosing the right platform for your website.
One of the most popular platforms is WordPress, used by at least 39% of all websites online. If you’re planning to use WordPress to start selling online, here are the steps you need.
1. Choose What to Sell
Choosing the right products to sell doesn’t mean choosing only trending or top-selling products, although trends can also be your reference.
Before choosing your products, consider the audience your business is targeting. Start from simple demographics like age, gender, and occupation.
After you have found your audience, research which product niche to choose. A niche is a specific interest category with certain topics or trends.
Next, you can now look up which products are currently trending within that niche by keyword research on Google Trends or by checking bigger eCommerce stores like Amazon.
Narrowing down your search according to your market niche will help you make your decision easier. Once you have a list of popular products in your niche, you know which products to include in your store.
2. Set Up Your WordPress Site
To set up your business website, you will first need a domain name and a hosting provider.
As it’s one of the most popular website platforms online, many hosting providers now have hosting plans specifically for WordPress. According to Hostinger.com, here are several aspects you need to have in a WordPress hosting provider:
- Automated updates: WordPress is known to have more frequent updates compared to other CMS (Content Management System). Many providers offer to automate the updating process, which will keep your website running smoothly.
- One-click installation: Most WordPress hosting providers also simplify the installation process through their service, so there’s no need to have technical expertise on WordPress to have your own site.
- Freebies: Freebies, or free features that you otherwise have to pay for like SSL certificate, domain, or paid themes, are also nice to have.
- System compatibility: WordPress has some system requirements, like using PHP version 7 or greater and MySQL version 5.56 or MariaDB version 10.1 or greater. Make sure your provider meets these requirements.
It’s also essential to choose the right domain name for your website. When picking a domain name, make sure it’s memorable, short, and easy to type. You may also include words that relate to your niche in your domain name.
3. Install an eCommerce Plugin
WordPress sites are versatile and can be used for many different purposes, from news sites to eCommerce. To turn it into an eCommerce site, first, you’ll need a plugin.
WordPress plugins are useful for extending the functionality of your site. They can enhance the existing features on your site, or even add new ones.
An eCommerce plugin adds features that are necessary for an eCommerce website to your WordPress site, like shipping and payment options.
One of the most popular eCommerce plugins for WordPress is WooCommerce. This plugin includes basic features like product inventory, shipping fee calculator, and payment options for free. It also has extensions, both free and paid, to add more functionality to your eCommerce site.
Another eCommerce plugin that many people use is BigCommerce. Unlike WooCommerce, all its plans are paid, but it also has a variety of built-in features that don’t require further installation.
4. Customize Your eCommerce Store
WordPress sites allow for lots of customization in the form of themes. To design a unique storefront, eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce and BigCommerce also have a variety of theme options to choose from.
These theme choices allow you to experiment and choose which color, font, and framework will make your products pop out.
When customizing your site, make sure you don’t choose based only on how it looks, but also the functionality.
Try to test your site’s theme by asking your family or friends to browse your site and see how intuitive it is to switch between pages, add products, and make purchases.
Make sure to also check how quickly your pages load, because loading time will also affect your customer’s experience.
5. Upload Products and Content
You may already have a list of products when you choose the category of products you want to sell on your website. Some eCommerce plugins allow you to upload your inventory in bulk from Excel, but others require you to upload them individually.
Upload an attractive product image, set the price, and make sure you input the right stock level to avoid overstocking.
Most eCommerce websites also have a Blog section where they regularly post articles and updates about the store. Blog posts are important to keep your customers updated and come back to your site often.
After uploading your products, you may also start adding blog posts to your site.
6. Optimize Your Store
Improving SEO is essential for all websites to make sure that they are easily found through search engines, but it’s especially important for eCommerce sites.
According to Ahrefs, 68% of online experiences start from search engines. A high ranking website will lead to more visitors, meaning more potential customers for your online store.
There are several ways you can start improving your website SEO. You may include meta-data like tags in product descriptions, optimize images with a clear title, and share blog posts regularly.
7. Publish and Promote
When you’ve reached this step, that means your site is up and ready to launch.
Social media is a great way to get more organic traffic to your website, aside from search results. In July 2020, there are 3.96 billion active social media users, which is why social media is a great opportunity to promote your brand to a wider audience.
If you have data of which social media your visitors mostly use, focus on those channels. If you don’t, you may use the most popular social media platforms, like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
When sharing posts on your profile, make sure you’re optimizing the content to match each platform. For example, YouTube and Instagram are a great platform for product review videos.
Your posts don’t always have to be about promoting your products and you can also share insights related to your niche. Lastly, make sure your profile includes a link to your eCommerce site.
Why Sell on WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for websites for a reason. It’s versatile, easy to use, and it’s one of the best platforms for an eCommerce website.
Here are some of the reasons why WordPress is great for eCommerce:
- Guaranteed security: WordPress now automatically updates all its websites for every minor release, including security updates. Its eCommerce plugins, like WooCommerce, are also known for their security. This is essential because you’ll be handling sensitive information like credit card data for payments.
- Customizable looks: With its array of themes, WordPress makes it easy for you to make your website stand out. There are thousands of free and premium themes to choose from, including those tailored for eCommerce sites.
- Wide array of features: There are plugins to turn your site into an eCommerce, for security enhancements, and to improve SEO. WordPress has plugins for virtually every functionality you want to enhance or add to your site.
To put it shortly, WordPress is a great platform to build your eCommerce business. Now that you’ve known the steps you need to take, it’s time to get started on your website.