As global internet access continues to rise, the number of digital shoppers also rises year on year. In 2020, data from Statista found that over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and total e-retail sales surpassed $4.2 trillion worldwide.
So, if you’ve got an online business idea, now – essentially a few weeks before Black Friday and the Holiday seasons – could be the best time to get started – and once you’ve decided what product or service you want to sell, the natural next step is to pick a distribution method for your ecommerce store.
This is where WordPress comes in handy, as the platform (a content management system) powers over 42% of the Web, making it easy to create, edit and manage websites for everyone, from beginners right through to advanced users.
WordPress has grown into a powerhouse since it was launched nearly 20 years ago and its ubiquity generated a significant demand for providers who could offer WordPress-ready hosting services.
The reason why WordPress is good for ecommerce websites is because it’s compatible with all major platforms, its philosophy (open source) means that there’s likely to be fewer bugs or vulnerabilities, and it has more plugins. Although, more plugins increases third party vulnerabilities.
Yes to WordPress
To get the most out of an ecommerce website, you’ll need an effective and affordable hosting package. Bluehost, for example, offers unlimited websites and unlimited SSD storage on it’s WordPress hosting packages that is perfect for small businesses looking to grow.
If you’re new to website building and you have stumbled across WordPress, you may find yourself overwhelmed, but that shouldn’t put you off, as there are a number of plans and guides on the market to help navigate you through the complexities.
WordPress also provides a huge amount of freedom to create the website of your dreams, offering full control over your website’s style and features, allowing you to edit even the smallest details, from button placement to image size and quality.
WordPress hosting can also be great for your website when it comes to speed and performance, meaning your site will likely have better uptime, load faster, and see less hiccups. Although, this can also be said about shared hosting, as it too, offers the same features, including WordPress integration.
Page speed can have a huge effect on the user experience in general, and this can make or break your ecommerce website and even impact sales. Faster page speed is imperative for a better user experience and can increase page views and conversions and reduce bounce rates. Page speed is immensely important, so much so that Google made it an actual ranking factor – taking action to improve the loading speed of websites by providing tools for developers to monitor their sites.
Additionally, if you want more guidance and help with the admin side of building and running your online store, there’s managed WordPress hosting services.
With a managed WordPress website, your hosting provider will take care of many of the tasks that are usually up to the site owner. This includes stuff like updating your website, backing it up, performing security checks and monitoring it. It essentially allows you to focus on the fun side of creating, managing and owning an ecommerce website, giving you peace of mind that all the nitty-gritty is being looked after.
Photo credit: Shutterstock/Andrew Rybalko
Steps for setting up the perfect WordPress ecommerce website
So, you’ve decided to go for WordPress hosting as you start your online business journey – but you don’t know where to begin. Here are a few tips that will help you get started:
1. Pick a WordPress hosting provider
With so many to choose from, making a list of the features you look for in a WordPress hosting provider can help make your choice clearer.
2. Choose the right plan
Make sure the plan you pick is aligned with all the features you are looking for. For example, if you know you will require plenty of storage, find a package that offers just that.
3. Decide on a domain name that reflects your brand
Selecting a domain name is the fun part. However, it is also a crucial decision to make, as it will be the element that gets you noticed – so pick wisely and choose something that represents your business.
4.Select an eye-catching template – or build your own from scratch
If you aren’t spoilt for choice with the customizable templates on offer, WordPress also lets you create a specific website design by hand.
5.Add high-quality images and videos
Image quality is important because it shows your customers exactly what they will be expecting once they make a purchase from your website. Keep it clear, and have all images at the same size for consistency.
6.Include as much detail of your products and services as possible
For the ultimate buying experience, you want your customers to be satisfied with the amount of information you have provided, so try to be as accurate and as detailed as possible.
7.Select trusted payment methods
This step may seem self-explanatory but picking payment methods that your customers trust will improve your chances of successful purchases.
8.Make your shipping details clear and transparent
If you plan on offering 3-5 business day shipping services, for example, include as much detail as possible so your customers know when they will be receiving their goods.
9.Preview, publish and promote your website
Always preview and test your website before pushing it to go live. Here is where you’ll be able to spot any mistakes or ill-fitting pictures that you may not have spotted in the editing suite.
With WordPress hosting, picking the cheapest plan may not always be in your best interest. Find a plan that includes all your must-have features before committing to a specific plan.
For example, if you need more power, Bluehost offers Managed WordPress hosting optimized for WordPress websites, alongside domain privacy and protection, daily scheduled backups, and a 30-day free trial of Microsoft email.
Photo credit: Shutterstock/Zilu8
Grow your ecommerce site
There’s no online business in the world who doesn’t have growth as a top priority. But because every day cannot be Black Friday or Cyber Monday, online business owners need strategies to keep sales coming in.
Maximum reach to your consumers equals maximum profit. There are companies that have great products but haven’t quite mastered the art of maximizing their online reach, which will be costing them thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue and profit.
When comparing online stores to physical stores in terms of growth, there are several different things you can do to maximize your profits and grow your customer base – such as finding a prime shopping location for your business, hosting events in your shop or even something as simple as providing free WiFi.
With an online store, you should be aiming to boost your online presence through virtual incentives. Quality content equals improvement on traffic, which directly translates to revenue for your business.
As WordPress is top-tier when it comes to creating content, it’s a win-win situation for your ecommerce website. Choosing a WordPress hosting provider means you have started at the front of the race to the high profit margin finish line, which is one less thing you will need to worry about as you make decisions that will impact your return on investment (ROI).
Let’s also not forget about WordPress plugins – as WordPress has plugins for everything your website could possibly need. Are you looking to ramp up your search engine optimization? Want to speed up your site? Or do you need a contact form for your ecommerce site? WordPress has it all.
Mistakes to avoid when building an ecommerce website
To ensure your ecommerce site is top quality, there are some common mistakes that need to be avoided during the website development process.
- No SEO strategy
When a consumer is looking for a product to buy, they will most likely type it directly into Google search. Making sure your site is listed in the first pages of Google search results will guarantee more traffic to your page. Having no search engine optimization strategy is a recipe for disaster, and will make it harder for your online store to be found.
2. No protection against ransomware attacks
A ransomware attack can put an ecommerce store out of commission for any number of days. Creating a cybersecurity policy and using antivirus software on all company computers are just two of the various ways to protect your ecommerce store.
3. Lack of social media presence
These days, not being on social media is like self-sabotaging your business. It has now become extremely difficult to maintain an ecommerce business without a social media presence.
4. Poor site navigation
Poor navigation and information that’s hard to find on your website is another mistake to avoid when building your ecommerce site. Information that’s hard to find on your site could leave consumers frustrated, reducing their chances of making a purchase or returning back to your online store.