WordPress came a long way from its humble beginnings as a simple blogging platform. Nowadays, it powers more than 27% of all websites, including some of the most popular brands and websites like PlayStation, TechCrunch, BBC, NY Times, Bloomberg, Forbes and many more.
In the early days of WordPress, it was hard to imagine WordPress being used for anything else other than a simple blog. But as WordPress matured and evolved, people started using it for more complex websites, including online stores. Nowadays, WordPress is used for many popular ecommerce sites. Here are some excellent reasons why you should consider WordPress for your online store:
- Open-source and backed by a huge community
- Easy to use content management system
- Plenty of different WordPress themes and plugins
- No additional ongoing fees
- Optimized for SEO
- Seamless ecommerce integration
- WordPress is scalable and secure
- Easy store management and customization
- Multiple payment methods, tax handling and shipping control
Open-source and backed by a huge community
WordPress is open-source software, which means you can use and modify the source code in any way you want. Unlike many ecommerce applications which require you to pay for a license fee and come with significant limitations, WordPress gives you complete control over your online store.
Another benefit of WordPress is its community which is always ready to help in case you run into any issues. Best of all, WordPress is free to download and use, which means the only really necessary costs associated with your online store will be your domain name and your hosting package.
Easy to use content management system
You don't need to be a coding expert to get started with WordPress. Most hosting companies nowadays provide a one-click installer for WordPress which means you can get your ecommerce site up and running in a matter of minutes. Which makes WordPress especially suitable for beginners.
Managing your online store is also easy thanks to the user-friendly admin panel of most ecommerce plugins where you can add your products, images, and product descriptions, as well as monitor your sales and orders. There are also plenty of tutorials online where you can find answers to most common questions regarding WordPress so you can easily configure everything yourself.
Plenty of different WordPress themes and plugins
The beauty of WordPress is the huge number of WordPress themes and plugins available on the market. WordPress themes control the look and design of your site and range from free to premium. In most cases, you can get a professional-looking WordPress theme at low cost or even for free and customize it to your liking with a few clicks.
The same goes for ecommerce plugins which add the online store functionality to your website without having to hire a developer to do it for you. For example, you can enhance your store with official extensions such as WooCommerce Subscriptions or Product Add-Ons, or you can choose from 100's of high quality third party plugins such as WooCommerce Product Table.
No additional ongoing fees
Unlike other commercial ecommerce platforms, which usually charge a flat monthly fee and a transaction fee on top of it, WordPress itself is free to download and use. This is a huge plus for many small business owners who have a limited budget. As mentioned before, the only necessary ongoing fees associated with WordPress are the domain name and the hosting.
The WordPress theme that you use on your site, along with any plugins for additional functionality, usually comes with a one-time purchase fee in order to download the product. This one-time fee usually also already includes regular and ongoing updates and support at no additional cost for a limited period of time. The period for updates and support usually can be extended at low cost.
Optimized for SEO
Considering the fact that WordPress started out as a blogging platform, it has been optimized for search engines. With WordPress and the right plugins, you can add detailed product descriptions along with optimized images that support rich descriptions and ALT tags.
In addition you can use the blogging functionality of WordPress to publish fresh content on a regular basis which search engines will love. You can also install SEO plugins for further optimization to give your new ecommerce store an additional boost in search engine rankings.
Seamless ecommerce integration
If you already own a WordPress website, there usually is no need to hire a developer to custom-code the ecommerce functionality for you. All it takes is installing one of many ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce plus a compatible WordPress theme and you're good to go.
The WooCommerce plugin will integrate seamlessly with your WooCommerce WordPress theme which means your store will have the same look and feel as other parts of your website. This is ideal for good conversions and a perfect start to establish and promote your brand.
WordPress is scalable and secure
One of the most compelling reasons for using WordPress as an ecommerce platform is that you aren't limited by the number of products you can have in your store. If your inventory keeps growing, it's easy to add new products to your store and scale your ecommerce business.
You usually also don't have to worry about security either since there are many security plugins like Sucuri or Wordfence that will help you keep your website safe from malicious code and hackers. On top of that, many reliable hosting companies specialize in WordPress hosting and make it possible for your store to handle huge spikes in traffic in case your products go viral.
Easy store management and customization
The most important part of your online store are the products itself. If you want to be a successful store owner, you have to update your products on a regular basis to keep your shop fresh and interesting. In case you have products that are variable, such as clothing or shoes, you need an easy way to add and manage product variations such as colors, sizes, material, and more.
WordPress in combination with the right ecommerce plugins makes it easy to add a product and then input all the variables that come with it. You could even upload images for every possible product variation and have them display in an attractive product gallery.
Multiple payment methods, tax handling and shipping control
Out of the box, WooCommerce, the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress, supports a variety of payment methods which include cheque payment, cash on delivery, direct bank transfer, PayPal, or Simplify Commerce. However, in addition you can always add more payment gateways based on your needs and requirements using one of WooCommerce's extensions.
This means you could easily add Google Checkout, PayPal Payments Pro, CCAvenue, Worldpay, ChronoPay, 2Checkout and more. All of this facilitates the entire payment process and gives you better chances of increasing your sales. You can also charge custom tax rates for all your sales and set up different shipping methods which add another layer of flexibility and customization.
Conclusion: Start professional ecommerce websites with WordPress
WordPress continues to grow by leaps and bounds on a daily basis. Developers around the world are working continuously on new features for both WordPress and WooCommerce which means both tools will continue to evolve and provide even better functionality, not only for ecommerce websites, but for other types of websites (e.g. news websites and online magazines) as well.
What are your thoughts on using WordPress for ecommerce websites? Have you started a successful ecommerce website with WordPress before? Or do you prefer other ecommerce platforms? We would love to read your questions, thoughts and experiences in the comments below.