Today, this platform is far from being exclusively applied to blogs and can be used to build any website whatsoever – ecommerce being no exception.
Nearly a third of all ecommerce websites are built using WooCommerce, a plugin especially built for ecommerce websites on WordPress.
This platform’s unique capabilities, fair pricing, and extensive features have attracted companies of all sizes to use it.
So, is it the right fit for your business?
Let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using WordPress for building an ecommerce site to find out.
WordPress allows you to build and manage modular and multi-purpose sites with ease compared to other platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, and more. No matter which type of website you want to build, chances are you’ll find extensions, themes, and plugins that fit your needs.
One of the best things is that you can build the functionality, content, and design separately, and change any aspect of the site without having to change everything else. This makes it fully customizable, as opposed to Shopify for example which is template-based. Discover the core customizable features that you should consider before deciding.
Thousands of developers around the globe keep adding themes to the library, so you’ll never run short of themes to choose amongst.
You’ll find two types of themes:
Note that the entire website is based on the theme, as it defines its structure and customization options. When you choose a theme, we recommend that you balance between functionality and design. Unlike platforms like Magento or Shopify where you have limited options to customize a theme, you won’t find any such restriction on this platform. You can modify the CSS codes if needed or even edit the theme itself using PHP.
Free themes can be found directly on the dashboard. As of now, you will find 4000+ free GPL-licensed themes to choose from. A free theme comes with all the elements that you need to design your site and go live in no time.
Although there are thousands of options to choose from, one of the biggest drawbacks is that not all these free themes are built by professional developers. This means that your website can potentially break at times when there is a WordPress or plugin update.
If you are looking for extensive features, customer support, data backup, security, and a lot of add-ons, you might want to go for a paid theme. Paid themes offer monthly, yearly, and one-time subscriptions alongside consistent updates, and a lot of freebies.
You will find thousands of plugins on this website builder. These plugins are developed to help you add extra functionality to the website. You should only add plugins that are needed, otherwise you could run into the problem of a slow website or a security breach.
All plugins are listed under the “plugins menu” on the WordPress dashboard. It allows you to sort the plugins by “Featured”, “Favorites”, and “Popular”. You can also see user reviews, and how many active installations there are at the current time. Similar to the themes, there are two types of plugins – free and paid. Although there is not much problem with free plugins, you won’t get regular updates and customer support with it. On the other hand, a paid plugin ensures that the developer takes care of your needs.
The good thing with paid plugins is that you get a free trial period to test the features. Once satisfied, you can commit to a longer-term. You won’t find this same flexibility with other ecommerce-only platforms such as Shopify.
You will find it easier to manage SEO on WordPress than any other platform. There are a lot of freemium and paid plugins like Yoast, RankMath, and others that help you create a sitemap, SEO titles, meta descriptions, optimized URLs, and all other on-page tasks from a single screen.
With the help of plugins, you can monitor keywords and see the performance of your website on organic search. You can also directly connect your site to 3rd party tools like Google Search Console or Google Analytics for better analyzing your website’s ranking and performance.
From setting up categories and schema markup to building SEO-friendly pages, you won’t find a better suited platform for constructing your ecommerce presence.
One of the coolest things about this platform is the way it integrates everything you need, with the help of plugins. With Jetpack for example, you can post blogs on the go. Most themes allow you to integrate social media channels on the website also.
Additionally, 3rd party email marketing tools like MailChimp, AWeber, and more all work seamlessly with this platform and give you a competitive marketing edge. Also, you can integrate your business’s Facebook Messenger right onto the website by just copy-pasting a chunk of code or using a plugin to make the integration.
With WordPress, you will get most of your marketing needs covered under one dashboard. Since it is an open-source platform, most extensions and plugins are easy to find and add as opposed to custom platforms.
WordPress for Ecommerce
As we know, almost 30% of all ecommerce sites are built using WooCommerce – a plugin that transforms any website into a full-fledged ecommerce store. Unlike shared hosting providers like Shopify and OpenCart, you will have complete authority over every aspect of your store, plus ownership.
You can add many elements easily without impacting the functionality of the site. Most importantly, you will only pay for a few features as the majority of add-ons can be found for free. The drag-and-drop website building interface makes it easy to design and customize almost every aspect of your store as per the branding guidelines.
The sheer number of free and paid extensions, ease of use, easily integrated payment methods and full control over features are what makes WooCommerce a preferred choice by millions across the world.
This platform is free to use. All you need is a domain and a hosting provider. Alternatively, you can register a domain and host the website with WordPress. There are 4 plans to choose from:
Free – You will get the basic features, design customization, and storage up to 3GB.
eCommerce – For $45 per month, billed annually, new and existing online stores get access to 200GB of storage space, payments accepted in over 60 countries, and premium customizable startup themes, Paid newsletters, SEO tools and to various advanced ecommerce features.
Personal – Billed at $48 per year, you get a custom domain, live chat and email support, no ads, and 6GB storage.
Premium – Billed at $96 per year, this plan gives you access to unlimited premium themes, advanced customization features, site monetization opportunities, 13 GB storage, and more.
Business – Best for businesses, this plan is priced at $300 per year. It comes with everything you need to scale your business – unlimited storage, SEO tools, unlimited plugins and themes, 24-hours support, Jetpack premium, and more.
Other than the core features, there are many reasons why WordPress is the most preferred choice when it comes to building simple and complex websites, ecommerce included. Some other distinguishing features are –
|Ease of Use||You do not need any coding expertise to design and build websites. The interface is extremely easy to navigate and has a clean, minimalist look.|
|Made for Publishing||It makes it easier to post content as there are direct screens and a mobile app as well. You can even publish new content using email. Every new post can be shared on all social platforms as well, with the help of Jetpack or other plugins.|
|Mobile Responsive||Most themes are compatible across devices and browsers by default. Hence, you don’t have to invest extra time converting your websites to being mobile-friendly. Also, there are plugins available like AMP, which can help to optimize sites for mobile with just a click.|
|Built-in Social Sharing||Connect all social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to cross-post new content immediately upon publishing. You can also enable push notifications by adding extensions to the site.|
|Detailed Analytics||Other than Jetpack stats, you can also map Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and other similar analytical tools to learn more about your website visitors and their behavior. These stats are organized neatly and allow filtering for easy navigation of the data.|
What is Easy for Users on WordPress?
- Clear navigation with direct access to the most important functions
- Extensive templates and plugin library
- Advanced customization (WYSIWYG mode) and Live Theme Preview options
- Straightforward pricing for better scalability
- Easy integration with 3rd party tools and apps
What is Difficult for Users on WordPress?
- No customer support for free themes and plugins
- SSL and PCI-encryption are add-on features
- Needs constant updates
- Free themes/plugins aren’t always compatible with new updates
Examples of Websites Built on WordPress
As mentioned, there are millions of websites built using this platform – from blogs to large ecommerce stores. We can’t possibly list all of them, but we can surely tell you about some famous companies who use this platform.
- BBC America – http://www.bbcamerica.com/
- Root Science – https://www.rootsciences.com/
- Disruptive Youth – https://www.disruptiveyouth.com/
Most would agree that there is no other platform exactly like WordPress, that will help you build a multi-purpose and customized website easily and quickly. If you want to build a small ecommerce website without much customization, and if ownership is not a must for you – ecommerce platforms can do the trick.
However, if you wish to open a large ecommerce store with hefty amounts of data and a long-term view, you should opt for WordPress + WooCommerce.
This will enable you to enjoy all the advanced features with an emphasis on the blog capabilities which is key for ecommerce today.
Here are 3 alternatives that you should check out for ecommerce:
- Shopify – 2nd to WooCommerce, Shopify has all the makings of a perfect ecommerce-only platform. You will get competitive prices, an extensive library of freemium products, and hundreds of pre-built extensions.
- Magento – Another open-source platform that uses PHP, you get complete control over every aspect of the site. However, you need to be experienced in coding.
- Big Commerce – This SaaS-based ecommerce platform is extremely scalable, cost-effective, and offers advanced features for your online store.
1. Can I use my domain name on WordPress?
Yes, if you have an existing domain name and hosting provider, you can install this platform for free and use that URL.
2. Can I buy an SSL certificate from WordPress?
Yes, you can either buy one or use a free version that comes included in some packages.
3. Does the platform provide hosting as well?
Yes, you can register new domains and host websites on Wordpress.com.
4. Can I upgrade my plan when needed?
Yes, you can easily upgrade to higher plans as the number of website visitors increase. Your data will be migrated by the customer service team on demand.
5. Which is the best ecommerce alternative to WordPress?
If you are looking to build an ecommerce only store while on a budget, Shopify is a great choice.