There’s never been a better time to open an online business, and WordPress makes it easy for you. WordPress has an array of tools to help website owners set up a complete ecommerce site for selling products of all kinds. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced web developer or a complete newcomer to the world of online selling. You can turn your WordPress website into an online storefront in just a few steps. And the best thing is, there are many options to suit every budget.
Why use WordPress for your ecommerce business?
WordPress powers nearly 43% of the world’s websites, ranging from personal blogs to many of the Internet’s top 100 websites. This free and open-source platform consists of a set of core code that defines the basic framework of a website. From this basic website framework, you have virtually limitless ways to create unique sites of all kinds. And that’s all thanks to the help of thousands of WordPress themes, plugins, and plugin extensions.
The “mix and match” versatility of WordPress is what makes it possible for users of all skill levels to build a fully functioning online storefront. You can even transform an existing WordPress site into an online store in almost no time.
Because WordPress is the world’s most popular site builder and content management system, there’s a huge community of users, contributors and developers behind it. They come together and develop a multitude of premium and free WordPress themes and plugins. Anyone can take advantages of these tools to optimize any WordPress site for showcasing goods, services, and memberships.
Another important benefit of having a large community is the amount of available resources and help. Should you need any help with setting up an online store, you will certainly find it online. There are many online courses, forums, blog posts, and webinars waiting for you to check them out. At Bluehost, we also write a lot about ecommerce for WordPress sites, and our experts at Blue Sky are always available to answer your questions.
Setting up an online store: the storefront essentials
The configuration of your WordPress eCommerce website depends on the nature of your business, your goals, and the kind of products and services you plan to sell. Generally speaking, a full-service ecommerce website needs a set of core functions that make it easy for site owners to manage the store. And it should be easy for visitors to find and buy what they’re looking for as well. To do that, your WordPress ecommerce website should offer:
1. Easy to manage product pages, with options for promoting featured products and special opportunities.
2. Product description, images & product categories.
3. Shopping cart and checkout pages that include essentials like currency converters, shipping calculators for physical products or download links for digital products.
4. Secure payment portals that protect buyers’ payment information.
5. Design that reflects the business brand.
6. Contact features, such as contact forms, live chat, or a support number for handling customer issues and questions.
7. Mobile responsiveness to reach the growing number of users who shop from tablets and smartphones.
8. A link to social media to share content and allow your users to engage with your brand.
9. A secure website with an SSL certificate.
The best ecommerce setup for your WordPress site will depend on your budget, technical skills, and the scope of your venture.
How to build an online store on WordPress
It’s quite easy to do so, especially with a quality hosting provider like Bluehost. Bluehost offers special hosting packages for WordPress users and WordPress ecommerce website runners. If you’re looking to build an online business on WordPress, you should definitely check out the Woocommerce hosting packages. Besides the basics stuff like domain name and hosting plan, these offers come equipped with features specifically for online stores. Some of these features include discount code creation, product reviews collection, payment processing and many more.
Once you have your domain name and hosting provider sorted out, you can start building your online store on WordPress.
Pick a WordPress ecommerce theme
Themes are a core component of the WordPress system. Thousands are available in both free and premium versions. You can get themes directly from the WordPress theme directory or from third-party developers all over the world. Themes define a site’s appearance and layout, and some themes are designed to support specific functions, including ecommerce.
Free and ecommerce-friendly themes offer users various ways to showcase products. They can add landing pages, display featured product images in galleries and even run a blog. Premium versions of these themes include more features to round out the essentials of an online store.
However, users may still need to add some essential functions using plugins, such as shopping carts and payment portals. Some, such as the Storefront ecommerce theme, are directly compatible with WooCommerce – the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin. If you need help with selecting a theme for your online store, check out our article on the best themes for an ecommerce website.
Choose the right WordPress ecommerce plugins
Along with themes and the core code, ecommerce plugins for WordPress round out the list of essentials that make up a site. And like themes, there are countless plugins set to perform specific functions of all kinds on a basic WordPress site. Ecommerce related plugins for WordPress range from full storefronts to dedicated plugins that allow you to set up individual features like shopping carts, payment portals, and more.
Of course, we can’t talk about ecommerce plugins without mentioning WooCommerce. It is the most famous WordPress ecommerce plugin, and powers more than 8.7% of all known websites. WooCommerce is so popular because it can be installed on any compatible WordPress site. It adds the full spectrum of ecommerce related features to a basic WordPress website and theme. The free version of WooCommerce offers all the essentials, and the premium version adds additional features, plus extended support.
WooCommerce may be the best known and most widely used WordPress ecommerce plugin, but it isn’t the only one. A large and growing number of other plugins such as WP eCommerce and EStore also add a fully functioning online store to WordPress sites of all kinds. Some, like Easy Digital Downloads, support a particular kind of product or service, while others are designed for building a membership or subscription site.
Online shopping is the fastest growing retail sector worldwide. Many users say they’d never shop any other way. Now, anyone with products to sell can set up an online store. If you want to do so as well, why not consider using WordPress? WordPress makes it easy for you, with ecommerce options to suit every budget and level of expertise.
To learn more about our web hosting packages, check out our extensive resources on Bluehost.com.