WordPress is not a blogging platform as the majority of people think. But it is a complete CMS (Content Management System) that let you build any website including eCommerce and online stores. You need to add some extra functions to integrate your website theme and design with all your functions.
Today I’ll show you how to build an eCommerce website using WordPress, just follow my steps and tips and your website will be set properly and be able to work like any other online store.
Never Use Genesis Themes for eCommerce websites
I highly recommend the Genesis themes for blogs and business websites. But, I never recommend it for e-commerce and store sites, this is an important point to consider before everything else.
The reason is that the default Genesis framework and even the other child themes comes without support for eCommerce plugins, especially Woocommerce. At the same time, you have to work hard to find tutorials to add a header logo (not all themes come with custom header logo).
You will find yourself in a long list of tasks to do with your theme, just to make it work with your store and show your items normally. In other words, you will start with big problems from the beginning with your theme, if you are a designer.
That will never cause an issue, but you still work additional steps. Normally you should use a theme created especially for eCommerce websites. This is a professional and easiest way to make your website work well as you dreamed about it.
Building an eCommerce website with WordPress can be easy if you have a professional theme. Many theme builder companies offer a good-looking and powerful control panel to customize your theme. This is a feature that doesn’t exist in Genesis themes, my personal tip, is using the Template Monster designs. They have the best quality themes built for better SEO and user experience.
Before learning how to start an eCommerce website and especially with WordPress, you need plugins. If your theme support e-commerce, then, you just need to add the store system, which is a plugin built to let you sell your items.
You can set your preferred payment system like PayPal and Master Card, the most popular shopping cart plugin for WordPress is WooCommerce, which is free and you can install it directly from the WordPress directory. You get many options and functions, install your plugin, activate it and it is done.
You need to add your products, with a featured image and custom test, buttons and what you need to make your product look good and attract customers. Your creativity is your limit, but you need first to add and to change the product layout and information, test your design before launching your store.
There are many other plugins to use, many of them are premium that means more functions and advanced features. BigCommerce is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms to use, you have plugins and themes to use.
Also, you can find other free plugins in WordPress, just enter the word “eCommerce plugin” in the plugin search box and you get a long list. Each one comes with its own function such as the payment system.
The web hosting
Not all the hosting companies offer a great service for e-commerce websites. First of all you need to have a fast server and the best-advanced configuration settings, at the same time you should have an SSH installed in your server.
The majority of hosting companies promise fake resources, but when it comes to high-traffic sites, the downtime will affect all the server domains.
That’s why you have to pick the best hosting for you, my personal recommendation is Inmotion Hosting, they have a complete eCommerce and online store system with all the tools. In other words, you don’t have to learn how to build an eCommerce website from scratch, everything is ready to use instantly and they offer a great support.
If you want to build your own website with shopping cart, or any other software, you have to select it and everything will be ready to work.
For premium hosting and the top-level speed and WordPress custom optimization, I recommend WP Engine, they are a premium and managed web hosting, but for WordPress only.
The theme and the plugins can not work security, you should think more about the website security, and how to protect your pages from hackers and dangerous access. One of the most important files in your WordPress directory is the htaccess.
I’ve created a special post about Hardening WordPress with htaccess and you can find more detailed information and tutorial in that post. Also, you should Secure WordPress login page and that will protect you from denied access and automatic threads.
Another important thing to consider, you should encrypt your data, the secure HTTP is your only way to protect the connection between your server and the customer’s browser. Ask your hosting provider if they have a secure connection service, then buy from them.
In general, you have to pay a yearly subscription plan. Then you should get your own security certificate to install it on your server, this will take some detailed steps
Please make sure to set a strong password for your website, make it hard to remember even for you, keep it in a safe place, your admin page lets you control the entire store and can limit the access to that critical directory. The above steps will make the site safe.
The right payment system
I want to give you some tips to about the only thing that will make your business, a source of income. If you select the wrong payment system, your revenue will be affected.
Ask yourself where are your potential customers. And where they leave, this will give you information about their local payment options, if they have PayPal, you can use it with a credit card option.
For others, you can add a bank account, or other systems, this post will give you a great list of PayPal alternatives. You can learn more about that and apply the one that will work well for you.
Verify your PayPal account before everything, you don’t need problems with them later, and the best way to start with them is adding your bank account and the credit card.
Thus, you get a verified PayPal account and you can start accepting payments without any issue. Protect your revenue and make sure that you are following PayPal guidelines.
If you want to use another system, browse their terms and you will avoid problems in the future. This step seems unnecessary for many, but it is the one that can destroy a business, simply for a wrong fraud alert, so protect yourself from the beginning.
Ask your customers if they have suggestions about your payment options, this can be done through a survey or a direct question.
The above steps will ensure that you will create your e-commerce website using WordPress. Please follow them step by step. The other articles linked here will give you more details. If you have a specific step to follow, make sure to spend some time securing your store and most important thing.
Keep yourself and your business safe from mistakes and fraud. Search using Google for some of your competitors and find what works well for them and what issues they have, this will give you a clear idea and a way to succeed your store. I Wish you all the success.
Fathi Arfaoui: A Physicist, founder and owner of Trustiko.com. He shares Business, WordPress, Web Safety, and Blogging tips to build better websites and blogs. Thus, you will succeed online with the right marketing strategies and recommendations. Of course, you’ll find much more topics.