The Ease and Benefits of Setting Up a Store with WordPress
Updated: Tue, 05/05/2014 - 17:27
A little while ago I created a list of ecommerce plugins for WordPress and briefly explained the various kinds that are out there. In this article, I figured I'd list the benefits of turning your blog into a store.
Ease of installation:
If you've watched my video on installing Magento or the one I did on installing PrestaShop, you already know that it takes a little work with some web hosts to get your store up and running. With WordPress on the other hand, it's very easy because the majority of web hosts offer 1 click installations. Below I have listed a few hosts that offer WordPress hosting:
Extremely popular and easy to use:
When software is popular, developers go out of their way to develop plugins for it. As a result WordPress has tons of plugins that can help you customize your site just the way you want it.
Aside from that, you can install plugins, change themes and post articles quickly and easily.
More and more people are on mobile devices these days and optimizing your site for those mobile users is a must. I actually wrote about this before so it's nothing new, but with other ecommerce solutions it might be harder to find a responsive theme. With WordPress it's actually easy because it utilizes responsive web design by default.
Of course if you plan to change the default theme (something I would definitely do), you will want to make sure that your new theme is responsive as well. Finding a responsive theme isn't at all that difficult because there are a few on WordPress.org as well as ThemeForest which has some really awesome responsive ecommerce themes. Although, you can use any WordPress theme since the majority (if not all) of the ecommerce plugins are compatible with them.
Below you can view a video demonstration of how easy it is to setup a WordPress store:
Can't view the video? Watch it on YouTube
SEO friendly and great for generating content:
Aside from all of benefits I've mentioned above, I'd say that one of the biggest benefit of them all is the fact that you can generate content around your store. This is very important since content is king these days and it's one of the factors that Google uses to rank sites.
In addition to this, WordPress allows you to generate SEO friendly URLs, has good site architecture, has an easy to understand source code (easy for bots to understand) and there are many SEO plugins that you can install to make your site even more search engine friendly.
Need help building your store or choosing a plugin?
If I had to choose a store plugin for WordPress, I'd choose WooCommerce due to its popularity, ease of use and advanced features. I was actually so fond of WooCommerce that I ended up putting together a tutorial on how to build an online store with it. Check it out since it's one of the fastest ways to build an online store.
Want to create your very own Facebook store?
After setting up a store with WordPress I realized that it would also be possible to use it to build a Facebook store as well. In this video tutorial I explain how it's done.
Of course where there are positives, there are also some negatives. One major negative is that many of the plugins don't offer SSL support so I figured I'd first show you how to get past this obstacle.
In my opinion SSL support is a must on an ecommerce site. While I did find some plugins that offer SSL support, many of them didn't support shared SSL certificates. In other words, if you are hosted with a company like Hostgator which offers shared SSL on entry level plans, you cannot use this type of SSL because you cannot specify a domain other than the one you are using for the site.
To fix this problem, I came across the WordPress HTTPS plugin which is great since you can specify a separate domain for the SSL connection. In addition to this you can even secure a particular directory. For example, if you have your blog listed on the front page and have your store setup in a separate directory such as "shop", you can secure only the "shop" directory with this plugin.
If you are wondering why many of these plugins don't offer SSL support by default, it's probably due to your customers entering in their payment information on the payment processor's website and not on your website. Therefore, it's not like you are putting their financial data at risk. Of course some people might not realize this and as a result, you might lose out on sales. For this reason, it's a good idea to enable SSL.