Though WordPress was born as a blogging platform, today it powers many small business websites. It has gained a lot of popularity in recent years because of its easy customisation and great user experience.
WordPress is a Search Engine Optimisation [SEO]-friendly Content Management System used by over 25% of all websites, including personal blogs, small business websites, and full-fledged e-Commerce stores.
However, most merchants are still very reluctant to set up their e-Commerce stores on WordPress. After researching the reasons why, I arrived at the following conclusions:
- Non-Users think WordPress can be easily hacked.
- They think WordPress cannot handle a large number of products.
- They believe that WordPress is very complicated to use and difficult to customise.
- They need a specific CMS built for an e-Commerce website.
Why WordPress Makes a Good E-Commerce Site
I agree with the fact that WordPress cannot handle tens of thousands of products just yet; however, it can comfortably handle around 2,000-3,000 products without any issue.
Is it a small number for small businesses?
Small e-Commerce sites or stores with less than 3,000 products or a startup with just a few products can power their websites on WordPress. This works just fine, but if you have over 3,000 products, you need to get a 3rd party service like Shopify.
WordPress is the most cost-efficient CMS used by small businesses. In addition to this, most of its customisation plugins are available for free in the WordPress directory.
When you set up an e-Commerce store on WordPress, you need to think of maintaining it as well by making sure your site is secured from hackers, keeping regular backups, updating it regularly, fixing bugs, etc.
WordPress has over 60 million installations, which makes it very vulnerable to hackers due to the large size community. Although WordPress keeps rolling out frequent upgrades and updates to make it more secure, you can’t rely on just that. You also need to install security plugins and customise them… and yes, they are free!
Using WordPress for e-Commerce might be a tedious task if you don’t have either the time to manage the site yourself, or the budget to hire someone to do the maintenance for you.
How good is WordPress for e-Commerce?
There is no definite answer to that question; it ultimately depends on your goals. As your e-Commerce business grows, it’s obvious that you’ll start driving more orders. This will consume your bandwidth usage, forcing you to upgrade your hosting plan (if your site is currently hosted on a shared server, you will need to go for a dedicated server or VPS).
WordPress doesn’t offer the functionality of an e-Commerce store by default. There are many themes and plugins available which will help you build a full-fledged e-Commerce store from the existing template.
Another problem is that most WordPress themes or plugins may not be compatible with the current version of WordPress. This can cause bugs and other issues for your customers. In trying to fix them, you either need to hire a developer, or ask for help from the WordPress community which is a time-consuming process.
So, the fact is that WordPress was not originally built for e-Commerce sites; but as it gained popularity, it became a full developed CMS which can be used to create any kind of website.
Despite these flaws, the advantages of using WordPress for your e-Commerce website far outweighs the disadvantages:
5 Reasons Why I Love WordPress for E-Commerce:
- Free and Open Source CMS
I love the word ‘free’. What about you? WordPress is a free and open source CMS powering over 60 million sites on the web. When you begin a startup, what is the first issue that comes to mind?
The financial issue. Sometimes you seek investors to fund your business, but at the initial stage, the probability that the investors are going to trust you is low unless your business plan is highly unique and compelling. At the initial stage, you need to invest your own money and cut costs where you can. That’s why WordPress is your best option.
It’s the most cost-efficient CMS which will save your money when compared with other e-Commerce CMS like Magento which can still be expensive to use for a custom website development. But using WordPress will help you save money which can be used for other productive purposes.
- Lots of Themes and Plugins
There are a huge variety of WordPress themes and plugins available which you can use to build a stunning, professional e-Commerce website for your business.
Not all e-Commerce WordPress themes are suitable for your website, so you need to be very careful when creating an e-Commerce WordPress theme. I would highly recommend you go for a premium WordPress theme which will give you a better customisation experience than using a free theme.
As I mentioned above, you can experience lot of bugs while trying to customise your WP e-Commerce store. You can either get support from the WordPress community, or you can choose to hire a developer, but when you go for a premium WordPress theme the company will be eager to help you out with any related query and will fix your bugs at no extra cost.
Now let’s talk about the WordPress plugins you need to build an e-Commerce store with. There are many WordPress plugins available, but you need to select the plugin based on your requirements.
If your site involves physical delivery of goods, the WooCommerce plugin is the best option. If you need to sell digital products, the Easy Digital Downloads plugin is the best option so far…and yes, both are free!
- WordPress Can Handle a Good Number of Products
The ideal number of products that your store’s site can handle should be 3,000. Although, WooCommerce can easily handle more than that, it is better to start with a small number in order to be on the safe side.
- Easy to Build Search Engine Friendly Websites
WordPress makes SEO so easy; before now, you had to edit the codes and insert meta tags on your site for SEO. You would also have to complete a technical analysis to make your site was search engine friendly.
But nowadays, there is no need to edit a single line of code. Free plugins, such as Yoast SEO, has made the work much easier. Anyone can do the basic SEO for their sites without having any coding skills or technical knowledge.
For on-page SEO, you also need to make the content SEO-friendly. Here, TinyMCE Advanced plugin has a great role to play. There are a variety of free SEO plugins in the WordPress directory which will help you in adding keyword-rich meta tags to product and category pages, interlinking the posts and pages, etc.
- Unlimited Possibilities
Yes, there are endless possibilities, and I mean it. WordPress is an easy-to-use CMS which delivers super easy customisation experience with a large variety of plugins available in the WordPress directory.
If you want vendors to register on your site and sell the products for you, the Multi-Vendor plugin will help you do that.
If you want to sell in different currencies to different countries, the Multi Currency plugin will help you do that. So, there are unlimited possibilities with WordPress that you can think of.
Today, you got to know how good WordPress is for e-Commerce websites and why I love WordPress for e-Commerce.
Despite the small amount of disadvantages, there are lots of advantages; capitalise on them and find your own solutions and work-arounds. Instead of paying lots of money for custom development or going for any other CMS, especially if you’ve a low budget, use WordPress instead.
For example, if you run a small e-Commerce store, rather than complain about the security of WordPress, you can use free security plugins like WordFence and BulletProof to help you secure your site. And if you run a big e-Commerce store with a huge variety of products and you process a large number of orders daily, then you can also get a premium third party security service with takes care of you so you can sleep with both eyes closed.
Now that the security issue is gone, you can look for other solutions rather than reasons not to use WordPress. It may not be perfect, but it is the best free site builder available.
Finally, it’s time for you to decide how good WordPress is for your business. Feel free to share your opinion below.