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WordPress is the most popular content management system out there and it powers most of the internets website and it lets people build their own websites without any coding skills or and technical know how, but a lot of people know if they can use WordPress to build their online store.

Yes, WordPress is good for selling products. But first, you need to install a plugin to give WordPress e-commerce functionality, the most popular plugin is Woocommerce. Both WordPress and Woocommerce are free to use and perfect for selling products online.

You’ll need a couple of things to start selling products via your WordPress website:

  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • WordPress
  • Woocommerce
  • WordPress theme

One of the main reasons I recommend WordPress for selling products compared with other content management systems that are specifically built for e-commerce is that your WordPress website is decentralized. If you build your online store with Shopify for example, Shopify provides you with the shopping cart, hosting, the content management, page builder and everything else to do with your website.

But if Shopify changes something and you don’t like it or they decide they don’t like your store, there is nothing you can do about it, you either have to live with it or rebuild your website somewhere else.

However, with WordPress everything is customizable, if my hosting company changes how they run their servers and it slows down my website, I can set up my website on a new host in an hour.

If a Woocommerce update comes out and I don’t like it, I can install a different e-commerce plugin without having to rebuild my website.

There is so much I can change about WordPress that allows me to customise it however I want and if there is something I don’t like about it, I can change it in an afternoon without my customers knowing.

I love Shopify and I do recommend it to a lot of people, however, I do wish I could customize a lot more features.

Hosting

If you want a website, you need a host, a host is a server where your website is stored and is made accessible to the internet.

Companies like Shopify and Square space have their own hosting servers which are why you don’t need to get a different hosting account but typically cost a lot more.

If you plan on selling products online you need to have an SSL certificate, what the SSL certificate does is encrypt the data being transferred on your website such as credit card information.

Many browsers such as Chrome will warn their users if their using an e-commerce website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate, this could cost you a lot of sales.

In some cases, the browser won’t even let you access the website, this will usually happen if your website is trying to run an SSL certificate but it doesn’t exist.

Depending on the hosting company you choose, some host can charge hundreds of dollars for an SSL certificate and some give you a free SSL certificate, if you want to see my recommendations for hosting companies that have free SSL certificates, check out my list here at okryan.blog/hosting.

Woocommerce

Woocommerce is a free plugin that is owned by the same parent company of WordPress.

How it works is that you can use it for free and you can increase its functionality by buying additional plugins, these are generally one-off purchases which mean Woocommerce is a kind of a pick and mix business model, you only pay for what you use, compared with other e-commerce solutions that charge high monthly fee’s to access every feature they make which you may not even use.

The free version has enough features for most stores, there are some plugins that some business models may require such as subscriptions but I’ve had web design clients who still use the free version to this date and haven’t needed to buy anything extra.

The best place to find extra plugins for Woocommerce is at the Woocommerce store, but there are a lot of third-party developers who also make plugins.

You do have to be careful though, there are a lot of free plugins available but you need to make sure that it’s from a reputable developer with good reviews and receives consistent updates. The last thing you want is to use a plugin that ends up leaving you vulnerable to security risks that could ruin your business when you could have spent a small amount on a premium plugin.

Woocommerce provides you with a bunch of free features such as local pickups, free shipping when you spend a certain amount, coupon codes and a lot more.

WordPress theme

Your WordPress theme is what structures the appearance of your website.

Not all WordPress themes are created equal and not all WordPress themes are designed to integrate with Woocommerce.

For most people, I would choose a theme that is specifically designed for Woocommerce, there are a lot of themes out there but some don’t seem to integrate as well with Woocommerce as other themes.

The WordPress theme that I recommend most people use is call Storefront, it’s designed by Woocommerce to integrate perfectly and it’s really simple to use.

Another great reason to use Storefront is that it’s free to use, it has a similar business structure to Woocommerce where you get the base version for free and you can pay for additional features.

However, the free version has more than enough features for everyone beginning their online store.

One of the biggest reasons I see that causes people to abandon their websites before finishing is the learning curve of the theme.

Some themes are designed to be extremely customisable, however, these themes have the highest learning curve.

For most beginners who are just getting started, I recommend using a theme that is less customisable.

What I personally recommend is using Storefront and then you can reinvest into a web designer down the line to build a website that represents your brand.

You can build a Storefront website in a single afternoon and is extremely easy to use.

Conclusion

WordPress is by far my favorite platform to build your online store from.

I feel if you want to run a business, you shouldn’t leave important decisions to someone else, which if you use some of these all in one platforms, is essentially what you’re doing.

While I understand, it can be easier to integrate everything in one place, but having the power to customize every part of the backend of your website is something that I feel everyone should have control over.

Another great reason to use WordPress is the price, compared with other solutions, WordPress is incredibly cheap.

For the cost of your domain name and hosting, you can have an online store set up in a single afternoon.

The main issue you’ll have with WordPress is updating your WordPress site, themes, and plugins, while some other content management systems will automatically update them for you, you have to manually update them with WordPress.

One of the biggest security risks for WordPress is having an out of date content, this is magnified for online stores, but as long as you keep on top of your updates, WordPress is great for selling products.