Making a living online has become the new American dream. Instead of opening a coffee shop or a hardware store, we hang our digital shingle online and sell our wares to the world. Even before you start building your online store, you’ve got some important decisions to make. Which online store platform should you use? If usage is any indication, you might want to look at WordPress. The latest release has had over 9 Million downloads in just over a month and this platform just keeps eating up the website market share. When I’m asked which online store platform a client should use, here are the top 3 reasons I usually recommend WordPress.
With WordPress, you have control over every aspect of your online store. There are no rules to follow but the ones you set and the expectations your customers hold you to. You get to set up the processes that work best for your products and customers.
What exactly does that mean? It means that if you want a completely frictionless buying process where a customer clicks a button to pay and the payment goes through, you can make that happen. A frictionless buying process is best if you have a single product, or products that are purchased one at a time. If you sell multiple products and want to use cross-sells and up-sells to increase sales, WordPress allows you to set up a process where the customer is exposed to other purchases or special deals before checkout. The possibilities are endless.
Because WordPress isn’t just an online store platform, it gives you the flexibility to run your entire business from one website. Do you use content marketing to attract or educate customers? You can easily incorporate a blog onto the same site as your store, highlighting products and leading to more sales. Do you provide services as well as products? WordPress allows you unlimited ways to structure your site so that your services and product can be side-by-side and even complement each other.
In the end, a success business makes money. The WordPress platform is free, and while there are other costs involved, (hosting, premium themes, store add-ons) you can start your online store for less than $100 for the first year. And nobody at WordPress is taking a percentage of your sales – it’s all yours minus your payment processing service fees.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how your products get found in search engines. And while the world of SEO is constantly changing, I have yet to find any other platform that beats the SEO you can achieve yourself using WordPress. Every client I have moved to WordPress from a paid website platform as achieved an instant increase in organic search traffic – one had up to a 50% increase in the first month on WordPress! With WordPress, you don’t have to hire an SEO expert to get good results.
If WordPress is So Great, Why Would you Choose a Different Online Store Platform?
Because I’m such a proponent and I make my living from WordPress, people don’t expect me to be open about the potential drawbacks they might encounter while using it. I honestly want what’s best for my clients, so I’m going to be very transparent about the when you shouldn’t use WordPress as your store platform.
- If you aren’t willing to spend two hours a month maintaining and updating your website. WordPress and the various plugins that you use to build your website will need to be updated at least once a month. A website that isn’t updated frequently is a huge security risk.
- If you value ease of use over creating an optimized buying experience that can increase your sales. We all wish we had a product that just flew off our website without even trying. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those, you might not need WordPress.
- If you are intimidated by technology and aren’t good with computers. Let’s face it, everyone has things they are really good at and things they aren’t so good at. For those people to whom computers are a mystery that will never be solved, I recommend sticking with a paid online store platform. I really suck at math and I hire out my accounting for this exact reason. Know your limitations and make the decision that will work best for you.
Now for the good part. How would you like to have my help while you set up your online store? You can spend the day with me and a small group of up to 6 other business owners and we’ll set up your store together. Check out my Build a WordPress Ecommerce Store class in Raleigh, NC to see if there is a session that fits your schedule. At the time of this post, the next one is on June 13th.