Selling on WordPress is a great option for anyone looking to start an online store and get into WordPress ecommerce.
However, creating and managing an ecommerce website comes with a lot of responsibilities, research, and decision-making. Learning the fundamentals of WordPress and ecommerce might sound like an overwhelming task, but that’s what we’re here for!
Let’s break selling on WordPress into some simple, actionable steps you can take today to start selling online.
Start Selling on WordPress in 9 Steps:
1. Choose a product
2. Buy a domain name
3. Buy a hosting plan
4. Download WordPress onto your site
5. Choose an ecommerce platform
6. Integrate your online store with your WordPress site
7. Test your store
8. Get the word out
9. Celebrate and grow
In this guide, we’ll look at how to get started with WordPress ecommerce and the best ways to leverage a WordPress site into a successful online store.
Here’s how to start selling on WordPress and grow your small business idea into an additional sustainable income source.
1. Choose a Product
Imagine that for the past year you’ve been running a blog on natural health. You’re getting plenty of traffic and you’ve got an engaged audience that keeps coming back for more. You decide to monetize your successful natural health blog by selling on WordPress and you start by offering an eBook.
If you’re not at this point, let’s play out another scenario. Imagine you’ve been creating homemade soaps for your friends when someone says “you should really sell this to the public, everyone asks me about this soap!” So, you look into how and where you could sell your soaps online and you find that WordPress is a popular website builder. You’re hooked.
You’ve chosen your main product, but now you need to decide which soaps you will sell, which scents you want to test with the public, and if there are any additional products you could sell. Maybe an ebook teaching your customers about the benefits of the ingredients you add in your soaps?
When deciding what to sell on your WordPress site, you’ve got to make sure it is as relevant as possible to your target niche. Sometimes, this can take a little bit of brainstorming. Here are some things to consider when choosing a product:
- Are you selling digital products, services, or physical products? Or all three?
- How do your products stand out from the crowd?
- What are you passionate about?
- Think marketing: what can you write about day-in and day-out?
- What market are you an authority figure in? Or what market could you BECOME an authority figure in?
For many people selling on WordPress, digital products like video tutorials and ebooks are a popular choice. Whatever you are insanely passionate about, do a little brainstorming and come up with a product that is relevant to it. You’ll have a much easier time making sales if you do.
2. Buy a Domain Name
To get started selling on WordPress, you’ll want to purchase your domain name. If you’re reading this wondering “what exactly is a domain name?” don’t worry- it’s a simple concept! Your domain is simply your URL. Let’s use our soap example. Say Linda is selling soaps and she wants her website to be www.liedasnaturalsoaps.com. That is the domain name!
After you choose your domain name, you need to choose a domain extension (.com, .org, .net), While .com is the most common and popular choice, it’s not always available or it just may not be the right fit for you. There are so many options for domain extensions!
Whenever choosing a domain extension, keep in mind your potential audience. Most people will find you through ads or blogs or a link on social media. But, what if you run into someone on the street and they want to know where to buy that cute t-shirt you made? “I sell them on www.cuteshirt.services” may not be as easy to remember as “cuteshirt.com”.
Sometimes certain domain extensions make more sense in specific industries. For example, the .org domain extension is often associated with non-profit organizations. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing your domain name and selling on WordPress.
Keep it Short
Like we talked about before, you want your domain name to be easy to remember, easy to pronounce and easy to type out. If I met you on the street and told you to buy my t-shirt at www.wowKristenmakescutetshirtsandsellsthem.com, you would likely forget that by the time you got home. And even if you didn’t, you’re likely to mistype the URL, get frustrated, and ultimately decide my t-shirt wasn’t that cute.
If you want to be successful selling on WordPress, keep your URL short. If your brand name is long, try using an acronym for your site.
For example, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region’s domain name is www.hsppr.org. This is easy to remember, easy to type, and a lot more manageable than www.humanesocietyofthepikespeakregion.org.
Be creative, stay true to your branding, but keep it short!
Here are a few places you can easily check the availability of domains and purchase yours today:
3. Buy a Hosting Plan
Finding the perfect domain is a huge step in your journey. Now that you’ve got your domain ready to go, you need to find someone to host your website. Depending on where you purchase your domain, you will most likely to be able to purchase a hosting package through the same company to make it even easier.
For example, Namecheap is a great choice for this. You can easily purchase a domain and use their hosting service. Having both of these in one place keeps things simple and easy to follow in the future.
Your web host keeps your website up and running, which is arguably the most important thing when selling on WordPress. So how do you choose the best hosting option? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before settling on a hosting company:
- What are their business hours? Do they have 24/7 customer service in case my website crashes in the middle of the night?
- What is their conversational tone by phone and email?
- Do they provide consistent service? Are they trustworthy?
- Do they offer quality products and services?
- Am I getting enough bang for my buck? (Think about what your business will need. Do you need a lot of technical support? Make sure you’re clear on what YOU need to succeed).
If you’re serious about selling on WordPress, make sure that the web host is reputable, reliable, and has good customer service. Ask all of your questions and make sure you feel comfortable with your decision.
Here’s a great resource to help you navigate through the noise and pick the web hosting service that best matches your needs.
4. Download WordPress onto Your Site
Now that your website is up and running, you need to download WordPress. WordPress has a great guide to walk you through all of the technical steps.
A lot of hosting services also offer automatic installation of WordPress through Softaculous. You just walk through a simple setup process and it automatically adds an instance of WordPress to your domain.
5. Choose an Ecommerce Platform
So you’ve got your products ready to go, your WordPress site all set up, and you’re ready to get selling! But how are you going to sell?
This is the question we’re here to answer.
If you’re selling on WordPress, you’ve got half of the answer already. You’re going to sell from your independent WordPress site. Now, you just need an ecommerce platform to help with the heavy lifting.
The Selz plugin is the best option for selling on WordPress. Check out our video on using Selz on a WordPress site! It’s a simple and powerful platform to set up a store, embed into your site, and doesn’t require extensive design or coding knowledge.
Here are a few benefits of using the Selz plugin to sell on your new WordPress site:
- Selz is simple and powerful, and quick to set up – you can be ready in minutes.
- Save money by not having to upgrade your plan or change your theme on WordPress.
- The Selz checkout process is highly professional in appearance and security
- You have the choice to offer customers the ability to buy using PayPal or credit card.
- Everything is taken care of by Selz – you get a reliable, secure store and don’t have to worry about SSL and other security issues.
- If you are hosting video classes there are no bandwidth or storage limits to worry about.
- You can link your store to email tools such as AWeber, MailChimp, Activecampaign, and more with our Zapier integration.
- You have 24/7 Support with Selz. Our customer success team will be there for you, on live chat and email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
- Unlimited resources for learning: when selling on WordPress, it’s vital to continue to learn and grow to make your business more and more successful. Selz is dedicated to providing completely free resources for entrepreneurs at every stage.
Convinced? Give it a try! You can sign-up for a free 14-day trial of Selz. Get your store set up, start playing around with the platform and see if it’s the right fit for you!
6. Integrate Your Online Store with Your WordPress Site
WordPress is a great platform for creating a blog, but it wasn’t initially intended as an online store. With this being the case, selling on WordPress will require you to integrate your online store with your blog.
Of course, setting up an online store on your WordPress site can be challenging. If you’ve managed to build an entire site, the last thing you want to do is completely overhaul a winning formula by redesigning your entire site. Instead, Selz gives you a couple of great options for integrating your online store and your WordPress blog while keeping both fully optimized for their intended function.
Option 1: Embed your entire online store
The first option is to embed your online store into your WordPress site. To do this, you’ll need to make sure that you have a self-hosted version of WordPress and not a free WordPress.com site. With a hosted WordPress site, you have the option of adding an ecommerce plugin, like Selz. Selz helps you seamlessly integrate your online store into your WordPress site. With Selz, you have the ability to customize the appearance of your online store as well.
Learn how to use the Selz plugin here:
This is probably your best option when selling on WordPress. It gives your customers a seamless buying experience and they never have to leave your blog.
Option 2: Add Buy Buttons and Widgets
One of the simplest ways you can sell from WordPress is by embedding a button or widget that links directly to your product, within a page or blog post.
First, you’ll need to create your product in Selz. Go to Selz and create an account. You’ll be able to start adding products straight away by clicking on ‘Add an item’. Your items will automatically go into your store, which you can access by clicking on ‘Store’ and ‘Preview” in the left-hand menu. You’ll see all your products sitting on your very own custom URL.
To find your button and widget options, select ‘Buttons and Widgets’ from the left-hand menu. From there you’ll be able to customize the color of your buttons and a few other options before copying the code generated.
Placing the buttons or widgets onto your WordPress site is as simple as pasting the code into your blog post or page (via the HTML editor).
Option 3: Place a Store Link in Your Navigation Menu
The final option for selling on WordPress is to add a link to your store within your WordPress site’s navigation menu. Doing this will allow visitors to your blog to always be one click away from your store no matter which pages on your blog they are on.
Of course, no one says you have to choose just one of these options when selling on WordPress, and a multi-layered approach is often best. Inserting links to specific products within specific posts is a targeted approach that allows you to create posts geared towards selling certain products.
Including a link to your store’s homepage at the top of your navigation menu is a more general approach that ensures your visitors are always able to access your store from your blog.
7. Test Your New Store
Now that you have decided on the best way to build your WordPress ecommerce site, you need to make sure everything is working correctly. Many sellers decide to mark a product as free to simply go through the steps as the customer.
If you are selling digital products, you will want to test the download speed and ensure that all the files have been uploaded correctly. Check your email to see if you receive an order confirmation and make adjustments to wording or branding as you see fit. It’s also important to go through these steps so that you can help any customers that have questions about the checkout or delivery process.
8. Get the Word Out
It’s time to let the world know about your awesome products! If you already have a following, you can do this in a number of ways. Many sellers choose to share their new store on social media pages like Facebook and Twitter. You could even add a post on Instagram and update the link in your bio with your new site.
If you have a mailing list, sending out a newsletter is also a great way to get visitors to your page. Entice potential buyers with a discount code or give away a freebie with purchase. If you decide to use Selz, you are never charged fees on products that you give away for free!
9. Celebrate and Grow!
When it comes to selling on WordPress, once you have everything set up, you just need to keep doing what you do best. Create great content, promote your new store and keep drawing in visitors. Keep engaging with your audience, and doing everything you can to make buying from you a great experience.