How to Start an Online Store with WordPress in 5 Easy Steps
Posted: 9th May 2019
One out of three websites is built on WordPress. And that’s not surprising.
WordPress has been around for a long time and has established itself as one of the most reliable and easy-to-use solutions on the market.
And even though today numerous solutions offer robust platforms for building a website, WordPress keeps going strong because it is not only user-friendly but also incredibly powerful, allowing to customise your website however you like.
In fact, although WordPress is typically associated with blogging, it’s very popular for building e-commerce stores as well.
But how can you build an online store using WordPress?
Well, to help you get started, let’s explore some of the most important steps below.
Select a Niche That You Care About
Many novice marketers make the mistake of choosing a niche based on what they believe has the most earning potential. They read an article about a “hot new market” and think that they must jump on that train before it passes.
Unfortunately, that’s a path that is almost guaranteed to lead to failure.
Fads pass relatively quickly, and if you’re reading about them, chances are that the market is already oversaturated anyway.
What’s more, building a successful e-commerce store is a long process that will require dedication, so if your only motivation to push through is the earnings potential, you may have a harder time keeping yourself focused once you hit your first couple of setbacks.
That’s why, when choosing the right niche, you should look inwards first.
Consider, what are your interests and what are you passionate about? Think about your own purchasing habits, your hobbies, and what would you be interested in selling.
If you pick a niche that you are already interested in, you will not only have a much better chance of sticking with it long-term but will actually already have a better understanding of your target audience, which will be very helpful when trying to find ways to stand out in the marketplace.
Perform Thorough Audience Research
One of the most crucial factors that will determine your success is how well you know your audience.
It will dictate your ability to create a brand that your target market can relate to, finding unique marketing angles, understanding how to position your products, and almost every other decision that you make.
If you choose a niche that you are familiar with, it will make the audience research process easier, but you still need to dive deep and verify every assumption that you have.
But where to start with audience research?
Well, the first step is building a customer avatar. You can use tools like Facebook Insights to find people who are interested in brands similar to yours and identify the most crucial target groups that make up that audience.
Look for basic demographic information, but try to go deeper than that – once you have a rough idea of the person that could be interested in what you have to offer, try to figure out his motivations for buying the products, his fears, his passions, and his online habits.
Luckily, with tools like Facebook Insights or Google AdWords, you can learn a ton about how online users consume content and look for solutions for their problems, which can help you find out all you need to know about how to appeal to the people that you want to reach.
Work on Your Brand
Having a strong brand is an integral part of launching a successful online store.
Today, people are very selective about who they trust their personal and payment information to, and won’t buy from any online store that doesn’t look trustworthy, so establishing a brand that they are familiar with and can trust will be a deciding factor in whether you can make any sales.
When developing your brand, it’s important to find ways to stand out and form a connection with your audience. You need to have a brand voice that your prospects can relate to, and build authentic relationships using social media and blogging.
One of the first steps you will need to take when developing your brand is choosing a brand name – you can use a domain name generator to come up with name ideas that are available for you to use online.
Make sure that your brand is consistent on every level of your online marketing and communications. That includes not only the voice that you use, but also colour schemes, branding elements, and even the mediums that you use to promote your company.
Even seemingly minor details like choosing the right Instagram profile picture size can make a difference in the way your brand is perceived, so you need to be thorough in your research and make sure that you make the right choices.
Set Up Your WordPress E-commerce Store
Once you complete the first three steps, you are ready to create your e-commerce store, because now you know what you’ll be selling, who you will want to reach, and how to position your brand to maximise your chances of success.
When building your WordPress online store, the first step is picking an e-commerce plugin that you’ll be using – there’s an ongoing debate between marketers about BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce, which are two of the most popular options, but you may want to explore others as well to see what they can offer.
You will then need to choose the right theme for your e-commerce store, and set it up to match your brand, picking the right colour schemes, fonts, layout, and inserting your brand elements such as your logo.
Then, start adding products, and make sure that you take the time to find or take high-quality pictures and develop engaging descriptions, as those will be two critical factors that influence people’s decision to buy.
At this stage, it’s also important to think about details like your e-commerce order fulfilment strategy, as that will play an important role in how you price your products. Don’t be afraid to split test these types of decisions to see which pricing model is more appealing to your audience.
Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
Now that you know how to make a website, you need to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy so that you can attract visitors that will be interested in what you have to offer.
Breaking into a competitive e-commerce market can be a challenge, so you need to implement a diverse range of marketing strategies if you want to grow your store consistently and carve out a place for your store in the marketplace.
But which tactics should you focus on?
Well, you should prioritise strategies with the biggest long-term rewards such as content marketing and SEO.
With content marketing, you can not only gain a steady stream of traffic from guest posting opportunities and syndicating your content, but can also build your authority status in the industry and help your prospective buyers overcome objections.
Search engine optimisation is also very effective because although it can take a while until you reach the first page for the most relevant keywords, once you do, you will gain a steady stream of prospects who are already looking for what you have to offer.
Influencer marketing is another powerful marketing strategy that can be incredibly effective for e-commerce stores – by leveraging the authority and following of an influencer, you can gain access to a market that would otherwise be unreachable and see an instant influx of sales.
Finally, once you have a solid understanding of who your ideal customers are and what they respond to best, you can start implementing paid advertising campaigns on social media and the search engines.
Although it can be difficult to remain profitable when you’re just starting out, if you can find what works, the scaling possibilities are almost endless.