Short answer: Yes, but you’re going to need a plugin called WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that can be added to any WordPress site, and over 3.8 million websites use it for their ecommerce needs.
Through WooCommerce you can sell both digital and physical products, use several payment gateways, shipping options and great themes available to help you get online quickly.
This being said, although WordPress can be used for ecommerce, it’s not for everyone…
Not for Beginners
If you’re new to managing your website, and aren’t as confident in your ability to learn how to make changes, or have someone manage it for you, you might be better off with an all-in-one solution like Wix.
We’re experts in both Wix and WordPress, and have helped many clients learn both platforms.
We like both platforms, but have definitely found that those who are less tech savvy and want to be able to update/manage their website themselves do better with Wix.
Can WordPress Be Used for Ecommerce – With WooCommerce it Can!
Checklist for Setting up Your WooCommerce Store
Select your domain & purchase it from a domain provider
Choose your hosting provider (we recommend WPEngine for WordPress & WooCommerce sites
Install the WooCommerce plugin
Install any other plugins you’ll need for your website
Choose your theme
Import and setup your products
Add your content (images, text, site elements, etc.)
Review your site & check for any errors
Make your site public by connecting your domain!
1. Domain Name
Your domain name is your website’s unique address. Our domain is ‘border7.com,’ for example.
Pro Tip: Try to find a domain that is close to your brand name, is short, memorable and doesn’t cost an arm & a leg to purchase!
When you go to connect your domain (your domain provider should provide instructions on how to do this). keep in mind that it can take a while for your domain to propagate. This is a term that’s often used to describe the time frame after you make a change to your domain name.
To check on the status of your domain propagation, check out whatsmydns.
This site will let you instantly perform a DNS (domain name system) lookup to check a domain name’s current IP address and DNS record information.
2. Hosting Provider
Even though WordPress is a free platform, you still need to pay for hosting. Every website needs hosting, and you’ll want a provider that does automatic backups and includes advanced security, as well as a free SSL & SSH.
3. Install WordPress
There are 2 common ways to install WordPress:
Manually download WordPress and upload it to your hosted account
One-Click install through a hosting provider like WPEngine.
The one-click install option is definitely the most straightforward approach, especially for those who are not tech savvy.
4. Install WooCommerce
WooCommerce is an open-source platform, which means it is built by a community and you have access to all code. With it, you can use WordPress for ecommerce.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to spend money on other plugins to achieve specific functionality you’re looking for, but it’s a great way to turn a WordPress site into an online store.
From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the plugin directory by clicking Plugin on the left hand side.
Type in WooCommerce in the search bar, and then click the Install Now button to begin the install process.
Follow the WooCommerce setup wizard, which will then walk you through the setup process, and then add your business details.
Select your payment options, confirm shipping options, and activate Jetpack (this will enable payment setup and automate taxes for you).
5. Install Other Plugins
Other plugins you’ll want to use will depend on your specific needs, but we have a few we always recommend having on your WordPress site.
Yoast SEO – offers you the most comprehensive solution to help you improve your on-site SEO (will make it easier for people to find your website)
MonsterInsights (Google Analytics Plugin) – helps you have optics on your site and make data-driven decisions
WP Rocket – this plugin will help you improve your website speed (an important factor for improving user experience) and performance for those who do not have technical skills
6. Choose Your Theme
A theme is the basic design for your website. It’s customizable by either editing HTML code on your site, or by using the built in customizer.
Choose a theme that is close to the overall look you want, and make your changes as needed.
Pro Tip: Your site’s design is important, but don’t let it distract you from getting online. Your site will never be truly “done,” so don’t put off launching because it’s not perfect.
Keep in mind these 6 Essentials when planning your content & you’ll be in great shape:
What You Do
Who It’s For
Why They Need It
What’s Your Story
Why Trust You
What They Should do Next
7. Add Your Products
You can add your products to WooCommerce from the left dashboard by clicking Products.
When uploading your products you’ll need to fill in:
Additional Product images
Like your design, if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, start with a batch of products to start.
You can always add more or make changes down the line!
8. Add Content
Your content is super important! If you only have 3-5 seconds to make an impression when a visitor lands on your site, you need to quickly communicate why they should care about your business.
Many business owners get too focused on themselves and the hard work they’ve put into their business that they forget to speak to the customer’s pain points, aspirations and concerns.
For more tips on planning content for your website, read this article!
9. Review & Check for Errors
While we want to help you get online quickly that doesn’t mean you want spelling errors or mistakes if you can avoid them.
Here are a few tips to help you:
Check broken links through drlinkcheck
Copy your text and paste into a WordDoc to check for spelling errors
Read sentences backward to make yourself take more time and catch errors
Have a friend review it for your! If you’ve been staring at the site for a while it’s possible that you’ll miss errors because you’ve gotten so used to them
If there is a typo or mistake after you launch, don’t sweat it too much. Change it when you notice it and move on. We’re all human and we make mistakes – don’t get too hung up on mistakes!
10. Connect Your Domain & Launch Your Site
After you’ve followed these 9 steps, and are ready to launch, you’re ready to “go live!”
WPEngine has a helpful Go Live Checklist you can access in your User Portal, which will guide you through this.
Make sure your WordPress environment, hosting provider and domain provider have updated information, so they all know where your domain should be pointed and ensure it works properly.
Updating WordPress URL Setting
Log into your WordPress dashboard
Update the following 2 values to your new domain
WordPress Address (URL)
Site Address (URL)
In order for your domain to know which server to send traffic to, you’ll need to point your DNS
Your domain provider should have instructions but the usual steps are:
Log into your DNS host
Locate the area to manage your DNS records
Change the A or CNAME records to your hosting provider’s values
Once you’ve launched your WooCommerce website and have waited for the domain to propagate, make sure your SSL has been installed.
So the answer to the question, “Can WordPress be used for Ecommerce” is yes, but make sure you follow the steps above to see the most success!
Questions or Want an Actionable Plan to Help Your Business Succeed?
Schedule a free strategy session with our team!