For anyone wanting an ecommerce website, WordPress is an excellent tool with which to launch your new business. WordPress is an open source website building program using PHP. It is one of the easiest ways to produce a professional profit producing website or blog.
WordPress may have started out as a simple blogging platform but it has evolved into much more. With plugins and widgets the features you can add to your site are endless. There is no cost to use WordPress. You can install it and modify it however you choose and it is fairly easy to learn.
Hundreds of different themes provide a wide array of designs you can choose for your website. Some themes are free and some require a fee. Although WP is not extremely difficult to use there are some things a beginner should know to make the experience flow more smoothly.
1. WordPress Folder – When you create your WP site you do not want to use a WordPress folder so it shows up in your URL. I have seen sites that do this and end up with urls like mysite.com/WordPress. Install the WP in your main directory or use a subdomain.
2. Plugin Overload – Plugins are a wonderful thing. They have one for everything from changing your font size and color to sharing your posts to your social media accounts. Although they are a great tool to use, be careful not to use too many. When I first went to the plugin directory at WordPress.org I was like a kid at Christmas. I was downloading just about all of them. I have since learned to only use the plugins I actually need and to be sure they all get along. Sometimes you do get plugins that don’t play nice together. If you notice a problem on your site after installing a new plugin, just deactivate the plugin and see if it fixes the problem.
4. Backup Your Site – If you have ever experienced the loss of a website, you know it is not a pleasurable experience. To prevent this from happening be sure to backup your WP site regularly. Some hosts will provide a 24 hour backup of your site if anything happens but not all of them offer that extra feature. So, do not forget to backup your website regularly. There are services for this or plugins that do this for you as well. You can search the plugin directory at WordPress.org and find hundreds of options.
5. Use Images – Using quality images in your posts and on your pages can increase your conversion rate dramatically. The brain processes images much better than text so they do much more for your products/services. Be sure you are using images legally and always add an alt text. This will help the search engine spiders “see” the image.
6. Remember Your Footer – Unfortunately many people overlook the footer at the bottom of the page. This is where you want to add your copyright and/or business information or other pertinent information or links. Be sure to keep it up to date as well. Many people will make it a point to check the footer for information and to see if the site is up to date.
7. How to Choose a Theme – Choosing a theme is an important part of building your website so do not take it lightly. The theme provides the design and layout of your site. Determine the purpose of your business and what you need your website to do for your business. Research each theme thoroughly to see if it will provide what you need. Be sure to see if the theme provides support. Try the theme and see if it “fits” with your site and content. Take the time needed to choose the right theme. If you do find out later the theme you chose does not work, don’t fret, they can easily be changed.
8. Customized Permalinks – Permalinks are the urls given to your post by WordPress. The default permalink can be ugly or extremely long depending on your post titles. You can change the structure of the permalink by going into Settings>Permalinks. You can choose one of the options they have or you can customize your links.
9. Automate Social Sharing – Social media must play an integral part of your website. There are many options for social sharing plugins so every time you post, it will be shared with your social media followers. There are also plugins that will allow your visitors to easily share your content on their social pages. Be sure to use these plugins to your advantage.
10. Update WordPress and Plugins – WordPress and the plugins associated with it are constantly being changed and revised. You need to keep up with these updates and always check to see if an update is available. If you are not up to date the chances of your site being hacked could increase. It could also cause problems with interaction between old and new plugins and features. Updating is as simple as a click of the mouse. Check for an Update Available button next to your plugins or at the top of your admin dashboard.