Running an eCommerce Site with WordPress: Beginners Guide
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Running an eCommerce Site with WordPress: Beginners Guide

Launching an eCommerce business is easier than ever. And the people who could buy from it are even more accessible. But what does it take to keep a WordPress eCommerce website running like a well-oiled machine?

Here are your top priorities while managing an eCommerce website on WordPress. This checklist will help ensure that your online store is up-to-date, secure, and well-maintained. But before discussing the checklist, let’s glance at WordPress.

WordPress: Creating A Solid Foundation of eCommerce Store 

eCommerce is an indispensable part of the global retail network. In 2021, it accounted for nearly 19% of global retail sales. It is only poised to reach new heights by making up 24% of global retail sales by 2026. 

However, as the inclination towards online shopping increases, the competition becomes prohibitively fierce. 

Thus, for an eCommerce business, it is critically important to have a well-performing website to separate itself from the pack of other eCommerce stores. After all, buyers tend to be quick to equate a website’s poor performance to the poor quality of products. 

Unsurprisingly, talking about building a successful eCommerce website leads us to WordPress. 

WordPress is the most popular, flexible, and scalable solution for building an eCommerce site. 

eCommerce Site with WordPress

Image Source: Getapp 

As a website-building platform, it is endlessly customizable and enables you to create a full-blown, responsive eCommerce store with the help of plugins. The WooCommerce plugin 

is widely used to add eCommerce functionality to a core WordPress website. Many other plugins, like WordPress Collaboration plugins, are great for collaborative editing and publishing content on your eCommerce site.

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to build an eCommerce WordPress website. You can also access more detailed information here.

  1. Set up your essential WordPress website.
  2. Install WooCommerce- a WordPress eCommerce plugin.
  3. Select an eCommerce-friendly WordPress theme.
  4. Add products.
  5. Configure other vital settings such as payment, shipping rates, etc.
  6. Extend your online store’s features using additional plugins.

Now, the success of an eCommerce website depends on a slew of factors, maintenance being one of them and often overlooked. But it’s essential to put in a little work in managing your eCommerce site to ensure that the site is always functional, bug-free, secure, and competitive.

So, let’s start with the essential tasks for running a successful eCommerce website on WordPress.

Essential Checklist to Keep Your eCommerce WordPress Site Well-Functioning

1. Backup Your Site 

Backups can give you absolute peace of mind that you still have your data if a website is hacked, a hosting account is suspended, or a server crashes. With data in your hand, you can ensure your website is up and running with minimal downtime.

Manual backup can be highly tedious and possibly erroneous. While many hosting providers offer free backups, they are only sometimes reliable, and restoring data is complicated. 

So, we recommend you install WordPress backup plugins and run automatic backups weekly.

2. Upgrade WordPress Version

WordPress releases major and minor updates to enhance security, performance, and user experience. Upgrades range from themes, plugins, and bug fixes to critical changes in the core software. Not keeping up with the update schedules makes outdated websites vulnerable to security breaches.

However, significant changes while upgrading might often result in compatibility issues. To avoid this, you can test updates on a staging site before directly applying on a live site. Conversely, you can safely put your website in maintenance mode while using the updates.  

3. Review Site SEO

A content audit is a practice that will help you ramp up your SEO score and user experience. 

It requires you to review your or user-generated old content every quarter and identify the top performers and ineffective content to know what works best for your site. It will also enable you to upgrade your eCommerce SEO practices, conforming to the latest Google updates.

This aspect should be taken seriously since SEO can make or break your eCommerce website.

4. Recognize and Delete Spam Comments

Comment spam is an obnoxious, black-hat SEO technique that involves posting comments irrelevant to the blog and containing a link to the commenter’s website.

While running a WordPress website, it is a must to figure out how to combat spam comments. Because large volumes of them hamper your site performance, affect search engine rankings, distract you from engaging with legitimate commenters, and might also have malicious links.

With WordPress’s built-in comment moderation features, you can manually approve accurate comments and delete spam comments once a week. However, the most potent option is Akismet – this spam protection WordPress plugin is the easiest way to shun 99% of spam comments.

5. Test Critical Features Regularly

Any issue with an eCommerce website’s mission-critical functionality (like checkout and order management) means a revenue loss. Thus, it is always a good idea to run testing cycles for critical features at least once a week and check if they are running correctly on your eCommerce store.

6. Fix Broken Links 

Broken links create an extremely unpleasant user experience for your site as they prevent visitors from getting the desired information. Moreover, a fractured inbound link makes it difficult for bots to crawl and index web pages. It ultimately causes website traffic and search ranking to drop. Therefore, use the broken link-checking plugin to audit your website once a month.

7. Measure Site Performance and Speed

While creating the website, you ensured it was optimized for its loading speed. However, periodic site performance tests are a must to keep it optimized. 

Also, the website might load instantly on your computer because when you open it many times, the browser saves the content to pre-load for the next visit. However, the same website might need to be faster for first-time visitors.

Therefore, by analyzing the site, you can catch any potential issues and optimize the site to improve the website’s overall user experience.

8. Run a Security Audit

When millions of visitors shop and transact on your eCommerce site, they trust you with their data and payment information. So, there is no way you can have a second chance with it.

Several WordPress security plugins do the heavy lifting for you through automatic website security checks. 

9. Get Rid of Inactive Plugins

While plugins are inevitable parts of your eCommerce WordPress, they can also be the source of potential security threats.

Therefore, an annual plugin audit is a great way to ensure that the plugins you’ve added are only essential. If specific plugins and themes do not benefit your website, it’s wise to delete them.

10. Change Website Password

Using the same old or weak or easy-to-crack password for an eCommerce website is like welcoming security breaches with open arms. Therefore, following good password practices and regularly updating passwords is a never-to-be-forgotten ritual of your site maintenance regime. It should limit login attempts and secure your website from security breaches. 

Conclusion

Running an eCommerce website on WordPress can feel overwhelming. However, if you want it to drive revenue-shifting outcomes, ensuring the site functions at its best only makes sense. The above checklist is a great place to start when striving to keep your eCommerce store in good shape.

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