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Before WordPress entered the picture, building a website required a specialized skill set. However, since WordPress was launched in 2003, developing a website became a layman’s job. WordPress has come a long way since then. It is the most widely used content management system on the internet. According to W3techs, WordPress occupies 58.55% of the CMS market. The popularity of WordPress can also be seen from Netcraft survey results that show WordPress powers 27% of the internet. In fact, some of the most famous websites such as TED, CNN, TechCrunch and Best Buy are powered by WordPress.

WordPress is popular for e-commerce websites as well. This is due to multiple reasons, including its compatibility with a lot of plugins, its themes, and constant security updates. The best part is that it is free of cost and open source, which means it is easily customizable.

There is a general misconception that WordPress is more suitable for small e-commerce stores as compared to e-commerce bigwigs. However, that is not the case. It is true that with other e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, you don’t need to worry much about maintenance and security, but they don’t allow customization. Also, if you have the knowledge and budget, then you can easily maintain a WordPress store as well.

If you have an e-commerce store hosted on WordPress, then here are some hacks that will improve your store:

1.   WordPress Caching Plugin

Speed is a crucial factor in determining the success of a website. According to surveys by Akamai and Gomez.com, visitors expect a website to load within two seconds, and they tend to leave a website if it doesn’t load within three seconds. 79% of the shoppers say that they won’t buy from a website again if they have a problem with its performance and 44% say that they would also tell their friends about it, which means that you won’t only lose conversions, but also potential customers.

A caching plugin saves dynamically generated HTML files in a cache and serves them the next time a page is loaded, which improves load time. There are numerous plugins in the market that you can use to improve your website such as WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache.

2.   Email Marketing Plugin

Email marketing is crucial for e-commerce websites. Research shows that customers who are marketed through email spend 138% more than people who do not receive any offers. Since email marketing has high returns, it is imperative for e-commerce websites to utilize it. There a lot of email marketing plugins that you can use to increase sales for your e-commerce website. MailChimp plugin for WordPress is quite useful in this regard. It allows you to create aesthetically appealing opt-in forms and design newsletters that you can use for your email campaigns. The best part is that it automatically syncs all subscriber data from WordPress to the MailChimp account and saves you from manual data entry. Salesmate is a CRM plugin WordPress that helps you organize all your sales prospect in one place. Some of the most notable features of Salesmate include smart email and visual sales pipeline so you can understand what stage your customers are in.

3.   SEO Plugin

93% of online activity begins with search. Hence, SEO is an important aspect of an e-commerce website. It helps your products to show up for relevant searches, which consequently increases the number of visitors to your website. Yoast is one popular WordPress plugin that makes handling SEO a piece of cake. Yoast allows you to optimize your website for keywords. It also analyzes the readability of your copy and helps you to avoid duplicate content.

4.   Heat maps plugins

Heat maps are an effective way to understand how customers behave on your website. It tells what areas are working the most and where customers face trouble. They also help to identify any bottlenecks that impact conversion rates. It shows how customers explore each page, whether there are any distractions in navigation and what people are clicking on. Heatmap.me is a popular heatmap plugin used by many brands to track their visitors’ buying journey. Heatmap.me is different from other plugins because it not only tracks texts or image, but forms and buttons as well.

5.   Analytics

Analytics let you to see where your website traffic is coming from, what marketing campaigns are working and what channels are the most profitable. Hence, incorporating an analytics plugin can increase the effectiveness of your WordPress website. The most popular analytics plugin is Google Analytics. It is the preferred choice for many companies because it is free and easy to install. With this plugin, you can track all important stats on your WordPress dashboard. These stats include revenue generated by each page and its bounce rate. The stats also include the demographics of your audience and what devices they are using so you can adapt your strategies accordingly.

6.   Ease of Payment

The checkout page is the most important step in a buyer’s journey. The payment process should not be a drag; it should be quick and short. Some websites put the entire process on a single page, while some like to break it down into few steps such as Leatherskinship that has broken down its process into three simple steps.

Hence, a plugin that makes the payment process simple would improve your website. Stripe Payments Plugin makes the payment process quite simple. It allows you to accept credit card payments and make ‘Buy Now’ buttons on the go so you can add them anywhere on the website.

7.   Woo commerce

While there are many plugins to build an e-commerce website, Woo commerce is the best because it allows you to sell both physical and digital products. So, if you want to add digital products to your portfolio, you can easily do that with Woo commerce. Also, it allows you to add affiliate or external products to your website. It comes with a complete inventory management system that shows how much stock you are left with. Through Woo commerce, you can add multiple payment options and the best part is that it can calculate shipping and taxes cost automatically.

While WordPress may not be the preferred platform for building e-commerce websites. However, its advantage is that it allows customization and you can increase its functionality through the plethora of plugins.

 

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Erica Silva

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