Lindsey Conger

Autors: Lindsey Conger

Lindsey is a freelance writer based out of Chicago who specializes in technology, business, finance, and real estate. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Dwell, and Stackstreet.

What is the best Ecommerce CMS?

With digital buyer penetration expecting to surpass 65% of internet users by 2021, the e-commerce industry is clearly the future. eCommerce is even likely to be the largest retail channel in the world within the next year years, with more than $4.8 trillion each year expected to be spent online by consumers in the year 2021.

To enter into the eCommerce market, first, you need reliable eCommerce hosting and next, you will have to decide is what type of eCommerce CMS platform you want to commit to. Picking the right e-Commerce CMS can be a difficult decision. Many of these platforms can offer you similar levels of basic functionality like the ability to display products in an online catalog, take customer’s payments, manage orders, and provide support. While others can often you more advanced features, so you should weigh your options and your needs carefully before selecting.

What to look for in eCommerce hosting?

You will find that you have two options when building your eCommerce site: hosted eCommerce and self-hosted eCommerce plans.

Hosted eCommerce is better for users who have limited technical skills or don’t have enough time to manage their eCommerce store. You simply sign up for an eCommerce hosting plan and then you can begin creating your store. The eCommerce hosting provider will take care of all the necessary coding and modifications.

On the other hand, self-hosted is better for someone who might want more flexibility in the customizations of their eCommerce server and software. Self-hosted eCommerce CMS will allow you to download, run, whatever you need.

The eCommerce hosting provider you choose should offer basic features like SSL certificates, be PCI Compliant, and have responsive customer support. A good eCommerce hosting plan also has an uptime guarantee that is as close to 100% as possible. A reliable eCommerce hosting plan also should offer you enough resources to load your site within two seconds. In addition, your eCommerce hosting provider should utilize caching, which can help improve the speed of your site.

Here are some of the best eCommerce CMS platforms.

Magento

Magento is one of the favorite eCommerce CMS for web developers. It requires a bit more technical skills than the other the eCommerce CMS’ on the list, but Magento also gives you more flexibility and control over the design, functionality, and content of your eCommerce store.

Magento is a flexible eCommerce CMS with many plug-ins and extensions you can add on to your store. It is also easily scalable, so this eCommerce CMS can grow with your store.

Magento has two options eCommerce hosting plans to pick between. The Magento community plan is free to download and use, so the only cost per month you will face is the eCommerce hosting plan you select. The Magento community version would be able to handle the traffic levels of small and medium business, but Magento users with extremely high levels of traffic that require more resources might want to consider paying for Magento’s services. Magento also offers a premium expensive, but this is much more expensive.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce CMS platforms out there because it is so simple to get started. Install WordPress on your eCommerce hosting server, and then install the Woocommerce plugin. Then you can get your WooCommerce store up and running by selecting one of the many themes available for free.

WooCommerce is very easy to use after you can install it for free. This eCommerce CMS has great support available, with an active community of developers. Because WooCommerce is open source, there are plugins available that can help you do whatever you need to help optimize and customize your eCommerce store. Many of these plugins are free to use, but you might elect to upgrade to the paid versions.

While Woocommerce is free to use, you will have to purchase an eCommerce hosting plan to begin building your WooCommerce store. Luckily, there are many hosting providers that specialize in WooCommerce, with many affordable options.

Open Cart

For an eCommerce CMS that can help you build a store quickly, Open Cart is a strong option. Open Cart is free to use and has well-developed extensions. It has become a popular choice for eCommerce business owners who don’t have much technical experience. Because of the ease-of-use, it is not as customizable as other eCommerce CMS platforms on this list. Thanks to an active community, there are many resources you can turn to if you run into technical trouble.

Open Cart is also a great eCommerce CMS platform to use because it allows you to start a store quickly. Open Cart also offers strong features, with templates that help you create a professional looking store. However, this eCommerce CMS might require more add-ons to work as you want, so that the cost can add up. Open Cart doesn’t require many resources so you can take that into account when choosing an eCommerce hosting provider.

PrestaShop

PrestaShop is a free to use eCommerce CMS platform that allows you to build a beautifully designed store. Even if you are a beginner with low technical skills, PrestaShop is easy to use. It has a clear interface that allows you to manage your inventory and maintenance of your store without any problems. PrestaShop is fairly lightweight, so you don’t need an overly powerful eCommerce hosting provider.

PrestaShop has some of the best themes out of all the eCommerce CMS platforms on this list. It offers 4,500 templates so that the eCommerce stores that run through PrestaShop look unique. Keep in mind that PrestaShop isn’t as scalable as other options, so if you need to change to a new eCommerce CMS later, it might be difficult down the the road.

WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce is another WordPress plugin, but it doesn’t get as much attention as WooCommerce. To get started, choose an eCommerce hosting plan, install WordPress on your eCommerce hosting service, and then download the WP eCommerce plugin. Once you have done this, you can add products, run promotions, create categories and more on your new eCommerce store.

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What is affiliate marketing?

The affiliate marketing industry has exploded in recent years and is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. The idea of being able to make money at any time, without having to put in much effort, is what drives many people to consider affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a tactic that helps to drive sales and create online revenue. To begin, you first choose a product, promote the product on your website, and then earn commissions when someone purchases it based on your referral. It has become one of the most reliable ways to generate income online and has become so popular that 81% of brands and 84% of publishers use affiliate marketing, with that number growing each year.

The benefits of affiliate marketing

One of the main advantages of getting started with affiliate marketing is the barrier for entry is very low because you don’t have to create your own product. You just have to be able to market it.

Luckily, you aren’t limited in how many affiliate programs you can sign up for. You can choose to promote as many (or as few) products as you wish. By promoting popular products, you can drive more traffic to your blog, which might lead to more revenue for you. However, you do have to be careful not to promote low-quality products or spam your site with too many promotions; this might end up hurting you rather than helping you.

Another survey found that the vast majority of people make between 5% and 20% of their annual income from affiliate marketing. One of the biggest advantages of this form of marketing is once you get a program in place, it can run on autopilot. All you need is a steady stream of traffic to your blog or website.

Using Wordpress To Build An Affiliate Website

Having a website or blog is essential to an affiliate program. While you can utilize affiliate marketing on any site with nearly any hosting provider, running your affiliate marketing on WordPress has its advantages. WordPress allows you to have complete control over your website. Regardless of your skill level, it is easy to customize a WordPress website. There are tons of free site design themes you can choose from, which can help your site look professionally made without you having to spend thousands of dollars on a developer.

WordPress is excellent for affiliate marketing because you don’t need a big budget to generate a sizable income. To get started, you have to register a domain and select a WordPress hosting provider that will host your website. You can even find some website hosts that will offer free domain registration as part of their hosting packages, saving you money.

How To Start An Affiliate Marketing WordPress Site

To begin, you should first choose a topic for your site, and then select the affiliate products based off of that niche. You should then start to create content on your site to promote the links. If you already have an established blog, try to pick products that fit within your targeted audience’s interests.

Products can be found through various affiliate programs, like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, or Commission Junction. Look through their offered products to see what would work best for your site.

Once you have decided on a few products, you simply get the affiliate link and can promote that link on your WordPress site. As your site and the amount of content you have grows, you will be able to promote more products. Managing them through free WordPress plugins is easy.  

There are many dedicated affiliate marketing tools that WordPress offers that can boost your revenue. A plugin like ThirstyAffiliates can assist you in adding affiliate links to your site and then organizing and managing them. It helps you to add the right images, and you can track how many clicks you get from the links. Pretty Links is another good plugin option to maximize your affiliate marketing WordPress site. It offers similar features as ThirstyAffiliates, but also will help you to optimize the links.

Keeping your affiliate links organized is important in case the affiliate product company modifies the link. Instead of having to dig through all your posts looking for the affiliate links, using a plugin can make it easy to change all the affiliate links at once quickly.

How To Earn Affiliate Revenue

Using the “build it and they will come” method most likely will end in disappointment and very little generated revenue for you. Just because you have a site with affiliated links doesn’t mean the money will immediately start to roll in. To begin making an income, you first have to attract an audience to your site. You can do this by creating content that is informational and high-quality. You want people to want to read your content and then buy the products from your affiliate links.

Types of Affiliate Websites

There are several types of sites you can choose to create. Here are a few options.

 

Price Comparison Site - This type of site can add value, because it provides the visitor with a variety of products and their prices, making it easy for them to make a quick decision

 

Product Reviews - It is entirely possible to build an entire site just around writing reviews of products. You want to be able to answer questions visitors might have, and bring something new to the table. Blog - You can write on any topic, just find your niche. Whether it be financial, hobby, or anything else, if you produce high-quality content that interweaves affiliate links into the blog posts, you might have good success. How-to posts - These types of posts offer a great opportunity to showcase affiliate links. How-to posts show people how to solve their problems by using products purchased from your affiliate links.

 

 

Affiliate marketing can be an effective way to make money with a WordPress site. It is easy,inexpensive to get started, and is a low risk. While you won’t become rich overnight, it is an excellent way to generate passive income in the long run.

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Dropshipping with WordPress, better than Shopify?

Over the past few years, between 22-33% of all internet retailers utilize dropshipping as their primary method of order fulfillment. Big and small companies alike have adopted this technique and have built their entire business around this strategy. Companies like Zappos, Amazons, and Sears, either use or have used dropshipping in their business.

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a method when an eCommerce store doesn’t stock a product but instead fulfills a customer’s order by purchasing the product from another vendor and then ships the product directly to the customer. Because there is almost no overhead costs or inventory, it has become a popular option for people to make money online.

WordPress vs Shopify: Pricing

To create an eCommerce store with WordPress, you most likely will want to use WooCoomerce, which is a free opensource plugin. It is very powerful and popular - powering about 20% of all eCommerce sites on the web. While WooCommerce is a free plugin, you will need to purchase a hosting packing to power your WordPress site. This can cost you as little as a couple of dollars a month for a shared hosting plan, to $30 a month for a managed Wordpress hosting plan. It depends on how much traffic and resources you need for your website.

Shopify’s most basic plan costs $29 per month. When you purchase a more expensive plan, the credit and transaction fees will decrease. Shopify does make it simple to buy a package quickly,  with all the information you need to start your dropshipping store.

Deciding if WordPress or Shopify is right for you also depends on how many dropshipping websites you would like to run. Many people run five or more dropshipping sites at once, and the costs can quickly add up. However, if you have just the one store, and want something simple to get you started, Shopify might be the better option.

WordPress vs Shopify: Templates

How pretty your site is will have a big effect on the success of your store.

Luckily, Shopify offers 70 templates - 10 of which are free. All of the templates come with a couple of variants, so you can customize the look of your site a bit more. The templates are all beautifully designed, look professional, and are mobile-friendly.

However, WordPress is able to offer a much larger selection. Because it is opensource software, there seems to be a limitless amount of templates that fit your needs. Many of the templates are free, but you can choose to buy one. One thing to watch out for is to select a “safe” template from a reputable source. Because WordPress is opensource, there are some themes and templates out there that contain malicious code that might infiltrate your computer and site. As long as you are careful, you shouldn’t have a problem.

WordPress vs Shopify: Set Up Time

Shopify shines in this category. To get started, all you need to do is sign up for a plan, and it should only take you an hour or less to set up your dropshipping business. WordPress might take less than an hour as well, but it depends on your technical expertise. You might also get overwhelmed by the number of options and customization that is at your fingertips with Wordpress.

However, if you do want to create multiple stores, Wordpress is extremely easy. You can install a plugin that can replicate your site. With Shopify, you will have to spend the time creating each site.  

WordPress vs Shopify: Features

Shopify has tons of options through their App marketplace. There, you can purchase plugins to help improve your Shopify store and customize it how you want it. In the marketplace, there are more than 1000 you can choose from, but many of these are paid, with a free trial.

However, on WordPress, there are more than 75,000 extensions and plugins to select. What sets WordPress and WooCommerce apart is that many of these options are free, and nearly anything you could want is available. You can download a plugin to help you with SEO, speed up your website, or anything else you might need.

One WordPress plugin and extension that can help make your dropshipping business a success is Ali2Woo. It allows you to integrate your WooCommerce store on WordPress directly with AliExpress. Ali2Woo makes it easy to import products and fulfill products with easy through AliExpress.

While it does have a fee attached to it, it is well worth it. Packages start at a $40 one-time fee, which allows you to showcase 1,000 products on your site, with an unlimited amount of orders per month. Or, you can opt for a $25 or $70 a month, which both allow you to showcase a great variety of products.

Some of Ali2Woo’s top features include:

Seamlessly import from AliExpress - With this plugin, you can add products from AliExpress on to your eCommerce site. You can choose to use either the plugin or its Chrome extension. Product review - Import reviews easily from AliExpress to help sway customers to purchase from you Fulfill & track orders - Keep track of everything your customers have ordered and always know where the items are with this plugin. Price & Inventory Automation - Now, you can change the price of products in your store quickly. It will also send you a notification if a product goes out of stock, or the price changes. Multiple languages and currency options - Most likely, you will try to sell on a global scale, and having the translate and multi-currency option will be invaluable to you, AliExpress affiliate program - This is one of the best features of Ali2Woo. It helps you to earn additional income through the AliExpress affiliate program. You can use the plugin as an affiliate took or to dropship products.

Which one is right for me?

Both WordPress and Shopify are strong options for dropshipping products. Shopify has 24/7 customer support available via phone, or by chat, which can help you solve any problems quickly. WordPress has tons of forums, and a large support system to assist you.

Shopify makes it easy to start a store, but WordPress and WooCommerce are able to provide better features thanks to free plugins and themes.

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WordPress WooCommerce vs Shopify

WooCommerce and Shopify are the two most popular and widely-used eCommerce options available. Together, these two platforms power nearly 40% of the top eCommerce sites.

Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, so deciding which one is right for you and your store is a hard decision to make. Depending on your personal needs, one might fit your site better than the other. Here are the pros and cons of each platform.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it incredibly easy for you to create an online store. It accepts payments, manages your inventory, and even helps you market your business on Facebook and Google. With a convenient dashboard, you can manage everything you need for your business.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin that is built specifically for WordPress. It is ideal for people who already are using WordPress, which is the most popular and powerful content management systems (CMS) available. Because everything is open-source, you can completely customize every detail of your store and build extensions. However, because everything is so flexible, that means there is more of a learning curve, and you will have to be more hands-on in the management of the website.

Cost: Shopify vs. Woocommerce

Before you start creating a website, you should consider your budget. Starting and maintaining a site can be expensive, so you should bear in mind the costs of add-on services or software you might need.

The cost of using Shopify

Shopify has three different plans you can choose from that cost $29, $79, or $299 a month. No matter which plans you choose, they all come with a domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting.

Shopify’s lowest tiered plan - Basic Shopify - provides adequate features for businesses who want to start a brand new store. Through this plan, you can have uncapped file storage, two user accounts, and can add unlimited products. However, it is important to consider that this plan can get expensive as your business grows.

No matter what Shopify plan you choose, you will have to pay credit card rates on all payments. Prices range from 2.4% to 2.9%, as well as a $.30 set fee. You can choose to use Shopify Payments, but if you opt for another payment provider, you will have to pay between .5% and 2.0% in additional fees. While these fees for external payment providers is a bit steep, it is comparable to other eCommerce platforms.

Shopify makes it very easy to purchase a package, with up-front information about how much it will cost to run your eCommerce store.  

The cost of using WooCommerce

Because WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress, there is no set package plan that you purchase to get started. All you need is a domain name, SSL Certificate, and a WordPress hosting plan to begin. You can buy these from any WordPress hosting provider or third-party you want.

Luckily, many hosting companies specialize in WooCommerce eCommerce web hosting plans and will offer free a domain name and a free SSL certificate with the cost of a hosting package. Some of these plans cost less than $10 a month.  It is cheaper to get started with a basic eCommerce web hosting plan per month than a Shopify account.

Another advantage of picking WooCommerce is that there are many free versions of paid extensions. This can help keep your costs down because you only will have to purchase tools as your store grows and you need them.

Design options

Having a well-put-together site is essential for most e-Commerce sites. Customers might not be willing to enter in their credit card information and personal data into a site that doesn’t look appealing or functions well. Therefore, you should consider how well a platform can create a website.

Shopify’s design options

Shopify offers high-quality themes. The platform provides more than 50 store templates, 10 of which are free. The themes are all mobile-friendly and have a modern, sleek aesthetic. If you do choose to pay for a theme, it can get costly. Some of their premium themes cost up to $180.

Because there are only ten free themes available, it is recommended that you customize it so your site stands out from others and doesn’t look the same. Shopify offers a Theme editor that allows you to edit and hide sections easily.

WooCommerce design options

Because WooCommerce is a plugin, it doesn’t offer any specific design traits, but it was built to work with nearly every theme on the market, as long as it follows the standard recommendations and best practices. Therefore, you should be able to select any WordPress theme available to work with your eCommerce store powered by WooCommerce.

There are also themes available that are built specifically for WooCommerce and are tailored specifically for helping to showcase products and services. The themes range in price from free to over $100 or more.

Because WooCommerce is an open source it has an advantage over Shopify when it comes to design. While Shopify is easy to navigate and faster to set up, WooCommerce has more free options and designs available.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping has become more popular in recent years. This strategy is when an eCommerce store doesn’t keep a product in stock but instead fulfills the order by purchasing a product from another vendor and shipping the product directly to the customer. Because of the extremely low overhead, it has become a popular option for many businesses.

Shopify Dropshipping

When you are starting a dropshipping business, the front-end of your store will look and function just like any other e-Commerce store. Shopify has apps that make dropshipping easy, but many do charge additional membership fees, shipping, or other costs that can add up when you choose to dropship through Shopify.

WooCommerce Dropshipping

WooCommerce makes dropshipping easy thanks to a variety of plugins and extensions that you can install to make order fulfillment go smoothly. You can find extensions that help you to import products and fulfill orders. You can choose to create an eCommerce marketplace that invites other vendors to sell on your website.

However, you will have to pay attention to the minimum order requirements and fees that your supplier and vendors might charge, because those costs can add up.

Choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce will depend on your personal needs. They are both powerful platforms that offer strong design, apps, and customer support. However, if you are looking for a more affordable option with full control over every aspect of your store, you should consider WooCommerce. If you want to create a store quickly and with no hassle, then Shopify might be the better platform for you.

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What is Managed Web Hosting?

Building a website as a novice is entirely possible. However, it is easy for a beginner to become overwhelmed by the maintenance of the site.  Websites are just like Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or any other software application you might use. They put out new versions with new features and fix any security problems. If you don’t update your website, you might be facing a slow loading website, out-of-date plugins, malware, or a hacked website. For those whose technical skills are lacking or don’t have the time to do it themselves, there are options other than paying an expensive website developer.

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