Every once in a while an article comes out surrounding WordPress eCommerce that is an epic must-read.
I’m always on the lookout for articles like this, so I compiled a list of recent articles that I think are so important that every store owner needs to read them.
These articles aren’t on a specific topic, it’s many different things you may be concerned about running your store. It’s anything from how the WordPress economy is doing to how to increase sales with direct marketing.
If you are selling stuff with WordPress, make sure you read these articles, or bookmark them for later.
1) Why I Bought Your Software By Justin Jackson
This article is a glimpse into the mind of your customers.
Too often product developers have the Curse of Knowledge. We know our product so well that we forget what it’s like for our customers to use it for the first time.
This makes it really difficult for us to make our product better for first time users.
In this article, Justin tells a great story of why he purchased a WordPress plugin. He goes in detail into what his pain was, how he found the plugin, why he purchased, and his problems using it after he purchased.
This is required reading for anyone selling WordPress plugins, or any software for that matter.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
- Justin had a specific pain point, and he needed a solution. What is your customer’s specific pain?
- Address their problem and solve it on your landing page.
- Give them a good reason to pay you, and make it easy to purchase.
2) The Future of the WordPress Economy by Josh Strebel
If you are depending on WordPress and it’s ecosystem to keep your site running, you should know if that’s a solid foundation for the future. (Hint: it is)
Every year new technology comes out, and some people worry about how that will effect WordPress. For years WordPress has stayed ahead of the competition, and it will continue to do so. It has a strong foundation in open source, and the largest community of developers and advocates supporting it’s growth.
This article by Josh Strebel of Pagely talks about this issue in depth, and why not to worry.
Here are some of my takeaways:
- WordPress is way ahead of it’s competitors and still growing.
- The WordPress market is changing, but not in a bad way. It is maturing.
- Small brands will have a harder time starting out than they did in 2008. Adapt to win.
3) Best WordPress Plugins by WP Site Care
Every WordPress site needs plugins, and of course you want the best.
Instead of Googling “best wordpress plugins,” go right to this article. WP Site Care wrote an amazing post detailing their favorite plugins, and it has solid recommendations.
WP Site Care works with hundreds of businesses to build and maintain their sites, and they have seen it all. I know and trust these guys, they know what they are talking about.
Here are a few of my favorite plugins from the post:
- Yoast SEO
- Gravity Forms
- Restrict Content Pro
4) Automatic License Renewals by Pippin Williamson
Over the past year or two most WordPress shops have been transitioning from manual to automatic recurring renewals.
This has had a really positive effect on revenue, with almost no downside. If you are wondering whether you should add subscriptions to your store, the answer is a resounding YES.
In this article Pippin Williamson of Easy Digital Downloads shares his actual numbers to show that recurring revenue is a no-brainer to help your business grow. I transitioned to recurring renewals shortly after Pippin, and I’ve seen similar percentage increases.
Here are some things I’ve learned about using recurring renewals in my own business:
- They generate predictable growth.
- You get a lot of failed payments and cancellations, but renewal rates are still much higher than without recurring.
- There is no difference in initial sales with vs. without subscriptions.
5) Chris Lema on How to Raise Prices without Ruining Everything
All store owners have considered raising their prices at one point or another.
It’s the easiest way to increase revenue, but only if you do it correctly. Some companies have received a lot of negative feedback by changing prices without properly notifying customers.
There’s a right and wrong way to raise prices, upsetting your audience by doing it wrong is not a good way to do business.
In my own experience, raising prices can be the easiest way to increase revenue. If you are transparent about it and you communicate your reasons, it won’t upset anyone.
Chris Lema wrote a great article on how to announce pricing changes.
Here are some of my takeaways:
- Be transparent to current and potential customers by announcing your pricing change ahead of time.
- Have good reasons for the change, and communicate those clearly.
- Grandfather people into current plans if possible.
6) Direct Sales for Startups by Nathan Barry
This is one of the best articles I’ve read this year.
It’s not specifically about WordPress, but that doesn’t matter. It’s about how Convertkit used direct sales to explode their business growth to 6 figures per month.
I love this because it’s a success story of how hard work doing simple things can achieve great results. Too often we want to focus on “scalable” strategies like creating viral content or paying for ads. Sometimes picking up the phone and demoing your product for one person at a time can be more effective than anything else.
Takeaway: try direct sales in your business. Find your ideal customer, contact them and demo your product. Repeat.
7) Everybody’s Winging It by Josh Pigford
We work so hard on our businesses that once in a while we get over-stressed.
We think our business should be growing faster, we should be working harder, or we just feel alone. This article by Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics, offers some encouragement if you are feeling this way.
Mental health is a really important part of keeping your business healthy. Remember that we all get overwhelmed, you are not alone.
We are all just winging it.
8) Ecommerce SEO Guide by Brian Dean
Brian Dean always puts out epic content, and this article is no different.
If you run an online store and you want to get more traffic, you need to bookmark this guide. It talks about how to research keywords on Amazon, how to gauge commercial intent, technical SEO on product pages, and lots more.
The great thing about this guide is that it has a lot of tactics specific to eCommerce that you don’t find in a normal SEO articles.
Here are a few things I learned from this article:
- Target keywords that have commercial intent. Avoid the tire-kickers.
- Use short urls and long product descriptions.
- Create high-quality blog content to get more traffic and links.
Tip: for WooCommerce specific SEO, use Yoast’s WooCommerce SEO plugin.
9) What I Learned Growing an 8 Figure Business by Noah Kagan
Noah Kagan is one of my favorite entrepreneurs because he is always putting out practical content.
He has been extremely successful growing Sumo to 8 figures, and in this article he talks about some things he learned getting there.
- You can probably double your revenue by selling complementary products to your existing customers.
- Push harder on what’s already working instead of always trying to find new channels.
- Your company is only as good as the people you hire.
Noah’s podcast and YouTube channel are full of great content you should check out as well.
10) Put down the compiler until you learn why they’re not buying by Jason Cohen
When we create something and it’s not selling as much as we want, we try to make the product better. We build more features, redesign our site, or refactor existing code.
In this article, Jason reminds us that we won’t fix the problem by writing more code. If our products aren’t selling, we need to talk to our customers to find out why.
It’s hard and uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to really figure out why people aren’t buying. In a follow up article, Jason gives us 11 specific steps we can take to get more user feedback. It includes collecting customer emails through opt-in forms, soliciting testimonials, and giving away gift cards in exchange for feedback.
My personal experience with getting feedback from customers is that it’s like pulling teeth. Offering an incentive like a $25 Amazon gift card will make it much easier.
I’m also experimenting with exit-intent feedback forms and in-plugin feedback.
I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did.
Did I miss any great articles? Let me know in the comments.