The Digital Strategists Newsletter-sm

Building an Entire Online Business Using WordPress

Hi Subscriber,
I started using WordPress a long time ago. It was around 2006 or 2007 if I remember correctly. What I remember for sure is that I committed to using it in my business in 2008. From 2008 forward, all my client sites and personal sites have been developed using WordPress.

There's just about nothing you cannot build or manage using WordPress. It is the ultimate open-source, "low overhead" solution that can be adjusted to fit just about any business type out there. Especially the online-facing part of the business.

The Inflation, Debt & High-Cost of Living Factors

Consumer debt has hit a record high of over a trillion dollars and banks are now reporting the rise of delinquent payments. About a month ago, one of the mainstream media economists said during an interview, "I'm not that concerned about the consumer debt. What matters is that people are making their monthly payments."

I wonder what he'd say if he were interviewed today?

Generally speaking, the average person here in the US has been hit pretty hard over the last few years. The rise of inflation along with the increase in the overall cost of living is affecting people worldwide right now.

I'm Still Optimistic - Here's Why

I believe you have to deal with reality and recognize the terrain you're operating in for what it is. That said, if you're a solo entrepreneur, you're not limited to a single revenue stream. You're not limited or trapped in any single marketplace. I don't like it any more than you do when once profitable products or services become less so.

The point is, don't put yourself in a box that doesn't exist. You can reinvent, repurpose, or restructure whatever you're doing whenever you're ready to move forward. You can even figure out how to enjoy doing it if you really want to.

It's been said that every industry is feeling the effects of a slower economy. When you hear things like that, your mind may automatically think, "That's it. There's nothing I can do about it." But, for those willing to change or excercise a little bit of creativity, nothing could be further from the truth.

Where Does WordPress Fit In?

You may be wondering, what does WordPress have to do with the economy? Well, from a business point of view, it can be quite a bit. If you're doing eCommerce, for example, many of the platforms and services you pay for on a monthly basis can really add up.

Premium services are fine when you're making money. But the bills keep on coming regardless. A friend of mine launched a course on Teachable a few years ago. A course platform is great if you're in the course business. If you only have one or two courses, however, and you're not making regular sales each and every month, the subscription will start eating into your profits.

There are platforms for everything you can think of today. I'm talking about SaaS (software as a service) platforms.

If you're looking for marketing systems and landing pages, there's a SaaS for that. If you're looking for specialized eCommerce or email marketing services, there are specialized solutions for those, too. The same goes for membership sites.

Would you be surprised if I told you that, lifetime deals aside, I've significantly "trimmed the fat" in my business? That's exactly what I've done. There are many cost-effective, WordPress-based solutions out there.

eCommerce with WooCommerce

Here are some advantages of using WooCommerce over some of the more expensive options and SaaS that are currently out there. Connecting Stripe to WooCommerce couldn't be easier.

Flexibility and Customization: WooCommerce is built on WordPress, which is an open-source platform. It offers immense flexibility and customization options, allowing you to tailor your online store to your specific needs. You have complete control over your website's design, features, and functionality, and can choose from a vast library of themes and plugins to enhance your store's appearance and capabilities.

Scalability: WooCommerce is highly scalable, allowing your online store to grow as your business expands. You can easily add new products, categories, or plugins to accommodate increased traffic and sales. WooCommerce is suitable for small businesses starting out and can scale up to handle high-volume sales for large enterprises.

Cost-effectiveness: WooCommerce is a free plugin, which means you can set up and run your online store without any upfront costs. While there may be expenses associated with website hosting, themes, and additional plugins, it provides more flexibility in choosing cost-effective options compared to monthly subscription fees charged by platforms like Shopify or Square.

Control over Data and Hosting: With WooCommerce, you have complete control over your data and hosting. You can choose any hosting provider and have direct access to your website files and database. This level of control allows for better data management, backups, and security implementations tailored to your specific needs.

Ownership and Portability: With WooCommerce, you have complete ownership and control over your online store. You're not tied to a specific platform or service provider, allowing for greater flexibility and easy migration if needed. This level of control ensures that your business is not dependent on a single provider and reduces the risk of unexpected changes or disruptions.

Email Marketing

For a one-time fee, you can purchase a plugin like Mailster and connect it to Amazon's SES service (Simple Email Service). I send out thousands of emails per month for less than .20 cents a month using Amazon. I also use MailPoet, but I have a lifetime deal with them. Mailster is a one-time purchase out of the box, so you don't have any monthly or yearly fees to pay going forward.

As a side note, you can also use Amazon SES with MailPoet instead of the MailPoet sending service.

If you're extra industrious, you can buy Sendy and manage email marketing campaigns for customers or clients. It's a very simple kind of business to run.

Landing Pages & Sales Pages

Page builders and the new Gutenberg Blocks systems make it very easy to create landing pages. I've personally used Beaver Builder, Elementor, Kadence Blocks Pro, GenerateBlocks Pro, and Spectra Pro (just to name a few). Each product seems to have its own strengths and weaknesses. That said, they all seem to be improving with time.

Membership Sites and Course Sites

This is another area where you may not need to invest in a SaaS. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of using a single WordPress site/install for everything. For example, you can have a second WP install on a subdomain and call it something like - With this approach, you'll use for your main site, and the subdomain for your membership area. That's the way we used to set it up, anyway. It makes troubleshooting potential problems much easier.

Final Thoughts

With a little practice, you can learn how to set up a new business website fairly quickly. Also, it's worth mentioning that AI is already being integrated into site-building products for WordPress as well. I'm guessing it won't be long until this becomes the norm. That will make the entire process faster and easier than ever before.

Am I concerned about this for my own business? A little bit. Let's just say that I'm already knee-deep into a diversification strategy. Faster and easier in any market usually translates to lower profit margins in general, but we'll see how things play out.

However it goes, I can see myself using WordPress as a foundational business tool for years to come. It's a great fit for countless business projects and ideas.

Thoughts? Feel free to share them!

- Jim

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