In my article: Does eCommerce really work in Trinidad and Tobago? written back in April of 2021 I mentioned the WordPress platform as the best option for running an eCommerce business in Trinidad and Tobago and this even extends to the Caribbean. I mentioned, “Shopify, Wix, Squarespace etc are all good platforms but do not cater very well to the Caribbean” and this still holds true. I’ll explain why in this article as well as give some of the pros and cons of using this platform.
When talking about WordPress it is important to note which “flavour” of WordPress we are referring to. For the sake of this article, I’m referring to the self-hosted wordpress.org version, not the wordpress.com option. I’ll dive deeper into the differences in the future but for the sake of simplicity just know that wordpress.org is more powerful.
I’ll start with the cons first since they are easily overcome.
- The number 1 con to using WordPress is you’ll need to host the software yourself. This may require some technical knowledge or a little extra time to set up. The easiest option is to use a company like Pellau Media to take care of this for you, or many web hosting platforms like GoDaddy now offer a managed WordPress option.
- Plugins and plugin updates can be a job in itself. Luckily once you choose plugins from reputable providers or don’t go overboard with how many you install then you’ll have no problems. I’ll explain more about plugins later on in this article.
- Too many options. This can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask or who is using the platform. I’ve found that WordPress is pretty easy to use once you get used to it.
Now for the Pros! Let’s start with those cons from earlier since they are actually pros to using WordPress!
- Self-hosting can be less expensive and allows you to have complete control over the website. As you use your website more and more you’ll want to be able to control backups, migration, and even having access to the files associated with your website in order to make tweaks can become useful in the long run for either you or your developer.
- Plugins allow you to expand the functionality of your website. WordPress has thousands of both free and paid addons which can transform your online business by simply clicking install in your WordPress dashboard.
- Options are good right? Other platforms limit you to only some specific options which they want you to only have control over. In WordPress, you can access everything from the Dashboard. We at Pellau Media usually customise the client’s dashboard so they can easily find what they are looking for and remove some of those extra options that most people don’t need. The point I’m making is that WordPress is very flexible and has more options than most other platforms.
- Customisation is the reason I chose WordPress and stuck with it after so many years. You can install a theme (there are thousands of paid or free themes) or you can build your own using a page builder such as Elementor or Brizy builder. Some themes such as Divi even come with their own builders. Some of these builders are even “drag and drop” such as Wix but still allow you deeper levels of control and the ability to add your own HTML or CSS.
- Lastly, I’d like to cover eCommerce. WordPress supports many plugins as mentioned above and one of those plugins is WooCommerce. WooCommerce may be the most popular eComm options on the planet right now and as such it comes with support both from the company and third-party sources. There are hundreds of blogs and forums where you can get ideas, help with troubleshooting and any other help you may need. Also, plugins are available which extend the functionality of WooCommerce. Plugins offered by WiPay, Paywise, 2Checkout, Stripe, First Atlantic Commerce and many others even allow us Caribbean islanders to be able to access online payments via our websites. No other eCommerce platform currently supports the great variety of add-ons that allow users worldwide to be able to sell their goods and services.
If you were to ask me for a platform that you can build on now and continue to use for years to come then WordPress is the option I’d recommend. I’ve personally been using it for about a decade and counting. Since then the MyPellau.com website has had its share of revisions, migrations, adjustments and to this day I still get traffic from articles published years ago since I had no need to change my platform since inception.
Just in case you need help in getting your business online then please visit our Speak with an expert page so that a member of the team can reach out to you. Feel free to have a look at our portfolio (which was only just added to the website this weekend) to get an idea of what Pellau Media can do for you.