Despite the addition of an integrated blogging feature in Bigcommerce earlier this year, many store owners still want the power and flexibility of a WordPress blog for their website. While you cannot install WordPress onto Bigcommerce’ servers to fully integrate the code into the Bigcommerce system, it is possible to have it function together well with your online store.
How it Works
Effectively you have to set the blog up on a subdomain (ie blog.yourbigcommercestore.com) that is hosted elsewhere. By doing so, you can control the environment to be able to install WordPress onto the server and modify as desired. In doing so, there will be 2 sites (store & blog) running on 2 platforms (Bigcommerce & WordPress) hosted on 2 servers (Bigcommerce server & other) all creating 1 unified experience.
This allows you to take advantage of the flexibility of WordPress for your blog while retaining the power of Bigcommerce for your online store.
The image below demonstrate what this looks like.
How to Integrate WordPress & your Bigcommerce Store
Step 1: Set up your Hosting
The first step is to set up a hosting account (unless you already have one you can use) with a website hosting company. Typically people use GoDaddy, Bluehost or a similar hosting service. We highly recommend Bluehost for use with this.
Quick Disclaimer: we are a Bluehost affiliate and do get a minor commission if you click on that link but most hosting companies offer similar programs and we choose Bluehost because we have had great experiences using them ourselves for over 8 years.
The hosting account is where website files are stored and the server-side code is run (WordPress is built on PHP which is processed by the server). You will want to host on a Linux server as IIS is more complicated to set WordPress up on and is not recommended.
Step 2: Install & Configure WordPress
Most hosting companies now have easy “single click” installations of WordPress. This means that the hosting company has an automated process to help you with this installation.
When adding WordPress onto a subdomain you will want to set that up prior to beginning this installation process.
Be sure to install WordPress onto the subdomain you have set up for your store (and not onto some other location). This process is quite simple with the only other key to success really being that you need to remember the username and password you set up.
Step 3: Change your DNS Settings
Once ready, you need to make the necessary changes to point the subdomain at your WordPress hosting. If you are not familiar with DNS, this process effectively maps the location of your website’s subdomain to the server where your blog resides.
Most of you will have pointed your domain’s nameservers at Bigcommerce. In that case, you will likely want to set up an A record to point at the IP address of your self-hosted WordPress blog. If you don’t know how to find that, just call or chat with your hosting company’s support team.
To set up the DNS records on Bigcommerce:
- Login to your Bigcommerce store dashboard as an Administrator
- Go to Setup & Tools > DNS Records
- Add an A Record where your “Fully Qualified Host” is your new blog subdomain (ie blog.yourbigcommercestore.com) and your “Value” is the IP Address you tracked down for the hosting server
DNS setups can be very complicated and vary widely. We highly recommend you ensure you know what you are doing (and take note of current settings) prior to making any changes.
Note: propagation (the process of these changes pushing to servers around the world) can take up to 72 hours but typically you will see this change within a couple hours.
That’s it! It’s time to implement all those blogging and content marketing plans.
Still Sound Complicated?
Stop Struggling. Hire Us to Do It For You.
Why Would You Want to Use WordPress with your Bigcommerce Store?
There are many great reasons to use WordPress to host you blog (or other content). Here are some of the top ones:
- Flexibility – you have access to all the source code to make it do whatever you want
- Ubiquity – while there are some 55,000 stores on Bigcommerce, WordPress is the platform that runs over 13 million websites around the world. Support & developers are easy to find
- Plugins – you can choose from thousands of plugins to help with site layout, functionality, SEO optimization and much more
What if I Want a Seamless Experience?
Some of you will be content with a blog that does not match your Bigcommerce theme. Other will be looking for a much more unified experience. Your blog experience can range from totally different from your Bigcommerce store to a truly seamless experience where the user does not realize they are moving back and forth unless looking at the URL. We have worked on every range and while it takes a whole lot of work to offer a seamless integration, it can provide a really great user experience to complement your online store.
What Are the Alternatives?
There are not too many alternatives to this setup. The top contender is Bigcommerce’ built-in blogging. While it will never be as powerful as WordPress, it is a decent option. Other alternatives would be to do this exact same thing just with some other blogging platform other than WordPress.