Medical marijuana dispensaries use this powerful and cost-effective platform to establish their online presence and improve search ranking.
WordPress is an open-source, content management system that was initially designed for blogs but has grown to support all kinds of websites, including e-commerce when paired with the WooCommerce plugin.
For medical marijuana dispensary owners, there are numerous website solutions available, but WordPress makes the most sense. With its massive development community and countless themes and plugins that extend design and functionality, its no surprise that this free platform is used by over 23% of the top 10 million websites on the internet. Better yet, the plugin which enables a WordPress installation to become an even more powerful shopping cart website, WooCommerce, is also 100% free to use!
So, while there are numerous other platforms, both open-sourced and third-party, WordPress’ popularity and existing design and development community give it an edge over other competing paid services, like: Squarespace, Wix and Weebly. The main benefit WordPress has over these competitors is that it is easily and substantially scalable. With the paid services, you are only able to design and develop your website using the existing (and often limiting) tools available on the platform. Additionally, tiered pricing creates restrictions that can become costly to mimic the same functionality WordPress, and it’s 25k+ plugins, exhibit immediately upon install.
For a simple, informational website these paid services may make sense, but for website owners that expect: a stronger web presence, advanced customization, extended functionality and overall a more powerful website; paid services struggle to even come up short. As competition in the marijuana industry heats up, you don’t want to be left out in the cold.
Weedmaps: Great for Access, Not Great for SEO
Weedmaps allows dispensary owners to manage products and deals on their account, but embedding a Weedmaps menu does not have the same effect on search engine optimization (SEO) as a WooCommerce website populated with medical marijuana products.
When search engine spiders (bots that scan websites for content and keywords) scan a webpage with an embedded Weedmaps menu, all the content in the Weedmaps menu is completely overlooked because the menu isn’t hosted on your domain; it’s hosted on weedmaps.com So while your time and energy spent updating your Weedmaps menu and account benefit the Weedmaps domain and is visible to users browsing Weedmaps.com, it doesn’t strengthen SEO on your WordPress dispensary website.
WordPress & WooCommerce Marijuana Dispensaries
With the proper combination of WordPress plugins and WooCommerce extensions, your marijuana dispensary website will: improve your Google search ranking, become an e-commerce platform for accepting online delivery and pick-up orders and allow you to better communicate with and get feedback from your patient/customer base.
For Google search ranking, each WooCommerce product and WordPress page you add to your medical marijuana dispensary website demonstrate your website’s content relevance to related web searches. The more original, relevant content featured on each page improves your search engine ranking, making it easier for new customers/patients to find you online.
With a WooCommerce-powered marijuana dispensary website, your customers/patients can create an account, place orders online for delivery or dispensary pick-up, and review previous orders and products purchased. Futhermore, WordPress and WooCommerce provide website administrators with a robust, back-end dashboard to monitor customer activity, product stock and sales performance at a glance.
Engaging your audience is easy with your own WordPress dispensary website. Admins can create pages, posts and even forms (with both free and paid plugins) then used to interact with and solicit feedback from your medical marijuana patients and marijuana customers. Website users are able to leave comments on posts and reviews on product pages so you can stay up-to-date with your website user’s wants and needs. Better yet, the comments and reviews can be moderated by website administrators to avoid spammy unpleasantness.
WordPress Dispensary Website Cost Estimates
Having your own WordPress website is like owning a house, while a paid, third-party service is like renting/leasing. When you rent or lease there are restrictions and limitations, but when you own the only limits are your imagination and desire to expand your dispensary business.
Hosting estimate: $200/year One of the most overlooked costs for a website is hosting. Your web hosting company operates and maintains the servers that contain the files, database and email for your website.
SSL estimate: $25/year For the security and privacy of your customers, it’s also wise to install an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate. An SSL certificate encodes the sensitive personal and payment information transmitted on your website so that it can’t be intercepted by unauthorized users.
With hard expenses totaling about $18/month, dispensary owners can make use of countless free themes and plugins to customize and extend their WordPress dispensary website. Here’s the biggest sell, you own your website. With a hosted website, you can access all your website files, databases and emails without the need for a restrictive proprietary platform designed to water down website functionality. If you’ve used any of these paid, third-party services like: Squarespace, Wix and Weebly in the past then you already know their limitations and the potential for frustration.