In this part of the niche recommended WordPress plugin series, I am covering eCommerce sites. eCommerce sites or web shops have to allow people to see the products, the product’s price, the product’s description, shipping, and even process the purchases with some type of payment system. Often, eCommerce sites do have a blog covering relevant product information and news.
I am covering most aspects behind running an eCommerce site using WordPress, rather than just the plugins to make selling the products possible. Please note, like other posts in the Niche Recommended WordPress Plugin Series, some plugins are repeated. This is because these plugins work well for this type of website too.
Niche Recommended WordPress Plugin Series: e-Commerce
MailChimp List Subscribe form
Instead of pasting a code to a widget, this plugin allows you to drag and drop a newsletter optin widget into a sidebar that integrates with MailChimp.
Just like the previous, this one does the same, but integrates with Aweber.
If you would like to dabble with running your own in-house newsletter, Wysijia does it. This is probably a good solution for new sites and you may want to find a better solution once your site and mailing list get much larger.
Growmap Anti-Sam plugin puts in an extra field to make sure commentators are real and not just another bot or spammer.
Akismet – (This comes as a default plugin with WordPress installations)
Akismet is a plugin that comes with every WordPress install, but requires you to sign up for an API to help moderate comments.
Both of these plugins should not be installed at the same time. They harden WordPress to keep it secure. They even come with the ability to scan, detect, and suggest fixes to vulnerabilities. There are some premium options available for both plugins.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache has a lot of great options for helping reduce load on your site by creating a cache of your site.
Digg Digg offers a a couple options for users to display social share icons on your blog. Some of them are manual placement of the buttons, and the floating display.
Flare is similar to Digg Digg. The design for the social icons actually match, whereas Digg Digg uses the traditional share buttons offered by each social network site.
The Floating Social Bar is more of a fixed bar that scrolls with you from the top of a post. This handy plugin has a cache ability to help with load time too!
I don’t recommend any free WordPress plugins that create forms. Gravity Forms is the only one I recommend for its flexibility. There are a lot of great add-ons for this plugin to add polls, surveys, integrate MailChimp or Aweber, and more.
WordPress SEO by Yoast allows you to make sure the search engines are listing your posts and pages how you want. There is also a short page analysis option, option to integrate webmaster tools, an option to optimize RSS feeds, and more.
Google XML Sitemaps puts together a valid sitemap as per the standards of Sitemaps.org. If you have both this plugin WordPress SEO plugin installed, you need to not enable the option for WordPress SEO to maintain your sitemap.
If you have links coming up as not found, like from removing old products or changing them due to organizing your site, this plugin will help maintain he redirection of those links.
WooCommerce is a robust shopping cart system that also allows customers to register and even leave reviews. The default system to display products is also quite eye catching. On individual products, you can have several pictures and it will display in a lightbox.
Shopp is another robust plugin. Some of the add-ons like payment gateways may cost more to add.
WP e-Commerce is an older plugin that has a lot of payment gateways offered in free and premium. This plugin also has a lot of great options for selling and type of product. There are also a lot of add-ons by other plugin developers to help extend the functionality of this plugin.
The biggest issues with WP e-Commerce is that it tends to be a bit bulky and slow. Also, for anyone using LinkPoint/ First Data for their payment processor, you have to apply some modifications that few users have figured out how to do.
OrderStorm is a WordPress e-commerce plugin with a lot of great options. This plugin uses the OrderStorm’s SSL and is PCI compliant. It also handles working with businesses that are drop-shipping from multiple suppliers.
If you want your site to be secure and use SSL, this plugin can help with becoming more PCI Compliant. This plugin is really easy to set up too!
I do want to note that the majority of these e-commerce plugins are free, but may have some add-ons that require you to pay for them. There are also other very good plugins for e-commerce, but I can’t mention them as this series only contains the same licensing as WordPress, GPL.
Please note that you read more about each plugin, then try out the ones you feel might handle your products or services. Some of these plugins also have great plugins to integrate template design to your theme as well as work with the e-commerce plugin.
Do you use any of these plugins? For selling products, what e-commerce plugins do you use?