You have a WordPress site and you want to turn that humble platform into a profitable small business operation, but where the heck do you start?
Although you may think of WordPress as being a typically blogger or publisher based platform, you can now easily turn it into a full blown ecommerce site, thanks to its adaptability and huge arsenal of plugins
Whether you’re selling physical goods around the globe or offering digital downloads halfway down the street, there are plenty of options to start retailing on WordPress.
But the choice can be overwhelming. You’ve probably spent enough time trying to decide whether to go for WordPress, Shopify or any of the more out-of-the-box platforms, let alone begin to think about what plugins you’ll need.
In order to help you decide which plugin is most suitable for you, I’ll round-up a few of the more straightforward, easy-to-use and popular options.
WooCommerce is the plugin you’ll hear about the most in your ecommerce research. It consistently comes out the top in most comparative studies of ecommerce plugins as well as its rather lofty claim that it now powers 30% of all online stores.
And here I am just adding to the praise.
But it’s not without merit. With WooCommerce you have a huge array of product variations and shipping configurations, for selling goods both digital and physical.
Plus it has the ability to accept major credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers and cash on delivery. Personally, I like a good old fashioned sack with a dollar sign painted on it.
Basically, WooCommerce offers a good overall solution to your ecommerce needs. But is there a decent alternative, if you’re not totally sold?
As of May 2016, Shopify is now available for WordPress. All the typical Shopify features are available (payments, secure checkout, shipping and fulfilment, inventory and taxes) but now they can be integrated with your WordPress site.
There are three themes available to choose from, although ‘Hype’ comes at a one-off download price of $59 on top of the $9 a month cost. All the themes come with the Shopify Buy Button function pre-installed and are specially built for WordPress, so you can trust their compatibility.
But what if you want to add Shopify integration to your WordPress site without turning it into a full-on ecommerce store? What if you just want to take a few baby steps before becoming a steely-eyed threat to Amazon:?
The Shopify Buy Button allows simple integration with your WordPress blog. Drop the customisable Buy Button embed code wherever you like on your page and any visitor can click through to a secure checkout. Easy.
So that’s basically your ecommerce integration sorted, but what else might you need help make create a few extra conversions or make your life a lot easier?
4) Ultimate Reviews
Show that you’re a trustworthy retailer and create an open and honest dialogue about your products (and maybe take advantage of some social proof) by adding customer reviews to your site.
Ultimate Reviews allows you to accept and manage user reviews, create more in-depth reviews with additional fields (including value, appearance, quality), multiple rating system and the ability to use custom CSS.
Just remember, even the negative reviews can be constructive, especially if you reply with speed and civility. Just remember to proofread your replies for any subconsciously placed swearing.
5) ShortPixel Image Optimiser
There’s one thing that’s very easy to neglect when it comes to uploading images to a WordPress site: you’ll sometimes forget to resize images before uploading them
Resizing or compressing an image is vital because large images can drag down your page load speed, which is an important consideration Google makes when ranking your site. And hances are if you’re an ecommerce store, you’ll have tonnes of images, many of which may not be optimised.
With the ShortPixel image optimisation plugin, however, you can just install and leave it to do it’s thing.
It’s ‘thing’ being compressing all your past images and PDF documents with a single click while automatically resizing and optimising new images in the background.
Good stuff. Although I do have a thing for retro-looking robots, so I may be biased.
It may not have the most elegant name but it literally does what it says on the figurative tin.
Add a Pin it button to all of your product images, and see them shared around the social network with a user base actively looking to spend some money. (55% of people use Pinterest to find or shop for a product).
Plus the button only appears when you hover over the image, so it won’t look too cluttered.
7) Google Analytics by MosterInsight
OF COURSE you already have Google Analytics! You’re no fool! You spend hours poring over every last nuance of reporting, or obsessively checking your real-time traffic.
However with this plugin you don’t need to navigate away from the back-end of your site, as (most) of GA’s features are brought right to your door.
8) All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Another WordPress plugin that goes out of its way not to give itself a zingy brand name. This Schema based plugin allows you to add your own semantic markup to webpages, thereby accurately telling search engines that you have product pages on your site. And you’ll get to enjoy search results that feature lovely rich snippets such as customer ratings and product info.
Whether rich snippets are a ranking factor remains to be proved, but it can help improve click-through rates, and that’s the main thing.
9) MailChimp for WordPress
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site, so why not make a start with one of the most popular, easy to use and friendliest looking email platforms, MailChimp.
And hey, MailChimp is free for lists up to 2000 subscribers, so get cracking. Just remember to make your emails something worth sending and reading.
10) WP Live Chat Support
I love live chat. When I need customer service, I don’t pick up the phone or fill out a webform – I head straight for the live chat option.
That way I don’t have to be put on hold with crappy muzak or wait interminably for an email, instead I calmly type my requests and have a real-time conversation, while also getting on with other important work (playing desktop solitaire).
Now your ecommerce store can offer this convenience too! For free!! With unlimited simultaneous live chats!!! Although bear in mind if there’s only one of you, it may be wise not to spin too many plates.
There you go, 10 plugins to consider. Of course this list only scratches the surface of what’s out there, but hopefully you’ll have a taste of what’s achievable for your WordPress based business.