It’s the perfect job: Working from home and making a killing with an e-commerce store. But as you may already know, building a successful online business is far from easy.
Search engine optimization, customer service, sales funnels – there’s a lot to consider before entering the digital marketplace. No matter how valuable your products are, you won’t be successful if your site is unattractive, difficult to navigate and impossible to find using search engines.
Enter WordPress – the world’s most popular website publishing platform, controlling more than 65 percent of the content management system (CMS) market.
All you need to build an e-commerce site on WordPress is a domain name and a hosting service. Pro Tip: You can find low-cost hosting options with data backup (a must-have for e-commerce sites) at Bluehost.com.
WordPress’ framework makes it easy for search engines to crawl websites. Combine that with plugins like Yoast SEO, and you won’t need to spend a fortune to make your products visible on SERPs (search engine results pages).
But SEO alone won’t make your online store successful; customers must be able to find what they need quickly and purchase it securely. The secret? Use one of these e-commerce plugins:
According to WordPress.org, WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform, powering 30 percent of all online stores. The plugin offers hundreds of themes and extensions to customize your marketplace.
Some of the most popular extensions include:
- Affiliates Integration Light;
- Delivery Notes;
- PDF Invoices and Packing Slips;
- New Product Badges; and
- Google Analytics.
Storefront is a free theme that was designed to enhance uptime and speed, and to prevent problems due to plugin and theme conflicts. Thanks to WordPress’ open source code, you can modify Storefront to your liking.
According to Ecommerce-Platforms.com, Jigoshop offers more than 30 customizable themes that make it easy to personalize your online store. This plugin is more than an e-commerce platform; there’s an extensive array of settings in your control including stock management, shipping and payment options, tax settings, currency and base country.
Jigoshop makes it easy to compile detailed reports about your store’s performance. You’ll have access to sales graphs, order notifications and other data to evaluate and enhance your business processes.
Not sure which e-commerce plugin to choose? Ecwid lets you test the waters with a free plan. You can then upgrade to enjoy better support and more comprehensive features.
Want to sell products on Facebook? Ecwid automatically synchronizes your inventory between your Facebook and WordPress accounts. According to WordPress.org, this is the number-one e-commerce app on Facebook.
If you’re selling tangible goods, Ecwid will turn your mobile device into a POS station. You can use the Android or iOS app to monitor inventory, receive payments and view sales data.
What’s more, you won’t need to worry about your hard drive crashing or a server problem. Ecwid offers unlimited and automatic backups.
- Easy Digital Downloads
Are you selling digital products? Then choosing an e-commerce plugin is a simple call: Easy Digital Downloads was designed specifically for digital goods. Features include:
- Customers can buy multiple downloads in one purchase;
- Customers can use promo codes;
- Vendors can accept payments via Amazon, PayPal and other means;
- Users can re-download purchased files;
- Vendors can bundle products to incentives bulk purchases; and
- Vendors can evaluate sales charts to enhance their business processes.
There are hundreds of extensions to help you get the most out of Easy Digital Downloads. If you’re like most e-commerce vendors and you use email marketing, this plugin will help you build your subscription list with extensions for iContact, MailChimp, Wysija and similar services.
If you want to open an online store, these plugins can save you months of labor and thousands of dollars that you would have spent on professional coding. Whether you’re selling digital or tangible products, these plugins have the features you need to convert website visitors into customers.