WordPress is widely held as one of the easiest ways to get your presence onto the web. You can have your own hosting available, so that you choose the name of your website, or you can have WordPress actually host everything for you, at no cost.
Because WordPress is so widely used, a lot of people choose to use it with their business sites. Business sites are those that are representing a company, or selling products in some way.
If you do want to engage in WordPress eCommerce, then it is possible. Originally, WordPress was strictly a blogging platform and was only used for small sites. Since then, people have embraced the platform. This has lead to many, many developers writing pieces of software called Plugins.
Plugins give you the ability to add specific functionality to your WordPress site. If you can think of it, there is a good probability that a Plugin exists for it. As well as this option, there is a large and healthy market that deals in WordPress Themes. A Theme is the layout of the website – with specific colors and sometimes images as well. This can be known as the ‘framework’ of the site.
For the purposes of this article, we will be looking at WordPress eCommerce Plugins, and some eCommerce Themes.
1: WP e-Commerce (www.instinct.co.nz). Wp e-Commerce is a Plugin that has been around for some time. This means that it has been thorough;y tested by users and had a lot of bugs and issues fixed. Shopping specific templates are actually included, so there is no need to spend any more than you absolutely have to. Features include the ability to sell physical and digital products, have automatic stock control and easy adding of product pictures. There is a fully function user support forum at the companies websites and buying the Plugin gives you the benefit of free upgrades for a specific amount of time.
2: PHPurchase (www.phpurchase.com). PHPurchase is another paid for WordPress Ecommerce Plugin. It features a very powerful order fulfillment system, and includes options like automated payment plans and membership options. The website has a lot of reviews from past customers – all positive.
3: YAK for WordPress (WordPress.org/extend/plugins/yak-for-WordPress). This is a fully featured WordPress eCommerce Plugin that is actually free. Not a cent needs to be paid in order to get this Plugin. It features all of the usual options that make life easier when selling products or services (stock control, easy adding of products), and there is a very active community. What you won’t get, is product support with this Plugin. Because it is free, there is no company to give advice should anything wrong happen. Also, features and updates may be a little slower in being added, because the developer is doing it for the love of making the Plugin!
Now to look at some of the best WordPress eCommerce Themes:
1: ecommerce themes (demos.ecommercethemes.com). This is a paid for theme that has been optimized for search engines. This means that search traffic has more of a chance of finding your site. There is quite a large community of users who use this Theme.
2: Store (templatic.com/demo/store). Store is a Theme that does what it says on the tin! It has many front end and back end features, and is completely customizable in the way that products and services are displayed.
3:eShop (templatic.com/demo/eshop) is another Plugin distributed from the same company as above, but with a different feel to it. If you have ever admired the Apple interface, then this Theme will do you proud. Apart from the different look, the features list remains the same. Built in product support and inventory tracking are all standard.
From this short rundown of what is available when looking for WordPress eCommerce solutions, you can get a good picture of the features that you want, and what would be useful to you. Good luck in choosing!