Many WordPress site owners are passionate about subjects like Design, Social Media, Cooking or Art. They work on their WordPress site part time and dream for their passion to lead to generating some money so that they can spend more time doing something they love.
Given the thousands of WordPress plug-ins available, where do these independent creatives start. It can be daunting, and too many plug-ins might slow down your site or increase the chances of a security risk.
The idea of adding ecommerce to your site so that you can securely sell digital files like ebooks or offer paid consultation session is attractive. However, for non-technical owners adding ecommerce to WordPress meant using feature rich ecommerce solutions like WooCommerce or WP e-Commerce. Each is well-respected solutions but seem like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
These site owners don’t want to worry about using specific ecommerce compatible WordPress Themes, SSL certificates, or complex customisation. They want a well functioning WordPress ecommerce site quickly and easily so they can focus on doing what they love not spend time building a website.
One of the good things about WordPress is the fact that it has a lot of developer support, which means that there is plenty of room for a lot of customization in the form of plug-ins. It comes as no surprise that most plug-ins are available for free.
Here are some of the essential plug-ins for any independent creative’s that have a few things for fans or visitor to purchase and who want a well functioning WordPress ecommerce site without the hassle.
1. Digg Digg
If you aren’t into social media as a business owner yet, it is time to join the bandwagon of those businesses who heavily rely on social media for their marketing strategies. Digg Digg comes in handy by allowing you to place a familiar floating box on your website allowing your visitors to share with other social media users the page they are on.
The plug-in supports all major social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Plus. One of the most useful features of this add-on is the fact that you can customize which social media you want to use it for while eliminating those you are not interested in.
WordPress ecommerce doesn’t have to be hard if using a plug-in like Selz to handle the credit card payments and orders. The easy-to-install plug-in has dozens of features that I find of particular interest to any independent creative site owner who is looking to sell their work from a WordPress site.
Selz is incredibly easy to setup and use without needing to do any coding or amending of themes. In page widgets or buy now buttons can be embedded into any WordPress page, and can be integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to maximise your reach on social media. Using Selz you can sell physical, digital or services. Nice features to kickstart your sales include offering promotional discount codes or asking potential customers to pay what they want. But here is my personal favorite: you only pay for this plug-in if you actually sell a product (even a digital product) or service thanks to it. It is a win-win for everybody.
If for some reason you don’t sell anything, you will not be charged, which means that you have nothing to lose by installing it on your WordPress site. The Selz plug-in is easy to get started with as it doesn’t require any prior programming knowledge.
Another useful WordPress plug-in and let me explain why it can be helpful. Way too many websites in the Internet return 404 errors and their owners seem to be in the dark about it. This crafty little plug-in will show you all the pages that return the error and fix the problem immediately. Broken links and missing pages on a website can pose a serious threat to a business.
Not only will people see such a website in a negative light, but also Google will not pass Page Rank to any 404 page.
4. Updraft Plus
I am sure that I don’t have to convince anybody about the importance of online backup. When something such as your PC or your connection goes suddenly haywire, you have this little plug-in to thank for. Even when it seems that you lost some of your data, it will always be there waiting for you stored thanks to the online backup option that you chose to use.
You can store your data in the cloud (my preferred solution) or in any other way you find suitable in your situation. Then, with one click, you can restore any piece of information that you had lost. Updraft Plus is currently the highest-ranking backup plug-in for WordPress according to rankwp.com with over 510,000 downloads worldwide.
This neat plug-in is perfect for all SEO-oriented website owners. It has many features, the most notable and practical of which include Google Analytics support, automatic optimization of titles for SEO purposes in Google and other search rankings, and automatic META tags generation.
What is more, XML sitemap support to Google and Bing is also included, which is perfect for improving your SEO. The software is very easy to use for the beginners as it works out-of-the-box, but more experienced users will find it enjoyable to customize it according to their needs.
To the untrained eye, it might seem like another contact form plug-in, but it shines by being very flexible and simple. It perfectly does the job for which it was designed. With its help, a site owner can manage a few contact forms and customize each one of them at the same time. The plug-in supports submitting powered by Ajax, Akismet spam filtering, CAPTCHA, and more.
If you have been fighting spammers and hackers before, you know that this plug-in is absolutely a must. Thanks to this addition to your WordPress site, you will be able to recognize the IPs addresses of the spammers and block them accordingly. CloudFlare will allow your website to load faster, which is another plus.
I am sure that you would agree with me that every ecommerce website benefits from being indexed in Google or Bing. If for some reason you don’t want to install All in One SEO Pack, you can just opt for Google XML instead. Google XML Sitemaps makes it a lot easier for crawlers to access an ecommerce website and then index it in no time.
If you are a fan of keeping track of where your visitors come from, or what type of pages on your website they like to visit the most, you will thank Clicky for all that it has to offer to you. Apart from being able to track what countries your visitors represent, you can also use its many other features such as visitor segmentation, Twitter analytics, video analytics, and many more.
This practical plug-in makes the life of spammers and hackers miserable by not allowing their bots to access your website. This convenient piece of software is a real challenge for bots, which is good because you don’t want your website to be flooded with endless spam.
Casengo is probably the most popular live chat plug-in on the market right now. Thanks to this handy piece of software, you can offer live support directly from your website, but you can also handle enquires via email or social media.
12. Comment Luv
CommentComment Luv is a great tool that can attract lots of traffic to your website. My favorite feature of this particular plug-in is the ability to showcase your top commentators (everybody loves to be one), but there are many other features I find to be helpful such as the ability to add keywords, integrate twitterlink, as well as other social enticements.
Over 60 million Internet users worldwide use WordPress as their CMS making it currently the most popular customizable software of this type in the world. There are literally thousands of plug-ins available to WordPress users, so it would be beyond the bounds of possibility to mention all of them in the article. I mentioned only those that I consider to be of most use to site owners who want the minimum of work while maximizing the capabilities of WordPress for ecommerce.
This post was written by Adrian Zaremba who has been a Web Publishing and Internet Marketing professional since 2007.