With the current state of the world locking us all in our homes, we are increasingly turning to the internet (as if we weren’t spending too much time on it already!), and if Jeff Bezos can increase his wealth by more than $185bn in 2020 by selling us stuff, why shouldn’t we tiny little people try and get some slice of the pie - even a few crumbs would be more than enough for most of us.
1. Wix - a top-notch website builder
Wix is top dog when it comes to free website builders, but it also offers some powerful paid plans. These start from as little as $8.50 per month for the Combo plan, which gets you 3GB of storage space, a free domain and free SSL certificate.View Deal
2. Gator - a superb value website builder service
Gator Website Builder from HostGator offers a superbly cheap Starter package which comes with free hosting and a domain name included, plus a free SSL certificate: all with 55% off meaning prices start from just $3.46 per month.View Deal
3. Zyro - a serious, high-quality site builder
Hostinger-owned Zyro offers a website builder which is very easy-to-use and ideal for novices, allowing anyone to get their site up swiftly. You can get an extra 10% off Zyro’s already chunky discounts using the code TECHRADAR at checkout, meaning you can start building your website from just $1.70 per month.View Deal
With that in mind, we’ve had a look at five of the best WordPress plugins to help you set up and manage your growing online sales empire…
- Also check out the best web hosting services
Easy Digital Downloads (or EDD) presents you with a clean interface to help you sell your digital products (text, audio, etc). The WordPress plugin is free, but you need to pay for the service. The installation process is as easy as you’d expect for a plugin, and you can begin to populate your store with your items.
There are various tiers to the available subscriptions, which start with Personal Pass, for $99 per year. Some of the features at that level include an ‘add to cart’ popup, free downloads, variable printing and PDF invoices.
If you want additional features, the price goes up. Extended Pass ($199 per year), offers you a link to Zapier, discounts, reviews and custom prices, recurring payments and content restriction.
Professional Pass ($299 per year), adds a wish list, purchase limits, recommended products, and frontend submissions, among others.
All Access Pass ($499/year) is the only tier that allows you to use your account on an unlimited number of sites (the others restrict it to only one). It also includes additional features such as fraud monitor, campaign tracker, QR codes, discount code generator, and user history.
Selling digital goods is one thing, but physical products haven’t stopped being popular, and being able to offer them on your site would be a great advantage to your growing online empire.
Ecwid allows you to sell both, and even includes a free option so you can start selling right away. There is a downside to it though: it limits you to only 10 products, and you can’t sell digital goods through it. But if you deal in physical products, it’s still a good way to get started.
Another advantage of Ecwid is that it isn’t a plugin, meaning you can use it to sell on other platforms as well as Wordpress. For instance, the Venture plan (£15 per month or £150 per year), not only increases your inventory to 100 products, it allows you to sell digital files (up to 25GB in size), and you can also sell on Facebook and Instagram).
Business (£35/month or £350/year) includes Amazon and eBay to your arsenal, connects you to MailChimp for email marketing, and raises the number of products to 2,500.
And Unlimited (£99/month or £990 per year) removed any limits to the number of products you can sell in your store, and even gives you your own iOS and Android shopping apps.
Setting up an e-commerce site, especially if you’re not tech savvy can be a tricky affair. Shopify aims to alleviate the situation by handling everything for you.
Like Ecwid, it’s not actually a plugin so you can use the service outside of Wordpress if you want to. As you’d expect, it also allows you to sell digital and physical products, but as an added bonus, this service lets you take payments digitally and in person - perfect if you have a shopfront.
As with the others, there are monthly fees which range from $29 to $299 per month, depending on the features you need. On top of that’s there’s an additional fee for each payment transaction (from 2.9% to 2.4%, depending on your chosen tier), and, if you don’t use Shopify’s own payment system (which is powered by Stripe) it charges you an additional 2% to 0.5% per transaction (again, it’s a sliding scale depending on your tier).
This might sound like a lot, especially if you’re just starting out and have few products to sell. Thankfully, there’s also a Lite plan with just the basics for only $9 a month.
Like Shopify, WPEasy Cart is aimed at businesses that want a service to handle all the hard work for them. Unlike Shopify, it’s only a WordPress plugin, but the advantage of that is that it’s much more affordable.
You have two options open to you: Professional for $69 a year (you read that right: that’s per year, not per month), or Premium, for $99 a year. There’s also a free options to get you started.
You can pretty much sell anything you want with this plugin, from physical products, to digital downloads (such as videos and ebooks), subscriptions, and even gift cards. There’s even an option to ask for donations.
There are multiple payment options depending on your preference, such as Stripe, Square or Paypal - the free tier charges a 2% fee per transaction, the others do not.
Unlimited products, categories and groupings are available for all tiers - even the free one - but obviously the best - like support for Apple and Google Pay, coupons, promotions, link to Quickbooks and MailChimp, and more, are reserved for paying customers.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce plugins on the WordPress platform, but maybe this shouldn’t be surprising since it’s owned by Automatic, the creators of WordPress and Jetpack.
According to Built With Statistics, it’s the most used e-commerce plugin in the top 1 million sites.
The plugin itself is free, and, just like WordPress, comes with a large third party extension library - and most of those come at a price.
The idea behind WooCommerce is customisation - you can create the perfect shopping experience to suit your exact needs by installing the specific addons you require. In that respect, it’s a fantastic solution for tinkerers and those comfortable with such intricacies. In fact, it’s a hard one to beat. But it may well be overwhelming for those who’d rather not pop the hood to see what makes the plugin work.
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