With over fifty-eight million blogs, WordPress is the single most widespread blogging platform in the world. What most people don't realize is that WordPress can be used for much more than just blogging. Many small businesses have taken advantage of the open source platform to make it a means to sell both product and services. Though that might seem like a challenge, it's not. With the right plugins, you can extend WordPress in such a way as to transform this blogging platform into a selling platform.
How? Let's take a look at five plugins to help you monetize WordPress.
1. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart
WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart allows you to add "Add to cart" buttons to any product, post, or page. This plugin integrates with the NexGen Photo Gallery plugin (easily sell digital photographs from your site) as well as the PayPal Sandbox plugin (for testing purposes). Options available include: Price and shipping options; dynamic "add to cart" button; lightweight; multi-currency support; and more. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart requires WordPress version 2.8 up to 3.4.2.
2. Grand Fia Gallery
Grand Fia Gallery is not just for graphic images, but to help you sell any product with a bit of pizzazz. Grand Fia is a Flash and jQuery media content plugin that features some wonderful themes (purchased separately) including 3D themes. With this incredible plugin you will enjoy: image gallery, mp3 player, video player, banner rotator, Nivo Slider or nice widgets. Grand Fia Gallery is SEO optimized and compatible with Google Reader, FeedBerner, etc. Grand Fia requires WordPress 3.0 or higher.
PodPress is the single best plugin for WordPress to get your podcast onto iTunes and other podcast aggregators. Podcasting is yet another way to help your business promote itself in ways you might not have thought of before. PodPress features: Auto feed generation, download stats, view MP3 files and ID3 tags, control player look and feel, support for various formats, and the built-in media player supports numerous formats (MP3, OGG, OGV, MP4, M4A, M4V, MOV, QT, FLV, ASF, WMA, WMV, AVI, RM, and more). PodPress supports PDF and epub formats, preview images for videos, support for premium content (for pay-only content), and much more.
WooCommerce is pure power for ecommerce solutions on WordPress. This powerhouse plugin will transform your WordPress site into a full-blown selling machine. Not only does WooCommerce allow you to sell products and services with amazing flexibility and reporting. WooCommerce features: Statistics on nearly every aspect of WooCommerce, fully customizable (even with eCommerce themes), and smart dashboard widgets. Customers can track orders from their own dashboards, product management, and much more. WooCommerce shouldn't be considered a WordPress plugin, but a platform all on its own.
5. Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is the plugin I use to sell digital copies of my books. It's a very powerful plugin that is as simple as it is easy to integrate. Easy Digital Downloads features: Shopping cart system, Paypal and Paypal Pro support (other payment options available via plugins), multiple files per download, user purchase history, earnings and sales charts, detailed logs, data export (to .pdf and .csv), variable pricing, promo code system, and much more. If you're looking for one of the easiest ways to sell your digital products, Easy Digital Downloads is an easy choice.
WordPress doesn't have to be limited to blogging. If you're looking for a cost effective means of selling products and services, with just a little time and effort you can have a WordPress-powered ecommerce solution that will be as cheap as it is effective.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.