We’ve already discussed the importance of selecting the right hosting solution for your online presence. This time, we’ll be talking about those perfect WordPress products and services that simplify your online presence, so business becomes a joy to maintain and manage.
How to Find those Perfect WordPress Products
Before searching for premium WordPress solutions, I advise you to go over the free ones. What you’ll find in the WordPress.org plugin and theme repository is a mess of products, not very well categorized, so you need to put extra effort into finding authoritative blogs that do WordPress product reviews.
Nothing’s really free and you’ll often pay with crippled or no support at all, but there are always exceptions and you can find well coded and regularly updated WordPress plugins if you dig a little deeper, perform a couple of searches and read some reviews. It’ll pay off later, when you’ve got to think about other things needed for your online presence and not worry about incompatibilities or instabilities.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Theme for Your Business
Choosing a theme should be nothing more than choosing a skin. In my opinion, this is the right name for what is just a visual overlay for your website. There are many great all-in-one solutions, like the Total WordPress theme, which can cover every angle you can think of and satisfy all your present and future needs.
There are also niche WordPress themes, where you need to do the thinking part first and then go for a theme that is built just for that one thing you’re eager to show it to the world. For example, AcademiaThemes is a great place to look for school and learning themes, ShowThemes is home to themes specifically for event management, and on Themeforest you can find any niche you can possibly think of (real estate, wedding, nonprofit, photography, hosting, etc.).
If you need more information, you can check out our post on how to select your perfect WordPress theme. Here at WPExplorer, we’ve covered pretty much every niche you can think of so take your pick from all the themes we’ve included in roundups.
How to Choose the Perfect WordPress Plugins
WordPress is such a versatile content management system because of the plugins that add extra functionality to your website. You can easily turn any theme into a niche template by adding some free or premium plugins.
Finding perfect WordPress products doesn’t mean finding the perfect do-it-all extension, but the one that covers one angle and does it perfectly. Before you start working on an idea, you need to reduce the amount of clutter from all the mockups you created and ideas that sparked. Focus on the minimum functionality necessary for your online presence and you’ll create a stable foundation.
Having too many plugins is a security risk, especially plugins that are not updated regularly. For almost everything you need, you can find someone has already created a plugin in the free WordPress.org plugin repository. By scanning plugin pages, you’ll see which authors give support and update their plugins regularly.
Most eCommerce solutions are fairly easy to implement into any CMS. Since WordPress has grown into more than just a blogging platform, a lot of e-Commerce solutions for it emerged as WordPress plugins. Some of the most used and best supported are:
If you think that three is not enough, take a look at our complete list of e-Commerce WordPress plugins. Selecting a theme that supports these solutions means that the theme has special CSS written just for them. This way your eCommerce plugin looks fits seamlessly within your theme. No further eCommerce functionality should rest within the theme.
If your goal is to create a website where people can buy your products or donate money to your cause, you’re in luck. Many gateways support WordPress (and you can find them already integrated into premium plugins, or find free plugins in the WordPress repository to add them to your website), so let’s take a look at some of the more popular options:
PayPal is an old player, which supports payments from over 190 countries and accepts all major credit cards. You can find a lot of plugins that offer its integration with WordPress.
Gumroad is perfect for software, books, films or music producers, who want an easy way to sell their digital products. The integration with WordPress is a 5-minute job and the transactions take place on-site.
2Checkout accepts credit card, debit cards and PayPal. I’ve had some difficulties using their service, since they’re very strict about which products and services you can sell. Also if you’re inactive for 6 months, they can suspend your account, as they have mine.
Authorize.net can help you when it comes to all things online and mobile. Their fraud prevention systems are something they’re clearly very proud of. However, you need pay a fee in advance to get this payment gateway.
Stripe is a payment system that was available in U.S. only. As of recently they’ve gone global and now include Australia, UK, Ireland and also some other countries (though as beta). It’s great for stores and invoicing systems because of its powerful API.
Braintree is a PayPal-owned company. With a single integration, your WordPress eCommerce will be able to handle PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, credit and debit cards, Bitcoin, etc. With PayPal funding I’m sure it’ll be available in most countries pretty soon.
Paymill is available in only eight countries. It accepts most credit cards and can be used for web payments, mobile payments or recurring payments if you plan on running a SaaS subscription business.
Dwolla is available in U.S. only. It has one of the cheapest fees per transaction and is free for transaction that are less than $10. The payment takes place off your site, so tracking the gateway using Google Analytics may not be as easy.
Google Wallet is not, technically speaking, a payment gateway, so if you use it, you’ll still need to set up one of the gateways listed above. It’s main advantage is that Google Wallet users can pay easily for your products.
If you’re one of those serial entrepreneurs, you might want to know how to run multiple websites simultaneously using online services such as: ManageWP, WP Remote. Or software that installs on your websites and runs entirely on your server, such as InfiniteWP. Let’s see how these three stack up:
ManageWP is an online service which lets you control your websites from within its dashboard. It gives you power to do one-click updates, backups, adds additional layers of security and allows for easier site migrations. It has an outstanding customer support and if you have less than 5 sites to manage, then it’ll cost you nothing.
WPRemote features similar functionality as ManageWP where you can update WordPress core, plugins and themes with a single click and also download “snapshots” of your websites for backup purposes. The service is free, as stated on their website, but I’m always cautious when it comes to free online services and I suggest you contact their team and get to know them before signing up.
InfiniteWP has taken a very different approach than the previous two. You download the plugin from their website and it guides you through the installation of InfiniteWP admin panel. The way it works is that you install InfiniteWP on your server and control your websites from there.
WordPress is a great option for your online presence which you can configure really quickly. Whether you need a personal blog, corporate website, eCommerce solution or a WordPress shop, you’ll always find the WordPress themes and plugins to pull this off. But fist, define your philosophy, so you lay down the path to just follow through. Choose wisely, always think twice and install once and you’ll get your simplified online presence.