Can You Sell Items in a WordPress Blog?

By Will Conley

Yes, you can sell items in a WordPress blog. All you need is an WordPress "eCommerce" or "shopping cart" plug-in. Once installed and configured, an eCommerce plug-in can sell anything from aardvarks to Zunes. Hundreds of such plug-ins are listed for free or paid download at the Plugin Directory.

The WordPress Plugin Directory

The WordPress Plugin Directory houses all available WordPress plug-ins, including those for eCommerce. But beware: Not all searchable eCommerce, shopping cart and store plug-ins are reliable.

WordPress eCommerce Plugin Features

Most WordPress eCommerce plug-ins let you list both digital (or intangible) and tangible products. Visitors can view text-, image- or video-based descriptions of your products. When a visitor sees something he likes, he clicks a button marked "Add to Shopping Cart" or similar. The eCommerce plug-in stores that data while the visitor browses other products. When the visitor is ready, he clicks a button labeled "Checkout" or something similar, at which point he enters his billing information and confirms the purchase.

Payment Methods

Most WordPress eCommerce plug-ins allow for multiple secure payment types, including PayPal, credit card, debit card or virtual check. Each payment method must be connected to the site owner's PayPal, bank or other account to receive payments. Setups methods for payment and receipt depend on the configuration of the installed plug-in.

Product Delivery Methods

Digital or intangible products like music, documents or account activations can be delivered to the purchaser immediately after payment. Say a visitor to your WordPress-based website wants to read a PDF document you wrote and posted for purchase, entitled "How to Sell Items in a WordPress Blog." The visitor adds the PDF to his cart, enters his billing information, makes payment and then is immediately directed to a secure web page to download the article. Visitors also can order tangible products by supplying an address--the proprietor receives the order and delivers it according to whatever terms and conditions he has preset.

Installing and Configuring a WordPress eCommerce Plug-in

Installation methods vary by plug-in. In most cases, the WordPress-based website or blog owner downloads a .zip file of the plug-in and uploads it to the website server. The site owner then configures the plug-in by setting payments methods, uploading product descriptions and, for advanced users, tweaking code as necessary.