WordPress plugins function similarly to apps on your website. They assist in adding fresh features and website functionality, such as creating an online store or including contact forms.
Just like WordPress, plugins are created using the PHP programming language and the hosting server for your website runs on PHP code too. Thus, choosing a good WordPress hosting provider that helps you with simple tools to handle resources and administer your website effectively is important.
Plugins can also help you manage users, boost security and enhance SEO. It would be challenging for your business to grow without installing WordPress plugins on your website.
In addition to the free plugins available, numerous paid WordPress plugins are offered by independent businesses and developers. These plugins ar a vital aspect of your e-commerce development plan.
Each WordPress plugin has a unique effect on the functionality of your website.
- Some plugins affect the front end (for example, page builder, contact forms, sliders, etc.)
- Some affect the back end (for example, editorial plugins)
- Some plugins are active in the front end and also in administrative areas (for example, SEO plugins, WordPress firewall plugins, etc.)
- Some plugins perform routine background tasks (for example, monitor 404 pages, monitor broken links, etc.)
How to Choose the Best WordPress Plugin?
As there are many plugins available, choosing the most appropriate can be difficult. Below are some guidelines to make the selection procedure easy.
1. Choosing Appropriate Plugins
The first step is to decide what tools your website genuinely needs before selecting WordPress plugins. If there are too many plugins, your site might take longer to load.
You must consider plugins that can handle website security, SEO, performance optimization and e-commerce sales. You should also consider checking special plugins like membership tools, that are relevant to your business.
To avoid overloading your website, you start with a few necessary plugins and keep installing them when needed.
2. Reviews and Feedback
Before you choose a WordPress plugin, consider viewing customer reviews, feedback and testimonials. These give you an indication of the customer’s experience after using the plugin. Also ensure that there are recent reviews and ratings, something within the last three months.
3. Security Updates
Plugin updates are necessary for security reasons as they include security updates, fixing bugs and general usability enhancements. If this step is skipped, hackers may be able to steal your data or shut down your website.
You should reconsider using a tool that hasn’t received an update in over six months. A plugin update is available on the homepage of the Plugin Repository.
You should also check if the plugin has been tried and tested and is compatible with the most recent WordPress version. Otherwise, you run the risk of having problems with the main software.
5. Support Forums
Your plugin support forum must be active, as troubleshooting queries and responses from WordPress users can be found on these forums. You will be able to determine whether there are any widespread problems with specific plugins or which tools need to be avoided or are having problems, through these discussions. You can ask your WordPress community for help, advice or solutions.
6. Running Performance Tests
You can read a lot about a plugin, however, it can only give you an idea of how a technology might impact your particular website. Therefore, running a performance test before and after installing your new plugin is highly encouraged. This practice tells you whether the tool is effective and whether it affects your loading times.
Best WordPress E-commerce Plugins of 2023
The correct WordPress plugins and tools can help in the expansion of your online business. Choosing between a variety of plugins can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to WordPress. Below are some WordPress E-commerce plugins and their features that can help you choose the most appropriate one per your needs.
- WooCommerce is the most used e-commerce plugin for WordPress and the most widely used e-commerce platform.
- It is owned by Automattic, the same company that owns WordPress.
- It’s easy to use and is compatible with several platforms like Google Analytics, making it a versatile solution for all businesses.
- It already includes inventory tracking, which means you don’t need to manually monitor your stock.
- BigCommerce allows you to use WordPress to manage your content and run your website while working with a scalable e-commerce platform.
- The sign-in, cart, account and other crucial pages are automatically created.
- Running your WordPress site is easier when you keep the e-commerce engine separate from other content.
- You can use it to sell across multiple channels like Facebook and Amazon.
- It does not charge you for each transaction and also allows you to choose the various payment gateways.
- It takes care of the technical support so you can concentrate on expanding your company.
3. Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)
- By using WordPress and EDD, you can quickly sell digital downloads online.
- It has strong features that help create a beautiful and practical digital product store.
- It is really simple to use and quite helpful for beginners. After you log in, you’ll know exactly how to add products and arrange them on the page.
- It has numerous extensions available including payment gateway addons and email marketing platforms among them.
- They work with almost any WordPress theme and have some in-built themes too.
- Its software licensing allows you to sell plugins and SaaS products with appropriate digital rights.
- It has a free support forum along with videos and tutorials.
- A free version of EDD is available for download from WordPress directly.
- Shopify is a hassle-free all-in-one solution and is easy to use for beginners.
- You don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of an e-commerce store like handling shipping, paying taxes, etc. as it handles all of it.
- It supports both physical goods like shirts and digital goods like music.
- Managing inventory is simple because it has an inventory editor, a bulk importer and an order tracker.
- Its shipping system automates your fulfillment process by working directly with well-known companies like USPS.
- It is the most user-friendly contact form plugin for WordPress.
- Its drag-and-drop online form builder helps you quickly construct contact forms, email subscription forms, online order forms, payment forms, surveys, polls and other similar types of online forms.
- It has more than 500 pre-built form templates.
- It helps you design efficient forms quickly as it can link with all well-known marketing and payment systems.
- A free version of WPForms Lite is available for simple solutions.
6. Constant Contact
- It is one of the most popular and flexible email marketing software offering tools for e-commerce companies in the world.
- You can use this platform to create an email list and send subscribers some creative email newsletters.
- It allows you to quickly create forms with the help of ready-made templates and implement them into your website.
- You can even create a new email list and keep track of the contacts signed through the website within the plugin.
- Its platform gives business owners access to a variety of services, including the ability to conduct and track email marketing campaigns, create websites and online storefronts and make use of social media.