Now that we’ve got our web hosting up and running it’s time to figure out what kind of platform we want to run our e-commerce store on. There are a ton of options out there you can use, but the name of the game here is keeping costs down so we can return a profit as soon as possible. We can always upgrade our shopping cart to something more advanced if we ever need it, but I like starting small and getting a proof of concept down before spending unneeded dollars.
Over the years I’ve played around with a lot of the bigger shopping cart systems like OSCommerce and BigCommerce. Both of those are nice but I’ve personally found them a bit confusing and bloated; not to mention they cost some decent money to use. There are also systems out there like Shopify which is nice if you want a really easy to use all-inclusive system. The problem I had with Shopify was the lack of control when it came to certain things like SEO and fine tuning pages exactly how I wanted.
Eventually I found an awesome WordPress shopping cart plugin called WP e-Commerce, which is ideal for small sites that are only selling a few products and don’t need all the bells and whistles. The beauty of it is that it runs off the WordPress platform which is free and somewhat user friendly for novice computer users. Not only that but the WP e-Commerce plugin is free for their base version and you only pay a la carte for the features you want; all of which are really reasonably priced. Best of all, you’ll have complete control over the site and won’t be tied to any monthly fee’s that many of the other systems make you pay.
Here are the add-ons I went ahead and got. Your situation might be different, and you can always add them on down the road; so don’t spring for them unless you need them.
– Gold Cart Plugin – $47.00
This just offers a bunch of little features that are good to have. For $47 it’s worth the money to have them ready to go.
– Stripe Payment Gateway – $37.00
We’ll go over the payment gateway later, but I know we’ll be using Stripe so I grabbed this also.
If you’re not 100% comfortable with WordPress and the installation, they offer a $127 Gold Cart package where they will install it for you. I think they’ll also install the Stripe plugin and help explain the system to you a little bit. Another option would be to go on oDesk and hire someone who can do it for you.
I’m beat tonight, but at least we have all the software ready to go. Next step will be grabbing a good design to use, stay tuned!