I’ve finally gotten my wordpress.com site working on wordpress.org, as part of the larger initiative to build my business into a fully functional venture with multiple streams of income (www.vertecology.com). It’s been an awesome milestone to reach and came about fairly simply. My readership loves my content., which has been an essential component of my branding and the Mystique theme and bloggish layout of the site have served brilliantly. I aimed to seamlessly keep the theme and layout when transitioning the site so users would barely notice the difference and I accomplished that.
The rude awakening happened in trying to integrate the e-commerce. The “default” WP-Ecommerce plugin is terrible. I then tried woo-commerce and it broke in my theme; I’m not exactly eager to learn PHP when I mean to be selling. I tried a couple other plugins and found similar issues and so realized that rather than being a fool rushing in, the best move is to step back and look at what I really need:
I plan to sell both digital and physical products on the same pages, for instance, we’ll ship you a 5-level hanging garden kit for $479+shipping or you can buy the plans to build one yourself for $19, or the .stl files for CNC milling for $49. I also want to be able to setup an affiliate network so that other people can sell these products too. So Johnny Q. Public can sell my hanging garden plans off his site and get a commission of say 40%.
I plan also to enable people to book the use of some of my modular structures. For instance the Geosphere on the Event pages. Book it in advance for say a $100 deposit for a party two months out.
I additionally plan to offer classes, consulting and speaking engagements. The classes I expect to offer through Skillshare’s system. The speaking engagements would involve booking, or perhaps for the moment, just a request form that would land in my inbox, the financial details to be handled offline, and same with the consulting.
And finally to sell other people’s products as an affiliate, probably through Amazon but also through other 3rd parties. Stuff like books and components and tools for DIY permaculture installations… Rainbarrels, etc.
Since my budget is next to nil, I don’t expect to a custom e-commerce solution and am fine with growing from simple as the business grows and performs. I am also fine, for now, with having some of the functionality – as in my own product sales be handled by an internal plugin like eShop while my Amazon buyers go through that system.
What’s important to me however is that I can establish a consistent look and feel across the whole site, and that whatever package I commit to is a) not going to require a computer science degree to get working b) going to be secure, that c) able to integrate elements like booking in the relatively near future, whether through the native setup or a plugin, and that d) allows me to weave it seamlessly into the theme and layout of my site.
From my struggles & research, the strategy that seems to make the most sense is to go with the Simple Paypal plugin, then upgrade when I’m ready to eShop (probably very soon. I don’t mind dropping the $50, but I’m wary after a week of failed efforts and I want to know that the thing is not going to break on arrival).
Here are my questions:
1) Can one seamlessly upgrade from the Paypal plugin to the full eStore suite? Is it an upgrade or a whole different platform that must be installed from scratch?.
2) Does anyone out there know how the WP affiliate program performs in comparison to ClickBank… what are the advantages of one over the other?
3) Can eStore handle booking? It’s not necessarily a deal breaker if it doesn’t, but it would be great to know.
4) Are there any security issues I should be aware of?
6) And does anyone have any good, bad or ugly stories about Paypal/Eshop integration into the Mystique 3+ theme?
Thanks for your support!