WordPress platform has evolved unstoppably to compete with other content managers focused on e-commerce. Using the best asset for small business, which is simplicity and ease of use, offers a huge range of plugins for Worpress shops and the opportunity to create online stores that can compete with other traditional managers like Magento or Prestashop when the number of SKUs allows it.
In the same way, there are plenty of accessories to customise the store and give a solution to all the design, development and business needs that are presented.
Here is a selection of 10 basic and free plugins that we use frequently in e-commerce stores made with WordPress, although most of these plugins also apply also to other type of websites and blogs:
1. Under construction
This plugin generates a page that indicates that the web is under construction, showing a ‘Coming Soon’ message that will be displayed to all users who are not logged in to the site. Useful for developing a site without other users being able to view the content until it is finished.
Even if Under construction/ plugin is installed and activated, the message display instead of web content functionality is inactive by default and must be manually activated in the plugin edition. In this case, there are a lot of similar plugins and this is only an example, the important functionality is to be able to disallow crawlers from indexing website pages while the site is not ready.
One of the many plugins to convert a WordPress website into an e-commerce platform. There are alternatives such as WP E-commerce but the obvious choice is Woocommerce because apart from being open source, offers ease in catalog management and is compatible with many of the WordPress templates and themes, as well as WPML.
More info: https://wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce/
3. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Talking about SEO, for users with medium knowledge of search engine optimisation, the best option might be WordPress SEO by Yoast , a highly recommended plugin with a lot of configuration possibilities and extra options (some of them not free).
As a second choice, All in one SEO pack is a very simple WordPress plugin designed to optimise WordPress content for search engines, perfect if we want a third party to be able to keep pages optimised for SEO.
More info: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
4. W3 Total Cache
Even if Woocommerce will work very well for general SEO purposes, it’s important to check the load time of the website after installing it and add other plugins to optimise the speed if necessary. Speed is also an important SEO factor and faster websites tend to rank higher in Google.
W3 Total Cache allows you to serve compressed and cached files increasing website performance, reducing download times and improving the site’s user experience.
More info: http://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/
Internet has a worldwide impact and many times we take advantage of this circumstance to reach more users. WPML is a plugin that allows us to display the shop or website content in different languages.
This plugin is not free, having a license price between 29$ & 199$, but the advanced options and perfect integration with woocommerce makes it a highly recomendable investment.
More info: http://wpml.org/
6. SEO Rank Reporter
Based on chosen keywords and pages where these keywords are found, SEO Rank Reporter checks the website pages position on Google every three days and displays the results on a chart.
It offers the possibility to activate emails with alerts and you can download the results in CSV format and also allows you to obtain the results by country.
7. Ninja forms
In many cases the default form that comes with the template that we have chosen does not have the necessary fields for our business, from wanting to add a field for telephone in a simple form until the creation of a form for the request of budget with several specific fields.
Ninja forms is a plugin that helps us manage multiple contact forms, is easily customisable and integrates perfectly with add-ons such as CAPTCHAs and other spam filters.
As the name suggests, Redirection works for creating and managing 301 redirects across your site. It’s very common to change url names and always recommended to use a plugin to create the right redirections with autonomy from server managers or sysadmins.
9. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
Any form on a web, especially if this web is commercial, is susceptible to receive thousands of unwanted mails and therefore it is always a good idea to have a first antispam filter at the web level.
SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam allows you to add anti-spam filters to forms of all types, from blog comments to all internal pages in user account registration cases.
10. Updraft Plus
In case you have not activated server-level backup options or simply want to generate another security backup in Google Drive, Dropbox, or any of several other options, Updraft Plus allows to make the copy of the content of the web in few minutes.
This plugin works well in case of having a store with a reduced catalog. Otherwise it is advisable to look for a backup solution more professional and according to the characteristics of the web.
Bonus: MailChimp for WordPress
If you are using MailChimp as email marketing tool, this plugin will be a winner. It helps you add more subscribers to your MailChimp lists using various methods. You can create forms or integrate with any other form on your site, like your comment, contact or checkout form.