I have recently been developing an e-Commerce website for a client using WordPress and the free WP e-Commerce plug-in. In this post, I’d like to talk a bit about the plug-in and some of my thoughts and opinions about it as an overall product.
First of all, I love the fact that it is free. For a free platform, it gets the job done. Unfortunately, if you want some standard features such as product search, or grid display of products, you need to purchase their $40 gold upgrade. No big deal, but these should still be standard features. One gripe that I have with the product search is that it only searches through product titles, and tags that are manually added by the store manager.
Applying my theme to the website was fairly simple, unfortunately I had to modify some of the core PHP files to achieve the result that I wanted. This causes problems, because if you ever want to update the plug-in it will write over all of your changes. One other gripe I had about the software was the ‘Product Specials’ feature. It did not work out of the box. I had to add some custom PHP code to write to the database to register that a product has been given a sale price. Even when I add a sale price now, there are some quirky steps I have to go through to make sure it’s still showing up.
One last gripe I have has to do with Search Engine Optimization. The plug-in does render nice URLs, and you are able to set some of the features with the All in One SEO plug-in. Unfortunately, there is no way to get the product and category pages to be included with an XML sitemap generator to submit to the search engines. This would be a nice feature that I think is very important to websites.
Aside from these few issues, it was a very easy platform to set up. Adding products and categories is simple and shouldn’t be any trouble for the store owner. Managing orders seems like a simple process as well. I believe that it is possible to make decent web stores with this software, but anyone looking to run a large e-Commerce website should look elsewhere.
I hope this article provides some insight for anyone shopping around.
Tags: Client Update, e-Commerce, WordPress