These days the ecommerce websites are a significant trend and are changing the dynamics of shopping. Shopping has been made easy and cheap at the same time with these sites, and everything is, quite literally, just one tap away. With more and more non-technical people setting up their website today, WordPress proves to be a great platform. It allows you to make your templates, customizations, and payment methods as well. However, you can always earn more profit by improving your visibility and making other sites refers your ad campaigns, videos or products. A WordPress ecommerce plugin may help the cause by managing the catalogs and orders of the ecommerce website along with providing secure transactions. The WordPress affiliate program plugin is also a functionality that helps one run an affiliate campaign with the support of some recruited affiliates and pay them a commission for referring their websites and products on their platform.
The WordPress ecommerce plugin lets one integrate payment gateways along with SSL security to ensure a secure checkout. The plugin helps one manage their orders and catalog along with in-built marketing tools to increase the sales. Along with marketing and compatible payment gateways, the tool also makes shipping easier for the ecommerce websites. It comes with built-in navigation tools and can be integrated with many courier services.
With the WordPress affiliate program plugin, one can create campaigns, links, banners, and creative for their website and distribute them amongst the affiliates to get traffic. The plugin can track all the clicks, sales, etc. It also stores the credit for every affiliate that had helped in gaining traffic. That way, one is always able to show their members how much traffic they increased.
The following steps will help you design a WordPress affiliate program ecommerce website:
1. Find the right affordable WordPress hosting
At first, you need to install a WordPress site on the hosting server. The WordPress platform is perfect for someone who’s developing their first site as it offers incredible flexibility and is easy to use. Major Websites like CNN, Time, etc. use the same platform as well. It is very easy to install and has numerous free themes or Paid Ecommerce themes. Most plugins and themes can be installed with just one click. The platform is open source, and everything is available readily at a low cost. The presence of an active online community also ensures that any problems you face are solved within minutes. It is crucial to select a good domain name for the website that represents your brand and your company image well. After fixating on both the domain and the platform, you need to decide on a hosting server for your website. You can either opt for a shared hosting plan or managed WordPress hosting.
Siteground.com Is an excellent hosting service that provides both shared plans and managed WordPress hosting plans. You can either use an existing domain or register a new one. It provides with high-speed technologies, free SSL certificates, and its firewall security rules. They also give SSD drivers with all of its plans and is one of the most stable platforms for website hosting. Their shared plans vary by traffic and storage space available. The plans range from one site, 10GB and web space with 10000 visits approximately to hosting multiple websites, 30GB web that can handle about 100000 visits monthly. Apart from web hosting, the platform also provides cloud hosting and dedicated hosting. They have a unique service called “WP ecommerce Hosting” and “Affiliate Programs” under which you can avail the benefits of a WordPress ecommerce plugin and an affiliate program best suited to your needs. When registering your website on siteground.com, you’ll be guided to install WordPress. However, it is advised to choose “get WordPress installed with this account” to get registered faster by filling in just an admin id, username, and password.
2. Adding WordPress free SSL
Once you have set up your website with a hosting server, you need to make sure that all your transactions are running and are also safe. An ecommerce site faces many operations on a daily basis which requires its visitors’ personal information, credit card numbers, and login credentials. Hence, it is crucial to make sure that the information is safe and doesn’t reach anybody else. This functionality can be achieved by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). An SSL secures the transaction between a web browser and a website, or a mail server and mail client, by creating an encrypted link for the same. It is a standard security protocol that allows one to protect all the sensitive information on their website. Usually, the transmitted data is also in plain text. Thus, SSL not only establishes an encrypted link but also encrypts the text to avoid any eavesdropping. SSL is thus, a security protocol that determines the variables of encryption for both the link and the data being transmitted.
To establish a safe connection between the browser and the server, it requires an SSL certificate. Therefore, to protect your data and also build the credibility of your website, you must fill up a request for an SSL certificate and get one at the earliest.
However, getting an SSL service can be very expensive as most of them demand about $99 a year. Given the security it provides to your ecommerce website, the sum does not seem too hefty. But many companies and platforms are willing to offer their customers internet security solutions for free. One such platform is CloudFlare.com which can be quickly set up and which will provide you with SSL services for HTTPS secure transactional reasons, for free. CloudFlare acts as a reverse proxy for the websites providing them with services like content delivery network, Internet security services, and distributed domain name services. Their security services include saving the site from a DDoS attack, providing SSL services, WAF, and rate limiting. It is very easy to install and manage and also helps in increasing the traffic by acting as a reverse proxy. You can register your website and choose the services you want from them. The website lets you keep your hosting server as it’s compatible with all of them and you don’t need to change your site code for it as well. It is one of the most reliable SSL services platforms to the website and is also great at recognizing behavioral patterns that do not seem reasonable.
Their SSL services are provided over HTTPS which makes sure that the latest version of SSL is in use. This improves the performance of the website by decreasing the page load time, provides excellent security against snooping as SSL encrypts all the data, and increases the credibility of the website by providing a green lock on the top. HTTPS pages are also favored by the search engines, which is indeed, an added benefit. CloudFlare thus, makes the website HTTPS enabled with just the click of a button and allows you to choose from their three types of SSL plans, namely: Flexible SSL, full SSL, and origin CA. The flexible SSL plan SSL encrypts the traffic from CloudFlare to the website users but not the server. It doesn’t require an SSL certificate. The full SSL plan requires an SSL certificate as along with the benefits of flexible SSL; it provides SSL-encrypted traffic from CloudFlare to the original server as well. Origin CA plan is the same as full SSL. However, the SSL certificate is issued by CloudFlare authorities instead of a certificate authority.
3. WordPress Ecommerce plugins for tangible and digital download products.
After making the website and setting up an SSL service, the website needs a WordPress ecommerce plugin. However, the plugin can be of different types based on the requirement and the type of products the site is offering. For example, if you are selling digital products like eBooks, photos, etc. that require payment, you can install Easy Digital Downloads plugin, and in case you’re selling tangible products that require shipping and inventory management, you can install WooCommerce plugin. Apart from the products, you also need to consider the payment gateway you’ll be using so that your chosen plugin supports it either by default or through add-ons. It is also important to make sure that the theme of the website matches with the theme of the plugin as they may not come with a proper one.
The Easy Digital Downloads Is a WordPress ecommerce plugin that is designed to sell digital products and is very easy to use. The functioning of the plugin is very smooth so that even the first time users can figure out how to add any products and how to display them. It is compatible with every WordPress theme and blends very well with the website. The plugin also has built-in themes. Apart from this, Easy Digital Downloads plugin offers hundreds of extensions which include an add-on for various services like shipment, payment gateways, etc. The strong online community of the plugin also makes sure that no query of yours is unanswered. Easy Digital Downloads is also a partner with AffiliateWP so that apart from a well-managed catalog and theme, your website will also have great marketing given the support of this WordPress affiliate program plugin.
Since the Easy Digital Downloads plugin is only capable of selling digital products, the WooCommerce plugin helps you sell any tangible products as well that require shipping and inventory. It is the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin that lets you sell both digital and physical products. The plugin is very convenient as it supports many extensions and themes that let you add new features to the design easily.
It also has built-in support for many popular payment gateways and shipping options. The payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, etc. can be setup after you’ve fixated upon a theme. You can also add extra options for payment with the help of a few extensions. It also helps one manage inventory for the products and is an excellent choice for multilingual websites.
4. Choosing the right WordPress affiliate program plugin
After choosing theme, payment and shipment options for your site, it is crucial that one also decides upon a marketing strategy to increase the share of profits. A WordPress affiliate program plugin is the required asset here. It allows you to recruit affiliates, manage them, and track them. You can run your marketing campaigns on your affiliates websites and reward them simultaneously for referring sales. The program also lets one figure out the online ad campaigns that are working properly by calculating the exact conversion rates of the same with the help of this plugin. Thus, helping you abandon the non-profitable ones.
AffiliateWP Is a popular and reliable WordPress affiliate program plugin that provides you with the appropriate marketing tools as per your requirement and products to help you increase your sales. This program is compatible with many WordPress ecommerce plugins like Easy Digital Downloads, WooCommerce, etc. It regularly promotes your products and services through the affiliates, thereby improving the SEO of your website. The improved SEO results in better traffic, leading to increased sales. The plugin installs and starts running within minutes and is very easy to use. It tracks all the affiliates and their working in real time, thus giving you the true conversion rates of your campaigns. You can add as many affiliates as you want and also design your campaigns unlimitedly to suit the required affiliate site.
In case you don’t want to create referral links or creative manually, this plugin does that for you as well. An admin can also limit the affiliate registrations and choose their rates on a percentage or per-product basis.
You can also customize the plugin to send you report/notification emails, export the data to a CSV file and keep a regular tab on the payouts to the affiliates. Moreover, the plugin is designed primarily for WordPress and thus, works seamlessly on your website.
Following are the major benefits of the AffiliateWP WordPress affiliate program plugin:
1. The program is extremely affordable as compared to the other ones available.
2. Since the installation is done within minutes, it is very easy to setup and use to affiliate sign up, promote, traffic, payout, and more.
3. You can also setup the payout commission based on percentage, member or products. This provides you leverage over the other Webmasters regarding marketing to help you promote the product.
4. It is easy for affiliates to sign up and check their marketing traffic statistics.
5. The admin can check the payout logs to the members, regularly. Thus, the system is very well managed.
6. Since the program is designed especially for WordPress platform, it gets integrated seamlessly and makes the working effortless and therefore, successfully avoiding any broken code situations.
7. The program can be used on all devices and offers great speed. The WordPress platform also ensures that even first timers and non-tech people can manage it easily.
5. Do the proper SEO
The final but an equally important step in designing a WordPress affiliate program ecommerce website is setting up the SEO tags for the same. The plugins and the affiliate campaigns will work only when the website is highly visible on the search engines. This means that the SEO ranking of the same needs to be high. Therefore, you need to keep track of your keywords as they must be present in the title tag, meta tags, and permalinks of the article. The secondary keyword is as important as the first one and gives the ranking a further push. However, to handle the rest of the technical aspects of the SEO optimization, an SEO plugin is what needs to be installed to ensure high rankings and higher traffic.
Yoast Is one of the most popular SEO plugins designed for WordPress itself. It not only helps in optimizing the technical areas after publishing the post but also helps in writing a better one to ensure the ranking is high right from the start. Yoast helps the admin figure out a focus keyword for the content so that they use it everywhere it’s required, thus improving the quality of the content itself and reducing the future work. The plugin keeps a tab on the length of the title, meta description, and the alt tags in the image. It further analyses the page for any left out tags, subheadings, or permalinks. In case they are not present, it adds them by itself. Apart from this, it also focuses on RSS Optimization, multi-site compatibility, import-export functionality. Moreover, it is available in multiple languages.
After setting up the websites with all the plugins setup and running, you can hook it up with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster to further track its Ecommerce sales, traffic, and ranking.
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Also published on Medium.