WordPress has evolved far past its humble beginnings. From a simple blog-publishing system, it has developed into the world’s most prominent Content Management System (CMS) today. This is in no small part due to its sheer power and versatility, as well as its open-source nature.
As regards the latter, it now offers a vast third-party plugin library, which offers to meet every user’s and industry’s needs. The best among its plugins now see millions of active users, spanning across blogs, eCommerce sites, and everything in-between.
However, its vastness may hold back your efforts toward finding the best ones you’re your industry, especially in the case of eCommerce. So let us devote this article to Best WordPress Plugins for eCommerce Sites, as well as others such websites may use.
Preparing for your eCommerce Website
Before we get started, let us briefly outline the groundwork you may best establish before beginning your search. That is, ensuring your website remains fast, responsive, well-maintained, and secure.
Your hosting choices will make a visible impact on your loading speed and responsiveness. They will inform your website’s usability, and its User Experience (UX) in turn. Moreover, those also constitute Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking signals.
Here, your choices go far beyond the usual question of WordPress.org or WordPress.com. Rather, you may examine hosting options such as the following, depending on your budget, needs, and scope:
- A2 Hosting
- InMotion Hosting
For a thorough analysis of these and others, you may consult our article on WordPress hosting.
Hosting may not at all times be seamless, as the above article notes. Moreover, technical issues may arise at any time, costing you customers and revenue while they remain unresolved. Finally, no website is ever truly safe from attacks by malicious actors, regardless of industry.
For these reasons, hiring maintenance and support professionals to fix potential problems is often a wise investment. While you may always try to handle this front yourself, the market now offers increasingly affordable solutions. As such, doing so will free up your time to let you focus on creative tasks while offering you peace of mind that your website is being monitored by competent professionals.
Finally, eCommerce confidence understandably hinges on security. For this reason, installing SSL certificates and opting for HTTPS offers demonstrable benefits.
Initially, perceived security instills customer confidence, which Forbes reports is crucial. Second, security is an SEO ranking signal, so overlooking it can lower your rankings and sabotage your marketing efforts. Finally, Chrome warns users of “not secure” websites; this simple visual indication can often lead to bounces, reducing your leads. Chrome is now clearly the most prevalent browser in the world across all devices, so this particular issue bears noting.
Criteria for choosing WordPress plugins
With your hosting addressed, maintenance plans in order, and security in place, you may begin to look into WordPress plugins for eCommerce sites. However, as with all plugins, there are some crucial factors to keep in mind as you finalize your choices. The three primary ones, regardless of plugin type, purpose, or industry focus, are the following.
First, your candidates must remain compatible with the latest WordPress releases.
Outdated plugins may cause performance issues and, more importantly, allow malicious actors to exploit their vulnerabilities. WordFence and WPScan’s 2021 security report outlines this very real danger, as well as highlights the need for security plugins.
#2 Impact on performance
Second, even the most lightweight plugins will affect a website’s performance.
UX implications aside, performance is imperative for any website. Google research correlates slow loading speeds with higher bounce rates, for example. Moreover, speed and responsiveness already constitute SEO ranking factors, and Core Web Vitals only solidify Google’s focus on them. Thus, you should carefully weigh each plugin’s benefits against their impact on your website’s performance.
Finally, even the best plugins will inevitably have some users who require support from their creators.
Thankfully, WordPress has a vocal, supportive community that often assists with issues and questions. However, some issues may only be resolved by the plugin creators – through updates and bug fixes, personalized support, or other means. For this reason, you may examine whether they are still actively developing and supporting their plugin before finalizing your choice.
The Best WordPress Plugins for eCommerce Sites
With the above context and choice criteria in mind, let us explore some of the best WordPress plugins for eCommerce sites. For readability and convenience, we will divide them into purpose-specific sections.
#1 Ecommerce plugins
First on the list are plugins specifically dedicated to eCommerce functionalities. Here we may explore plugins that help users start or improve their online stores.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, WooCommerce takes our number 1 slot on this list. There are a plethora of reasons for this, as we’ll try to explain in brief.
WooCommerce offers an all-in-one solution for opening and operating one’s eCommerce website. It is quite user-friendly, relatively affordable, and extremely powerful nonetheless. Indeed, Kinsta finds that it now powers 14% of all eCommerce websites, only slightly behind Shopify’s 21%. Finally, it is owned by Automattic, the organization which operates WordPress itself. For this final reason alone, you can expect WooCommerce to remain up-to-date and supported for years to come.
You may find WooCommerce’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)
A far less prominent but equally noteworthy eCommerce plugin you may consider is EDD. As the name suggests, it primarily focuses on digital transactions – so sellers of physical items may not utilize it fully.
EDD comes with a cleaner interface than WooCommerce, which makes it more accessible for beginners. Still, its free core provides a plethora of eCommerce features, starting with a full shopping cart and expanding to customer management, eCommerce reports, and more. Finally, it is compatible with most themes, so it should easily fit most websites.
You may find EDD’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
Ecwid offers another notable all-in-one eCommerce platform to consider. While far less popular than the above, it is one of the most powerful WordPress plugins for eCommerce sites available.
Ecwid has a distinct advantage, even over WooCommerce, of being expansive enough to support use across channels and websites. That is, you may use it outside of WordPress; consider Facebook, Instagram, Wix, and more. Its core is free and perfectly serviceable for smaller businesses, while its subscription plans are very affordable and come with a wealth of features. These include the aforementioned social media shops and a dedicated mobile app, most notably.
You may find Ecwid’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
WordPress eCommerce plugins: honorable mentions
The above aside, no such list would be complete without some honorable eCommerce mentions.
Shopify is by no means a WordPress plugin itself. Indeed, it operates outside of WordPress’s ecosystem. Still, it offers an expansive eCommerce solution one cannot ignore.
Shopify offers a comprehensive, powerful, easy-to-use eCommerce platform. As a testament to its power and popularity, consider that it still beats WooCommerce by 7% across all websites and by a massive 16% (21% versus 5%) in the top 10,000 websites. Shopify is unfortunately not free; it only comes with a 14-day trial, and its subscription fees are modest. Still, it is a very notable alternative to consider.
You may find Shopify on its dedicated website.
Returning to WordPress plugins for eCommerce websites, BigCommerce also bears noting. It is still too young to confidently recommend, but its promise does warrant an honorable mention.
BigCommerce offers an equally expansive eCommerce plugin, seeking to drastically reduce the need for multiple plugins for different purposes. Its features include cross-platform selling, an embedded checkout, massive payment gateway integrations, and more. In addition, it offers an array of backend resource offloading features, seeking to complement your SEO efforts.
You may find BigCommerce’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
Finally, JetPack may well be among the most expansive WordPress plugins ever released. It may not be an explicit eCommerce plugin, but its vast scope makes it valuable for most purposes.
This suite of features offers SEO enhancements, such as content proofreading and image optimizations for faster loading times. As it does, it also provides Google Analytics integrations for better performance monitoring. In addition, it offers custom contact forms, social media sharing buttons, automatic site backups, and so much more. Fortunately, you may disable individual features you don’t use to maintain a clean WordPress dashboard.
If you have chosen the WordPress.com option, JetPack will come pre-installed. If you have not, you may find JetPack’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
#2 SEO plugins
Having touched on SEO, let us explore some options in this area as well. SEO is indeed substantive for eCommerce as well, as it drives a massive portion of organic traffic. Backlinko quantifies this as follows:
- “44% of people start their online shopping journey with a Google search”.
- “23.6% of eCommerce orders are directly tied to organic traffic”.
- “37.5% of all traffic to eCommerce sites comes from search engines”. 49.3% comes from direct navigation, leaving just 13.2% for all other traffic sources.
As such, WordPress plugins for eCommerce sites should reasonably include at least a few SEO-focused plugins.
First on our list is Yoast SEO. It advertises itself as the “#1 WordPress SEO plugin”, and offers a wealth of features to support this claim.
Yoast SEO comes with SEO analysis and readability analysis as its foundations. It then expands them to automatic improvements, advanced XML sitemaps, site breadcrumbs, and much more. Its one downside comes with its basic version lacking many of the premium version’s features, which fortunately remains affordable. With over 5 million active installations and a 5-star rating, Yoast SEO may not disappoint.
You may find Yoast SEO’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
All-in-One SEO (AIOSEO)
An equally prominent option comes in AIO SEO. While slightly behind Yoast SEO, with 3 million active installations and a 4.5-star rating, AIOSEO may nonetheless meet your needs.
AIOSEO comes with deep SEO analysis and readability analysis tools as well. It then offers an array of modules, including ones for image optimizations and local SEO. Finally, it offers integrations with popular eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce, design plugins like Elementor, and marketing plugins such as SEMrush.
You may find AIOSEO’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
Broken Link Checker
Finally, SEO hinges on effective, functional links. Broken Link Checker, as the name suggests, specifically focuses on this crucial function.
Broken Link Checker will scan pages and content for internal and external links that may be broken. It will then notify users via email or through the WordPress dashboard so they may take appropriate actions. Its convenience lies in its ability to let users do so through its own page, rather than having to edit each post individually.
You may find Broken Link Checker’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
#3 Security plugins
Finally, we may conclude with WordPress plugins for eCommerce websites focused on security. Here, your options will depend on your own security layers, maintenance and monitoring schedules, and more. However, all of the following offer invaluable help with minimal impacts on performance.
WordFence is among the most renowned WordPress security plugins, and one of the two authors of the aforelinked security report. It currently has over 4 million active installations and an excellent 4.5-star rating. Most of its features come with the basic version, and span across a robust firewall, a malware scanner, and login security such as 2FA and CAPTCHA. Its premium features notably include a real-time IP blocklist for known malicious actors.
You may find WordFence’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
WPScan is the second author of the above security report and offers an equally useful security plugin. While not quite as prominent, WPScan has its own unique features you may consider.
Its primary strength lies in its own curated WordPress vulnerability database. Using it, it scans websites to ensure all known vulnerabilities are covered across themes, plugins, and core WordPress ones. Its free plan allows for 25 API requests per day, while the premium plan removes this limitation completely.
You may find WPScan’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
Another notable security option comes in Sucuri Security. This popular plugin is now owned by GoDaddy and comes with a wealth of features of its own.
The most notable among them are its monitoring capabilities, spanning across security, malware removal, and even file integrity. It provides swift security notifications, as well as post-hack security actions, should any attacks manage to occur. However, its website firewall feature does only come with the premium version.
You may find Sucuri Security’s page in the WordPress plugin library.
To summarize, options for WordPress plugins for eCommerce sites abound. The library offers almost 60,000 plugins today and includes strictly eCommerce-focused ones, as well as ones for SEO, security, and more. While by no means exhaustive, this list should hopefully cover the essential ones among them you may consider for your eCommerce website.