Monetising online is becoming easier by the day; whether it be through e-commerce or revenue from advertising, there are increasingly more and more ways to turn a profit using your online presence. WordPress offers such capabilities; by installing a shopping cart plugin, you can turn your blog into a virtual sales floor. Here are 5 easy steps detailing how to download, install and configure a shopping cart plugin for your WordPress blog.

Choosing Your Plugin | Having logged into your account, click on the ‘Dashboard’ tab in the top left of your screen. From here you will see the Dashboard menu running down the left-hand side of the page. Hover over the ‘Plugins’ tab and select ‘Add New.’ You are now ready to browse the extensive list of plugins available for WordPress. It is by no means an easy task deciding which one to choose so trial and error may be necessary; be careful to check the descriptions, ratings, and feedback for each candidate plugin before you install. For this tutorial, we have searched for and selected WordPress Ultra Simple PayPal Shopping Cart v4.3.6 as it offers the basic functionality required by all plugins of this nature.

Installation | To install this plugin, click on the red ‘Install Now’ button on the top right of the details box. The details box will now close, and you will be presented with the ‘Installing Plugin’ page which allows you to track the progress of the installation. Depending on the file size and complexity of the plugin, this may take a few minutes to complete. Once installed, you will be given the option to ‘Activate Plugin’. Click on this.

Link to PayPal | WordPress Ultra Simple PayPal Shopping Cart will now have been added to your list of installed plugins. The next important step requires you to link your blog with a designated PayPal account. If you have not yet got a PayPal account, then it is necessary for you to obtain one. All WordPress shopping cart plugins require this because PayPal offers an unparalleled level of security and customer support should any form of error or breach occur.

Configuration | With this step complete, you can now create posts and pages designed for the display of merchandise and products. To do this requires a series of modifications to the CSS code of your blog. Instructions for each specific plugin are available under the ‘Usage’ tab, found next to the plugin description box. With this done, it is now possible to configure the settings of your shopping cart plugin.

Settings | If you access the ‘Settings’ tab you will be able to modify a whole range of parameters, including the currency, VAT rate, base shipping cost and any applicable special offers, whether they be of a promotional nature or based on bulk sales. For further information regarding configuration and settings, check out the Help and FAQ sections on the WordPress Plugin website.