In the past few months, I have written a series of posts on ways bloggers could go about evolving their blogs and taking them to the next level. Adding a job board, forum, and a chat room to your blog are all great things to do to make life easier for your visitors. But starting an online store can do that and give you a whole new way to make some revenue on the side (you are not planning to blog and starve, are you?). I am not suggesting you should start an Amazon.com-like store. A niche store that has items your visitors may find useful is a good way to start. You can sell your own products and branded items on the side as well.
Adding a store to your blog is not really that difficult. You can either do it with a third-party script or hire a web developer to do it for you. Hiring an e-commerce developer can be expensive for most folks. That’s why I love doing things with WordPress. There are just a ton of solutions out there for WordPress to get things done. WP Store is a killer WP theme that lets you start a store next to your blog. Whether you are planning to sell other people’s products or sell your own T-shirts, mugs, and other branded items, this theme can handle it.
I know what you may be thinking here. Who has time to go and set up a fully-fledged e-commerce store when you have your blog to run. WP Store is more than just a theme. It comes with everything one would need to manage a store with minimal effort. You can define shipping, tax, and other terms in the back-end and have the theme take care of the rest for you. You can even set up an affiliate program for your store and let others do the promotion and the selling for you.
The fact that WP Store comes with a sample catalog of products means you won’t have to spend too much time learning the ropes with this theme. Depending on the type of store you want to run, you may have to change the style of WP Store. You also want to have some products to sell (you can start with your branded products). If you already have an inventory of products to sell, you can mass upload them using a CSV file.
You don’t want to add a store for the sake of doing it. There is a reason I don’t have a store for this blog. Prior planning is a must before starting your own store. A store can bring a whole new dimension to your blog. Just make sure you don’t let it take away from your readers’ experience on your blog. With WP Store, you can at least save some time and effort, starting your very own store.