If you’ve ever searched online for ways to monetize your blog, you know how many different options, products and services are out there. Unfortunately, there are just as many opinions about which of them will help you generate the most revenue.
Two of the most popular options are WP-ecommerce and OpenCart but there are pros and cons to both.
WP-ecommerce is a plug-in built specifically for WordPress blogs. It has an array of features that make it an outstanding option. However, it is not without limitation.
- Ease of use – For most WP-ecommerce plugins, installation is extremely quick and easy. They work with other plugins, widgets, short codes, etc. and can be tweaked to match any WordPress theme.
- Complexity, speed and responsiveness – Generally speaking, control panels are a little more complicated than need be but the speed and responsiveness are good as long as you have the required versions of WordPress and PHP.
- Stability, customization and scalability – Plugins are fully-customizable with a basic knowledge of CSS and HTML. However, the main issue with WP-ecommerce plugins is that they tend to “break” easily. There are questions as to whether the plugins stop working because of increased traffic, some fault of the user, or simply because the code is not yet perfected. The support forums provide tips and tricks for fixing most problems but it takes time to research and test solutions.
- Selling affiliated products – One of the reasons these plugins are so popular with bloggers is that they are very useful for selling affiliated products. They can handle a limitless number of products and often come with features like product RSS feeds, full Google integration, and SEO plugins that are simple to add.
OpenCart, on the other hand, is not designed for any specific platform. It is truly an open source shopping cart that can be tailored to most needs.
- Ease of use – Even for experienced developers, the code is a bit clunky. Modifying features like “Search” and other common add-ons are tough to integrate and you have to purchase each individually so the costs can add up quickly. With that being said, if you are selling a small number of products and you don’t need many added features, it can be a decent option.
- Complexity, speed and responsiveness – The basic OpenCart code is not overly complex but it gets cluttered very quickly as you add features and functionality. That can become problematic because the speed and responsiveness of the cart depend on these added features so you may find yourself in a “lesser of two evils” situation.
- Stability, customization and scalability – OpenCart is stable, if nothing else. But, as far as scalability, you should really consider another option if you have a large number of products or a wide variety of services. The cart simply was not designed to support vendors with a large, complex database of products.
- Selling affiliated products – If you are selling a small number of items and you can navigate the product uploading/database building processes, then you can find success selling affiliated products through OpenCart.
Neither product is perfect but WP-ecommerce plugins are more effective and more versatile in most situations. If you have a small website dedicated to a specific product or service, OpenCart is a viable option but understand you may be shelling out money for add-ons so plan for that in case your site grows.