One of the most common questions I’m asked about is what e-commerce solutions do we recommend. In this email, I’ll outline the best options out there today, how they work and a few examples of their use.

Physical Products

If you’re wanting to launch an online store with multiple physical products, we highly recommend Shopify. It’s easy to use, no-hassle, integrates with all sorts of other services, comes with a bunch of great free and paid themes and can be completely customized too if you like.

Shopify is different from WordPress as it’s not open source, so you’re paying for the hosting when you pay for Shopify. I like this model for e-commerce as all the security, updates and maintenance is handled for you by Shopify. (Having your WordPress site hacked is awful, but can you imagine the implications and costs of your e-commerce store being hacked?) You get free (quality) support too. Paying a small monthly fee for Shopify to handle all this is well worth the peace of mind alone.

You get two options:

  1. Set up your entire website using Shopify. This is a good idea if you’re primarily opening a store, with a few supporting pages to go with it (about, contact, shipping info etc).
  2. Set up a subdomain for your store (e.g., and keep your main website running WordPress ( This is a good idea if part of your business is a store, but isn’t the sole focus.

We don’t recommend using a WordPress plugin for a store with multiple physical products. You’re responsible for all the hosting (including security certificate), security, updates and maintenance and unlikely to get fast quality support either. The plugins we have tested are buggy, very bloated with features, causing sites to slow down and often do not have the features our clients need. It’s simply not worth the headache to go down this route.

Shopify has many paid and free apps to extend out the functionality if needed.

Digital Products

If you only have digital products you are selling, such as our Clean Food theme and its associated add-ons, we recommend using the Easy Digital Downloads WordPress plugin. It’s a powerful shopping cart and integrates with lots of other services. The plugin itself is free, but you will likely want to purchase add-on options which are renewed yearly. The plugin can integrate into any WordPress theme, and then we customize it to requirements and make it seamlessly integrate with the rest of your site.

You could also use Shopify for Digital Downloads, using their free Digital Downloads add-on. This is a good option if you are launching a new site which is solely selling digital downloads. For a site like mine, where we are only really selling one digital product (with add-ons), using Shopify and a subdomain felt like overkill which is why I chose Easy Digital Downloads plugin for WordPress.

Digital and Physical Products

If your store has a mix of both digital and physical products, use Shopify with the free Digital Downloads add-on.


If you’re wanting to sell membership level access to your website, course or other digital products, use the Restrict Content Pro plugin for WordPress. There are many other offerings out there, but this is the best and came on recommendation from other course developers. New Zealand’s biggest political blog, WhaleOil sells ad-free subscriptions.

Interested in selling online?

Schedule a call to talk this over more.

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