In my opinion, Paypal is fast becoming the payment processor of choice for bloggers selling goods and services from their WordPress site. There are a number of ways to integrate Paypal with your blog, I look at a few scenarios here:
Just In case .. What is Paypal?
Paypal is a credit card payment processor. It acts as a middleman between your clients and you, processing transactions on your behalf. They do the hard work of securing and protecting people’s credit card details, you simple accept money and pay a small fee in return. You don’t have to have a merchant account for Paypal which makes it ideal for small companies or bloggers.
Paypal charges a fee per transaction of dependant upon your transaction value per month. I pay 3.4% + 20 pence per transaction, your fees will vary by location. There are no setup or monthly fees as there are with other payment processors. Full details on transaction fees can be seen at the transaction charge page
If you don’t have an account, you can sign up at Paypal.com.
It goes the other way too, you can send money to people securely, but this post will concentrate on income rather than expenditure. This is a gross simplification of Paypals services, but in a nutshell it allows you to send or receive money securely online. Your credit card details are never sent over the net. People trust paypal and will look for it over other payment processors such as WorldPay.
Now lets integrate paypal with our blog.
So You Want Payment
There are numerous scenarios where you may want to charge visitors to your site, I list them below with an integration idea:
Consulting Services/Service Contracts
You may sell a consulting service or sell your time at a fixed rate per hour. If you do, using a paypal button is probably the solution for you. Using this method, you set a small piece of html pointing to paypal which states your account details, the amount you want to charge.
There is a technical manual on configuring your buttons manually, or you can go to the button factory inside of your Paypal account and step through the process from =my account->profile -> my saved buttons. Beside is a sample button for donation so you can see the process in action, no refunds will be given
Donations / Tips
A popular way of monetising content is to offer your readers the chance to make a donation or leave you a tip. Paypal allows you to create a donation button in the same way you would create a fixed price button. Simply suggest that your readers may like to give you a tip with a big button and see what happens.
If you want to have premium content on your site, you may consider a membership site. Paypal has a subscription facility which allow you to take recurring payments from your customers.
You can create a subscription payment button as mentioned above, and then manually add you members to your site. The subscription service will take regular payments until your customer cancels the payment.
There are a number of membership site plugins which take this to a higher level, the hard work of coding paypal will already be done for you. Simply specify your account details and the rest will be done for you, most importantly the process of cancelling memberships when a subscriptions is cancelled is done automatically and your content is hidden from the non-member.
Physical Product Shopping Carts
You may want to sell physical products using a shopping cart system such as Amazon uses.
Paypal has a shopping cart and checkout process, where you would add a button to a page or posts which would add an item to a shopping cart, you also place a checkout button on your site so payment can be collected. This is a little cumbersome as html code needs to be added to each page, do I hear a problem which needs to be solved by a plugin …
I have used one e-commerce plugin which takes the hard work of creating product pages and integrating them with Paypal and it is called WP E-Commerce (the WordPress community is very boring with it’s naming standards I would have called it blog-u-shopper or WordPricer).
I am yet to be convinced that a blog is the best platform to sell stuff, a service such as Shoppify or an e-bay store is probaly better, but hey what do I know, if you are selling physical products successfully from a blog let me know in the comments section.
Pay to Post
Y0u may want to charge people to add a post to your system. For example a jobs board where there is a fee to add something to your blog. One of the simplest and best solutions I have found for this is a plugin called EasyPayPal. This also allows the simple creation of members only content so you really should check this one out.
Selling Ad Space
If you are in a position to sell Ad space on your blog, paypal may well be the processor you use.
You can setup an advertising page and setup paypal, buttons to sell ad space. The other option is to check out an ad plugin such as OIO Publisher which allows you to sell ad space and integrate it with your Paypal account to accept payment.
If you have an e-book or webinar to sell, how do you integrate paypal with your site to take payment before your content is made available for download? The problem here is that you want to collect payment and protect your link until payment has been made.
wp-member the membership site solution I mention above does this as does EasyPayPal, but I would recommend you may want to look at e-junkie, this is an offsite payment processor and download fulfillment service. This takes the headache of delivering your info. product to your customers, my mantra is always if someone will take on a headache for me and the cost is okay go with them. The service starts at $5 per month.
Check Out The Many Paypal Plugins
There are a number of paypal plugins over and above what I mention, check out the plugin repository http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/paypal
Paypal Get’s My Thumbs Up
I hope this have given you some ideas for integrating paypal with your site. I have only touched on the solutions here to give you a feel for what paypal can do for you.
I have been using Paypal to collect payments for my services since I started this site, the trust people have in Paypal increases your likelihood of a conversion. I love the ease I can take payments, pay others and of course give refunds (I have a no fix no fee guarantee). The charges sometimes feel a little high, but removing the hassle of credit card security probably makes up for that.