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WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce: Book review and Giveaway

Packt PublishingA while ago, I reviewed the jQuery 1.3 and PHP and Zend Framework 1.8 books. These books are published by Packt Publishing (who just had a redesign on their site) and they asked me to review another book for them. This book, written by Brian Bondari, is called WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce. As you could have guessed by the title of the book, it shares great information about WordPress combined with the WP e-Commerce plugin. This book was an eye opener for myself too, since I'm a Joomla! user myself (combined with VirtueMart) and new in the WordPress scene.

I've read the book and wrote a review about it that you can read below. Now, you have a chance to win this 250+ pages thick book and read it yourself!

WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce

What you'll learn from this book:

  • Some basic WordPress stuff and more advanced E-commerce things
  • Different Payment options
  • Securing and Maintaining your webshop
  • Use of different plugins for your online store
  • and much more!

Read the review below and make sure to check out how you can win a hardcopy version of this book. Also, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter to get updates on more future giveaways.

Table of Contents

There is a summary after each chapter, which reflects on what you've learned so far.

  1. Chapter 1: Getting Started with WordPress and e-Commerce
    1. Why WordPress
    2. About the WP e-Commerce plugin
    3. Test platform
  2. Chapter 2: Getting Ready to Sell
    1. Installing the WP e-Commerce plugin
    2. Installing third-party themes
    3. Activating third-party themes
    4. Enabling and disabling comments
    5. Setting up a static front page
    6. Using widgets
    7. Complementary plugins
    8. Adding a contact form
    9. Adding a business blog
  3. Chapter 3: Configure Your e-Commerce Settings
    1. General Settings
    2. Presentation Settings
    3. Admin Settings
    4. Checkout settings
  4. Chapter 4: Managing Your Product Catalog
    1. Creating new products
    2. Groups, categories, and tags
    3. Price and Stock Control
    4. Variations
    5. Advanced Options
  5. Chapter 5: User Accounts: Customers and Staff
    1. Enabling user registrations
    2. Understanding WordPress roles
    3. Staff accounts
    4. Customer accounts
    5. Creating a test customer account
  6. Chapter 6: Checkout and Payment Setup
    1. Planning the checkout process
    2. Available payment gateways
    3. Setting up PayPal Standard
    4. Setting up Google Checkout
  7. Chapter 7: Shipping, Taxes, and Processing Orders
    1. Locations and tax setup
    2. Shipping Options and Calculators
    3. Processing a test order
  8. Chapter 8: Themes and Design Elements
    1. WP e-Commerce included widgets
    2. Shortcode and PHP tags
    3. WP e-Commerce theme engine
    4. Tweaking your WordPress theme
    5. Additional WP e-Commerce themes
    6. WP e-Commerce tips
  9. Chapter 9: Deploy, Secure, and Maintain Your Shop
    1. Getting ready to deploy
    2. Uploading your shop
    3. Man the hatches - essential site security
    4. Backups - preparing for disasters
  10. Chapter 10: Alternative e-Commerce Plugins
    1. YAK (Yet Another Kart)
    2. eShop
    3. Shopp
    4. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart
    5. Market Theme
  11. Chapter 11: Marketing Your Shop
    1. Coupons and discounts
    2. Cross sales
    3. "Share This" plugin
    4. Purchasing advertising
    5. E-mail, newsletters, and blogging
  12. Appendix A: Gold Cart Module Extendibility
    1. Purchasing and installing the Gold Cart module
    2. Grid View
    3. Multiple image upload
    4. Product search option
    5. Additional payment gateways
    6. DropShop and other modules
  13. Appendix B: Setting Up a WAMP Testing Platform
    1. Download and install WampServer
    2. Overview and configuration
    3. Running a test server

Inside the book

WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce

Details

Loads of images used

Review

"Build a proficient online store to sell products and services" is the tagline of this book. While keeping that goal in mind, I started reading this book. Like I said in the first paragraph of this post, I'm pretty new to WordPress, but I'm a regular Joomla! user. Because of that, the first paragraphs were pretty informative for me; it explains what WordPress is, why you have to use it etc. Those who are familiar with WordPress and/or the WP e-Commerce plugin, can almost interely skip the first chapter since it's just an introduction. For me, it was a great learn and introduction to the book.

A big plus which I noticed from the start, is that the book uses loads and loads of images for clarification. While the Zend Framework book mostly consisted from code examples, this book must have it from (coloured!) screenshots to show the reader what they need to click/what they will be creating. I really like this kind of visual explanation, since you can see how it looks right away.

Although most of the book is written with a non-developing target audience in mind (only small things are more develop-oriented - where you have to dig through some pieces of code), chapter 8 is pretty different (Themes and Design Elements). This chapter writes a pretty intensive way into the world of CSS, explaining the difference between ID's, classes, use of pixel sizes, points or percentages etc. In my opinion, that chapter is a bit too much off-topic. I understand that you want to teach the reader how to change the theme, but this might be a bit too much over the top.

"Unhappy with the way your site looks? Try one of the hundreds of user-crafted themes, or have a go at designing your own. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination." This is an actual quote from the book. As you can see, no fancy/hard words, just a simple sentence. This whole book is easy to read.

The downside of this way of writing, is that the author sometimes takes too long to make his point. Some things are just worked out with too much detail. Take note this is my personal experience, I know some people that love to have as much details as they want.

Although this book has a main focus on WordPress combined with the WP e-Commerce plugin, it also takes a look at other plugins (both plugins for WordPress and other e-commerce plugins). It shows their functionality, good and bad points and why the author choose the specified plugin and not the others. I think that's a great way to show the reader more possibilities when they want something different.

One of the best things which makes this book complete, is the last chapter Marketing Your Shop. It's a great addition, since you'll not only know how to set up your online shop, but also how to get it promoted to the public. Why would you spend loads of time to create your webshop while nobody finds/uses it? The last chapter is a good way to finish this book, since it makes the whole "Create a webshop experience" more complete.

Overall, a good book to read and store on your bookshelf for later. When you want to create a webshop using WordPress, this book can be your guide. You can read this book with no WordPress/developing experience at all, but still can be a good reference when you already have that experience.

Giveaway

Now that you know all this information about WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce, I'm pretty sure you would love to add this book to your collection. Packt Publishing has kindly decided to provide one hardcopy version of this book to one lucky Marcofolio.net Reader!

During, this contest, we'll work with tokens. The more tokens you have, the greater the chance is of winning the actual book. But how to get a token?

Simply leave a comment

Dropping some kind words in the comment field, will provide you with one token.

Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

One token will be provided to you if you tweet about this giveaway on Twitter.

Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and leave a comment linking to your Twitter update!

The combination of both will give you not 2, but three tokens.

Example: If you leave a comment like this. I tweeted about this contest here http://twitter.com/marcofolio/status/11263421654 , it'll provide you three tokens which increases the chance of winning the book. It's that simple!

Don't forget to enter a valid e-mail address, otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you've won the prize. When the contest has finished, all valid entries will be entered on Random.org. The first one that will pop-up on top of the list will be announced as winner.

So participate now and who knows you could be the lucky winner!

Rules / Notes

  • Pack Publishing is only able to send this book to the UK, or countries in the US and Europe. If you live outside these countries, you'll receive the eBook version.
  • This contests ends on April 4th.

Good luck to everyone!

Update: Contest has finished

Small note to tell everybody that the contest has finished. I want to congratulate Steven Dale for winning the book!


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