How to Start a Daily Deal Site with WordPress

You can build virtually any type of site with WordPress, well almost (we’re slowly getting there), so today let’s see how you can set up a bespoke daily deals/flash sale site!

Now, even though there are custom built solutions out there I’m not going to reference them. Instead, we’ll concentrate mostly on getting different plugins to do what we need done. Why you may ask? For starters, 1) it’s more fun and 2) you can disable a plugin to use another one if you find that it’s not working up to your expectations. There’s a reason themes should concentrate on design and not be an all-in-one solution.

Right, let’s get building!

The Theme

clean-designs-to-start-from
A minimal theme provides you with room to grow and customize. Make sure it's responsive!

There’s many ways you can go about this. You may choose a simple look, a fun and quirky look or even something very business oriented. It all depends on what you want to sell. If you are building a deal site with everything and anything then your best bet is to go with a Photography or Portfolio type theme. You can then customize it with templates to show custom front pages. Here’s a few resources where you can find such themes:

  • Graph Paper Press – They deal almost exclusively with Photography themes, where images play a vital role. Perfect for a deal site as you want to entice customers with product images. Price: See membership terms
  • Jigoshop Themes – Here you can get a theme that the Jigoshop team officially endorses for use with their e-commerce plugin. Price: $35 to $99
  • Other theme shops like Themeforest, WooThemes and Elegant Themes all have some sort of e-commerce, portfolio and photograph centric theme options as well. Price: $35 to $99

Tip: Make sure the theme is responsive.

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E-commerce

You’ll need to set up a good e-commerce system to handle your orders. Here are a few recommendations:

  • MarketPress – WPMU’s very own solution to help you get up and running in no time. Lots of cool features mixed with a whole host of other plugin options available from WPMU make this a good choice. Price: See membership terms
  • Jigoshop – With an ever growing library of extensions, Jigoshop is one of the most popular choice out there. Did I mention the core plugin is free?

There’s tons more, but for the sake of brevity I’ve selected my two top recommendations only.

Affiliate System

sign-up-affiliates-wordpress
Attract new users with an affiliate program

A big feature of any flash sales site is to allow members to become affiliates and get some cash back in return, which they can use for purchases. So this is an absolute must for your set up. Since we got a WPMU and Jigoshop theme going on in this post, I’ll provide you solutions for using either of them:

  • WPMU Affiliate System – The plugin integrates with MarketPress above and gives you a seamless solution for your affiliate needs. With full tracking and a reporting system you can see exactly how your affiliate system is working out for you. Price: See membership terms
  • Affiliates Pro Integration Pack – This paid upgrade to Jigoshop allows you to do automated affiliate registration, affiliate statistics, embeddable links and banners for affiliates and more. Price: $59

Protect Content

If you want to protect your sales from being shown to non-members, apparently it works…just look at sites like Fab.com and Gilt.com, then you should limit content to registered users only. No problem, there’s a plugin for that.

  • Membership from WPMU – Use this plugin together with the other plugins mentioned above from WPMU to create a seamless experience for restricting your content.
  • Wishlist Member – This plugin could very easily complement Jigoshop by allowing with options to hide your sales from un-registered users. You can also create levels of members, in case you want to offer a more exclusive place to shop for high end customers.

Other Considerations

You could do more to round out your build by adding in an email signup form and integrating it with your service provider, for example the Campaign Monitor plugin available for Jigoshop.

Other things you could do is to make your site interactive by adding the bbPress plugin or go crazy and get BuddyPress on your site!

That’s pretty much all you need to get started with creating a super simple flash sales site. Naturally if you want more you going to have hire a developer to help you get customized.

What do you think? Would you start an exclusive sales site using the above options?

Image by Alan Cleaver

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