18 December 2012
Comments: Comments Off on Add a PayPal “Buy Now” Button to WordPress

Add a PayPal “Buy Now” Button to WordPress

Adding a PayPal button to your site is one of the easiest (and fastest) ways to take payments or collect donations with your WordPress installation.

In today’s Daily Tip, we’ll show you how to quickly add a PayPal button to your site using the standard post/page editor.

To start, you’ll need a PayPal account. You’ve got one of those right? If not, head over to PayPal and get started – it’s free!

If your site is business related, take a moment to sign up for a business account with PayPal. That’s free too, but it will give you more flexibility when it comes to taking money and donations. You’ll need a company checking account to link up, but once you verify that any temporary holds or limits PayPal might have will be removed and it will be clear sailing (or clear selling!).

PayPall Selling Tools

Inside your PayPal account, in the second level menu bar, hover over the word “Profile” and additional options will drop down.

Click “My Selling Tools” and you’ll be brought to another options screen. The third option down “PayPal Buttons” is what we want. Click the associated “Update” button all the way to the right column.

If you’ve never created a button, this area will contain 3 sample buttons to get you started:

  • Sample Buy Now Button
  • Sample Add to Cart Button
  • Sample Subscription Button

These are the 3 most popular button types, which is why they are placed there for you, but we’ll be creating a new one from scratch.

Click the “Create New Button” link to the right – this brings you to the graphical button layout page.

Step 1: Button Type and Payment Details

PayPal makes 7 button types available for you ranging from the standard shopping cart (Add to Cart) to buy now, donate, and more.

A summary of those buttons is included in the image below:

PayPal Button Options and associated graphics

I’d like to change the standard cart button to a “Buy Now” button so I make that change in the button type drop down box – the very first one on this screen. Let’s assume we’re creating a button for a company that sells custom bicycles for kids.

Item name and ID

You’ll want to create an item name and give it an ID. This shows up in the payment screen when your customer clicks on your button to buy this item.

It should be descriptive enough so they know exactly what they’re getting, but short enough not to confuse anyone too.

In the item name box I chose “Red Rider 4000 BMX Bike” with an ID of 001, since it’s my first item.


This box should be self-explanatory – it’s the price for the item named in the previous step. I chose $100.

Customize Button

In this section we have the ability to customize the look of our button. We can add different price options, text fields for leaving notes, and we can even customize the text used on the button or supply our own image.

We’re going to stick with the standard buy now button displaying the credit card logos beneath it, and move on.

Shipping and Tax

Since we’re an online company we will have to pay to ship the item. We know shipping anywhere in the US will cost $25 or less, so we’ll set our shipping to that amount.

My local taxing authority sets my tax rate at 8%, so I use that figure.

If you’re not sure what your numbers should be check with the Postal Service or your favorite shipping company and call your local taxing authority. These numbers are completely optional – you don’t need to use them at all. If you’d rather not list numbers here, make sure you build some cushion into your product price just in case you have to pay shipping and taxes later down the road.

Merchant ID

When you create a PayPal account you are automatically assigned a secure merchant ID which is referred to for your customer’s contact needs. You can also choose to make your email public here.

I choose the default option – use secure merchant account ID.

That’s it for step one. If we wanted to, we could stop here and have a fully functioning button. But we’re going to continue with a few other options. A summary image of all the options we selected is shown below.

Step 1 of Creating a PayPal Buy Now Button
Click image to view full size

Step 2: Track Inventory, Profit and Loss

Steps 2 and 3 are optional, but they do give us some additional functionality.

The default option to save button at PayPal should be checked.

I will track inventory so I click that option as well. Below, the Item ID is pre-filled and I’ll enter “20” for quantity in stock and “5” for alert quantity.

That tells PayPal that I’m starting with 20 bikes, and it should send me an email alert when I get down to only 5 bikes left.

I’ll check the final radio button here and make sure “No” is selected, disallowing customers from purchasing items when it is sold out.

In the text box below that I’ll enter my domain name so that if my product is sold out, my potential customer is taken back to my site, and not left stranded on PayPal’s site. You can enter your domain name here.

A summary image of the Step 2 options is shown below.

Step 2 of Creating a PayPal Buy Now Button
Click image to view full size

Step 3: Customize Advanced Features

This step lets you get really customized with your button.

You have the option to let your customer change quantities in the checkout cart, send you special instructions, and to take your customer’s shipping address at checkout.

We leave all these options as default, paying attention to make sure shipping address is checked “Yes” because we’ll need that info to ship our product.

Success and Cancel URL Redirects

It’s always a good idea to enter URLs in these two boxes, so that whether your customer completes his or her purchase or cancels it, you can take that person back to your website.

This will require you creating two custom pages on your site. I like to create a success/thank you page with a nice note, telling them their bike is paid for and it’s on the way. You can also give them some shipping timelines.

The cancel URL gives me a second chance to reel them in. They will arrive at this page if they click on my Buy Now button but then change their mind and abandon the cart before purchasing. Once on my cancel page, I remind them about how cool the product is, and maybe even offer them another chance to buy. Of course, we’ll add our PayPal button (once complete) to that page too.

After we’ve finished adding our URLs here, click the “Create Button” button and we’re done.

A summary image of Step 3 settings is shown below.

Step 3 of Creating a PayPal Buy Now Button
Click image to view full size

Copy Your Button Code

At this point, you’ll be taken to the button code screen and given the HTML code for your PayPal button.

You’ll also see what your finished button looks like to the right of that code.

If everything looks ok, copy the code and head on over to your WordPress site.

Placing the PayPal Button on your Site

Armed with the PayPal code, visit the post or page on which you wish to place that button.

Mine happens to be a nice page I created showing off the Red Rider 4000 BMX Bike.

Using the post editor screen, click on the Text Tab to expose the post’s html code (HTML Tab – WP v. 3.4 and below).

Place your cursor where you want the PayPal button to appear and copy it straight in.

Click save and you’re all done.

Your finished product will look something like this:

Product Page showing PayPal “Buy Now” button.
Click image to view full size

When someone clicks on your button, they will be taken off your site momentarily to a PayPal secured checkout screen where he or she can pay for the item.

PayPal checkout screen.
Click image to view full size.

You can create an unlimited amount of buttons for your site, or for use in email too. Experiment with changing types, and text. PayPal will save all your buttons, keep track of their ID’s, and even give you an account summary telling you how each button performs.

Now, all that’s left to do is check your account balance screen and wait for the sales to come rolling in.

Good luck!

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