What is Woocommerce?
The great thing about adaptable platforms like “WooCommerce” is that there is a great deal of customization. To run a smooth operation all you need is to get yourself acquainted with their setup and other extensions.
Taking a step towards e-commerce can be a daunting one. WooCommerce is a powerful tool as any to reach that goal, especially if you are not looking to start a store from the ground up. WooCommerce is usually the go-to option for people that already have a WordPress website. The Platform’s great for blogging, but not the best place to start an e-store.
If you have an established website and you don’t want to “move-house”, WooCommerce is your best bet. WooCommerce finds its base clientele with WordPress and since the base plugin is free and covers the essentials, it’s a no-brainer for most website owners.
However, it depends on the user. If you are looking to test the e-commerce waters from a WordPress boat, WooCommerce is great. If you are new to WordPress, opt for hosted options like Shopify.
But for now, let’s talk about the WordPress and WooCommerce duo.
The WordPress + WooCommerce Partnership
WooCommerce has over three million users; a testament to its popularity as an e-commerce solution worldwide. As a CMS (Content Management System) WordPress is great, but it lacks any other functionality. If you need to push the platform further, you almost always need plugins.
If you have created a website on WordPress, WooCommerce is usually the default choice for e-commerce capability.
Most users are drawn to WooCommerce for the following reasons:
- There are premium extensions that you pay for, but the base plugin is completely free!
- The learning curve is not steep with this plugin, especially if you are used to WordPress.
- The support system for it is great. It’s popular enough that running into a snag is not going to lock you in a conundrum.
- There is an active community of designers, developers, and marketers that know all there is to for the plugin.
- Despite the added expenses that you might run into with extensions, it’s still cheaper than Shopify or BigCommerce.
An easy setup
If you are using WooCommerce for the first time you might need to come to grips with it before you use it. However, that part is not too difficult, almost intuitive if you are accustomed to WordPress.
The setup is straightforward:
- You need to register a domain name
- Choose a Web host
- Install the WooCommerce Plugin
- Activate it
WooCommerce offers a wide range of options to a user. It comes with an integrated “setup wizard” to help navigate through your new store’s basic arrangement.
This makes WooCommerce savvy for e-commerce newbies. However, don’t go relying completely on the wizard for support, it covers all the basics not every element of the website. There are a lot of features that you might want to configure before your e-store launch. WooCommerce packs quite the punch when it comes to adding value to your business.
The thing about WooCommerce is that it’s as good as the plugins and extensions it offers. WooCommerce’s extensions offer your e-store more e-commerce functionality. By adding powerful features and tools to your website, you can tap into the advanced options for your business. What’s more? Extensions are incredibly easy to set up, once you get a hang of the platform.
There is a diverse range of plugins available to the user. However, not everything is going to be useful all-around. Now, WooCommerce offers you essentials free, but if you are looking to get more functionality things can get expensive.
There are free and medium-priced options too, but the more popular tools are never on the cheaper end. Here are some of the more appealing choices for newbies.
No store owner needs to be sold on the value of Google Analytics. It is a powerful tool that helps you lead your business towards profit and smarter decision-making. WooCommerce powered Analytics allows e-store integration with Google, allowing you to keep a track of your progress.
It’s a free tool and a must-have for online business owners. It is one of the most effective tools out there to monitor consumer behavior, purchase patterns and researching user interests.
This extension gives you consumer insight, product determination and even find issues with your search results.
And the best part? It’s free!
If you want to dig deeper, you can always opt for the premium version.
Email marketing campaigns are a cornerstone for any successful digital marketing strategy. Email newsletters keep consumers engaged. They ensure visitors and potential buyers are aware of promotions and deals.
For $49 WooCommerce MailChimp allows for the integration of their email marketing service with your e-store. Personalized emails are the future and to keep the consumer engaged requires great tools.
This extension gives your consumers the ability to sign up for your email newsletter when they check out. The best part about this tool is the customization available to a store owner. Based on customer data, you can personalize your entire content strategy and even target a specific demographic using MailChimp.
This is an advanced extension and usually opted by more established e-stores. If there was a guaranteed way to increase your sales, it would be through “Product Bundles”. It’s a tested tactic that has generated real results for many store owners.
The extension doesn’t dictate what products to include but it does give you the functionality for $49. This extension also allows:
- Multiple products for sale
- Support for virtual and subscription-based products
This allows store owners to create any number and variety of product bundles.
- WooCommerce Freshdesk
Anyone that is in e-commerce can understand the value of good customer support. Sometimes that is the only difference between a profiting business and a failing one.
Freshdesk is a great extension that allows you to streamline and manage your support tickets. This integration is crucial for more experienced store owners. If you are looking to create a knowledge base for your e-store, the Freshdesk service lets you do that.
This is a great way to enable visitors to solve problems on their own, like troubleshooting.
For $79 Freshdesk gives you a great support system for your business.
One of the easiest ways to get extensions without all the fuss that goes into starting a website from scratch is by using WooCommerce themes. The themes are like their WordPress counterparts and provide users with a read to launch template.
This option saves time, energy while giving a user a collection of features to start right off the bat. The only difference between a WooCommerce theme and a WordPress one is that the former is designed to integrate with the platform. Their operability is the same.
WooCommerce offers standard free templates if that’s what you’re looking for. If a user wants to go the extra mile, premium options look great and offer more features. While most WordPress themes offer WooCommerce compatibility the platforms own themes are usually a safer bet.
There are some excellent free choices available to the user that doesn’t want to spend the extra buck. however, it’s good to keep an eye out for the right kind of functionality in a theme for e-Commerce websites. Here are a few key features to keep in mind while choosing a template.
- It’s always safer to choose themes that are updated regularly, they are less likely to crash or cause conflicts.
- Reviews are a good place to do some research before buying templates. user ratings are an excellent way to gauge the quality of a template.
- Not every template is meant for every niche. you want to keep an eye out for compatibility and look at niche-specific functionality.
Here are the top two places to find the best teams that offer WooCommerce compatibility:
WooCommerce Theme Store
The WooCommerce theme store is the best place to find high-quality platform compatible themes. In the store you are likely going to find some great free options like the flagship template storefront; it’s a top choice for many users.
There is also a wide range of premium themes that cater to different niches. If you are not hesitant towards spending a few extra bucks on the look of your website, these are outstanding choices.
If WooCommerce theme store doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always go to “ThemeForest”. “ThemeForest” is one of the largest sources for premium templates and even has its WooCommerce section. Since there is a wide selection of WordPress themes, hundreds of templates are available for every possible taste and niche.
many users are looking for industry-relevant features and specific themes that offer customized functionality.
ThemeForest is probably the right place to look for something like this.
WooCommerce and Multiple Currencies
If you are a business with the limited product catalog and an e-store that is just seen its growth plateau, perhaps it’s time to expand your consumer base. Any e-commerce business needs to offer multiple currencies and languages before they even think about expansion into the international market.
if your business displays multiple currencies it makes consumer transactions simpler. Not only this, you expand your consumer reach by catering to a larger base.
The great thing about blue Commerce is that it allows for multiple currencies. however, it enables you to only set one of them as your default setting. WordPress is no different, it too requires you to be set on a single language.
Well, this is not an issue in most cases, it can be a downside for an e-commerce business that can cater to a diverse audience. Most e-stores don’t have the clout or finances to match e-commerce giants that have different stores for different regions. However, all is not lost for the little guy. WooCommerce offers support for multiple languages in currencies within the same e-store. This is a great solution if you are looking to expand your options.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- If your e-store supports more languages your chances of reaching a larger potential consumer base are always higher.
- Supporting multiple currencies and additional languages can simplify price calculations for your international consumers. nobody likes to be stuck doing math while shopping.
- By supporting multiple currencies and languages you avoid setting up new stores. This is an excellent way to expand your potential audience, without the headache of managing multiple stores.
WooCommerce and SEO
SEO is an important factor in the success of any online business. if your pages are taking too long to load, your customer might take that delay as a sign to choose your competition. consumers do not like to wait and get frustrated easily with delays.
Speed is an important factor in determining the success of an online business. a website’s performance is entirely dependent on:
WooCommerce offers excellent SEO support. When it comes to optimization, it’s as good as it gets with this platform. Although you need external plugins like Yoast and One SEO pack, your e-commerce store functionality is never compromised.
At face value loading times don’t appear to be a big deal. For an e-store, however, it means higher bounce rates. Repeatedly and increasingly over the years, consumers have labeled longer load times as a “deal-breaker”.
Thankfully, it is simple to locate the usual suspects behind performance issues.
Website’s optimization is lacking
Running an e-commerce store or even a simple website requires regular upkeep. If you are not keeping track of updates your website will slow down at one point.
Sadly, some plugins might make your operation “look” great but if they are not optimized, they are slowing things downs.
Inadequate hosting plans
If your business has grown don’t cling to a plan that doesn’t fit anymore! If you want top-notch performance, opt for the right hosting plan.
Now, where does WooCommerce weigh in? It all depends on how much you are willing to work on your customization. As opposed to Shopify that comprises of an SEO-ready website structure, WooCommerce makes you work.
If you are looking for an e-store that is ready to show up higher in search results from the get-go and customization is not what you are looking for than Shopify is the obvious choice. Shopify is designed to offer solutions like this; the platform automatically generates a sitemap for user convenience. You can set file names, customize title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs.
For the user looking for higher customization and a lot more control, WooCommerce is the way to go. The code of the platform was built with code that is conducive for SEO. However, it doesn’t have many features that specially cater to SEO. The real prize lies with WordPress integration and extensions that make WooCommerce a powerful tool for SEO.
Plugins like Yoast SEO when integrated with WooCommerce (with WordPress in the mix) have the potential of giving an SEO boost that surpasses Shopify’s SEO functionality.
If you are willing to put in the work, WooCommerce beats most of its competition easily.
WooCommerce and third-party integrations
One of the primary reasons why WooCommerce gives the bigger competition a run for its money is its flexibility. Most all-inclusive platforms are rigid about third-party integration and that limits their users to an approved service provider or the platform’s products.
WooCommerce is a great stand-alone platform, but it offers a wide range of integration options with third-party services, to enhance functionality. It also puts WooCommerce on the map as a more compatible software.
It’s noteworthy though that, not every service is a great one and not all integrations improve your online store. It’s important to make a decision based on your customer needs; think about how you can improve your website’s experience.
Integration here implies the ability to add some or all aspects of a platform and export it to another without any hitch. A great example of this is the “Buy Button” offered by Shopify that allows users to integrate their WooCommerce store to Shopify.
These cross-platform functionalities boost a store in the long-run and are important for growth and expansion.
Suppose you were to list your WooCommerce products on another platform, it will generate sales because fresh visitors will view them. Since no one platform can claim to “have it all”, these types of third-party integrations are both common and crucial to e-stores.
The online market requires, quality, diversification and increased customization. WooCommerce has all of this and if doesn’t have something, it offers a third-party vendor to do it.
WooCommerce and time management
Every businessman wants to focus on their business first and foremost. never underestimate the value of time when starting in e-store. The beauty of using all-inclusive platforms is that they allow you to focus on your business rather than running the website itself.
Platforms like big commerce and Shopify offer to handle most of the technical aspects of running an e-commerce business. it is important to note that not every all-inclusive platform offers that level of dedicated support that most users are looking for.
However, most users forget to factor time when they start building a website. Setting up everything is only the first step towards building an e-commerce store, maintenance is going to take up a massive chunk of your time as well. these factors can ultimately take a toll on your ability to run the business itself. Moreover, you are going to run into more technical snags than you would like to admit.
Shopify and BigCommerce don’t require any installations, added costs or unforeseen technical issues, that are usually a given with websites run independently. These platforms also manage speed, security while running updates in the background for your store.
The value of WooCommerce as a highly customizable tool loses some of its merits when a business owner constantly runs into roadblocks that could have been avoided on an all-inclusive platform.
Before you go the WooCommerce route, make sure that you know that the estimated cost of time spent on running the website itself could be far more than just the occasional headache.
How much does WooCommerce cost a user?
Since the tool is essentially free, anything beyond the base product can be a bit tricky to calculate. The number of features required by a website factor greatly into the running costs of WooCommerce. There’s a lot of things that are free on the platform, but nothing of value ever is.
If you are serious about running an e-commerce business you are going have to pay for a few good extensions, hosting and maybe even third-party vendors. Good quality is going to cost you a few dollars. it’s always better to spend at the right time, at the right end, to prevent any future hiccups.
A good web host is very important to the quality of your e-store. you are going to need web space that allows an updated version of WordPress. Estimated costs for hosting can run anywhere between $5 to $100 per month. It all depends on the kind of features you need, the more you add, the more you pay. Bluehost, GoDaddy, SiteGround, One.com, HostGator are all great options for hosting.
Most store owners opt for a professional domain like “.com” “.us” “.co” “.net” etc. To build consumer trust and lend legitimacy to their websites. many hosting service providers can also provide a domain. Doing this can save a few bucks, however, this is not a prerequisite. you can always buy your domain from places like Namecheap, blue host, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc. the average cost, depending on the domain type, is usually $12/year.
Themes, plugins, and add-on costs
Free themes are easy to come by, but their quality can leave a lot to be desired. Many free options have other issues like hidden backlinks or zero support. WooCommerce Storefront themes, ThemeForest or TemplateMonster can provide a great theme for approximately $59.
Some plugins are important, and you might need them eventually even if you don’t buy them from the get-go, like Yoast WooCommerce SEO or WPML for multilingual functionality. The approximate costs for buying e-commerce specific plugins can run between $25 to $89. Some plugins can have recurring costs too.
WooCommerce extensions that offer better e-commerce functionality like credit card preprocessors or a customer data export function. These usually cost extra.
Pros and cons to using WooCommerce
WooCommerce has its benefits and flaws like any other platform or tool in the market. It all depends on the user how they make use of it. To summarize, here are some of the key benefits to using WooCommerce:
- If you are a WordPress user, WooCommerce will be familiar and intuitive. If you prefer the platform, starting a store on this platform will be far more convenient.
- WooCommerce is open-source, making it highly customizable for users that don’t want to be locked in by platforms.
- WooCommerce offers a diverse range of integration options to its users.
- There are plenty of forums, a community of experts and developers. If a user ever runs into a technical issue, help won’t be hard to find.
- WooCommerce is completely free.
- WooCommerce also has some serious downsides from the perspective of the average store owner.
- WooCommerce’s major selling point is its seamless integration with WordPress. However, updates of the platform don’t always work in-sync with WordPress.
- The time consumed in upkeep, back-end support can take a toll on the user’s business. Self-hosting grants freedom but is very time-consuming.
- If you are not proficient in WordPress, it can get confusing. The technical knowledge for successfully managing WooCommerce is higher when compared to other platforms.
- WooCommerce is free but any additional plug-ins, add-ons, etc. makes for an unpredictable budget. Costs of operation and expansion using WooCommerce can be very high.
Whether a user should opt for WooCommerce or an all-inclusive platform like Shopify depends entirely on their needs and long-term business goals. Many people relish the freedom and higher customization that comes with using WooCommerce. Others want to focus on their business rather than being slowed down by the maintenance of their websites.
Keeping a track of speed, security and SEO can be tough. However, using platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify locks your store to the platform and export is nearly impossible.