Before you can determine the best plug-in for your new business venture, you must first learn about each of your options. To help you make an informed decision about WooCommerce, our review focuses on four key questions:
Why Use WooCommerce?
As ecommerce business owners focus on managing their merchandise and running their online stores, WooCommerce can help them improve their store performance and sales potential.
Considered the most popular ecommerce plug-in, WooCommerce currently supports 28 percent of all online stores. Its range of features, extensions, and customizations make selling physical, digital, or affiliate products on WordPress not only possible, but also easy.
How Much Does It Cost?
Currently, you can use the basic version of the WooCommerce plug-in for free. But, you’ll need to purchase additional plug-ins or add-ons if you want extra functionality. Those supplementary plug-ins and add-ons generally only become crucial when an online business expands exponentially, which often renders their extra cost a tiny part of doing business on a larger scale.
Importantly, you’ll also need a domain name and a web hosting service in order to start your online store. Annual domain name registration costs about $12 while web hosting typically ranges from $5 to $25 per month. To learn more, read our guides about How to Choose a Domain Name, How to Choose a Web Host, and the different Types of Web Hosting.
While all WordPress themes can work with the WooCommerce plug-in, some already include full WooCommerce support and pre-styled templates. Our guide to the Best WordPress Themes — all of which offer WooCommerce compatibility — also provides details about some of the best plug-ins to consider if you want to extend WooCommerce’s functionality.
What Are the Advantages of Using WooCommerce?
WooCommerce’s popularity stems from several significant advantages:
- It’s versatile and easy to use.
- It works with WordPress.
- It has great extensions.
- It provides expert support from experienced developers.
- It’s functional, yet stylish.
Ease of Use
While WooCommerce is one of the most sophisticated and inclusive ecommerce solutions, most people find it pretty easy to use. If you know anything about WordPress, you should easily figure out how to use this plug-in to optimize your website. But, even if you don’t know WordPress, you’ll still be able to quickly find your way around.
To start your own ecommerce site with WordPress and WooCommerce, you only need to register a domain name, choose a web host, install Wordpress on your web host, and then install and activate the WooCommerce plug-in.
More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use the WordPress CMS than all of the other website builders combined. In fact, 38 percent of the world’s existing websites use it as a foundation.
Because WordPress developed its software to balance ease of use with strong performance and security, the WooCommerce plug-in makes this great platform perfect for ecommerce websites.
Want to learn more about creating a WordPress site? Read our step-by-step guide on How to Build a WordPress Website.
WooCommerce doesn’t stand alone, though, because you can use a wide variety of add-ons to expand your online store’s functionality and optimize the user experience. These range from extensions that allow users to create wish lists or specify an order delivery date, for example, to those that translate key elements of your site so it can reach an international audience.
Extensions come with two main benefits:
- They add powerful features to address an online store’s specific needs.
- They’re really easy to set up.
Cost is the only potential downside of WooCommerce extensions. While some are free and many others have reasonable prices, others can be expensive.
The WooCommerce plug-in not only has extensions that maximize its functionality, but it also works well with other plug-ins designed for WordPress sites.
Key plug-ins you might need include those that actively drive traffic to your site and support search engine optimization (SEO). For more information, read our guides on How to Drive Traffic to Your Website and How to Improve SEO.
Unsure of how to set up or customize your WooCommerce shop? Consult a WooExpert for assistance.
WooCommerce selects, vets, and verifies these experts only after working with them on client projects or during exchanges in the larger WooCommerce community. You can find them listed in a directory on the WooCommerce website.
The WooCommerce plug-in not only provides practical functionality, but also stylish themes. Similar to WordPress themes, WooCommerce themes can transform an online store with a customized, visually striking appearance as well as additional features.
When choosing a WooCommerce theme, remember to consider these factors:
- Update Frequency: A theme with more recent updates will offer increased security and functionality.
- User Ratings: Positive reviews generally indicate a theme works well for most online stores — not just those created by professional web developers or technical geniuses.
- Specific Functionality: Every industry and business has different needs. Think carefully about your online store’s specific needs and then choose a theme that addresses them.
While many WordPress themes already support WooCommerce, WooCommerce themes specifically focus on ecommerce so may suit you better. Some are free, but the premium themes offer more features for a price.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using WooCommerce?
Although the WooCommerce plug-in earns exceptional user ratings and most people love it, nothing’s perfect. WooCommerce has four disadvantages:
- Its updates don’t always function well with WordPress.
- Users must take responsibility for updates and maintenance because it’s self-hosted.
- Users must know at least a little bit about WordPress in order to reap its full potential.
- While WooCommerce is free, users must still cover the cost of their site’s web hosting, development, and maintenance.
Overall Rating – 4/5
Value – 4/5
The WooCommerce plug-in is free, but additional functionality comes at a price. You also will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting services before you can access the plug-in.
Ease of Use – 4/5
WooCommerce provides exceptional customization and control, but beginners may find it more challenging to set up and manage their online stores. While it’s not too difficult to learn how to optimize this plug-in, that process may take more time than many users wish to spare.
Customer Service – 4/5
WooCommerce selects and vets professionals to deal with user queries and lists these experts on its website. Given the popularity of this ecommerce plug-in, it has a large online community willing to help with any questions. But, WooCommerce doesn’t offer phone, live chat, or email support.
In a nutshell, there’s a good reason why WordPress serves as the foundation for 40% of the internet. It’s a robust platform with a vast support network as well as thousands of themes and plug-ins from which to choose. It’s also completely free to use. If you have moderate technical skills and a willingness to learn, WordPress could provide the perfect choice for your business’s website.
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The WooCommerce plug-in’s excellent ecommerce features far outweigh its minor disadvantages. If you want to start an online store or expand your existing store’s capabilities, WooCommerce can help you make your shop an online success.
If you’re in the initial stages of your ecommerce journey, check out our guides on How to Build a Website (even if you don’t necessarily want to use WordPress) and How to Structure a Website for the optimal user experience.