WooCommerce is a huge player in the e-commerce world. This WordPress-enabled plugin is used for around 30 per cent of all e-commerce sites, with a growing reputation as the go-to online shopping platform. What makes the WooCommerce plugin useful, and is it right for you? Here, we dive into WooCommerce’s features and pricing, and the kinds of WordPress sites that should invest in this plugin.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is arguably the most popular e-commerce platform for online businesses. This is no surprise, since it’s designed to work with WordPress, the biggest CMS worldwide. WooCommerce is designed to help users launch their own online store, and sell products in a customizable and easy system. Users can run their online store from anywhere, on any device, making the WooCommerce plugin useful and efficient.
Plugin vs. site builder
It’s important to note that WooCommerce isn’t a site builder, but a plugin. This means your website will need to be built on WordPress before installing WooCommerce. It’s designed specifically for WordPress and can’t be used separately from it. Still, WooCommerce is super powerful. Once you install it from the plugins page on WordPress, it becomes an integral add-on to your WordPress site.
What does it cost?
The WooCommerce plugin itself is free to download from WordPress, but it has limited capabilities on its own. You will almost certainly need to pay for extensions, which can range from a few to a few hundred dollars per year. The WooCommerce site has a list of all its extensions, as well as their prices. Depending on what features you want, your costs will vary.
Pros and cons
WooCommerce is one of the most customizable plugins out there. You have a selection of endless themes, and you can customize every section, from your headers and footers to layout and fonts. This makes the WooCommerce plugin useful for helping your business stand out in the online world. Even with so many WooCommerce users, you can be sure your site will not look identical to anyone else’s. You can also set your WooCommerce site to properly reflect the types of products you sell. For example, you can set up a site to sell physical, shippable items, or virtual downloadable products.
Pro: Great security
WooCommerce is extremely secure, being constantly updated and improved upon. Since it’s open source like WordPress itself, there is a large group of people who can make improvements to the platform and help keep it updated. This does mean that, with any other plugin, you need to make sure you keep yourself updated and are using the newest version of WooCommerce. You don’t want to fall behind on updates and open yourself up to possible attacks. WooCommerce also has secure online payments. PayPal, one of the biggest online payment systems, is easily integrated with WooCommerce.
One of the most important features that makes the WooCommerce plugin useful is how easy it is for users to master. WooCommerce isn’t hard to use, but it still maintains a professional and advanced appearance. You don’t need to have coding skills or much tech knowledge at all to use the back end. For users, the front end is simple to navigate. Since WooCommerce is open source, there’s also tons of how-to videos online if you need help.
Con: Extra fees
Even though installing WooCommerce itself is free, many of its important extensions are premium. You can probably operate a minimalistic WooCommerce site for free, but any professional business will need to invest in some paid extensions. For example, features like WooCommerce Bookings, WooCommerce Shipment Tracking, and Product Recommendations all come with costs. This might seem like a pain at first, but in the long run this isn’t really a disadvantage. If you want to make money, you need to spend money on your site to keep it professional and show you give it the care it needs. These costs are generally worth it for the features they bring to your site.
Con: May require developer help
While WooCommerce is fairly easy to use once you get going, it does have a bit of a steep learning curve. Unlike platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce doesn’t provide web hosting for you. This means you need to secure your own web hosting, if you don’t already have a WordPress website. This can require some developer help to really leverage the more advanced features of WooCommerce. Additionally, setting up WooCommerce is slightly more complex and time-consuming, which can be a bit of a pain for beginners. While WooCommerce is an advanced and highly functioning platform, it definitely has a more technical set-up process, and needs more developer assistance.
Who is it right for?
Obviously, WooCommerce is suited for WordPress users. Beyond that, most business websites could benefit from installing this plugin if they’re involved in e-commerce. Its compatibility with WordPress and general ease of use gives it a well-earned reputation. However, since it’s not entirely free to use, it’s important for you to decide if it will be worth your money, depending on your individual needs.
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