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Why you Should be Using Woocommerce for Selling ANYTHING Online

22 Jun

Why you Should be Using Woocommerce for Selling ANYTHING Online

With 5 million active installations, WooCommerce is one of the most popular plugins and by far the most popular e-commerce platforms. Of the top 1 million e-commerce websites it is the most used platform with a 28% share,  followed by Shopify at 21% and Magento at 7% (resource: builtwith in 2020)

So a couple of interesting questions arise: “Why is this system so popular and why should you use it too?”

There are 1000 individual reasons why many stores use WooCommerce, but in this article, I’m going to provide 10 best reasons!

So, ask again: “Why should I use WooCommerce”

1) Because WooCommerce is free, and always will be.

Free? ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch’…yes, and that is very true, but you do need to pay for hosting your site… but after that, you can literally sell without having to pay for a single software license. This is really a very powerful and unique thing as there is nothing like it in the world. Maybe there is but WooCommerce has a team of dedicated developers and contributors that keep the platform safe and updated for the modern e-commerce shop.

However, when you want some extra functionality you would pay for licensed software… but making the right decisions, it usually pays off for itself as it will either make you sell more, improve processes or saves time in development.

One thing you can be rest assured on, WooCommerce will always be a free plugin for WordPress.

2) Because it’s simple and intuitive

We are not all programmers and it might prove difficult to manually change a website’s backend to manage an e-commerce store.

And this is when WooCommerce comes in handy! The installing, configuring and managing processes are so easy they are accessible to anybody with the slightest WordPress or computer use experience. The user interface has been well thought through to make it intuitive for the least experienced user, yet super versatile that it allows you to sell anything.

It sure is a very good thing to be able to set up a website without going through the frustration of not knowing how to do so!

3) Because so many people use it!

Because many people use WooCommerce, why wouldn’t you too? At least not with a little research to make sure it is the absolute right e-commerce selling tool.

Nonetheless, the fact that it is being used by so many stores implies three direct consequences:

  • The size of its customer base proves the quality of this tool – it can handle 1000’s of customers and a multiple of that in stock
  • So many shops rely on the technology and each would have done some sort of research before deciding on using WooCommerce
  • You will belong to a community where users help each other. This is true with the many Facebook groups, Meetups, WordCamps and online tutorials and websites.

You may agree with me that it’s highly reassuring to know that, in case we run into a problem, a simple Google search might help you right away since there are 100’s of people out there that might have experienced it before and are happy to share a solution.

4) Because it’s constantly evolving and improving

This is a basic aspect of any respectable open source project: it is not developed by one team alone, but it gets shaped by thousand of different users and many dedicated contributors. Not just adding and improving code, but also as part of translations, marketing and community.

That’s why we don’t need one expert to come to fix our specific problem and keep us waiting until it’s our turn. You can literally hold a sign in your city and someone will come forward offering to help you.

WooCommerce is able to evolve, fix itself and it keeps getting better with every updated version.

5) Because it looks professional!

You know which shop you like the most as you keep coming back to it and buy more… why? Maybe the price, the service or is it the look and feel of the shop. Whatever you want to recreate to get that same feeling you have as a customer, you can most certainly achieve this with WordPress and WooCommerce.

The way that you do this is by adding a theme. The theme controls the look and feel of your store, a bit like the shop front and interior. Any seasoned developer will be able to take this a step further by creating different versions of this theme (child themes) and create an online store that is like any big name out there on the internet.

6) Because you can add any functionality to improve WooCommerce

As mentioned before, WooCommerce works without having to add any functionality or plugin. A plugin is a piece of software that adds specific functionality to your WordPress installation. Many plugins are created to add new functionality to WooCommerce and only work when WooCommerce is installed. Not only can it add it can also change the way WooCommerce operates. Just as an example, you can add a membership plugin to turn your store into a membership platform. On top of that, add a subscription plugin and you can create a monthly revenue stream…
The list is very extensive and some plugins only allow you to bulk-edit all your products, or add a badge to a product image but something so little can make a huge difference.

7) Because you can sell what you want, the way you want!

Thanks to the structure provided by WooCommerce and the plugins you are free to implement in it, you are free to sell any kind of product you might wish to.

Physical products, virtual products, reservations, appointments and subscriptions etc… your imagination is the limit with what you can sell with WooCommerce

Maybe easier would be to give the examples of eBay, Amazon and Etsy. These are marketplaces that allow third-party sellers on a platform. This is also possible with WooCommerce with the help of a few plugins. Can you imagine that you take a commission on people selling on your website? Not impossible to get rich, whilst asleep.

8) Because developers, designers, marketers and store owners are in the same boat

WooCommerce is a preferred platform to all trades, from developers, designers marketers, SEO consultants and store owners. Each team knows how the system works and each team can do their part without the help of another person. This site alone is managed by 30 people with each adding content, managing prices, updating designs and accounts. Imagine if for every change you needed to contact your web designer?

Not only that, WooCommerce is optimized for SEO and can score high in Google if you follow the right steps. It is fast, mobile-optimized and uses the latest technology in web development. Really, what could possibly go wrong?

9) Because it makes your store easy to use!

You can’t change the world, so it is easier to adapt, right? If all stores have the product search in the header, why move it to the footer? You can just imagine that every visitor will feel lost on your site. This is the same for WooCommerce… some things that are just best the way they are. It doesn’t mean you can’t improve on it or make it look better. This counts for both the customer and the management of the store, WooCommerce is well thought through for its UI and UX as well as business management tools.

10 – Because we use it too!

Sala Social Marketing uses WooCommerce including a selection of plugins to improve its functionality. We just love its versatility and options to build upon. What might look like a simple e-commerce plugin, that can be installed in a few seconds, can actually run a complete business.

Are you currently using Woocommerce? What has your experience been like? We want to hear in the comments below! 

All the reasons you MUST update your WordPress Plugins

11 Feb

I always have a *facepalm* moment when I log in to a client site to get to work, only to find 10+ plugins with updates. If this is you, don’t feel bad, it’s also about 80% of my new clients so you’re not alone.

It happens so often that I have a pre-written paragraph that I send to them explaining why keeping things up to date is so important and how to do it. I also mention my monthly and quarterly maintenance packages in case they’d like someone to do it for them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I honestly can’t blame my clients or anyone else.

It took a long time before I ran across an article explaining how important updates were. On top of not fully understanding, they used to scare the heck out of me. What if the update broke my website?! I’d heard of it happening to others and I wasn’t sure what I’d do to fix it if my website did go down. Would I lose everything?

Yes, plugin updates can occasionally cause problems, but the 2 minutes it takes to login via FTP and remove the broken plugin is much better than the possible alternative.

why it’s so important to update your wordpress plugins

Think of it like this. Most of the time, plugin creators aren’t making updates for the fun of it. It’s not like they’re sitting around their apartment bored and think “Oh, I’m going to go push out a random update!”

Yes, sometimes they add new features or make a few simple tweaks, but a good portion of the time the updates are due to bugs or security vulnerabilities.

Now, think of yourself as a hacker. Hackers are always looking for security issues to take advantage of. It’s literally what they do. If you were that hacker and saw a big security patch was just pushed out for a plugin, wouldn’t you quickly learn how to exploit that vulnerability and use it to attack websites?

I’m not an awful person so I’ve never done it, but that’s what I’d do! 🙂

In case you’re doing a quick scan and didn’t put those two pieces together, a good portion of plugin updates are done to fix security issues. When security issues are fixed and you don’t update, hackers know exactly where to attack your website.

Other than hackers gaining access to your website due to weak passwords, plugin vulnerabilities are the easiest way for them to get in.

some plugin update examples

I went ahead and looked up some of the more popular WordPress plugins to show you the kinds of reasons they’re pushing out updates. Let’s take a look at a few.

akismet

In October, Akismet pushed out an update that “closed a potential XSS vulnerability”.

What is XSS, you ask? It’s basically a security issue that allows hackers to inject their own code into web pages. Sometimes this is harmless, but other times it’s all it takes to allow someone to take over and possibly destroy your website.

wordfence security

Yep, security plugins have issues too. As a software developer, I can confidently say that no developer is perfect (as much as they want to be) and small bugs are easy to miss.

Like Akismet, an update to Wordfence “Fixed stored XSS vulnerability”.

You already know what XSS means, so I’ll just reiterate, sometimes these issues are nothing, but do you want to take the chance?

disqus comment system

The last quick example I’ll give is the popular commenting system, Disqus. Lately, they’ve released two separate updates with one of the items being “Security fixes”.

That’s all the information in the change log, but if you want to be safe here’s a place where you can assume the worse.

how to update your plugins

I’m sure you get the point I was making above. The amount of damage that can be done through these security vulnerabilities definitely warrants a few seconds of your time to complete an update.

Think about it, you could truly lose everything.

However, it does take a bit more work than clicking the little “Update” links if you really want to keep your website safe.

If you see the little orange numbers in your WordPress Dashboard, you know it’s time for some updates.

Update Your WordPress Plugins

Here’s the quick process I use:

  1. Complete a full site backup using BackupBuddy. (If you’re looking for a free option, try Duplicator)
  2. Complete plugin updates
  3. Make sure everything still works as expected
  4. Tadaaaaaaa

Now, I’ve personally never had a problem on my own website. If you want to be even safer you could follow this slightly longer process:

  1. Complete a full site backup
  2. Complete one plugin update
  3. Ensure everything is still working
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all plugins are updated
  5. Tadaaaaaaa

That way, if a plugin did break your website you’d know exactly where the problem was.

See? That wasn’t so bad!

Now that you know that making plugin (and WordPress!) updates is worth a few minutes of your time, go do it! Remember, take a complete backup of your site just in case something does go wrong.