WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms worldwide. It’s a plugin for WordPress that will turn your website into a very powerful online store. So it is no surprise that Automattic, the company behind WordPress, added this successful plugin to its portfolio in May 2015. Unlike Shopify, Bigcommerce, and other competitors, WooCommerce is an open-source solution. But what does this mean? Let us give you a short overview:
Both WordPress and the plugin WooCommerce are free for personal and commercial use. So you can install and start using them immediately. This doesn’t include a domain, hosting, email, theme, support etc. In other words you’ll have to consider additional expenses. However, most of these features are included at no extra costs in proprietary solutions like Shopify.
Finding good hosting for WooCommerce
Using a good hosting provider can save you a lot of trouble. A good start is Bluehost. They have been in the market since 1996 and power over 2 million websites worldwide (incl. online stores). Some of their offers focus on several pre-installed “WordPress + WooCommerce” bundles.
This can be quite handy if you don’t have the technical skills to set it up for a test installation. Bluehost also provides a walkthrough video series for beginners. This will definitely help you with your first steps. If you have some trouble, you can contact their support as well.
Use a professional WooCommerce theme
One thing that we’ve seen over and over again is that beginners struggle with WordPress themes. Keep in mind that it has to be compatible with WooCommerce. If not, don’t waste your time and look further. A well-written documentation and support can make or break your online store dreams.
Free themes can be great if you are a skilled developer, but as a novice you will run into problems – and what then? Bluehost support can’t help you here, because they didn’t create the theme. A fantastic source for WooCommerce themes is Themeforest. Their themes support the latest version of WooCommerce, which is also essential for security, and come with premium support.
What about security with WooCommerce?
This is another reason to use a premium theme. They update the template files in order to guarantee the security standards. Of course, there’s more to consider. Most probably you will require extra plugins to add new features to your store. This can be for SEO or just a simple contact form. Make sure you pick well-established plugins with a good rating used by many users on the WordPress repository.
|$13.99||StarterWebspace limited to 100 GB.|
|$17.99||PlusUnlimited space for your WooCommerce store.|
|$31.99||ProIncludes an advanced backup solution.|
Prices per month. Domain and email included. Bluehost offers discounts for the 1st year.
Stan Lee, the author of the first Spiderman, wrote: “With great power there must also come great responsibility!” This is exactly what you’ll have with WooCommerce. It’s powerful, but at the same time it can give you a really hard time. There are so many possibilities for what you can do with WooCommerce, but this can become quite overwhelming for a beginner. Even though WordPress and WooCommerce are pre-installed with Bluehost, the technical knowledge that’s required is pretty high (and we’re not even talking about coding).
Fortunately, WooCommerce provides detailed and well-explained video tutorials that will help you with setting up your store. However if you run into problems, even if you are a Bluehost customer, the only option you have available is a community forum. The quality there can vary heavily. In our test we had to wait longer than 48h to get a response.
We were also surprised about all the hidden costs that you will face if you want to add certain features. Most of them are included in other solutions such as Shopify and Bigcommerce. Even though the core system is free, all these add-ons can turn out to be very pricey. On the bright side, it’s fantastic that you such a big pool of themes to choose from: Themeforest alone features more than 2,700 WooCommerce-compatible themes.
If you want to test WooCommerce you can take advantage of Bluehost’s 30-day money back guarantee. Should you have problems with that, perhaps have a look at some of the alternative solutions instead. They could save you some headaches.