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WooCommerce Pricing: How Much Does it Cost to Run a Store?

July 19, 2018 - 5 Comments

WooCommerce and WordPress are both free, open source software. While this can represent considerable savings, when it comes to WooCommerce pricing, there are still some costs involved in launching a new store.

One of the reasons many people choose WooCommerce is because, like the software itself, costs are customizable you have a lot more control over what you spend and when than with most other eCommerce platforms.

WooCommerce setup costs: Hosting and domain fees

WooCommerce is a plugin, so you’ll need a WordPress site that can use plugins. The very first thing you’ll need to do is choose is a host for your store and buy a plan.

This is actually quite easy. WooCommerce and WordPress both recommend hosts like SiteGround, BlueHost, and Pressable. These hosts are great to start with, although if you’re migrating an eCommerce store, or will be running a large site, work with a host with specific WooCommerce expertise. WordPress.com also offers a Business plan, which allows sites to upload plugins.

Read more about WooCommerce hosting options and the performance measures you should expect.

With WooCommerce, you have a lot more control over what you spend, and when you invest it, than most other eCommerce platforms.

Hosting can be as little as $3.95 per month and as high as $5,000. Most hosts offer an initial free or low-cost period, and offer discounts when you buy hosting services for two or more years.

Top four recommended WooCommerce hosting options

The next cost is registering a domain, or site name. Like hosting, domain registration often comes at an inexpensive introductory price that rises over time, with discounts when you buy multiple years of service. Expect to pay about $15 per year for each domain name you use.

Many hosts offer domain registry searching for free when you are in the process of choosing a hosting plan, so you can find out early on if the name you like is available, has been taken, or is for sale.

Hosting costs: $120 per year (average)
Domain registration: $15 to really costly if you go after something bespoke

eCommerce and WooCommerce themes: To pay or not to pay?

Now we’re getting into optional costs. The first one you’ll face will be your eCommerce website theme.

If you’ve used WordPress in the past, you know there are thousands of free themes out there, many of which have been optimized for WooCommerce.

Many new eCommerce businesses start out with WooCommerce’s official Storefront theme. It’s a well-developed, simple theme and if you run into trouble, there’s lots of help available from WooCommerce or at local WordPress meetings and WordCamps.

Storefront is an intuitive & flexible, free WordPress theme offering deep integration with WooCommerce.
Storefront is an intuitive and flexible, free WordPress theme offering deep integration with WooCommerce.

If you’re leaning toward a free theme, be sure to choose one created by a developer with WooCommerce experience, and look for one that is well-maintained (e.g. has been updated recently and is compatible with the latest version of WooCommerce).

There are, of course, good reasons to buy a theme from a WooCommerce developer instead of using a free one:

  • Free themes tend to look similar, so your site won’t stand out as much.
  • Free themes have limited functions.
  • Paid themes provide customer service; at best, free ones post a Q&A board.
  • Paid themes are regularly updated and will notify customers about updates.

Paid WordPress and WooCommerce themes cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per year.

Theme cost: $0 – 100 per year

WooCommerce running costs: Communications, SEO, security

WooCommerce itself offers a lot of free tools — many borrowed from WordPress and adapted for WooCommerce. Extensions act like plugins for WooCommerce, allowing you to add more functions for essential services like checkout functions, payment gateways, shipping, and more. Here’s a list of ten free extensions from WooCommerce itself.

There are two services I can’t imagine overlooking for an eCommerce store:(

  • Customer communications. You will want to communicate with your customers by email after they make a purchase and to send notices about promotions and coupons. MailChimp is a great tool for this. It offers a basic free package and a “growing business” one for just $10/month or $120/year. It integrates smoothly with WooCommerce and social media accounts and tracks everything from email opens to clicks to your website.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) tools like Yoast and All In One SEO provide guidance that help your writers get an edge on this key factor. Yoast costs $49/year while All in One is slightly higher at $58/year.

Site security is another issue. If you’re running your site on a shared host, it’s advisable to install a security extension just in case. The vast majority of hosts are very security-conscious, but there’s no harm adding an extra layer. Services to check out include Sucuri and SiteLock. Sucuri costs $25/month (but bills annually, you’ll be charged $300). SiteLock has different plans but doesn’t publish them, so you’ll have to contact them for details. They offer a free security tool to BlueHost customers, and will heavily discount upgrades to them as well.

BlueHost also recommends Jetpack, which has eCommerce-specific features including basic security functions, like protection from brute force attacks, and automatic updates. Its paid services includes additional security: automated malware scanning and security fixes, as well as daily or real-time Backups. Jetpack’s Premium package for small businesses costs $100/year and includes many other website tools outside the security arena.

Communications: $120 per year
SEO: $49 per year
Security: $100 and up

WooCommerce officially endorses several free extensions. Most of them deal with payment processing, but others focus on shipping, dashboards/analytics, and integration with other tools.

Additional spending: Customer experience enhancement

If your budget allows you to do more with your website, the next area of focus should be enhancements that boost the customer experience and drive conversions.

You could try adding product page features or cart and checkout enhancements, or make changes to your merchandizing and search and navigationMarketing and how to make your next sale are deep topics, but as start, read more about live chat and eCommerce automation.

Other popular customer-facing services include:

It’s possible to ‘overdo it’ with WooCommerce by adding too many bells and whistles. Loading up your website with extensions might slow down your website, which is worth keeping an eye on; even the smallest of delays might cost you a sale.

Ultimately, the amount you spend on your WooCommerce site depends on how you balance your budget with tools to save you time with customer satisfaction. These aren’t always easy choices to make!

Customize your store, customize your budget

Wrapping it up: the nutshell on WooCommerce costs is that it really is flexible, and up to you. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can create a high-functioning WooCommerce site for as little as $1,000.

Or you can customize it and spend considerably more. We’d love to hear from you in the comments how you setup your store.

We’re nearly at the end of this introductory series — tomorrow we cover how to setup a new WooCommerce store as the final piece.

Understanding Hosting, Security, and Updates for WooCommerce

July 18, 2018 - Leave a comment

Open source technologies are accessible to anyone — free to download, free to use.

They provide a solid framework for your innovation, creativity, and growth and have outlasted scores of competitors, but they do require a bit of hands-on work. In part three of our eCommerce for WordPress series, we explore three topics key to setting yourself up with open source eCommerce: hosting, updates, and security.

Choosing the right host for your WooCommerce store

Large open source platforms like WooCommerce and Magento —  and smaller ones like OpenCart and ZenCart — are flexible enough to work with most hosts. Not all website hosting companies are the best choices for larger eCommerce sites, so it’s worth doing your research.

Top four recommended WooCommerce hosting options
Top four recommended WooCommerce hosting options

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eCommerce Comparison: How to Choose the Right Platform For Your Business

July 17, 2018 - 6 Comments

Are you starting an eCommerce business? Or have you outgrown the software you used to launch your site?

Maybe you’re feeling locked in having just learnt that the platform you use owns your content. Or sales are booming and you want to reduce transaction fees!

Today we’re covering how to choose the right platform for your business, the second part of our series for those exploring WooCommerce.

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An Introduction to eCommerce for WordPress – WooCommerce

July 16, 2018 - 3 Comments

New to WooCommerce? It’s a free plugin that transforms WordPress websites into customizable eCommerce stores. First released in 2011 by WooThemes, a WordPress theme development agency with roots in Norway, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, it was later acquired by Automattic, makers of WordPress.com and Jetpack. In the U.S. alone, WooCommerce powers a whopping 55% of all eCommerce sites and nearly 2.3 million online stores.

Over the next few days we’ll look at some key questions and topics, starting with an introduction to eCommerce for WordPress. Welcome to Woo!

An introduction to WordPress and WooCommerce
The WooCommerce plugin is available for free on WooCommerce.com and WordPress.org.

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Getting Game-Ready: Building The Official All Blacks Shop on WooCommerce

July 12, 2018 - 5 Comments

What does it feel like to build and launch the official All Blacks Shop for the New Zealand Rugby Union in just four weeks? Blake Skjellerup and Meta Digital could tell you: they built allblackshop.com on WooCommerce with impressive turnaround time.

What did it take to get the iconic sports apparel store game-ready on WooCommerce? Determination, research, and the right partner and platform.

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How a Jewelry Shop Owner Found a Niche to Grow Her Brand

July 10, 2018 - 12 Comments

For Melissa, Founder and CEO of Tiny Tags, motherhood and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. That’s because giving birth to her son inspired her business of made-to-order keepsake jewelry for mothers.

Ten years later, her online shop is thriving, thanks to a keen understanding of her niche, a commitment to authenticity, and an insatiable curiosity. Here’s a window into Tiny Tags.

Tiny Tags

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CAMSS Case Study: Simplifying Complex Purchases with WooCommerce Product Types

July 6, 2018 - 7 Comments

CAMSS sells durable, military-grade shelters made for quick set-up and easy transport. The shelters withstand extraordinary conditions like heavy winds, extreme temperatures, and snow loads. Their product is highly customizable, with multiple shelter size options and add-on accessories like lights, partitions, flooring, generators, and more. Their clients can choose from endless combinations of shelters and accessories.

The variety and flexibility is great for business, but a challenge for store setup. Here’s how our team at coolblueweb worked with CAMMS to solve product type complexity problems they were facing and deliver a better experience for their customers, with WooCommerce.

The CAMSS homepage

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WooCommerce Sales Tax for the US: How to Enable Automated Calculations and Filing

June 26, 2018 - 24 Comments

The US Supreme Court decided this week that each state can now require sales tax to be collected on internet sales. This ruling opens the door for states to do something that they haven’t been able to before: tax a lot of internet sales.

tl;dr: Enable free, automated, single nexus tax calculations with WooCommerce Tax, or for additional nexus and more complex tax scenarios, and auto-filing, try TaxJar.

While WooCommerce can’t advise you on which taxes your business needs — that’s a question for your accountant — you can configure settings in WooCommerce to either manually or automatically calculate taxes based on the requirements of the new rules.

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Winning WooCommerce Enterprise Clients from Zagreb to New York City: Meet Neuralab

June 25, 2018 - 9 Comments

WooCommerce is one of a number of eCommerce platforms you could choose to build a store. Why WooCommerce? Our verified WooExperts will tell you it’s for the customizability, flexibility, and love of open source.

Neuralab are one of our WooExperts. I chatted with Neuralab CEO Krešimir Končić about building WooCommerce enterprise sites from Zagreb to New York City, tips for winning enterprise clients, tool recommendations for remote collaboration, and some of their recent inspiring projects.

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Why is My WooCommerce Site Slow? And How To Fix It

June 19, 2018 - 24 Comments

Is your WooCommerce site slow? It’s good that you’re looking into it. $1.6 billion is the amount Amazon.com would lose in sales every year if their page load slowed down by just one second.

Fast loading pages boost conversions and SEO, reduce cart abandonment, increase page views, and keep customers engaged.

Tip: Test your page load speed with a free online tool like Pingdom, GTMetrix, WebPageTest or Dareboost.

The good news is that, in most cases, you can fix a slow WooCommerce site by checking a few key things.

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Styling, Lighting, and Camera Settings for eCommerce Photography

June 15, 2018 - 12 Comments

When shoot day arrives, there are a few steps you need to keep in mind when it comes to styling, lighting, and camera settings.

Styling and backdrop

Traditional product images are shot with a seamless white or neutral backdrop. This simplifies the editing process and gives the product a clean and focused appearance.

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Getting Started with eCommerce Product Photography

June 14, 2018 - 7 Comments

Have you ever found yourself browsing an online store because a beautiful image showed up in your Twitter feed? Welcome to the power of eCommerce product photography!

If you’re launching a WooCommerce store, photos are one of your most impactful sales tools.

Good eCommerce photography attracts the right customers, tells a story, and lifts the overall quality of a store. Bad eCommerce photography can erode trust, turn customers off, and even be misleading, causing returns and hurting your bottom line.

What if you know nothing about product photography?

Then you’re in the right place — learn how to plan a photo shoot and get publish-ready photos.

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How Two Insect-loving Entrepreneurs Built a Business on Bugs

June 12, 2018 - 6 Comments

Neil Whippey and Shami Radia, the founders of Eat Grub, are on a mission to “change the way the West eats”. With their successful eCommerce business, this London-based duo is promoting insects as a sustainable and nutritious source of food – one delicious snack at a time.

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WooCommerce Shipping Saves You Money and Trips to the Post Office

June 7, 2018 - 14 Comments

If you’re getting started shipping physical goods with WooCommerce, and you’re based in the United States or Canada, try WooCommerce Shipping – a free service, built into WooCommerce itself, with shortcuts like live postage rates and at-home label printing to make order fulfilment easier.

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The ABCs of Shipping and Fulfillment: What Do You Need to Consider?

June 5, 2018 - 6 Comments

If you’re going to sell physical goods online, shipping orders will be an important part of your process. There are a few key tasks new store owners need to complete, including configuring settings and choosing a carrier and delivery options.

Fortunately, there are WooCommerce extensions to save you some time — and for WooCommerce stores in the United States and Canada, WooCommerce Shipping simplifies order fulfillment.

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Five Ways to Boost Engagement with Live Chat

May 31, 2018 - 12 Comments

Customer engagement comes from the emotional connection between your customer and your brand. The more engaged your customers, the more likely they are to buy more, promote your brand, and become repeat customers.

You want every customer touchpoint to provide a consistent, inviting experience, so people want to come back for more. In a brick-and-mortar store, you have real-time, human connection. Online, you don’t have a chance to get in touch with a website visitor until they buy something, and your automations and triggers kick in. Right?

Wrong! Modern communication applications let you communicate with website visitors, drive conversions, and build longer-lasting relationships. One great way that you can build right into WooCommerce? Live chat.

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