WooCommerce is one of the most popular solutions for setting up an online eCommerce store. It is simple, easy to use and relies on WordPress which happens to be the world’s most popular Content Management System. Naturally, WooCommerce optimization is something that cannot be neglected or left to chance.
While optimizing WordPress is a different story altogether, WooCommerce optimization has its own requirements and measures that you can undertake. In this article, we will be discussing steps and measures you can take to conduct better WooCommerce optimization and get the most out of this amazing eCommerce solution.
WooCommerce Optimization Guide For Beginners
A Brief Introduction to WooCommerce (And How to Get the Most Out of it)
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that lets you convert or transform your WP website into an eCommerce store. You can create a standalone store or add a small shop to your existing blog or niche site. It all boils down to your needs — WooCommerce can be scaled easily as per your wishes.
While WooCommerce indeed is free, it is backed by both free and premium extensions. You can consider these extensions to be sub-plugins of WooCommerce, which is in turn a plugin of WordPress. Furthermore, while WooCommerce is compatible with most WP themes owing to its popularity, you need to ensure your WordPress theme plays well with WooCommerce (some themes tend not to).
Also, much like any other extensive software, WooCommerce too can consume quite a good deal of memory. As such, it may not be feasible to run it on a low cholesterol hosting package as your website might run out of memory the minute it gets some traffic. To learn more about which web hosting plan might be apt for your eCommerce store, check out this post.
WooCommerce Optimization — Some Simple Measures
WooCommerce optimization is not rocket science. If done properly, WooCommerce optimization is fairly simple and is a matter of a few steps. Here are some such steps that you can take to ensure proper WooCommerce optimization on your WordPress website:
1. The first step is to ensure your WP database is free from overheads and bloatware. WooCommerce websites tend to have quite a lot of additional database tables in them and this can lead to slower performance. Using a plugin such as WP Optimize can clean up your database tables, optimize your database and keep your site functioning in good health.
2. Keep the number of WooCommerce extensions to the barest minimum. Every additional extension can cause greater database load and this will, in turn, slow down your website. At times, you may also choose to deactivate or eliminate extensions that you do not use.
3. Try to use a WP theme that is fully compatible and has been tested with WooCommerce. A good method to find out whether a theme is really tested with WooCommerce is to go through its demo properly. If the demo has a shop section with products and checkout pages, the theme will do well with WooCommerce.
4. Try not to do too many things at once. If you are planning to have an eCommerce store as well as a knowledgebase or support channel, it is wiser to separate the two. You can run your store on the main site, and have a separate installation for your support channel, either on a sub-directory or sub-domain. Using multiple big WordPress plugins can cause conflicts down the line.
5. WordPress treats WooCommerce products as custom post types. Thus, you can follow the traditional optimization measures here as well. Delete the older post (or product revisions, in this case) revisions using a cleanup plugin (like WP Optimize mentioned above), avoid having comments on older products, make use of product tags, attributes and categories to organize your shop (rather than adding new post types for the same), and so on.
What About WooCommerce Extensions?
Finding WooCommerce extensions is not a difficult task. However, finding good quality WooCommerce extensions can be confusing for the beginner-level users.
If budget is not a consideration for you, relying on the official WooCommerce.com store is the best pick. Such extensions are quality tested and proven to be secure and have a great update record. But, on the downside, extensions on WooCommerce.com can be a little costlier than those with similar functionality being offered by independent developers.
When picking an extension, see if there is a free version of it. You can assess its performance and if it works well, you can upgrade to the premium version. There are various big and small developers out there that are making a living solely by selling WooCommerce extensions — be sure to check their support policy and the frequency of updates. Generally, after each major WooCommerce update, the extensions need to be updated.
Lastly, it goes without saying that you should use free WooCommerce extensions only from the WP.org repository.
Alternatives to WooCommerce
Well, while WooCommerce is a really robust solution when it comes to creating an eCommerce store using WordPress, there might be times when you wish to use an alternative WordPress plugin for adding an eCommerce store to your WP site.
This is especially true if you are only selling digital goods and do not have physical products to deliver or ship to your customers. For such cases, Easy Digital Downloads is a rather versatile and popular WP plugin that is available free of cost. Much like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads is also backed by both free and premium extensions.
Sell Media is another free WordPress plugin. It lets you sell media elements such as photographs and other digital goods on your site. As a result, this plugin can prove useful for artists, photographers and others whose primary offering is in terms of pictures, videos and other media elements.
That brings us to the end of this article about WooCommerce optimization. If you would like to learn more about how to better optimize your WordPress website have a look at our WordPress Optimization Series.
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