WordPress is currently the most popular website scripting platform in the world. Originally designed as a blogging platform, is it worth creating an online store on it?
There are many plugins available to extend a WordPress site into an online store. In this post, we will focus on the most popular plugin, WooCommerce, created by developers who work on WordPress itself.
WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce solution, providing complete control to both store owners and developers.
Here is the official description of the plugin in the media library on wordpress.org.
Why WooCommerce is so popular
WooCommerce’s popularity is primarily due to the fame of WordPress itself, as it possesses all of its good qualities. With WooCommerce, we can practically do anything we imagine (and often more than we imagine), although, of course, it has its limitations at some point. Thanks to this script, we can relatively quickly create:
an online store, a ticket sales system (e.g., for an amusement park, escape room, etc.), a virtual item sales system (e.g., ebooks), an online course sales system, an offline course sales system (e.g., kitesurfing lessons), a subscription fee system (monthly paid subscriptions), and more.
You’ll find an endless number of developers. Due to the plugin’s popularity, you won’t have trouble finding people to help with script development. In the case of other solutions, especially dedicated ones, we are often limited to one agency that has exclusivity for code editing. This makes us dependent on such an agency, and they can dictate any prices for implementations since no one else can edit the code.
Myths about WooCommerce
There are many myths circulating on the internet regarding WordPress and WooCommerce. The most popular ones include:
A WooCommerce store is only suitable for stores with a small number of products. I have 125,000 products in my WooCommerce store. With such a quantity (as in all scripts), optimization and good hosting are required. However, there are also stores with millions of products that work flawlessly. See: wpintense.com/2016/08/16/scaling-woocommerce-1-million-products-talk-wordcamp-brighton/
WooCommerce stores are unsafe. The script is developed practically 24 hours a day by a team of developers working around the world. As a result, the script uses the latest technological solutions (such as the latest version of PHP). All detected system vulnerabilities are quickly and efficiently updated. If you hear about security breaches, they probably occurred due to lack of updates and extensive use. If 30% of global e-commerce relies on this solution, it is natural that you will hear more about issues with this platform than with a script used by 1000 stores.
WooCommerce is free. Although WordPress and WooCommerce themselves are free (under the GPLv2 license https://pl.wordpress.org/about/license/), many plugins require a fee to download (e.g., for “support”). Due to this license, many paid plugins can also be found for free. However, if you are a beginner user, I advise against installing plugins from unknown sources, as they may contain malicious software. Honestly, if you are creating a store that is meant to make money, you need to be prepared to invest. The plugin fee is a way to support its creators, allowing them to create even better features.
Which stores operate on WooCommerce?
You can find more examples at: https://woocommerce.com/showcase/
Is a WordPress store right for you?
There is no clear answer to this. Considerations on this matter should be made individually based on goals and business plans. If you are familiar with WordPress and have basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP, it can be a very good script to start with. If you have no experience in creating and managing websites but want to open your first store, a subscription-based store may be a better solution. The simplest way to find out if WooCommerce is for you is to install it and test it yourself.