Things I learned from using the most popular ecommerce WordPress plugin.
In this post, I want to share the following tips and helpful information for those who want to build a ecommerce website using the Woo Commerce plugin.
Hopefully these tips, tricks, and helps can assist in your quest for a smooth, efficient, and secure online store. The following information contains both people skills and technical issues.
Website Really Slow Daily at the Same of Day
If your WordPress site really lags at the same time of day, every day, it could because of your Security Plugin, Wordfence.
Now this can be devastating, imagine if a customer was attempting to complete a purchase at the very moment of the “scheduled” slowdown. If the website becomes extremely slow, the buyer may just opt out and move on.
Wordfence Plugin (Scanning)
If you are using Wordfence, it has a automatic scanning feature that is set for the same time daily.
Check if your slow website corresponds to the same time frame as your scanning schedule.
If checked to “Automatic” , Wordfence will select a time. Most users select this option.
If Manually is checked, you select the time.
Now if you let Wordfence select the time for the scan (Automatic), you can go to the Scan page and see the time.
Does the scan time match the time when the website slows down?
If Yes you need to go to “Performance Options”
If “Use low resource scanning” is not checked, check this box.
“This can be helpful on shared hosting providers that have lower resources available to your hosting account, or on lower VPS and dedicated hosting plans.” [Wordfence]
If your website is hosted on a shared account, you definitely need to check this option.
On a shared web hosting platform, you share resources with other websites on the same server and you are limited in the amount of resources assigned to your website.
So it other websites are hogging the resources, your site will suffer because your server is limited to the amount of resources allotted assigned to it.
Wordfence understands this, so check this box and this should take care of the situation.
Now if you continue to have issues, you may have to look at your shared hosting account which I go into next.
In this problem, your website is always slow, or slows down various times during the day.
What I mean by various times is sometimes during the day, or sometimes at night.
If it is at night, it could be slow in the early evening or later at night but not always at the same time frame like the Wordfence setup I mentioned above.
In other words, the website can be slow at any time.
This is another reason why a ecommerce website should be staged on a premium hosting service.
Yes it can get pricey, but your online sales may depend on it.
The client may be confused and question you about this, as their core pages may all load satisfactory.
The reason for this is that these pages are usually cached with one of the many caching plugins available for optimal speed.
But what clients don’t realize is that during a transaction, this live process is not cached.
It is a direct connection to the database which is happening in realtime.
So if the budget shared hosting slows down due to lack of resources, you may have a slow process during the purchase process.
The sad story is that you may never know that this occurred unless the potential customer told you that they are having an issue buying from your website.
That’s why I strongly recommend any WordPress site using the Woo Commerce store to stay away from the cheap, budget, lowest sharing hosting. In the end, you will have to upgrade anyway so I encourage the client to just close out any possible issues from the start and use a optimum hosting tier.
Paypal auto return
If your ecommerce site uses Paypal as one of the purchase options, the customer is directed off the website to Paypal during a transaction. For security reasons this is ideal, as no credit card data is used and most customers feel safe using Paypal as the transaction is completed on Paypal’s gateway.
But once the buy is completed, the customer is left hanging with the Paypal website.
To automatically return to the original website, Paypal has a Auto Return link to redirect customers back to the store’s website.
Use this link, and Paypay provides instructions on how to implement this feature:
How do I use PayPal’s Auto Return feature to redirect customers back to my website?
Customer Payment Options
From my experience, buyers want as many options to make a purchase as possible.
I discovered this when some of my ecommerce clients only wanted to sell via limited payment methods:
Credit Card only
No mobile device payment options (Apple Pay/Android Pay)
After their online store was up and running, 100% of them came back to me and requested to incorporate as many payments options as possible. They explained that their customers asked for these different options and some would only make a purchase if a particular payment method was provided.
Bottom Line: provide as many payment options available from the start.
Client Misunderstanding (Non Tech issue)
As we know, the basic Woo Commerce plugin out of the box is limited in providing a full range of features for an online store. Many clients don’t realize this, they assume all they need is the basic plugin which they know is free.
Before building the website, you need to explain why they need these additionally plugins on top of the basic Woo Commerce extension.
Be prepared, you may receive some push back, when they realize that these additional plugins are not free.
It is important they understand why they require these additional features, whether it be for shipping rates, storefront customizations, unlimited coupon options, etc.
This next point is very crucial, it is imperative that they understand that most of these additional plugins are based on a subscription model (in most cases annually).
They need to understand this, and I usually stipulate this within the invoice.
They will forget and question you on why are they paying for these plugins again a year later.
What if they don’t want to renew?
“Ah, it should still work right.”
Many of the these updates will correspond to the WordPress core and Woo Commerce updates, so if they do not continue to receive the plugin update, their store may not function correctly.
In addition, the purpose of some updates is to patch security issues.
Make it clear that you are not trying to rip them off, and don’t make any profit from these add on’s. All that you’re trying to do is make their online store secure, safe, and easy to use for a excellent user experience. I just leave it at that and put it back in their laps.
Be sure you understand what the client is selling.
If there are multiple variations or diversity of the product, you could have a product data input nightmare (diversity of the same item).
This is vital, as it can affect your estimate for labor.
Using T-shirts as an example:
Sizes: S to XXXL
Colors: White, gray, black, blue and red
Printing on the back
As you can see there could many data input options for one T-shirt with different prices.
This all leads into the following factor:
Who will be the data entry clerk?
2) Client? You show them how and they input the inventory.
So if you are responsible for inputting all the inventory, be sure this is factored into your total estimate. So whatever your labor estimate comes out to, I suggest adding another 25% to 50% on top of that.
It’s better to present your full estimate up front then having to come back later and ask for more. This would totally be unprofessional and can cause unneeded stress for both parties.
I hope some of these tips may help your or your clients ecommerce site being the best it can.
Woo Commerce is an awesome plugin, but there are some many variables involved, that it sometimes it can can be overbearing.