There are a lot of moving parts when considering how to start an e-commerce business. Perhaps the most critical consideration is the platform through which your customers will complete a transaction.
WooCommerce is one of the world’s most reputable e-commerce platforms. However, like any service, there are pros and cons to keep in mind when pitting WooCommerce versus Shopify and other apps.
Here are the top five pros and cons of WooCommerce.
Pro: Free and Open Source
WooCommerce is free and open-source, making it accessible for new startups and small businesses to create an online selling platform. It integrates well with WordPress, making it a powerful online tool. As it is an accessible option, WooCommerce has a large community of support that can help share ideas to make site management easier.
WooCommerce is also highly customizable and can be tailored to your brand requirements and desired user flow. As far as plug-ins go, WooCommerce exceeds expectations for a free tool. While many fail to accomplish what users hope, WooCommerce is tried and true by online businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Con: Premium Templates Cost
While the base model of WooCommerce is free, the templates and themes can be quite costly. It’s worth investing in one of the themes rather than attempting to recreate the wheel to create a professional-looking site that creates the optimal user experience. This is compounded if you’re a startup with limited resources to invest in web development.
If you use a tricky theme, you could still end up requiring additional support to get your e-commerce site looking the way you want. Additionally, maintaining the website and keeping products up-to-date will fall on the business owner. While there are ways around these challenges, none of them are free.
Pro: High-Quality and Professional Looking
Another pro of using WooCommerce is that even the free models look highly professional. Everything offered by the service is high-quality so that you don’t necessarily feel pressured into investing in premium upgrades.
This balance between quality and affordability is hard to find. Additionally, when you consider the user-friendliness, it creates a great starting point for online business transactions. While there is a learning curve to the platform, it could realistically be maintained in-house.
Con: Lacks SEO Capabilities
Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls in WooCommerce is that it lacks SEO capabilities. Furthermore, some of the features often detract from SEO. While the website layout might be ideal for shoppers, some of the back end components impact SEO negatively from a technical standpoint.
When it comes to SEO, having good content is a must. Well-written copy that captures the audience while feeding keywords to crawlers is essential for success. Even so, it might not be enough to override the duplicate content, messy code, and non-SEO URLs that cause WooCommerce users grief when trying to rank on a SERP.
Businesses that use WooCommerce will need to pay attention to the finer details and optimize the rest of their site effectively.
Pro: Prioritizes Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is of the utmost importance these days. Not only are hackers becoming more sophisticated, but consumers are also becoming more aware of their rights to privacy. Fortunately, WooCommerce prioritizes privacy and protection in transactions to create a secure, trustworthy environment.
This additional security addresses another con that users have experienced with WooCommerce in the past: frequent updates. In many cases, the WordPress updates would outpace WooCommerce, creating inconsistencies and incompatibilities that could result in downtime. WooCommerce now has regular updates to stay ahead of security issues, keeping it aligned with newer versions of WordPress.
These are the top five pros and cons to consider when vetting WooCommerce for your online sales. Many would argue that the pros outweigh the cons, but advise investing in a developer or professional theme.
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