Kodako Liquid & WooCommerce
WooCommerce is by far the most popular and rapidly developing plugin that provides ecommerce functionality for WordPress sites. Since its birth in 2011, it has become one of the most widely used tools to power online stores and is an open source platform backed by a considerable community, which is constantly updating it, creating new themes, plugins and all sorts of integrations, all essential to a successful e-commerced business. WordPress offers many advantages over other e-commerce shopping platforms such as Shopify and Bigcommerce. Although the end result is being able to sell products online, the main difference is that WooCommerce integrates with WordPress content management system (CMS). It integrates seamlessly with WordPress open source CMS which is used by over 23% of all websites. With WooCommerce you have complete control and has endless flexibility with access to hundreds of free and premium WordPress extensions that allow additional functionality. WooCommerce is free to install on any WordPress website and powers over 30% of all online stores, more than any other platform including Shopify and Bigcommerce.
At Kodako we’ve combined WooCommerce with Kodako Liquid, a page builder framework with selected plugins that are fast, lightweight and optimised for online stores using WooCommerce.
With WooCommerce you can sell both physical and digital goods with multiple variations including colours, shapes, sizes and finishes. It provides instant downloads of electronic products such as apps, ebooks and digital assets and can even sell affiliate goods from online marketplaces. Using premium extensions your business can offer bookings, memberships and recurring subscriptions including monthly subscriptions for physical goods and services, or offer your members discounts using coupons. Shipping and tax can all be included in the pricing and you can import and export product data as required.
Overall using WooCommerce over other more expensive platforms gives you far more control but it will also require a little more knowledge about website design and this is where Kodako Liquid can help in the design and implantation of WooCommerce with your website design. While Shopify and Bigcommerce offer premium e-commerce packages with hosting, tools, processing and template designs, your options are going to be limited and additional functions for your online store may not be possible or are going to very expensive to implement. It’s the main reason why WooCommerce has become so popular and is Kodako’s choice for e-commerce solutions offering advanced options for developers.
Setting up an online store on WooCommerce can be summarised in a few steps:
- Choosing a fast and secure hosting environment, at Kodako we use SiteGround’s hosting platform.
- Kodako installs WordPress, Kodako Liquid and WooCommerce
- Setting up your payment methods, we recommend Stripe. It’s affordable and modern and deposits directly into your account.
- Setting up your delivery methods. Shipping methods is included in WooCommerce with additional extensions offering more options.
- Adding your products. Very easy to do, just fill in the form for each product, price and description, upload images and your done.
- Setting up promotions, discounts and other extra features. Discount coupons can be applied at any time.
- Adding additional protection for customer data. Ensuring your using SSL protocols and hosting on PCI compliant servers.
- In this post it is intended to provide a brief overview of what WooCommerce can do and advice regarding speed, security and design.
The main features of a WooCommerce store are as follows:
- A beautiful content management system (since WooCommerce runs on WordPress).
- A system that allows you to customise your design with a visual builder or through the code.
- Over 400 extensions and thousands of other WordPress plugins for advancing the look and functionality of your store. For instance, you might want to make a membership site or add a simple contact form. It’s all possible with plugins and extensions.
- Access to the REST API for managing and integrating with everything from products to orders.
- Seamless integration with Kodako Liquid Page Framework and Elementor Pro Page Builder.
- Beautiful products and checkout pages. These are complemented by landing pages and a wide variety of other customisable options you would expect from a full e-commerce platform.
- Product ratings and reviews to boost your SEO and make the shopping experience more informative for your customers.
- Unlimited products, images, and galleries.
- Pretty much everything is unlimited in WooCommerce.
- Advanced product sorting and filtering. This makes your search engine rankings better and also guides your customers through lots of products.
- Support for physical, digital, and affiliate products. Unlimited variations are available, and you can import and export large product lists.
- Customisable checkout areas with guest checkout, automated emails, tax options, free shipping, built in payment processing, and more.
Beyond this, numerous premium extensions will provide additional functionality. Working with WooCommerce is all in the same place where you edit your website and that’s the WordPress dashboard. WooCommerce tabs appear below other tabs in the WordPress dashboard consolidating all your websites functions and content in the same place. This provides users with excellent controls with options for adding products, setting categories and managing product attributes, descriptions, pricing, tax and shipping etc. In addition, Kodako uses Elementor Pro to stylise WooCommerce pages providing design options that are not available from platforms using template designs. A complete list can be found here.
WooCommerce is supported by the WordPress tools which automatically creates titles and metadata for search engine results. WooCommerce doesn’t have any SEO features itself instead Kodako installs and uses an additional plugin called SEOPress. This modern plugin allows keywords, descriptions, titles and metadata to be optimised for SEO ranking using a series of reports that are continuously updated as you edit your product content. When it comes to marketing, WooCommerce uses automated emails once a product has been purchased for marketing purposes. At Kodako we can design bespoke emails for after purchase communications. Engaging with your clients via email is the main way WooCommerce stores create lasting relationships and market new products to existing clients. Kodako can integrate most of the popular email marketing platforms into your website however we recommend and prefer to use MailPoet3.
Stripe and PayPal are consistency the most popular payment processors on WooCommerce stores. WooCommerce can integrate easily into these payment gateways as well as over 100 others depending on your location. It’s important however to understand all the upfront and hidden fees using alternative payment gateways. WooCommerce itself does not deduct any fees for any transactions and does not require any payments for integration. To find the payment gateway you need, checkout the official extensions repository in the payment section of WooCommerce.
Stripe – Stripe is a great way to collect credit card payments from your customers. WooCommerce now has free integration with it and it’s very easy to configure and use. Just like with PayPal, you can go to the Checkout page and enable the Stripe payment method. Fill in your account details and you are all set. Furthermore, Stripe supports credit card payments in many countries.
PayPal – one of the most popular payment processors in the world. It’s supported by default. All you need to do is enable it from Settings -> Checkout page and add your PayPal account details. However, there are multiple PayPal extensions that will make the integration with your website more fluent and easy for your customers. If you have the budget, check out these extensions as well.
EWay – The eWAY extension for WooCommerce allows you to take credit card payments in AUD directly on your store without redirecting your customers to a third party site to make payment. Supports WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Refunds API, as well as token payments, which allows customers to save credit cards for future purchases. Everything happens on your site without the customer ever leaving.
Cash on Delivery – if your couriers accept cash from your customers and if that’s how you like to do business, just enable this payment method and give it a proper description – Settings -> Checkout page. With this method, you will do most of the work offsite.
Banks integration – if you have a business account with a bank, ask them for WooCommerce integration. Some of the big banks have their own plugins, others have easy integrations and some may even have a professional service to do it for you. This option however attracts often expensive monthly fees and other fees that are at times quite abstract.
The WooCommerce platform is regularly auditedbodytext by the well known security brand, Sucuri, checking the overall ecosystem of WooCommerce plugin. While the WooCommerce code is secure and well written, using a secure PCI compliant web server is very important. In addition using SSL encryption for all transfers and communications is key to securing your e-commerced store. The SSL certificate is used to encrypt the connection between your site and your visitors or a payment gateway. It’s designed to protect sensitive client data transferred from the browser to the host server. There are different types of certificates available including:
• Standard SSL Certificate which is issued for one domain name only and does not cover subdomains.
• Wildcard SSL Certificate which is issued for a domain name and all its subdomains. If you want to protect more than one domain you’ll need a Wildcard SSL Certificate.
• EV SSL Certificate which is the most expensive type of certificate. EV stands for Extended Validation. This means you have to verify you are the owner of the domain through a much stricter procedure, which differs from a regular certificate. These certificates are often used by large corporations and will often appear green in the browser’s URL bar however any business large or small can obtain an EV SSL Certificate.
• Lets Encrypt Certificate – Lets Encrypt is an initiative to provide everyone with a free SSL certificate. Kodako web hosting services providing SSL certificates on all it plans included.
WooCommerce while doesn’t offer direct support for it’s product however it does have a huge community of users, excellent documentation and resources for common questions and solutions. At Kodako we know the ins and outs of WooCommerce. In addition there are many blogs and forums dedicated to WooCommerce so most of the time a quick Google search will deliver results. WordPress is similar where you start with a Google search and then go to trusted links to resolve your question. If you have no interest in paying a monthly fee for a platform like Shopify or Bigcommerce, then WooCommerce is for you. WooCommerce for ecommerce business owners allows stores without any limitations and a vast array of design options while allowing stores to scale up over time.
When it comes to speed and performance it’s very important to choose a web site hosting service like SiteGround that specialises in WordPress and WooCommerce hosting using secure, fast and optimised servers. Optimisations on the server including using PHP7 which dramatically improves speed and delivery than previous versions, SSD drives, data centres in your local region, a global content delivery network (CDN) that delivers your website content using the closest server possible and secured using a web application firewall. A WAF is essential to maintain protection against server vulnerabilities and indicates that your hosting environment is proactive when it comes to security.
Cached Progressive Web Apps
Caching mechanisms greatly reduce the loading speed of your pages. Caching also manages the load you create on your server and the resources your site needs. There are several different types of caching that you could tailor to your needs.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) have been around for a few years but only recently have been used with websites on mobile devices due to compatibility issues. Kodako websites that are also PWA enabled, cache the website content on the user’s mobile device providing exceptional load up times. Visited content is available even when the user is offline and is installed like an other web app by adding to the home screen. Your website is launched at the push of a button on the user’s device. In addition, users information is automatically filled in forms for communication or commerce.