World of WordPress and WooCommerce
WordPress Appeal and Power
One of the best content management experiences is through WordPress. With thousands of WordPress Mobile Responsive themes, low hosting costs as low as $5/month, it’s hard to pass up.
WordPress Ease of Use
WordPress is extremely easy to use once it is set up by a cloud-based hosting company. Most of the work is setting up an account, then you turn on a server that automatically installs the image for you – all you do is log in, and start your journey in selecting a WordPress Theme, then filling out the content.
Selecting your WordPress Theme
There are 8 key considerations in selecting a WordPress Theme for your project. No matter the type of project, a WordPress Theme is out there for your needs. However, regardless of industry, business type or purpose here is an approach that will help you narrow your choices down.
Define your needs then search for the type of WordPress Theme that fits the classification that you are looking for – without too many extras. Simplicity is a key factor for success. In your definition, see if eCommerce is a requirement, which will determine the Theme type to search for. You can avoid having to transition themes between a WordPress Theme and a WooCommerce Theme when you get to the stage to sell products.
A Mobile Responsive WordPress Theme is a requirement today; given that the digital market is operating through Smart Phones.
Ensure that your WordPress Theme is browser compatible with the mainstream browsers.
Your WordPress theme must be compatible with basic WordPress Plugins for such as Yoast SEO and W3 Total Cache.
Looking out for growth is important, WordPress Themes can be made to enable Multilingual and Translation plugins thus making the theme Translation ready.
Page Builders are mainstream within WordPress Themes, where typical layouts are prebuilt, and you can then fill in the content for an instant layout. Your best bet is to get a WordPress Theme with a Page Builder that is commonplace so when changing themes, your work will be considerably less to transition.
Your WordPress theme must be SEO Friendly, not only able to take on the Yoast SEO plugin but also be able to insert Google Analytics, Plugins that vary the Meta Tags within pages, keeping the W3C Errors down (check with W3C Checker tools)
Allow for Reviews to increase your authenticity, trust, and Social Media engagement
When shopping for a WordPress Theme, most times they can come “free” and can be upgraded – check the examples, see if the flow (UX and UI) will deliver the experience you are looking for, narrow it down to a few so a final decision matrix can tabulate which one will deliver your vision the best.
Performance: Your WordPress Theme requires to be fast and efficient – feel free to apply the speed tests on the samples to ensure you can achieve that performance.
Content Management within a WordPress Theme
If you have your content organized which hopefully was part of your planning to select a WordPress Theme, by now you will be ready to start entering your brand, your message into pages – using the Page Builder tool, or just adding a page via the “Add New” in “Pages”. While this phase is tedious, illustrating through image editing will help the comprehension of the message, communicate and connect with the audience. This part is driven by the Author, utilizing the tools at their disposal, and filling out the experience.
Managing your Menu navigation in a WordPress Theme
A key driver for both the Marketing Funnel, the User Experience (UX) is how you navigate the Website. The WordPress Theme will have two types of Menu navigation – one for Desktop, the other for Mobile (aka three horizontal lines). You never want to go over 3 layers deep from the Homepage of your website. The simpler the menu the lower the chance the user will get lost or having to find something on your Website.
Launching your WordPress Project
There is plenty of information on the web on “Prelaunch a WordPress site checklist” as well as “Launch a WordPress site checklist”. Those checklists make sure that the basics are covered, mistakes minimized, and you are ready to go LIVE with your website. Here are some basics to expect to perform.
Secure your Administration Area (password and link)
Install a Backup Solution in the Plugin area.
Verify that there are no 404’s (dead links) being pointed to in any page. This includes internal and external links.
Make sure you have set up your Email on the WordPress site.
When using forms for “contact us”, test the forms to see if the Emails come through to your mailbox.
Verification of all content – image re-sizing, content writing fitting on Mobile/Desktop layout including videos.
If you are using Social Media to integrate with your project, verify that the integrations are connected and working as expected.
Do Final Performance Tests on the Homepage, the website, and landing pages.
Add Google Analytics to your WordPress Theme
Go to your Domain Registrar and point your domain to your website’s IP Address
Setup an SSL for a secure connection (padlock) for your website.
Allow for propagation – then test to make sure all functions work.
Register with Google for Indexing
Once live, and everything is the way it should be, get Google to "Index" your website, so it is searchable, and therefore can get engaged with your SEO efforts.
Considering selling Products with WooCommerce
With the consideration that a WooCommerce Theme would have been the choice made originally, a transition between a WordPress Theme to a WooCommerce Theme would have been avoided. However, if this was not the case, it is easier to “spin-up” another server, and install WP with the new WooCommerce Theme so as to begin the content transition, all the while adding your product information as well.
You have to add WooCommerce to your WordPress site via the Plugin area:
1. On the left-side menu, navigate to the 'Add New' in the plugins dashboard.
2. Search for 'WooCommerce Other Payment Gateway'
3. Click 'Install Now'
4. Activate the plugin on the Plugin dashboard.
Adding your products in WooCommerce
You can add products either by hand or by “batch” which is a bulk upload via a CSV file – when dealing with a large number of products, a CSV file will be easier since managing them first in a Spreadsheet and ensuring all their details and assets (images) are identified and pointed to. On the manual front, which can be time-consuming, the process is easier as every input on adding a new product is in your control. A bulk import can have issues during the import if mistakes are found during the upload process, requiring a clean-up before a retry. Documentation from WooCommerce gives you additional detail on how to go about this effort:
Adding a Payment Gateway in WooCommerce
As a business, finding a Payment Gateway for your WooCommerce site takes some time to shop around and negotiate your best deal with their monthly fees, transaction fees, and connection fees. Most gateways are WooCommerce compatible and have settings ready for you to connect your account to their infrastructure. Once decided on the vendor, you will have access to transact Visa/MC/Discover with usually AMEX on a more expensive plan. Remember that PayPal is yet a different account to set up and connect to. These accounts have “test mode” to start checking to see how transactions work, get orders, and ship orders. Ensure that the proper settings inside of the WooCommerce Payment Gateway are set accordingly for the best security and allow the most unrestricted legitimate sales.
Picking a WooCommerce Payment Gateway from this list will greatly help you integrate:
Connecting through the API requires a development level understanding of the instructions:
Note: Extensions are “Plugins for WooCommerce” since WooCommerce is a Plugin to WordPress.
PCI compliance for your WooCommerce Site
To ensure your WooCommerce site is secure, it is a requirement by the Credit Card Processor that you adhere to security level testing via PCI Compliance. This service is often provided by your Payment Gateway or they are partnered with a service that will do this. Once “passed” you are ready to go live.
WordPress is one of the most powerful content management tools in the online industry, with WooCommerce being its key free Plugin to enable eCommerce. It is for sure the “roll-up your sleeves and dig-in!” approach to getting an online store up and running. While the code is free, and your content is yours, you have to maintain it via updates that will be made available. You can enhance WordPress and WooCommerce via additional Plugins and Extensions. Keep in mind the more you add, the more complex things get, and conflicts might arise at which point a developer might be required to resolve any issues encountered. Additionally, any customization to the experience outside of the WordPress Plugins or WooCommerce Extensions can be developed separately into a “Private Plugin or Extension” which is your intellectual property and delivers your unique experience to your audience.
If you feel you would like to consider changes and enhancements to your WordPress and WooCommerce site, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org