It’s November and the start of the Christmas season is pretty close, and we’re telling you again: it’s never too early to start optimizing. When you think of optimization, you think of planning, and you sure can’t do it all in a few days. By heeding our advice you have a month to get your WooCommerce site in shape, so that Santa can roll down that virtual chimney and make you happy.
Just like some people love Apple and others love Microsoft, some prefer PlayStation while others adore Xbox, and some simply love Ford more than any other car brand, the e-commerce business is also pretty tough when it comes to platforms.
You’ve probably read our article describing the best practices for optimizing your webshop in the coming months if you are running Magento, but what if you aren’t? We wouldn’t like you to feel left out if you’re using WooCommerce, the eCommerce platform that is currently powering almost 30% of all webshops online, according to a 2015 Aheadworks study, so we decided to do the same: find an expert and let him talk.
His name is Krešimir Končić, and he is a WooCommerce expert and CEO and owner of Neuralab, a company of both WordPress and WooCommerce experts. Aside from being certified WooExperts, which is a certification given by Automattic themselves, the Neuralab team has loads of experience in development, design, and content, all skills critical for a good eCommerce site.
After exchanging pleasantries, we wanted to jump straight into the thick of it, and asked Krešimir what is it that the WooCommerce webshop owners need to have in mind first when optimizing for the upcoming holiday season?
This Christmas you need to keep an eye out for everything – content quality, checkout process, loading speed, supported payment types, responsiveness – everything is important. If as much as one thing isn’t the way it should be, there will be no joy for you after the holidays.
So, everything needs to be optimized or you will be sad and lonely for the rest of the winter. That’s fair, and Krešimir also noted that you need to keep an eye out for things that you can have the most influence on, like the creation of your content intertwined with the products and product groups. A lot of webshop owners tend to forget that this is the place where they can be creative and use their knowledge of their respective markets. Krešimir gave one example described in a few short steps:”
Of course, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, especially in the hectic Christmas season, and the process of optimizing your shop is not a very easy task, which led us to talk to Krešimir about the biggest mistakes WooCommerce users make when they do optimize their sites for the holidays.
Krešimir was quick to divide the mistakes into two groups with the first being the sellers that don’t update their shops for the entire year, and then do it before Christmas:
the ones that simply wait for the wave of users that’s due to the season without changing the content, products, discounts and campaigns, similar to the apartment owners when the tourist season approaches.
What you need to know from this is that even though your site needs a little extra work for the holidays, you need to be ready to make optimizations throughout the year. Online business isn’t a sprint, but rather a marathon and you need to keep up the good work for the rest of the year, too.
The second type of seller that Krešimir points out as a bad example is a seller that simply ignores the analytics and goes their way:
the one that ignores their own analytics and advice coming from the teams such as our own. Objective analytics of the entire user experience is the biggest beauty in the world of online business, and it’s a real shame that so little retailers actually use these to improve their own platform.
Naturally, there’s a lot of platforms you can use to sell things online, of that there’s no doubt. Similar to the choice of what hosting service you’re going to use and what CMS you prefer, you should go with the eCommerce platform that is the best for you. When it comes to the holiday season, we asked Krešimir about the advantages that WooCommerce, in particular, has over its competitors during these upcoming weeks.
The connecting of articles, users, blogs, creative campaigns with all products is objectively the biggest advantage of WooCommerce over any other platform. The phrase “content is king” is a proven eCommerce mantra, and the WordPress/WooCommerce combination is the only one that can provide the maximum possible content integration.
The content, of course, needs a good SEO score, and that’s also something you mustn’t ignore. Search Engine Land notes that SEO can’t be overlooked by any means and can even go as long as to strengthen your team and improve your webshop immensely.
Of course, those aren’t the only advantages of this platform over the competitors, with Krešimir also pointing out the extensive database of documentation available for the platform, and the sheer size of the WordPress community willing to aid you in any and all problems you might have. As WordPress is currently powering half of all the websites on the Internet, this is a lot of people, so the chances are that you’ll be able to solve any problems you might have just by asking. Neat!
Some things are the same regardless of the platform you’re using. This is perhaps true to all forms of business, be it online or offline, but you still need to cover these basics if you want to succeed in what you’re doing, of course. In our talk with Krešimir, he noted that the sellers primarily need to adapt their communication towards their desired market, with this being an essential of commerce across all platforms.
This is particularly the case in online sales, says Krešimir, because of the large number of distractions that occur when users are browsing the web, with distractions coming from other browser tabs being really important.
The online seller needs to know a lot about everything to succeed, and Krešimir says that a seller is expected to know about analytics, image and text editing, and the relationships with other websites and media – just to name a few. This, of course, isn’t simple, but it’s the way the market works, and you need to take it into consideration or risk being run over by the competition. One last thing Krešimir pointed out is that as with all things online – constant education is a must.
We’d like to point out here that analytics form an extremely important part of any webshop, and as the experts at Kissmetrics tell us, analytics are crucial to helping us understand what is working and lead to higher conversions, and those conversions are what makes you money.
Speaking about WooCommerce as a platform that is steaming ahead pretty fast in the world of eCommerce, we wanted to know is there something new happening with the platform since it was acquired by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
Currently WooCommerce covers more than 30% of the eCommerce market, and the Automattic team has started focusing more on the segment of larger implementations and enterprise users. The biggest shift is towards the professionalization of the entire branch, with scalability and performance being the current leading thoughts, which is noticeable in the last published development direction.
There’s also some words and rumors about the merging of WordPress.com and WooCommerce to create a Shopify competitor, but those rumors have not yet been confirmed, Krešimir says.
Last, but not least, we wanted to know whether there are some plugins that Krešimir wanted to mention as a must-have for this upcoming season, just in case you might’ve forgotten about them on your eCommerce site.
The Combination of Gravity forms and the WooCommerce platform is especially strong because it allows for the personalization of gifts and products. Also, the users that want to gift subscriptions or booking of certain services will be happy if their favourite webshops enable it. Two very high-quality bookings are tackling that precise problem: Subscriptions and Bookings.
Aside from these plugins, Krešimir said that one of the plugins that instantly proves as crucial to any webshop user is the plugin to check any outgoing email message, something that can truly prove a great feature indeed. Lastly, he said that one of the things he’d recommend is using WP Rocket to accelerate (cache) your WooCommerce platform because you can never have too much speed, right?
Of course, the process of optimizing your site for speed should probably go without saying, but having a boost here and there sure helps, so try to make it all go Woo?
Adding to the list of great advice provided to us by Krešimir, we’d like to add that the one thing that you should have no doubt over is the domain. The domain can give your site that extra push you might need, and if you’ve taken any of the advice our experts gave seriously, can make your site shine brighter than ever in the upcoming holiday season.
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