woocommerce pricing - how to get a free or low cost ecommerce website up and running in no time

Woocommerce pricing – low-cost eCommerce

The aim of this post is to give you a heads up on how you can leverage Woocommerce pricing to get the most eCommerce bang for your buck. I want to show you the possible features and functionality that you can get for free, or at a low cost. So that you can develop your WordPress / Woocommerce eCommerce site quickly. And fully take advantage of what you can do for not much investment at all. If you have decided to consider Woocommerce for your eCommerce store, this post is for you!

Woocommerce pricing – the core plugin is free

The best news is that the core plugin that you need to build your eCommerce website, is actually free. The Woocommerce plugin has the functionality you need for eCommerce. It has a product catalogue, with a shop page displaying all your products. It also has the capacity to create product categories and simple editable pages to add products to your store. Woocommerce also has a cart page, where your customers can edit and update their cart, add coupons, and get a quote for shipping. As well as a checkout page where your customers can add their details and pay for your products.

A Woocommerce checkout page – built with Shoptimizer

When setting up Woocommerce, you will be able to set up flat rate or table rate shipping as well as free shipping (if you plan to offer this). You can also set up your store’s location, the countries you will sell to, the countries you will ship to, and your currency. 

I would recommend setting up a check payment method, to begin with. In order to test if orders are being successfully taken by your store. There are also free plugins for Stripe, PayPal, and even Afterpay, if you plan to use this. The good news with these plugins is that they are free to use. The fees that you do pay are a variable cost, coming out of goods that you sell. So there is no upfront cost. 

Your theme – start with free

The next most important thing you will need for your eCommerce store, is a theme. This tells WordPress how to display your content and allows you to manipulate the look and feel of your website.

Storefront product page

My suggestion if you are just starting out with Woocommerce and WordPress for your eCommerce store is to start with a free theme. It can be overwhelming thinking about what your theme might need from the beginning with no design or user experience. You could try a Woocommerce theme, which is also free, such as Storefront. https://woocommerce.com/storefront/ This should have enough functionality to get you going with your Woocommerce store. You can always do the work to get an eCommerce theme that will tick all the boxes once you have validated your product offering and got some traffic. Or if you want to jump in and get the best eCommerce theme right now, at a time-limited discount, get Shoptimizer! This is what I use, because of its superior user experience and customisation options.

Shoptimizer Woocommerce Theme

So, you might be wondering ‘How does Woocommerce make its money if it gives its plugin and theme away for free?’ Woocommerce pricing is interesting. It is based on a freemium model. The basic infrastructure that you utilise in your website is free. However, as your store grows, and you get more traffic, you will benefit from a great range of Woocommerce plugins that add extra functionality to your store. You don’t need to worry about that now though! You have the Woocommerce plugin and you have a theme, and (as long as you have hosting) you are pretty much good to go.

A word on hosting for Woocommerce

You may already have a web hosting account for your website. In which case, it is easy enough to add your Woocommerce website to your server. It is simply a case of pointing your domain name servers to the web host and installing WordPress within a new addon domain within your host. Please get in touch if you need any help doing this!

The cPanel dashboard of your web host

If you don’t have a web host already, there are a range of options to consider. If you are in Australia and would prefer Australian hosting, you might want to consider Crucial. They have excellent reliability and are reasonably priced. They also have great support, so you might want to check them out. 

Basically, you will need a web hosting account, where you can host all the files of your website, which will serve content to your visitors when they visit your domain.

You will also need a domain

Like hosting, you may already have a domain that is pointed towards your web host. You can also transfer your domain when you sign up for web hosting. I use Crazy Domains as my domain registrar, as they have some good discounts and are reliable.

Validating your product idea with free Woocommerce pricing

eCommerce can take up to three months to get established enough to start paying you profits. And the good thing about eCommerce is that success is really dependent on how long you have been in the game. It is not unusual to see doubling your sales figures each year. However, in the beginning, you may find that your sales are not overwhelming. The longer you stick with it, the better things get. As your domain builds authority and you become more well-known.

When I reflect back on Little Snail’s figures, it took at least six months to consistently see figures over $500 a month. And after 18 months we started to see figures consistently over $1K per month. We made $10K in our second year, $30K in the third year, and in our sixth financial year hit the $100K mark. It is not all profit, but it does go to show that patience will serve you well in eCommerce.

Growth in a typical eCommerce website

Before any of that, you are going to need to validate your product offering. And there is no better validation than actual sales. If you have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) you can show your customers, drive some traffic to your shop or product pages, and start to understand if people are interested in what you have to sell. This will give you the confidence to invest in more stock. And to continue to advertise your product to bring in more sales. 

What other functionality can I add to my store for free?

There is also a great collection of plugins that can add functionality to your eCommerce store. And like Woocommerce pricing, this list that I am about to offer is mostly plugins that you can get for free. I will also add another section after this of plugins that are really helpful. However, you are going to have to pay for these.

Analytics and security plugins

Adding the Jetpack plugin to your website will give you a basic real-time understanding of how many visitors you are getting to your website and where they are coming from. To get a free account from Jetpack, you need to sign up for a wordpress.com account. Jetpack also has some great security features and can speed up deliverability of your images on the web. 

In terms of security, you can’t go past Wordfence and iThemes Security. These plugins can alert to you any unauthorised login attempts, any attempts to hack into your site. Wordfence can even tell you if any files have been changed. And the scan is invaluable to find out if you have had any unauthorised file changes or harmful files on your website.

In terms of reducing spam, you can’t go past Titan AntiSpam. This is a great plugin that will stop comment spam from being delivered to your inbox. 

Google Analytics plugins are another great way of building more awareness about the performance of your website and the earlier you install them the better, because they can’t collect data retrospectively. Once you are sure that eCommerce is your jam, you will also need to implement Extended Ecommerce for your Google Analytics account and install a Tag Manager in order to look at things like categories of products that are performing. 

Search and social proof plugins

A live search plugin, such as Product Live Search is a great plugin to add in order to allow customers to easily search for your products. It will provide a convenient user experience, that your customers will appreciate when looking for products on your website. 

The Beeketing plugin allows you to add a social proof element to your website for free. The free version will allow your website to trigger a little pop up in the bottom left hand corner with social proof about products that other customers have bought (or which you have created). Beeketing has additional services that you can pay for if you find these useful. However, the social proof part is free. 

Some paid plugins that will help you to get the most out of your eCommerce website

Elementor is arguably the best plugin for customising and building your pages in any way you see fit. The pro version allows you to install templates into your pages and to edit and construct your product and other Woocommerce pages.

Elementor page builder

Short Pixel is a great plugin that will optimise your image sizes, by reducing the amount of data in each image. This is very helpful, as it will help with page loading speeds of your website. The prices are very reasonable and you pay for credits to optimise your images.

Shipment Tracking by Woocommerce will allow you to add tracking numbers to your orders as you ship them, allowing you to add a note to your customer to automatically send the tracking link and details to them. This is a wonderful feature that will save you a lot of time. 

Speaking of website speed. You can’t go past the caching plugin WP-Rocket for being able to speed up your website and to help to cache your files so that your customers don’t have to fully load the page every time they return to visit your website. You will notice remarkably improved loading speeds when you install wp-rocket onto your website. 

When you get more established, you will benefit from an eCommerce CRM. In that case, we find the features of the Metorik app exceptional for gathering and analysing data and engaging with our customers.

Conclusion – Woocommerce pricing can give you a lot to work with

In conclusion, I would say that there is a lot you can do with your WordPress eCommerce website for free. Especially with Woocommerce pricing for free. The only real upfront costs you will have to pay are for your domain and for your hosting. A domain will cost about $20 a year and hosting will cost about $20 a month. So, take advantage of the free Woocommerce pricing and start your eCommerce website today!

I am always here if you would like any help with the design or development of your store, or building advanced functionality into your WordPress/Woocommerce eCommerce website.

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