Within the WordPress Dashboard, WooCommerce will indicate whether or not an update is available. Making sure that WooCommerce is up to date helps protect your online store from vulnerabilities and security breaches that have been discovered that could pose potential problems or threats to not only your store’s security but also your customer’s information.
Likewise, it makes sure that your store is using the latest version of WooCommerce, which might include new features that can enhance your store as well as shoppers’ experiences.
Before applying any updates to WooCommerce, it is a good practice to perform a backup to prevent any data loss or corruption of the WooCommerce database that organizes and stores your store’s information. And key WordPress content such as themes, plugins, and other content located in the wp-content folder on your web server.
When a new version of WordPress is released, it is crucial that your version is updated. This helps your website stay up to date and protects it from security and bugs concerns. Within the WordPress Dashboard, a message will appear near the top indicating that an update is available.
WordPress can be updated via the WordPress Dashboard by clicking on Updates. If nothing is displayed, try clicking the Check Again button to see if there is one available.
Updates can also be done manually via FTP or configured via most web hosts to be updated automatically. Prior to updating WordPress, be sure to perform a backup of your existing WordPress files by using a free or premium backup plugin such as:
- Backup Buddy
Plugins are constantly being updated to address bugs and security concerns or replace an outdated version. For the continual operation of your store, it is imperative that all plugins used in your store are not outdated. Outdated plugins could compromise your entire online store and cause it to not work correctly.
Within the WordPress Dashboard Plugins Page, WordPress indicates which plugins need to be updated by providing a highlighted message.
Updating WooCommerce Extensions
Upon initially installing WooCommerce, you either signed up for a WooCommerce. com account or postponed it to a later time. Within the WordPress Dashboard WooCommerce Page, you can purchase extensions that provide additional features to your online store. Some of those extension include:
- Product Add-Ons
- Checkout Add-On
- Cart Reports
- Smart Coupons
- Follow-Up Emails
Backing Up WordPress and WooCommerce
Regular backups are crucial to your store’s success and bottom line. If your store malfunctions for any reason or you forget to renew your store’s web hosting, your store could experience downtime in which prospects and repeat customers cannot make purchases.
Depending on the popularity of your store, the longer it is unavailable, the more potential sales revenue could be lost. When a recent backup is not readily available to restore the store to an operational state, you might have to reinstall WordPress and WooCommerce, which can involve a considerable amount of time depending on the number of products or services and how they were entered into WooCommerce.
Consistent backups should be performed on your store to ensure key WordPress and WooCommerce components are backed up. While WordPress and WooCommerce are reinstalling, your store is offline, and you are losing potential sales until your store is up and running again.
Backups can either be performed manually or automatically, but it is a good practice to perform automatic backups. JetPack is a good plugin to use for automated backups and one-click backup restores with VaultPress but requires a paid plan.
UpdraftPlus offers a free restoration and backup plugin version that has over a million active installs. Once a backup has been scheduled, it can be stored in cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, or UpdraftPlus’s UpdraftVault.
It also offers a premium with more advanced features such as site duplicator and migrator, automatic backups, and more. Another option is BackWPup with over 600,000 active users and over 5 million downloads.1 BackWPup allows backups to be scheduled or performed immediately and saved to cloud services similar to UpdraftPlus.
Once your store is launched, you want to monitor its performance. WooCommerce provides a way to do this with WooCommerce reports. These reports provide information in numerical as well as graphical form on the financial health of your online store. Some of the items that it tracks includes:
- Gross sales
- Net sales
- Items purchased
- Refunded orders
- Shipping charges
- Coupons used
Based on this information, you can monitor your online store’s performance and make any necessary adjustments to your marketing efforts.
Whether your brand is already established before your online store launched or not, coupons can be a good marketing strategy to entice prospects to visit your online store. Who can resist saving money with a coupon? Coupons are not only good for attracting prospects but also encouraging repeat customers to visit and purchase items.
These coupons can be given descriptive names and descriptions to help track their effectiveness in generating sales.
WooCommerce allows store owners to create three types of coupons:
- Percentage discount
- Fixed cart discount
- Fixed product discount
With this flexibility, store owners can customize their coupon strategy to maximize their effectiveness as well as generate sales.
Renewing Domain Name
Domain names are an important part of an online store’s existence. It helps to build its brand. It is also one of the things people will remember about the store. Domain names have to be renewed for one to five years. Longer renewals help with search engine optimization because it shows that it will be around for a while.
If not renewed, someone else can purchase the domain name, which will disrupt the operation of the store until another domain is purchased or repurchased from the domain buyer often at a much higher price. Automatic renewals with the chosen domain registrar are a good strategy to implement to prevent someone else from acquiring a store’s domain name as well as an interruption in service.
Renewing Web Hosting
Besides not renewing a domain name, not renewing web hosting can cause an immediate disruption in the store’s operation. Not only will this result in downtime and lost sales but also the possibility of re-creating the store if a recent backup is not available.
It is a good idea to periodically check the expiration of the credit card that is on file with the web host (as well as the domain registrar) to make sure that it has not expired. An expired credit card can also result in a store’s downtime. Also, it is good idea to renew web hosting automatically to prevent an interruption in service along with possible file loss and deletion. Believe it or not, it does happen and can happen to you.
Providing New Products
Once an online store has been in business for a while, store owners can review the sales reports and determine which products are the top sellers and update their product inventory. Based on this information, either more of these products can be introduced or new products in this category can be introduced to shoppers.
These new products can also be introduced in the email newsletter sent to prospects and customers.
Once an online store launches, the work does not end. It actually begins because the store must be maintained. Its success (and failure) depends on the amount of maintenance applied to help the store meet its short-term and long-term goals. By following these strategies, an online store can operate efficiently and provide a good customer shopping experience.