WooCommerce Review – Should I host it with Bluehost?
WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms worldwide. The WooCommerce plugin turns your WordPress website into a very powerful online store. So it is no surprise that Automattic, the company behind WordPress, added this successful plugin to its portfolio in May 2015. Unlike Shopify, Bigcommerce, and other competitors, WooCommerce is an open-source solution. But what does this mean? Let us give you a short overview:
As you may know, WordPress, and the plugin WooCommerce, are both free. Since it is open-source you can host it anywhere provided you can install WordPress. However, finding a good hosting solution can be difficult. Find more detailed pricing information in our WooCommerce Pricing article. Bluehost conveniently provides several “WordPress + WooCommerce” bundles pre-installed. This can be quite handy if you don’t have the technical skills to set it up for a test installation.
So how easy is it then to launch an online store? Let’s check out the details:
See the online store in action
The WooCommerce Online Store in Detail
|Ease of use||
||If you find WordPress.org difficult to use then WooCommerce is not the right platform for you. Hosted store builders like Shopify and BigCommerce are easier to use.|
||Depending on the theme, easily add a zoom function, picture gallery and videos.|
||This is very powerful and allows you to have different colors, sizes and other attributes. Once you get it, it will save a lot of time.|
|Cart function||yes||The backend gives you control of many cart functions including a one-page checkout (paid feature). There's also a paid add-on for cart abandonment emails.|
|Article numbers||yes||You can add your own SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) number to each product.|
|Mobile view||yes||Modern themes are optimized for mobile devices. Find some examples for WooCommerce themes here.|
|Checkout, payment and shipping|
||Standard payment options are: bank transfer, cheque, cash on delivery, and PayPal. You can easily add other payment methods like credit card via add-ons, but this can result in extra costs (e.g. Stripe $79/year).|
|Sale of digital goods||yes||Not a problem. Additionally, set a login requirement for the products that you offer.|
|SSL encryption||yes||It’s even possible to force the whole check out process as SSL encrypted (provided you have a SSL certificate).|
|Customer log-in area||yes||Decide whether customers need to register or not with just a few clicks. This can be handy for returning customers.|
|Coupon codes||yes||Many options like free shipping, product and cart discount are available.|
|Shipping cost settings||
||There are many built-in shipping rate options available. Shipping carriers (UPS, FedEx, etc.) can be added via add-ons. Dropshipping can be done with a plugin.|
||Very flexible tax settings, for example define reduced rates and zero rates.|
||If you need stock management, get either ‘low stock’ and ‘out of stock’ notifications.|
|Customizable e-mails for order confirmation||
||Adding a header and your own colors can be done without coding. For more design flexibility you can switch the email template as well.|
|Importing/exporting product data||yes / yes||Both are possible, but there’s no built-in function available. You'll therefore need a plugin or add-on.|
|E-Commerce analysis||yes||WooCommerce provides detailed reports about your orders, customers, stock and taxes. If you need even more insights, you can also add Google Analytics.|
|Exporting order data||yes||An add-on or plugin is required (extra costs). It allows you to export your orders in a .CSV format.|
|WooCommerce is as powerful as Shopify, and it gives you even more control since you can decide where you want to host your online store, but it's by far less beginner-friendly and certain features aren't included in the core system.|
Stan Lee, the author of the first Spiderman, wrote: “With great power there must also come great responsibility!” This is exactly what you’ll have with WooCommerce. It’s powerful, but at the same time it can give you a really hard time. There are so many possibilities for what you can do with WooCommerce, but this can become quite overwhelming for a beginner. Even though WordPress and WooCommerce are pre-installed with Bluehost, the technical knowledge that’s required is pretty high (and we’re not even talking about coding).
Fortunately, WooCommerce provides detailed and well-explained video tutorials that will help you with setting up your store. However if you run into problems, even if you are a Bluehost customer, the only option you have available is a community forum. The quality there can vary heavily. In our test we had to wait longer than 48h to get a response.
We were also surprised about all the hidden costs that you will face if you want to add certain features. Most of them are included in other solutions such as Shopify and Bigcommerce. Even though the core system is free, all these add-ons can turn out to be very pricey. On the bright side, it’s fantastic that you such a big pool of themes to choose from: Themeforest alone features more than 2,700 WooCommerce-compatible themes.
If you want to test WooCommerce you can take advantage of Bluehost’s 30-day money back guarantee. Should you have problems with that, perhaps have a look at some of the alternative solutions instead. They could save you some headaches.
WooCommerce Online Shop Examples Websites
Is there a cheaper alternative to Bluehost?
You can check out 1&1’s WordPress packages. They start at around $7.99 per month and also offer hosting that is optimized for WordPress.
Can I sell digital goods like MP3s, videos or eBooks with WooCommerce?
Absolutely! WooCommerce gives you many options how you want to make your files available.
What payment fees does WooCommerce charge?
None. However, if you want to provide credit card payment, you will need a service like Authorize.net or PayPal which may charge additional payment fees.
Can I run WooCommerce without WordPress?
No, this is not possible. WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress and therefore you need to have WordPress installed.
How can I create a multi-lingual store with WooCommerce?
You will need a plugin like WPML that translates your store. However, keep in mind that a translation alone normally doesn’t fulfill legal requirements for other countries.
16 Feb 2017 – 1&1 added as alternative
21 Jul 2016 – Updates in cart function
02 Nov 2015 – Initial WooCommerce review
Last update: 16 Feb 2017 |