3For me the concept of online stores is nothing less than the invention of smartphones. The task of purchasing things that you’d love to have (or, you really…really need..) without having to visit a physical store after a tiring day at office, and then getting it shipped at your doorstep, feels as comforting as doing five different tasks with your phone at the same time.
Well, I am not saying this because I am an ardent online shopper; it’s because we all love to shop online and we know it’s here to stay.
Let’s be upfront, we are here not to promote any platform because it’s one of the reasons why we are certified Affiliated Woo Worker, but because we also think a lot about the people who run these shops. We help them develop, customize a site or a theme, or build new plugins for adding extra functionalities. And this post is another way of extending our helping hand to those who are new to this amazing way of doing business.
Without stating the obvious about ‘why Woo Commerce and no other platform’, let’s tell you why we recommend Woo Commerce to those who cannot decide which eCommerce platform to choose.
It’s been Woo-ing people since 2011. Woo Commerce, the eCommerce plugin for WordPress, was developed by the efficient team of developers at WooThemes. Launched in September 2011, Woo Commerce presently powers a large chunk of the ever-increasing eCommerce businesses on the web. The plugin enjoys 4 965 895 downloads (eh, yes, that was the exact figure at the time of writing this post!) and the number keeps increasing every time your refresh its home page. The result – now it powers more than 381,187 websites. Well, that says a lot about ‘why’ this and not others. Simply put, this is a free WordPress plugin just like any other free plugin available at the wordpress.org plugin directory. But, the twist lies in the wonders it can do and the rest can’t.
It doesn’t come with a price tag. There are many standard CMS tools out there to help you set up your online shop, albeit with a price. The killer plugin is absolutely free. It is open source but, we bet, you can’t get your mind off it because of its feature extensive, user-friendliness. (That’s what you look for in a plugin!) If you are on the lookout of an easy-to-operate, free, feature rich, customizable, out-of-the-box solution for your eCommerce platform – your search ends here. Period.
The unbeatable flexibility is ‘The Star’. It’s an open source plugin, make it work for you in every possible way. You need no knowledge of coding or highly technical stuffs to work with the basics. However, to add higher level of functionality to your site, you can reach out for developers like us who are skilled in this platform. Whatever you do with your site, if you know you business and your customers, working with WooCommerce would be easier. Just make sure, the developers you hired are experienced.
It’s ‘The Richie Rich’ when it comes to features. Honestly, to talk about the features of WooCommerce, we would need another separate post. Think of anything that you want to have in a basic ecommerce site, and WooCommerce will show you how it is done! Starting from adding special functionality to getting a professionally designed theme, everything can be taken care of. Group your products, set a sale price, select your payment platforms, with a few clicks. You can sell products of any type – physical, virtual, affiliate, external or even downloadable. For WooCommerce, these are just ‘products’. One more thing for which we love WooCommerce is analytics –a panel that lets you keep a track of your sales data. These are represented through charts and graphs easily understandable and accurate. Well, like I’ve said earlier, these are just the primary features.
Non techies are always welcome. Even if you are new to WooCommerce, it is never going to be a tough shell to crack with some trial and error methods at the initial levels. Just fool around and it would hardly take 5/6 hours for you to get a hold of its basics. For folks having prior knowledge of using WordPress, it’s going to be even smoother. If you switch to WooCommerce from any other platform, you will immediately fall for its ease of use compared to the previous one you’ve been using. So, just install WordPress, get WooCommerce plugin, set them up, and sell your stuffs. A little patience and some handy online tutorials on WooCommerce would do the job for you.
Tweak it until you are happy. It doesn’t come with a price, but acts even better than other platforms that require you to cough off some hard cash. Being free has not made WooCommerce an inflexible piece of technical jargon and there is a huge room for customization. There are many themes available at the WooThemes store that support WooCommerce. Experiment with the look of your site and take it to a level of uniqueness with these themes. You can change the CSS style and colors along with fonts. You can add images, slides, personalized logos too. If you understand codes, even better; tweak the theme code and add special features to it. Go, play!
Extensions are always loved. Aren’t they? WooCommerce extensions are absolute godsend. You will find more than hundred different kinds of extensions here at the WooThemes directory – a place to explore the ways to make a woo-shop unique through these extensions. Some of the extensions available are for free and some require a fee. With extensions you can find apps pertaining to payment gateways, marketing, accounting, etc. ensuring you a site with supreme functionalities.
Want to check out some sites built with Woo Commerce? Read these stories online.
Renowned security firm, Imperva’s annual web application attack report has recently declared that WordPress is the most attacked website CMS in the world. In fact, some revelations were twitchier than one can ever imagine – websites running on WordPress were attacked 24 percent more than those running on other CMSs combined. Additionally, it was reported that WordPress faced Cross Site Scripting incidents almost 60 percent more than any other CMSs. It’s now confirmed that self hosted WordPress users are more at risk than the ones who use shared hosts.
These facts will somehow force people like us, who live, work and think on WordPress recollect those incidents where the news of WordPress sites being attacked by hackers created ripples in the CMS arena. Moreover, the discovery Securi made, earlier this year, that more than 1000 legitimates sites working on this platform was attacked by hackers with the sole motive to connect users to a notorious botnet was nothing less than a bolt from the blue. However, WordPress’ Reset the Net campaign instills hope in us that things will sail smooth again. And on top of that support from biggies like Twitter, Reddit, Imgur, Google and Mozilla was the best part of this entire campaign!
Even after all these initiatives, the million dollar question remains – Is there a way out? To stay away from such threats you can take some essential steps, some of which may sound like clichés but believe it or not, but they do work. Here’s a list of ways to help you keep safe distance from security risks in WordPress –
>>Update the core software
For users who rely on self-hosting, the first thing you got to do is update your server software appropriately. This will also call for updating your OS, PHP and other similar applications. Also, you have to update the web server. We would rather suggest you to recheck if everything’s okay and keep the update process going with other software installed in the system. Outdated software increases the chances of malware attacks. WordPress update hardly takes a few minutes and now it comes with an automatic update process, so it won’t let your entire day go to waste. Moreover, for automatic security fixes, you can enable automatic WordPress update.
>>Security add-ons are a must
There are plenty of add-ons that are always ready to shield your site from hackers and web crooks. These add-ons lock down your websites and they do it after considering your preferences, of course. In case, you don’t know from where to get them, go through the WordPress plugin list and find the one that suits your requirements.
>> Update the plugins and themes you are using
Only updating the core software will not help you in the long run if the plugins and themes you use for your website have not gone through the same process. Yes, core software update is a must but that’s not enough, you also have to update those plugins and themes your website depends on. It’s always a good to know that WordPress keeps notifying its users about all the plugins and themes that need updating in the admin panel itself.
>> Secure the login page
Secure your login/wp-admin page with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This will provide additional security to your WordPress website and make it less vulnerable to malware attacks. An absence of such a configuration helps hackers to easily decode your password. For some of you, attempting such a super technical task can prove to be a huge challenge without an expert – not to worry, there are WordPress experts everywhere around the globe who can help you restore your site’s security.
>> Go for two-factor authentication
To add a second level of authentication to your website, you must use two-factor authentication. It’s no longer a new concept; it is accepted as a practical solution to security related problems. It’s a far better and safer way to ensure security and is done by adding a second factor to your login id and password. There are mainly 3 ways in which users can be authenticated – Firstly, by considering something that is completely secret to the user (like his password or PIN); secondly, through something the user owns currently (like mobile number), and thirdly, via something that physically relates to the user (like fingerprint, retina and voice recognition).
So, these were some tried and tested methods of eradicating security risks in WordPress and giving hackers a tough time.
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