The more working parts you have to your WooCommerce store, the more you need to do to keep it running smoothly.
And it’s important to stay on top of it.
Six Essentials to Keeping Your WooCommerce Store Running Smoothly
Keep Your WooCommerce Store Updated
To do this, you need to keep on top of your updates. This means running the latest version of WordPress, your plug-ins, including WooCommerce, and your theme. The idea is to be prepared for what a small or major update could do to your site.
In a perfect world, you would set up a staging site, which is a copy of your live site, and check your updates there before making the changes on your live store. It will give you peace of mind that your live store will not break. You may already have a host that offers staging. If so, take advantage of it. If not:
- Consider switching to a WooCommerce-friendly host that offers staging.
- Use a service like WPStageCoach that will work with most hosting companies.
- Create a local server for staging and testing with ServerPress.
Updates are important but don’t be afraid to give it a little bit of time before updating your site unless it is an urgent security update.
If you want to take it to the next step, you can check out the WordPress.org support forms before updating your store or your clients’ sites. If there is a problem with an update, chances are someone else will have reported it.
Always Back Up Your WooCommerce Store
This goes hand in hand with the first tip. Backing up is a must. In fact, with any WordPress site, I have been emphasizing the importance of backups for more than a decade now.
When it comes to updating, for those minor WordPress and plugin updates, you may not always have the time to run a test. If your host has a solid backup system in place, you can go in, do a manual backup and update and if things go wrong, you can restore your update quickly.
The other piece is that stores are transactional and customers are making orders constantly. Depending on the size of your store and the number of sales, having frequent backups will ensure you have more snapshots that you can restore from if something goes wrong. Using VaultPress through Jetpack and their real-time backups can be a lifesaver. You can read more about that here on this post.
You will need to have a backup schedule that you’re comfortable with and set your backups to run automatically. Be sure to check from time to time to make sure your backups are working and that your server or whatever method your using to store backups has enough memory and is secure.
Depending on your host, you may not get the schedule of backups you want. Most are daily. In that case, you can use a service like VaultPress which I already mentioned. Or a plugin like BackupBuddy, which we recommend. This puts the the control and the responsibility of backing up on you, not your host.
Don’t Forget to Market Your Store
We all know that the build-it-and-they-will-come advice doesn’t work. You must have an ongoing marketing plan in place. It might be publishing great content to your blog or through social media by creating a content strategy. You may choose to advertise on Facebook or dive into email marketing. It could even be building up your SEO.
There are many sides to marketing. You will need to explore how automation works into your marketing place, especially if you are limited on time. You just need to find the right strategy.
Pay Attention to Your Metrics and Analytics
WooCommerce has some decent reporting built into it. But you will need to go further than that with tracking and your analytics. There’s no one-size-fits all approach to running a store since products, brand, target audience, and competitors will vary. This is why it’s important to track your key metrics. These days, you can track pretty much anything so make the most of the data at your disposal.
The metrics that stand out are shopping cart abandonment, traffic, and conversions. There are many more metrics you can track and Google Analytics is a great tool. But for some it is challenging to understand, so you might want to simplify what Google Analytics is showing you with a tool like Analytify.
You might want to listen to this podcast we did specifically on Google Analytics. In addition, do not overlook the shopping and checkout behavior feature you can use.
Keep Your Products Updated
Although this appears to be a no-brainer, make sure all of your product content is kept up to date, including descriptions and images specifically. Outdated info can be a killer or a hassle down the road.
Provide Top-notch Customer Support
When you are looking at important aspects of your store to keep on top of, you may not think that customer support falls into that category. But it does. No matter what industry you are in and no matter what you’re selling, ensuring that your customers feel they are being listened to is critical. The more that you can help them, the more likely you are to build your reputation and credibility.
When you make a customer feel valued and special, you create a customer for life. There are a lot of different tools you can use to manage customer service, such as contact forms and email as well as social media. Texting is also a consideration that many store owners don’t think of. And of course, live chat is one of the most popular real-time solutions for helping customers as they browse your store.
Don’t forget to add resources and frequently asked questions to your site so customers can quickly find the information they need.
These five essentials are a great start to keeping on top of your WooCommerce store. Remember to treat it as you would any brick-and-mortar shop. Give it the special care and attention it needs to succeed.