If you know me, you know I am all about teaching and learning. Most of my WordPress career has been based on just that. So when I come across quality learning sites that I can refer my readers to, I don’t hesitate. Because let’s face it. For a lot of people just jumping into WordPress, it doesn’t come as easy as they had anticipated. In fact, my mantra is WordPress isn’t easy for everyone, but once you learn it, it becomes easier.
This is also true of a lot of the WordPress plugins. One of the most popular eCommerce plugins, WooCommerce, is no exception. It’s a powerful plugin that can help you build from a small online shop to a mega-store. But when tackling the setup, you usually need some guidance.
A helping hand. That is where WP Apprentice comes into play.
WP Apprentice Online Courses
Kirk over at WP Apprentice is not new to the whole online course thing; he has been doing this for some time. His popular WP Essentials and WP Website Blueprint have a good reputation in the WordPress space. More recently, he released his WooCommerce Essentials Course and that is what we are looking at today.
I have not gone through the entire course, which includes over 6 hours of instruction via 45 video tutorials, but I did randomly pick a few to get a feel of not only how they are presented, but a sense of Kirk’s teaching style as well.
The WooCommerce Essentials Course
The course is broken into the two parts:
- eCommerce Quick Start
- WooCommerce Essential Lessons
eCommerce Quick Start
This is listed as a bonus to the course and takes you beyond some of the initial questions around the WooCommerce settings, products and other direct functionality:
What caught my attention here were the pieces that Kirk pulled in that not everyone would include.
As I said, many of these lessons help you to better understand the broad scope of eCommerce and the importance of choosing the right eCommerce plugin. In fact, I found it interesting as he shared short videos on other plugins such as Easy Digital Downloads or Shopping Cart platforms. What he presents here gives you an opportunity to think deeper into the WordPress eCommerce ecosystem and make a better choice based on your needs.
In addition, some lessons on site design, security, payment processing, etc., give you a better birds-eye view of what it takes to set up and run an online store.
The Essential Courses
This is where you start digging into the actual plugin WooCommerce and get help in setting up your online store.
The first video impressed me because it included something a lot of introductory course material lack. Kirk not only explains what you can expect in the course in terms that even the beginner can understand, but he also explains what not to expect. With a topic such as eCommerce, this is so critical and I’m sure his students appreciate the candor.
Another one I listened to was Integrating WooCommerce with an Existing Website. This one intrigued me because it’s a big pain point for many people who are onboarding with WooCommerce. Kirk not only covered the situations any person may find themselves in, but also explained it from the start, without assuming you simply understood what WooCommerce brings into your site.
Here Kirk goes through the basic settings and does a thorough job of explaining each one. After listening to a few of them, his clarity shines through. I especially found it interesting when he was talking about the tax settings. His emphasis on getting your taxes in order using a professional accountant was what he considered as your first step and something you should do before even setting these up. Now unless you are a tax pro yourself, and understand all the implications behind taxes, I thought this was a nice touch, instead of just hitting the settings, explaining what they do and moving on.
The Products part of WooCommerce is a huge piece and each product type is well explained in his videos. I watched the Variable Products, as I know from having worked with beginners a lot, this is probably the one they have the most challenges with. I appreciated his explanation of other product types. When creating a variable product he doesn’t just jump into the guts of the settings that are unique to a variable product, such as attributes and variations. Instead, he explains other generic settings such as Taxes, Shipping, etc to show you how you will want to determine those specific settings based on your variable product. Although this may be hard to imagine, I can assure you that it will help you understand it even much better when setting up your own variable products.
Design and Customization
This module is a great addition as often we leave it be with WooCommerce settings and feel we are good to go. Adding in lessons on themes and widgets gives you better direction when it come to building out your online store just beyond adding the eCommerce plugin.
Kirk’s approach on looking for and evaluating themes will help anyone who is still at that point of indecision. He admits, as most of us do, that there is no magic formula for finding a theme, but he does give you some good tips to help you start your search and be more aware of what you are looking at and for.
He also shows you how to set it up with a few chosen themes and revisits the challenges of using WooCommerce with your existing theme, providing some good solutions there as well. No matter where you are with your site, he pretty much has you covered.
Running Your Store
Again, you will find a lot of online courses on plugins that will show you how to install, and how to set them up. But with an eCommerce plugin, that is only the beginning. You are creating an ecosystem with your online store that you will need to continue to manage. The more you know, the better success you will have with your store. It’s not something that you just plug and play. This module of lessons will help you better understand specific features and options that come with WooCommerce.
Here Kirk explains some options to expand your site beyond what WooCommerce itself offers through extensions, picking out some of the more commonplace ones that a store owner may want to add. For example, I know that the Table Rate Shipping is a very popular and needed extension as the built-in options for WooCommerce are limited. He does a good job of explaining, so you will know if you need it, rather than having to second guess.
As with any video course, the challenge is constant change and how to keep up with that. On the lesson for Membership sites, I can imagine that at some point he will be changing this one from using the Groups extension to using the Membership extension.
I have gone through and watched various courses on WooCommerce for the beginner and can say that what I actually recommend can be counted on one hand. The course over at WP Apprentice can easily be included in this group.
Kirk’s ability to teach with ease, simple understanding and clarity comes through in each lesson. He takes the time to explain things and isn’t rushing through it or trying to woo you into thinking you are embarking on a very easy job. He gives clear indications of what you can learn through his videos, but also other pieces where you may need to seek out professional help. He doesn’t sugar coat anything.
If you are considering building a WooCommerce online store, or haven’t yet decided on WooCommerce, this course will certainly guide you in the right direction. And because he offers it risk-free for 30 days, with a no-questions 100% money back guarantee, you can do no wrong. I would recommend the WP Apprentice WooCommerce Essentials course to anyone thinking about starting work on building their online store.