I write very little about hosting options, only because the right host is a personal choice and one that depends on many variables.
But when a hosting comes out that is focused on a specific need—and offers services and tools that fill that need—well, it’s worth taking a look.
I have used WooCommerce in one way or another since its release in 2011. I have trained store owners on the basics, both one-to-one and in group workshops. I’ve written a lot about it and even have a podcast focused on it. What I have learned from all of this is that store owners have unique needs that must be addressed in order to maintain and grow their online store.
This is what Liquid Web Managed WordPress Hosting brings to the table.
This video gives you quick tour of your Liquid Web dashboard and a preview of what comes with your install. A deeper exploration of Liquid Web’s managed WooCommerce hosting follows in the full post below.
The Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce Hosting Dashboard
The Liquid Web dashboard is streamlined and intuitive. When you first login, you will see all of your WooCommerce sites/installs. There are also a few straightforward options that are not specific to the WooCommerce managed hosting. If you are new to Liquid Web, the Stencils option is pretty cool. It makes a copy of any site that you can use to get a similar one up and running without having to start from scratch.
Manage Your WooCommerce Site
When we click the Manage Site button, we see some tools to help us with our site management and maintenance.
Live Site Overview
This is a great birds-eye view of your live site and any information you need to access. The info is right there, easy to access, whether you are a developer or store owner. I also like the option that lets you create a password easily if you want someone to view the site via password access only.
No managed host is complete without staging. For your WooCommerce site this is an even more critical piece. It gives you the ability to move a site into staging and to test updates and new plugins, as well as control numerous other things you don’t want to go sideways when your store goes live.
I ran my first staging site and you can see the appropriate settings here. And it’s incredibly easy: you can create a staging site with the mere click of a button.
You know how everyone yells at you to back up? Well, you’ll find that it’s pretty to create a backup whenever you need to, download it, and restore.
This is a cool feature. Many times when a plugin is updated on a WooCommerce site, there is a shift in the layout, or something disappears, or numerous other things happen that drive you crazy. If you don’t catch it, you cab be sure a customer will. With this feature, you can compare essential pages, side by side, and catch those buggers now.
Now I’ll share with you what extra goodies you get installed in your WordPress dashboard with Liquid Web’s managed WooCommerce hosting.
WordPress Dashboard, WooCommerce and Other Good Stuff
First, when you are in your Liquid Web dashboard and want to visit your WordPress dashboard, instead of a single link, you have the option to go to your post page, list of pages, appearance settings, plugins and your basic WP settings.
You are going to be doing one of two things when you first get your hosting: either moving a site live to Liquid Web or creating it on Liquid Web. If it’s the latter, WooCommerce will already be installed for you. You are ready to go and can run the step-by-step onboarding process or just start setting it up as you see fit. Best of all, you get all the power behind WooCommerce.
And unlike a lot of hosts, your store will come pre-installed and configured with SSL.
You also will get Jetpack installed, streamlining some of the easier setups around payment gateways and taxes.
Plugins & Extensions
If we look at our plugin page, we find several pre-installs that will come in handy. A lot of them will likely be staples for running your store, and a few, of course are optional. You can always delete any you choose not to use.
What I like about this is you get you a head start on some essential capabilities you can use with your online store.
Many of the plugins are hand-selected to help with site performance, which is important to all sites, but especially your online store.
And though the theme that is installed is customizable, they also add one of the best page builders out there, Beaver Builder. Its drag-and-drop features give you the power to customize without code.
Another one that caught my eye is a must-have for an online store: Jilt for WooCommerce. If you have any experience with online shopping carts, you probably know how often cart abandonment happens and how critical it is to be on top of that. This is where Jilt comes in. If you want to learn more about Jilt, we wrote a post here on our site.
There are several WooCommerce-specific plugins and extensions. I would guess you will be using almost all of them, if not all of them. The custom thank-you page plugin is essential and, depending on your products, the PDF invoices and packing slips will likely be needed. There are several more and I must admit from having used WooCommerce for as long as I have, Custom Product Tabs is one you will use over and over.
If you check out the screenshot above, you will also see a whole lot of other plugins I didn’t get a chance to mention.
Themes for Your Online Store
You might have your mind set on a theme already. Or perhaps you are getting one custom built. If neither is the case, check out the themes they have pre-installed because finding and choosing a theme can be a laborious task.
You will find that they have activated a theme called Astra. It’s a flexible theme that allows for some decent customizations without knowing code.
If you are still looking for a theme and are stuck, access to 500 free themes and more than 1,000 eCommerce themes will help you narrow down your options.
There’s More that Makes This Hosting Stand Out
So far, you can see that they have pulled together some tools that are going to save you time and help you improve your online store. Many of the essentials you will need, like a form plugin, are there, giving you a good start in deciding what else, if anything, you need.
Unless you are a developer or designer, you may not understand how a particular feature works, but you can certainly appreciate the end result. Simply put, it does what you need it to do. Let’s take a quick look at some of those features.
Digging into the Data
Every store owner needs to spend time looking at the data. Often we depend on Google Analytics. But setting up goals and actions can be time consuming— and challenging. Liquid Web teams up with Glew, an eCommerce and business intelligence software, to pump more power into Google Analytics. Their services offer automation and alerts for increased revenue, tools to help you build customer loyalty, and optimization of product strategy to drive profitability. It’s a huge help for any store owner whose site runs on WooCommerce.
Dealing with Traffic Spikes
Unless managed, sudden growth can pose problems for an online store. And depending on your host, huge traffic spikes can add charges to your bill. Worse case scenario, a spike may bring your site to its knees, producing the nightmare of lost sales. Liquid Web has you covered in three ways:
- Auto-Resizing of the space for storage on your site through site monitoring
- Auto-Resizing of the CPU when your site starts to slow down
- Auto-Resizing of your RAM for that extra boost of power when you need it
This can happen during sales when carts are being filled up, causing downtime. Liquid Web takes care of it and with no hidden costs.
Avoiding Surprises with Promotions
Nothing is more nerve wracking than worrying about technical glitches with a new promotion you are running. Often you cross your fingers and push the button. But Liquid Web gives you the tools to run a variety of performance tests to work out the bugs and tweak as necessary. You can set up scenarios that will help you to anticipate any issue. In fact, if you are migrating an existing site (which they will help you with), a performance test will be run on it immediately after it’s in place on their servers.
Overall Peace of Mind
There are a ton of reasons to consider Liquid Web for your WooCommerce online store. But the most important? Your shop is your livelihood, and you wouldn’t open a brick and mortar store in some run-down, inefficient building. You need the right tools—on both the site itself and behind-the-scenes— to make your customer’s experience the best it can be.
That, my friend, is what it all boils down to.