Is WooCommerce Really Free? (It Depends)

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For anyone looking to start their own business selling products and goods, then WooCommerce can seem like the knight in shining armor they have been waiting for. The website itself is free to use, which is a major highlight for an entrepreneur right out of the gates. But is this website really free to use?

Is WooCommerce really free? WooCommerce is open-source software that is free to use. However, there are still some fees and costs associated with launching a new store. The business owner should keep in mind that there are hosting fees, domain fees, costs for themes, and shopping and marketing plugins.

If you’re considering stepping into the world of WooCommerce and kickstarting your biz, then you will want to know all of the potential fees and costs associated with using this website. In this article, you will see a breakdown of all of the fees and potential costs that go hand-in-hand with using WooCommerce.

Initial Cost: Hosting and Domain

WooCommerce doesn’t actually work alone. It’s essentially a specific plugin that works off of WordPress, a world-renowned site that helps individuals to kickstart their very own website. That being said, the very first thing you will need is a host. From there, you can buy a specialized plan to suit your needs.

Don’t worry – it’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact, this may be the simplest part of setting up your WooCommerce store. There is a multitude of different hosts to choose from, all with their own price tags attached. Some of the most popular hosts include BlueHost, HostGator Cloud, and Hostinger.

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding a host. Keep in mind, though, that the costs can vary greatly. Some of these companies will offer their services for less than $5 per month, while others can range up to $5,000 or more. Most companies have an initial period of free or low-cost services to make sure you’re making the right choice.

Once you have found your host, you will need to purchase and register a domain. If you don’t know what a domain is, it is simply the name of your website. Think of this way: if you’re selling handmade dolls and your name is Charley, then you could have your domain name be something like www. CharleysHandmadeDolls .com. The domain is CharleysHandsmadeDolls.

First and foremost, you should think of the name you are going to use. Your host should be able to provide you with a domain registry so you can search for your ideal name and find out whether or not it’s taken before you get settled.

Once you’re settled on the domain name, you will need to purchase the domain, which will be a yearly expense. For most people, the average cost of running their domain per year is $15, which certainly doesn’t break the bank.

Second Cost: Themes

If you take a look at the WooCommerce setup, it’s pretty bland and boring. It certainly isn’t a theme that is going to set you apart from the crowd, and while this may not seem like a big deal, having a standout website can lead to more sales. After all, shoppers tend to visit the store that catches their eye – why would it be any different online shopping?

Your next cost is going to be optional but is highly recommended. This cost is simply to attach a theme to your website. Now, there are literally thousands of free themes you can choose from. In fact, you might find exactly what you are looking for in the free section.

If nothing comes to mind you may need to purchase a theme, and there are actually several reasons to consider buying:

  • You will stand out. Other companies will be using similar themes, but yours will be set apart from the crowd. The look will engage customers and they will remember it even after they leave the website, which will likely bring them back for more.
  • You won’t have limited functions. The free themes offered by WooCommerce don’t have many functions, which means your store is limited. While this may be fine for a brand new business, anyone looking to grow and have special features will want to buy a theme instead.
  • You will be able to provide customer service. How important is customer service? With a paid theme, you will have this option. Free themes only offer a Q&A section which really doesn’t get the job done.
  • Your site will be regularly updated. Updates occur regularly when you choose a paid theme to help them function better. These updates help your website and will automatically notify your customers about any type of update that’s happening. This makes customers happy as they are kept ‘in the loop.’

If you don’t have money to spend on a theme right off the bat, it’s okay to use the WooCommerce storefront theme. It’s a simple theme that will get the job done. However, keep in mind that, eventually, you may want to expand. Paid themes don’t cost too much money, although it depends on the theme you choose. Most cost anywhere from $20 to $100 yearly.

Third Cost: Shopping Plugins

You want your customers to have a good shopping experience, right? Think about the last time you shopped online: if the overall experience was smooth and quick, then you were likely to return. Having to struggle to get your items, as a consumer, is no good. That’s why it is important to toss in some shopping plugins onto your WooCommerce site.

Does that mean you have to spend money on plugins? Not necessarily! In fact, there are a lot of free shopping plugins that can really step up your game.

Here are a few top-notch free shopping plugins you might want to consider:

  • YITH WooCommerce Wishlist:  When you’re shopping, sometimes you find something you really want. But alas, your paycheck isn’t coming for another 2 weeks and you simply don’t have the money to buy it just yet. So, how can you be sure that you won’t forget about this item or not be able to find it? With a Wishlist, of course!
    With YITH WooCommerce Wishlist your customers have the option to save products to their wishlist.
    This makes it easy for customers to save things they love and even share with family and friends. It’s a must-have during the busy holiday seasons and can really help increase your sales.
  • Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce: Sometimes people prefer to have a specific delivery date, and that’s okay. With this simple plugin, you can allow your customers to choose a specific delivery date for their product. It will show up on the Orders page and you, the owner, will know exactly when to send their special package.
  • Booster for WooCommerce: If you want to give your website a swift ‘boost’, then Booster for WooCommerce is highly recommended. This unique plugin will actually set up 100+ features to make shopping on your website as smooth as humanly possible.
    So, what can you expect from this handy plugin?
    Well, some of the top reasons why you should download it onto your website includes the ability to add currencies and currency exchange rates, customize the add-to-cart option, set up cross-sells, create coupons for your products, charge fees for certain paying options, set up a minimum order, and enable PDF invoicing.
    And that is just a few features you will get from the Booster plugin. Booster can essentially do it all and is a great choice to add to your WooCommerce website.
  • WooCommerce Menu Cart: Running an online shop is all about making the experience quick and easy for your customers. With the WooCommerce Menu Cart, the checkout process is completely refined and allows users to easily access their cart while shopping. The plugin will place a shopping cart button directly onto your menu, so clicking and viewing is a cinch.
    The plugin allows the owner to completely configure the shopping cart button on how they would like it. You can choose to display how many items are in the cart and whether or not the subtotal is shown on the menu bar, plus so much more.
  • Google Analytics: As a business owner, you want to stay up-to-date on all aspects of your business. That being said, a few things you need to know are how your sales are doing and which products are the most popular amongst your customers. That is where Google Analytics comes into play.
    With Google Analytics you can get real-time information and stats on your company. These accurate stats will help you to improve your overall sales and simply know how your company is doing in general. From there, you can either push your popular products or make changes to try and improve overall sales.
    There are just a few of the plugins you can use with WooCommerce, all designed to make your life (and your business) an easier experience. Having plugins like these will allow your customers to glide through your website and make purchases without being confused or annoyed, which is important for returning customers and word of mouth.

Fourth Cost: Marketing Plugins

Last but not least, you need to worry about marketing. Marketing is what is going to draw more customers to your store as well as bring customers back for more.

There are a few great ways to market your WooCommerce business, including the following:

      • With email marketing, you can contact your customers and encourage them to come back and buy some more. Customers like to feel wanted, and email marketing helps. You can also follow up with individuals who didn’t end up making the sale, which could lead to an actual sale.
      • Social Media. Your customers should be able to share your products on social media platforms. This is good for increasing traffic to your website and possibly gaining more sales.
      • Advertising. Advertising is key to getting more people to your website and doing it the right way is crucial.

So how can you make sure you’re hitting all the right spots when it comes to the top three marketing necessities? Well, these are our must-have plugins that will get the job done right. Keep in mind that most of these plugins will initially be free. However, after a certain number of subscribers or after a certain amount of time there will be a charge.

Klaviyo for Emails

When it comes to emails, Klaviyo is an excellent plugin. This plugin works hand-in-hand with your eCommerce store. From here, you have the ability to track customers and their behaviors on your website. You can then use that information to create targeted emails that will bring more traffic and sales to your website.

There are also many other handy features associated with Klaviyo. Some of the top reasons to consider this plugin include:

      • Follow Up with Abandoned Carts. When a customer adds something to their cart, but they don’t finish the process, then an email will be sent out to encourage them to finish the transaction. This is important, especially if a customer simply ‘forgot’ about it when they really intended to finish buying.
      • Follow Up with Viewed Products. When a customer simply checks out a product but doesn’t end up buying it, Klaviyo will send out an email reminding them of the cool products they were checking out. At this point, the customer may be enticed to make a purchase.
      • Introduction Email. Whenever anyone subscribes to your mailing list they will automatically receive an email that tells them in further detail what your company is all about. Having this information is important for potential buyers, so you can’t go wrong with this type of email.
      • Follow Up with Existing Customers. This is the type of email saying, “We Miss You,” or something of that sort. These go out to customers who have bought from you but have been quiet in recent weeks or months.
      • Follow Up with Purchases. After a purchase has been made, this email will thank them for the purchase and give them some ideas on things they may like based on their buy. It’s a great way to encourage a customer to keep on shopping.

Facebook Plugin

With Facebook being so immensely popular, you would be a fool not to add a Facebook plugin to your WooCommerce website. With this plugin, you will be able to place ads on Facebook. Customers will also be able to share their favorite items on their Facebook pages, which will encourage their friends and family members to check out your shop.

Google Plugin

Literally, everyone uses Google, and if you want to make a name for yourself on this known search engine, then you will need the Google plugin. It does cost money to run, but it is well worth it to see ads for your products being highlighted through Google.

A Quick Note on Plugins:

Whether you’re using plugins for a shopping experience or marketing, it’s important to never overdo it. Having too many plugins on your website can actually make it more challenging to use. Additionally, WooCommerce themes are constantly being updated and this can wreak havoc on your existing plugins.

Be smart when it comes to choosing your plugins. Find the ones that are right for you and stick to them. Remember that some of these plugins are free, while others may charge a monthly fee depending on sales, how many subscribers you have, and etc.

WooCommerce Cost Breakdown:

By now you can see that WooCommerce isn’t entirely free. While you can use the site for free, you will need to spend money one way or another.

Here is a rough breakdown of potential costs and fees while using WooCommerce:

      • Host and Domain: Hosting can start as low as $5 or less per month, while domains will average out to be $15 a year.
      • WooCommerce Theme: You can choose a free theme, although you will get more from a paid theme that can range from $20 to $100.
      • Shopping Plugins: Some plugins will cost money, such as the PayPal plugin. With this plugin, you will have a fee associated with every purchase, which is around 3% of your sale plus a $0.30 fee.
      • Marking Plugins: Marketing is essential to your business, and many of these plugins are free. However, using a service like Klaviyo will cost money after you have reached 250 subscribers.

Conclusion

WooCommerce is a wonderful place to kickstart your business. However, keep in mind that, while the website is essentially free, there will be some costs associated with it. You can keep it as cheap as you would like. Some people can operate their sites for less than $10 a year while others spend up to $300 or more. It all depends on your theme and plugins, so be careful when setting up a shop.

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