When you own a WooCommerce shop, mistakes have the potential to bring your business down. This is especially true when they’re those sneaky technical mistakes you don’t even know you’re making.
The last thing you want is for your online shop to go down for any reason while people are trying to visit it and finalize their purchases.
That’s why if you take a proactive approach to maintaining the technical side of your WooCommerce shop, you can avoid some of these top technical mistakes, minimize downtime, and keep sales high.
Technical Mistakes to Avoid in Your WooCommerce Store
1. Running an Old WooCommerce Version
If you self-host your online business, there’s a lot more to lose than some cash in your pocket.
One of the biggest mistakes people ‘doing it all’ make when it comes to running an online store is not performing regular updates. Sure, WordPress alerts you when there is a new WordPress core, theme, or plugin version.
But in the chaos that comes with running an online business, these things tend to get overlooked. Worse than that, many site owners feel that running the latest WooCommerce version isn’t that big a deal.
But it is.
Running an old and unsupported WooCommerce version makes your entire online store vulnerable.
You risk your website’s data, and the personal and financial information of your customers, when you don’t perform updates. Plus, you risk negatively impacting the user experience when you use an old Woo version. Updated versions of WooCommerce address new security threats, fix any bugs, and include updated features that can help boost sales.
2. Using a Poorly Coded Theme
These days there are so many WooCommerce compatible themes out there it can be tough to know which one to use. And, since you’re competing with tons of online stores selling exactly what you’re selling, finding a one-of-a-kind WooCommerce theme is critical to your success.
But finding a unique theme is not the most important thing you can do for your online store.
When it comes to your site’s theme, avoid making the mistake of choosing a poorly coded one. When your theme, the very foundation that your online store sits on, is poorly coded, you risk the following:
- Slow loading times and poor site performance
- Exposing your site and customer data to hackers
- Clogging your database with excess bloat and wasting server resources
- Fatal errors that can take down your entire site – forever
It’s important you choose a WooCommerce theme that not only has the design and functionality you want in your store, but also code that follows best practices. Pick a theme from a reputable theme author, make sure it’s regularly updated, and never sacrifice performance for visual appeal.
3. Ignoring the System Status Report
You may not realize this, but the WooCommerce team added a System Status report to the core plugin so that you can avoid system misconfigurations that can harm your site.
To find it, go to WooCommerce > Status > System status in your WordPress dashboard.
Here you’ll find data related to your website and WooCommerce store such as the WooCommerce version, memory limits, server information, PHP version (which is important for site speed and performance), and whether your site has a secure HTTPS connection.
In addition, you’ll see a list of active plugins and themes and whether they’ve been tested with the current version of WooCommerce or need an update.
Any system configurations that may be causing your system trouble will be color coded red to grab your attention.
The more red you find in the System Status report, the worse off your WooCommerce shop is. Pay attention to these technical recommendations and fix as many as possible.
4. Failing to Set Locations
Unless you’re running a truly global online shop, in which you’re willing to ship to any country in the world, you make things a lot harder on yourself (and reputation) by failing to configure the location settings in your WooCommerce store.
This technical mistake can create a refund hassle for you and your team. Every time someone from a country you don’t deliver to buys something from your Woo shop, you’ll be forced to process a refund. This is not only annoying to you and your customer, you might lose money processing refunds.
To set selling locations in WooCommerce, go to WooCommerce > Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard.
Then select one of the following from the dropdown menu labeled ‘Selling location(s)’:
- Sell to all countries
- Sell to all countries except for
- Sell to specific countries
5. Not Creating a Sitemap
Every eCommerce business should create a sitemap of their online store and submit it to major search engines like Google and Bing. Without a sitemap, search engines can’t properly crawl and index your WooCommerce shop and display your products in relevant search results.
Plus, not having a sitemap you might result in the following issues:
- New product pages taking too long to be discovered
- Product images not being included in search results
- Updates to webpages not helping your search rankings
Though your WooCommerce shop will be crawled and indexed at some point, using a sitemap is a faster and more effective way to guarantee proper site indexing and supercharge your WooCommerce shop’s SEO.
The easiest way to create a sitemap for your online store is to use the Yoast SEO plugin.
From there, submit your sitemaps to Google and Bing’s Webmaster tools. Be sure to check out Yoast’s comprehensive article on submitting your sitemap to search engines.
6. Missing Filter Options
An exceptional user experience is the key to converting more customers.
Using filters is a great way to make it easy for site visitors to navigate your online shop, find what they’re looking for, and buy what they really want.
If you run an extensive WooCommerce shop with lots of products, and don’t have a filtering system in place, you’re making a huge mistake.
Here are some things to consider adding to your store’s filtering functionality:
- Sort by option
- Filter within a category
- Specialty filters such as ‘Wedding’ or ‘Baby’
- Easy filter addition/removal
- Filters in a collapsible menu
- Ability to refresh page easily
- Give users the option to select more than one filter
Lastly, do you best to never turn up a ‘No Results’ page. People that come across that message are more likely to bounce immediately, feeling that you don’t have what they need.
Instead, try recommending related products or services to help guide potential customers to something else.
7. Not Monitoring Mobile-Friendliness
It’s not enough these days to use a “mobile-friendly” WooCommerce theme and hope your online store displays for those on-the-go the way you want it to. You have to take a proactive approach and actually monitor your site’s responsive design using a free online tool like Responsive Checker.
Not only will this tool show you how your site appears on multiple device types, such as smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, it will also let you navigate your site’s webpages in real time. This way you can ensure that your mobile site not only looks the way it should, but functions correctly too.
In the end, there are many tiny technical details that go into running a good-looking, fully functioning, and highly converting WooCommerce shop. Adding to that, there are plenty of technical mistakes a lot of online shop owners are making that are hurting their chances of ever growing their business.
In addition to following the tips mentioned above, look into our managed WooCommerce services so you can avoid additional technical mistakes such as failing to back your site up, secure your site from the inside out, cache the right webpages, and optimize your images. Using Scale Dynamix to prevent these technical mistakes not only gives you a chance to truly scale your WooCommerce store, it opens up opportunities for you to focus on other more important business-building tasks.