Today, WooCommerce keeps growing its hype. More and more SMBs are hopping on this eCommerce platform. If you are intimidated with a dilemma: is WooCommerce free? You are not alone. Many startups and sole entrepreneurs considering it as a winning option. But will your WooCommerce store setup and maintenance be cheaper than with other platforms? Let’s figure out more details on the actual WooCommerce pricing and how to plan your budget wisely.
The Price of WooCommerce: Understanding the Basics
Too many people think starting an online shop is as easy as installing a WooCommerce plugin. But it’s a bit of overstatement. There are far more things on a checklist to handle. So if you heard that WooCommerce pricing is awesome because it’s free, stop for a moment. We’re hardwired to look out for ourselves in all aspects of life - especially in our finances. But
there is no such thing as free in the eCommerce or any other business. Everything comes with a price.
First off, you have to face the cold hard fact. There is no way to set up and run an online store without spending a dime. Even with the open-source software like WordPress and WooCommerce.
You need to see a big picture of initial and maintenance expenses. Meet the WooCommerce cost list that includes:
- a domain name
- website hosting
- SSL certificate
- WooCommerce plugin setup
- theme and design
- third-party plugins to extend functions
How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?
Before you hit the open road of selling online, however, take care of the WordPress settings and costs.
Note: If you are already running a blog on WordPress, then you simply jump to the WooCommerce plugin installation and setting up.
Domain Name, Hosting and Setup
The journey of creating your store starts with registering a domain name. That will be your website name in the URL address that would link visitors to your online shop. You need to register your domain name to ensure that one else will use it too. There is a non-profit organization - ICANN - that handles this aspect.
Once you registered your domain name to ICANN, you need to choose a domain name registrar deals with reservation of domains on the internet. The price of a new domain depends on the registrar (e.g., GoDaddy, Domain, Doteasy, BlueHost), TLD (i.e., .com, .net, .org) and keywords. Be ready to pay a fee to keep the domain. The price goes from $10 to $15 per year.
Next stop is choosing a web hosting service. That looks like you rent a space for your website content storage. These services come with different types, capabilities and prices. Here are a few types for eCommerce purposes:
- Shared hosting. One server hosts many businesses. It may cost you from $7 per month.
- VPS (Virtual Private Service) hosting. You get a dedicated server that is virtually hosted inside a physical server. It goes from $30 per month.
- Dedicated hosting. Your website takes the whole server. That will cost from $100 per month.
In case you expect a quick growth of your shop, your hosting service should scale too. The multiple product pages and growing traffic will impact the website speed and conversions.
Last but not least, before WooCommerce installation, is the SSL certificate. This security matter is vital for online stores. You are going to work with credit card transactions, logins and passwords. And simply you need to secure your customers’ web browsing. The certificate will cost from $8 to $60 a year. It also makes sense to check out if the SSL certificate included in your web hosting provider plan before buying it yourself.
And now, you can download and install a free WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress website. Up to this point, your WooCommerce pricing will hit $102 per year. That includes a domain name $10 + a shared hosting server $84 + the SSL certificate $8.
Looking for more detailed information? Compare open source to SaaS solution in the Shopify to WordPress article.
Theme and Design
Your online store may be an ugly duckling or beautiful swan. That depends on the theme and other elements you add or exclude from it. Either way, clarity in design is important for the success of any Internet-age business.
After the installation, you will get the free plain theme that comes by default. But you know there are thousands of various free and paid themes for WooCommerce out there. Still, you need to look at them with a skeptical eye. If it is compatible with WooCommerce, then it is one of your choice. The prices go from free or $50 to $100 per the theme.
The plus is obvious: the theme is great. The drawbacks lie in its standard appearance and limited functionality. It’s better to regard investing in the paid theme. The attractive and easy-to-find-a-product store is better than a potentially repellent one.
Many store owners suggest that you should have a couple of themes. That will help you to set the most suitable one to your business needs. In a sense, the spending on two or three themes is cheaper than a hiring designer. Because creating a new theme or customization of the existing one may break your budget.
At this stage, we are going to add $50 to the WooCommerce pricing ($102.) So now there are $152 of initial spendings. Yet you also need to add some eCommerce features and improve marketing performance.
Truth to be told, you can add dozens on third-party plugins to your WooCommerce store. They can be free or paid, but the load time might suffer if your hosting isn’t scaling to your requirements. Let’s talk about the basic requirements. That are the pay gateways, shipping, taxes, analytics, SEO and contact forms.
Speaking of payments, PayPal checkout became rather a must for the online store. Besides, the Stripe gateway is a great option to accept credit cards payments online. And a big plus is that the plugins are free.
The other, less attractive side is tax management. There is a lot of plugins that add taxes at the checkout and deliver you reporting. For example, you can use TaxJar that starts from $19 per month.
WooCommerce delivers the built-in shipping option. It allows to set up zones, methods and rates. In case, you need multiple tables of rates, zones and rules, then Table Rate Shipping plugin is a good choice. It goes from $99.
The analytics and reports will help you to track customer behavior, product and sales performance, abandoned carts, and other aspects. There are free plugins and paid extensions that cost $25-39 on average. Definitely, you can find an analytics plugin for $1K too.
Coming up next is ranking in the search engines. The SEO plugin is must-have. Yoast is one of the most popular options. It helps to tailor your content to the search engine requirements so you get ranked higher. You can install a free version with essential functions. Or buy a paid Yoast version with advanced features for $49.
To save your potential headache later, add contact form plugin. If the customers have a question, they just fill in the form and you receive an email into the inbox. There are free one like Contact Form 7 or paid one like WPForms that goes from $39 per year.
Also, let’s not forget about marketing plugins like email campaigns and social media.
Email marketing extensions are useful for announcing discounts, reminding customers about their abandoned carts, running pre-purchase and post-purchase campaigns, and the like. There is no shortage in such plugins (e.g., MailChimp, OptinMonster, MailPoet and others) that have free and paid versions. On average, the paid extensions cost from $9 to $199 a month.
Plugins for social media is available in many sizes and shapes. You can add a “share” button, set up automated content posting, offer a wishlist, or sell via Facebook. The prices vary too. You can get free extensions or buy advanced functions for $29 per month (and higher.)
Either way, there is no limitation to plugins for this shopping platform. Thus, let’s not forget about your business needs and budget. Up to this point, we come out with WooCommerce pricing at $152. And after we add a couple of plugins (tax management $19 + analytics $25 + contact forms $39 + email marketing $56 + SEO plugin $49 +social media extension $29,) the spendings hit $369 per year.
Shopify vs BigCommerce vs WooCommerce Cost: What’s Hot and What’s Not
If there is no clarity in pricing, there might be a lot of pitfalls in extra expenses. WordPress and WooCommerce are totally free of charge. But to make them running live, you have to spend a lot of time and money too. Neither of these factors can be underestimated.
We counted only the basic things and ended up with $369 per year. That is the price of setting and maintenance of a WooCommerce store. Your expenses may be smaller if you already have a website. Or if your business model doesn’t need some of the extensions.
To illustrate this point, here is a perfect example. The paid eCommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce will provide you all the mentioned features from the very beginning. The basic Shopify will cost you $348 a year and BigCommerce Standard - $360. So, you save time and focus on your business development.
Wrapping up on the Price of WooCommerce
It’s no wonder that WooCommerce has recently acquired so much attention. The fact that it is free played a key role. But it doesn’t reduce expenses on infrastructure management. However, it makes the scalability of your online store a lot easier.
Don’t avoid the ever-pressing issue of budget and spend, as well as your time. The free software is attractive and seductive, but as it turned out even WooCommerce isn’t totally free.
But if you’re ready to try out the benefits of WooCommerce store, don’t forget to choose your partner wisely. Contact Cart2Cart to get an expert consultation on the up-to-date, reliable migration option.
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