#19. WooCommerce / Part 1

Updated: June 13, 2022

OBS: WooCommerce del 1 og del 2 er kun tilgjengelig på engelsk.

Questions: Why took it such a long time before the Cretan-Garden shop could be opened? Answer: «Because of WooCommerce!»

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. Launched on September 27, 2011, the plugin quickly became popular for its simplicity to install and customize and for the market position of the base product as freeware (even though many of its optional extensions are paid and proprietary). Read on here.

The mistakes of WordPress

Cretan-Garden is a WordPress website and blog. In the administration menu was from the very beginning also the word WooCommerce present. I did not know what WooCommerce was, and there was not one word written about it. There was not one question like: do you want to open a webshop? WordPress offered three options: do you want to create a website, a blog, or a website and a blog? There was no option for a shop as well. There was no warning when I chose for Baskerville 2.

Warning? Yes, because Baskerville 2 creates problems with WooCommerce, so many, that even the WordPress/WooCommerce technicians cannot solve them. Their advice after almost one year[!]: chose another theme. However, I have created already 33 pages, 18 posts, and uploaded many photos.

There is another issue, also created by WordPress. Without asking or explaining, WordPress has installed a WooCommerce plugin also in already existing, active, and old blogs/websites, while WooCommerce is not even compatible with older WP blogs/websites.

WooCommerce is accident number two in my trying to build a webshop. The first accident happened with «My Online Store«, also a do-it-yourself webshop builder, located in the Netherlands, but international.

My Online Store

All was really excellent, till the last moment. Then, in the middle of February 2022, after two and a half months of waiting for their solution for the occurring problems, I received the message that they could not help me. This meant that it was impossible to adjust the for me applicable Norwegian VAT rules to their system. The already existing domain name was cancelled. This could have been avoided if they had listened to my warnings, from the very beginning, in July 2021, that I live in Norway and that Norway has a different VAT system for small business than the EU. Norway is not an EU member state: in Norway I do not need to pay VAT when not selling over 65,000 kroner/about 6,500 euros a year. This means that I am not even allowed to ask customers to pay VAT for the soap they buy.

WooCommerce: not so easy and not so well working

Building a webshop is not so easy. The total of questions and answers, solved or unsolved, on forums and in videos, prove, that especially WooCommerce, is not so easy as it claims to be. Even finding WooCommerce did not happen via WordPress. After having stopped building a webshop at My Online Store, searching for another payable self-to-build webshop, WooCommerce was recommended by ProIsp in Norway, when I was chatting with them. I recognized the term, had seen it in the menu bar of the administration of my Cretan-Garden WordPress website/blog. Then I started to build, learned by doing, and asking, reading, studying. But again, at the end, when testing the shop, the problems could not be solved, and was I advised to switch the theme. That, however, is not work for amateurs like me. I could have done this with the help of the many WordPress assistants, but I learned as well, that this is often a mess also: time and again you get another assistant, who does not know anything about the case, and you have to explain it again, and again. These assistants are not all so excellent in understanding the issue, clearly not aware of the fact that WooCommerce has so many versions. Offering a new version solution which is not compatible with your older version. The many webinars and tutorials about WooCommerce prove as well that WooCommerce is really difficult, at least more complex than they pretend to be. Also, the several versions and possibilities differ much from each other. Baskerville 2, a not so old WordPress theme, but concerning WooCommerce offering a too old version that cannot be updated, should therefore be removed from the WordPress/WooCommerce list.

WordPress/WooCommerce: not so cheap

Another subject of consideration what to choose and where, is the total of costs, one pays for WordPress/WooCommerce, so for a website, blog, shop, domain name, and professional e-mail. An overview:

  • WordPress/WooCommerce, per year: 2500 kroner / about 250 euros.
  • Domain name, per year: 300 kroner / about 30 euros
  • Professional e-mail: per year 420 kroner / about 42 euros
  • Total costs per year: 3220 kroner / about 322 euros.

A normal WordPress blog, like for instance my Multerland blog, costs 180 euros per year. This means that a business account, like WordPress/WooCommerce, costs about 142 euros per year more.

The total is much for a small business like I have, but factually for all, since WordPress as a webshop itself, does not offer the quality that fits with their prices. The technicians, there to help you, because they are included in the price you pay, are not well-informed, do not function professionally, work in a not working WordPress-support-system, and in some cases, like in mine with the Baskerville 2, they cannot even solve the problems. You do not get any discount for the fact that the shop cannot be opened because of WordPress’s not well functioning and poorly informing system. Also, I have to pay the same costs as an e-commerce with a 1000 times higher income per year. A pity that WordPress/WooCommerce has no cheaper possibilities for starters who do not have so much capital to invest or to spend.

The WordPress template TwentyTwo, not a good advise

During several months, I have been working at the WordPress TwentyTwo website in Cloudways. The template TwentyTwo had been advised by WordPress in a discussion with them about all the WooCommerce problems I met with this template, the Baskerville 2.

During these months I learned how Cloudways «works». Cloudways works with too many bots, and is excellent for advanced, well trained professionals, which I am not. The human side of Cloudways is hidden and mostly not available. WordPress is in its contacts with users more human, and social. The WordPress advise to chose the TwentyTwo was not so wise. If you want to try to change your already older WordPress template into the very advanced TwentyTwo then my advise is: «Don’t!»

I discovered that TwentyTwo is incomparable with former templates, offers high tech tools, works with a very advanced blocks system, but is so much different from older WordPress templates that one does not recognize anything from before. Therefore I consider the advise of WordPress to change the Baskerville 2 into the TwentyTwo not only as not wise, but even stupid. The WordPress offer to support me in the transition was very naive, because they would NOT have been able to support me in the right way. It would have taken maybe a year before all was installed in the way I want it, and the frustrations would have been beyond any imagination. Fortunately I could work with it offline in Cloudways, otherwise I would have had a problem, that never could have been solved without the expensive help of a professional. However, not any professional could have had the affinity with my product that I have and would not have understood my highly necessary preferences.

Conclusion: Starting with TwentyTwo, while used to older WP templates, is asking for big problems: all what you have built up in the older template is going to become a real mess, because the TwentyTwo system is totally different: TwentyTwo works with advanced blocks, has a very attractive look but with hardly any space for informative text: all is focused on visual attraction, not on information. TwentyTwo offers full width pages and posts which are tiring to read, and aesthetically even ugly. The column width of the Baskerville 2 is at least for me much more attractive, easy to edit and read, and does not boost with enormous picture sizes to try to push you to buy, even despite any quality. My soap has a quality that does not need an overdose of eye catchers. If you like it, you buy it, if you do not like it, you can chose another type of soap somewhere else. Selling is not pushing. Really healthy commerce is only possible with an excellent product, what sells via satisfied customers who talk about it with friends. That is my focus. That is what I offer.

Shortly: if you consider to transform your already existing WordPress website/blog into a newer version, do not jump into the TwentyTwo. Not any coach can help you out of the too many problems that are popping up when you change the template into this very advanced new system. All together there were finally enough reasons for me to say goodbye to TwentyTwo, to Cloudways, and to continue with this Baskerville 2 template, on WordPress. The shop is simple, but it works. The shop is open since June 12, 2022.

In case there are problems with ordering via the shop, you are welcome to place an order via an email. An example: click here.

Part 2: click here.

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