#19. WooCommerce

Questions: Why is the Cretan-Garden shop not opened yet? Why does it take so much time? Why is the official opening again postponed? 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 about 9 euros per year. This means that a business account, like WordPress/WooCommerce, costs 313 euros per year more.

The total is too 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 total costs seem to be lesser in Cloudways. When I have the exact numbers I will add them here.

Cretan-Garden is migrating to Cloudways

Like in a real shop, built from stones, wood, with windows, a door, etc., all has to be ready before the shop can open. To avoid more problems, and since there are already problems that cannot be solved, another new move / migration is taking place.

My son, André van Berlo, well-informed about WooCommerce, is at the moment creating a new WordPress/WooCommerce website for me in Cloudways. It will look almost the same, the texts are the same, the pictures, but all fit in a theme that is compatible with WooCommerce, and with the latest WooCommerce. The website will be faster, and cheaper. The shop looks and works so much better! I am enthusiastic about it, and you will as well.

For those who would like to learn more about WordPress, WooCommerce, Cloudways, reviews and tips about these, comparisons, and who do not know somebody who can support in creating a WordPress/WooCommerce website, or to solve problems, visit: Mr. Geek. I found his name in my inbox: he likes this post, and follows my blog now. He has absolutely high quality information in his blog.

Patience

However. It will take some time again. Therefore, I would like to ask you kindly to have some more patience. Till the webshop is opened, after the migration, but with the same URL, nothing can be sold: it would create a chaos in the shop-administration.

Thank you so much for your understanding!

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

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