How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a WooCommerce Store?

Mar 12, 2024 | WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a low-cost powerhouse in the e-commerce world, and is one of the most popular platforms out there right next to Shopify. Its popularity stems from its open-source nature, flexibility, and seamless integration with the mighty WordPress content management system.

If you are considering setting up an online shop, WooCommerce is an option that should definitely be on your radar. While the core WooCommerce plugin is free to download and use, it’s crucial to realize that building and running a successful online store involves essential and ongoing costs. These costs ensure that your store functions smoothly and continues to provide a positive experience for your customers.

In this article, we’ll break down the various expenses associated with maintaining a WooCommerce store, helping you make informed decisions for your e-commerce venture.

Obvious Costs

Before we get to the actual big-ticket items, let us get some of the “obvious” and “pointless to even mention” costs out of the way.

  • Domain Name: The address of your online store (e.g., voidsolutions.net). Prices usually range from $10-$20 per year, you can look for deals and discounts from domain registrars but this is a cost you simply cannot dodge.
  • SSL Certificate: Secures customer data during transactions. Essential for online stores as you straight-up cannot ask for payment details without this. There are free certificates available but some hosting service providers tend to block you from installing those and leave you no choice but to pay them $20-$100+ per year for something that should be free.
  • Email Service: Another cost that you cannot dodge, if you plan on receiving emails and responding to them, you need an email service provider. Google Workspace is a decent and affordable option starting at only $6 per month.
  • Payment Gateways: Popular choices like Stripe and PayPal usually have free plugins but they do charge transaction fees, make sure you keep these in mind when calculating your potential profits from a sale.

Necessary Costs for a Successful WooCommerce Store

Now let us delve into the costs that are most relevant, the ones that you can control, and the ones that might impact the success of your business.

Decent Web Hosting

Your web hosting is the foundation of your WooCommerce store. It’s where all your files, product data, and customer information resides. Reliable web hosting is crucial because it directly affects your website’s speed, security, and overall user experience.

Here’s a quick comparison of different types of hosting options commonly used for WooCommerce stores, can you guess the one we recommend our clients opt for?

  • Shared Hosting: The most affordable option, where your website shares server resources with multiple other websites. Suitable for smaller stores with less traffic, but you will suffer in site speed scores as well as SEO. You will easily find shared hosting options available for only $30 per annum, however, we would advise against picking this option.
  • VPS (Virtual Private Server): Offers more dedicated resources and control compared to shared hosting. It’s almost as cheap as a decent shared hosting plan, except that it is far superior in almost every way imaginable. Base costs for a VPS are very low, with starting price of under $10 per month, but unless you have the technical expertise, you will need to pay someone else for maintenance.
  • Dedicated Hosting: The most powerful option, providing an entire server for your website alone. Ideal for large, high-traffic stores. These are usually more expensive than VPS instances and the ball-park figure would start around $50 per month. Similar to a VPS, things can quickly go south if you do not have someone with the technical expertise to manage this.

There is a fourth option as well, some businesses offer a managed WooCommerce Hosting service, but any VPS that is competently set up will be a lot cheaper and scalable in the long run, so think twice before you make your decision.

Main Theme

Web design process being sketched

A well-designed theme tailored for WooCommerce will influence your store’s appearance, navigation, and overall customer experience. Many free themes exist, but investing in a premium theme can offer additional customization options, support, and unique features specific to e-commerce.

  • $0 – For a free theme, often lacking flexibility or advanced features.
  • $50 to $200 – Premade Premium Themes, these do look nice but you are stuck with the features that were baked into them by their developers.
  • $500 to $2,000 – Custom & tailored theme development, regardless of whether the designers use a theme builder, or make one from scratch, you will get unmatched flexibility.

The cost of your theme depends entirely on which route you choose. However, it is important to invest in a theme that aligns with your brand, provides a seamless shopping experience, and ensures responsiveness across different devices. You want your website to stand out, and we recommend our clients steer clear of free themes for exactly that reason, dozens if not hundreds of other websites are already using them.

Core Plugins

While WooCommerce provides a robust foundation for your online store, you will likely need additional functionality to enhance the customer experience, streamline operations, and boost sales. This is where plugins and extensions come into play. Here are some essential plugins you might consider:

  • Email Marketing: Plugins that allow you to create targeted email campaigns, such as welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and promotional offers. Some relevant options are: MailPoet, Klaviyo, and Omnisend.
  • SEO Assistants: Plugins that help you optimize your website’s content and structure for search engines, improving your visibility in search results, like Yoast SEO and Rank Math
  • Stock Sync: Plugins that synchronize your inventory levels across multiple platforms or websites, ensuring accurate stock information in real-time.
  • Multilingual Plugins: Plugins that enable you to translate your website into multiple languages, expanding your potential customer base across the globe.

Site Optimization & Maintenance

person looking at the speed of their website on page speed insights

Keeping your WooCommerce website optimized and well-maintained isn’t just important for a seamless user experience – it’s vital for maintaining good SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Positions) and increasing conversions.

  • Performance Optimization: Fast loading times are crucial for both user experience and SEO. Consider using a caching plugin, optimizing images, minifying code, and potentially a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to achieve optimal performance.
  • Security: Protect your store and customer data with regular updates for WordPress, WooCommerce, plugins, and your theme. Consider a security plugin to add firewalls, malware scanning, and enhanced protection for additional peace of mind.
  • Backups: Create regular backups of your entire website (both files and database). Should anything unexpected happen, you’ll be able to restore your store quickly, minimizing downtime or data loss. Many hosting companies include basic backup options, but explore dedicated backup plugins for greater control and redundancy.
  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Proactively monitor your site using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track performance metrics and identify any errors or issues. Regular troubleshooting keeps your shop running smoothly.

Your first choice for maintaining your website might be to hire and manage a freelancer, but that can be a tedious on itself. If you want to focus on growing your business rather than website upkeep, we recommend you simply delegate the task to someone else. Here are your options:

  • Do It Yourself (DIY): If you have the time, technical skills, and confidence, you can handle many of these tasks yourself.
  • Hire a Developer: Find a freelancer or developer specializing in WooCommerce to provide you with support on an as-needed basis.
  • Maintenance Plans (from around $50 per month): Several WordPress and WooCommerce-focused agencies, including us, offer maintenance plans, handling updates, security, and performance optimization for you. Request a quote today and see how we can make your WooCommerce journey hassle-free.

SEO & Writing Services

search engine console showing views, clicks, position, and impressions

To attract organic traffic and ensure your products get found on search engines, investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and quality content writing is crucial. These services can significantly boost your visibility and sales potential, especially if you plan to stick with the business for the long term.

  • Keyword Research: Identify the search terms your potential customers are using to find products like yours. This base research forms the foundation for your next step: optimizing your product pages and content.
  • On-Page Optimization: Ensure your product titles, descriptions, and website structure are optimized for relevant keywords to help search engines understand what you’re selling.
  • Content Creation: Develop compelling blog posts, guides, and other content that appeals to your ideal customers and naturally incorporates your keywords. High-quality content builds authority and can attract backlinks, further improving your search rankings.
  • Technical SEO: Address site speed, mobile responsiveness, and other technical factors that impact how search engines crawl and index your store.

Whether you want to outsource your SEO and content creation entirely or want guidance on how to handle them in-house, options abound. Look for a provider with these qualities:

  • WooCommerce Expertise: Choose someone who understands the unique SEO and content needs of e-commerce stores built on WooCommerce.
  • Transparent Pricing: Clearly understand their pricing models, whether they charge a flat monthly fee, work on a per-project basis, or have a hybrid system.
  • Stay Away from Guarantees: No reputable SEO provider can guarantee specific rankings in search results. Search engine algorithms are complex and constantly evolving, focus on partners who prioritize ethical, long-term strategies.

Don’t Let Costs Hold You Back

Building a successful WooCommerce store does involve costs. But remember, it is an investment in the future growth of your business.

By carefully considering your hosting options, choosing the right theme and plugins, optimizing your site, and potentially investing in professional SEO and writing services, you’ll set your store up for long-term success.

If the costs and technical side of running a WooCommerce store feel overwhelming, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Let us help you take the stress and guesswork out of managing your store.

Contact us today to learn how our WooCommerce maintenance and optimization services can free you up to focus on what you do best – growing your business!