E-Commerce Learnings

Written by James McDonald

December 5, 2020

I have a client who had two WordPress Woocommerce Stores hosted for $20 each a month on cPanel Servers

On inspecting the sites I found

  • Each had between a dozen and two dozen out of date plugins (some had been removed from the WordPress Plugins Directory because of serious security flaws)
  • Many of the free plugins had banners and callouts all over the admin interface asking to upgrade to the pro-version. Something I hate with a passion.
  • The base WordPress versions were out of date
  • Each new piece of functionality had a new plugin installed and that in turn caused duplicate functionality and confusion as to how to do things. i.e. 3 ways to create a form WPForms Contact Form 7 and JetPack.
  • Trying to discern an upgrade path was next to impossible with so many different modules installed. And it appeared that this concern was shared with whoever managed the sites prior to me.
  • Having used multiple people to make changes – Both sites were suffering from too many cooks.
  • The instructions to the site owner were “if you try and change anything, something might break”
  • Continuing on there being more than 3 ways to achieve things theme on these site. There was a Legacy editor, a WYSIWYG editor and Gutenburg editor all fighting for air and confusion as to which one to use.
  • One of the sites had been hacked and disabled and a request for crypto ransom made. I believe this had happened a number of times. Each restore came at a cost of $130+ dollars
  • Multiple fat javascript modules had swollen the page and response time so first contentful paint was around 10 seconds
  • The hosting had a 1GB memory limit and 1GB of data

So my thinking was although I personally would probably use Woocommerce if I was doing e-commerce for myself. The WordPress, Multiple Plugins & Woocommerce combination can make for a bewildering mess for people who aren’t programming or IT Systems literate

So it was decided to move to Shopify. And the benefits were immediate

  • A consistent template language
  • Simplified e-commerce store functions
  • A lot of documentation (to be fair WordPress / WooCommerce has this too)
  • The owner got creative control back
  • Shopify serves the site static assets using CDN so local and global response times were improved
  • No longer had to worry about server resource usage or provisioning

So yes the price is a lot more that $20 AUD for a local hosting company with a single cpanel server. The initial costs for the Shopify Solution for each site were roughly

It clearly costs money to move to Shopify, but moving away from an incredibly complex upgrade matrix with dozens of different WordPress plugins was worth it

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