At IWD, we’ve been using WooCommerce to build our clients one-of-a-kind websites for years. We’re BIG fans.
One of the many reasons we’re not alone in our fandom is because WooCommerce is free.
This makes it an obvious choice for eCommerce companies with huge ambitions that might not have huge budgets to match – yet.
At the same time, plenty of big businesses trust their sites to WooCommerce, from Weber Grills to Dr. Scholl’s to LA Weekly.
So, it’s a good fit even if you’re not necessarily worried about the cost.
That said, WooCommerce pricing is a bit tricky. Yes, it’s free, but companies like the ones I just mentioned haven’t seen such impressive online results without investing in the success of their sites.
How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?
As I mentioned, there is absolutely no cost involved with starting a WooCommerce account. As long as you have a WordPress account – which is also free – you can go sign up for WooCommerce right now and, technically, have a website by the end of the day.
Like I said, WooCommerce pricing can seem pretty straightforward. It doesn’t get much simpler than “absolutely nothing.”
But you’ll need more than just a WooCommerce account to power a successful eCommerce website, so let’s look at the various costs you’ll need to find room for in your budget.
WooCommerce Pricing: 7 Costs You’ll Need to Cover
As is usually the case, you’ll get what you pay for with your eCommerce website. So, if you’re primarily interested in WooCommerce because it’s free, just know that you’re going to have to spend some money if you want a site that can deliver results.
Now, just how much your WooCommerce site will cost depends on which of the following services you’ll need to get the final result you want.
1. Hosting for Your WooCommerce Website
This first factor in WooCommerce pricing is nonnegotiable.
You’re going to need hosting for your new WooCommerce site.
Fortunately, the price of hosting starts as low as $3/month – maybe a bit more depending on the provider you choose.
You may also decide you’d rather go with a VPS (Virtual Private Server) because it offers better security, reliability, and overall performance. Even then, the price could still be as low as $20-30/month but probably no more than $100.
WooCommerce also offers hosting through popular providers like Bluehost and GoDaddy. At IWD, we really love a third option from that list: Nexcess's Managed WooCommerce plans. Nexcess is a partner of ours and a trusted hosting provider we've recommended to a wide range of clients.
As you can see, if you’re scaling up – or plan to in the near future – your hosting costs are going to be more.
However, hosting is something you definitely don’t want to skimp on. Your site’s performance depends on it, so it may even be worth spending the extra money to go with a VPS or even a dedicated server, which would give you complete control over your hosting.
2. The Domain Name for Your WooCommerce Site
Here’s another part of WooCommerce pricing that you just can’t get around. Your site has to have a domain.
How much you’ll pay for that domain depends on the name you want for your WooCommerce website.
For example, if I wanted to buy the domain for my own name, it would only be $14.95 to register it over at A2 Hosting:
You may want to choose a domain that includes one of your more popular keywords, though, as this could help with SEO.
If no one else in your industry has had the same idea yet, you may be in luck.
For example, if I had an eCommerce site that sold snowboarding products, this domain might be a good option for driving traffic early on:
You can also purchase an “aged domain”, which means one that was already registered but is now up for sale. The advantage there is that the domain’s history with Google may help you rank a lot faster and avoid the dreaded “sandbox.”
Sites like Sedo sell and auction off aged domains every day.
I recommend at least checking them out as you may be able to find a real steal on a domain that includes your keyword and is at least several years old. This would add to your WooCommerce pricing budget, but it’s an expense that may also pay off in a really big way.
3. A Theme That Fits Your Brand
The theme of your website refers to everything from its layout to its color scheme to its overall style. To say it’s important is an understatement. You want a theme that’s going to fit your company’s unique brand while also supporting the functionality you need it to have.
Suffice it to say, it’s an extremely important element.
Luckily, WooCommerce offers a number of different themes in their marketplace, many of which are completely free. Others cost $39, $79, or $129 a year or may even be just a one-time fee.
Those options are only the tip of the iceberg, though. Because WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, there are countless themes out there to choose from. Just check to make sure the one you like will work with WooCommerce. This isn’t always the case with WordPress themes.
Here’s a great list of WooCommerce-friendly themes for WordPress to get you started. Most of these cost less than $100/year, but again, there are plenty of options out there that you’ll only have to pay for once.
4. eCommerce Extensions for the Functionality You Need
While your theme should fit the functionality of your WooCommerce site, you’ll also need a number of extensions to ensure that it can do everything you want.
How many and which kind of extensions are completely up to you. It all depends on what you need from your site.
That being said, there are a few eCommerce extensions that you should absolutely use to power your store.
Payment Processing Extensions
Another of the many, many reasons to love WooCommerce is that it integrates with every major eCommerce payment gateway. This includes PayPal, Square, Stripe, and Authorize.net.
However, integration comes at a cost – literally.
Most gateways charge a monthly subscription price plus an extra transaction fee. Fortunately, they tend to be very minimal. For example, PayPal and Stripe both cost just $00.30/per transaction plus 2.9% of the purchase price.
Now, if youreallywant to give your store’s conversion rate a boost and drop your cart abandonment rate, Dominate has a WooCommerce one-page checkout extension. It’s cloud-based, responsive, and takes just minutes to install.
Oh, and it’s completely free.
If you decide to go with WooCommerce, be sure to schedule a free demo of Dominate's WooCommerce one page checkout etension to see for yourself why so many companies trust it with improving their revenues.
Depending on what your company sells, there are three different WooCommerce extensions I’d recommend to ensure smooth transactions.
- WooCommerce Pre-Orders –Let shoppers order a product before it’s released. You can either charge them upfront or once the product is available. Costs $129/year
- WooCommerce Subscriptions –Offer products through a subscription-based model, so your customers receive new versions on a regular basis and are charged recurring payments. Costs $199/year
- WooCommerce Bookings –If your company offers a product that requires reservations (e.g., a rental) or a service that requires appointments, use this extension to eliminate the need for phone calls or emails. Your WooCommerce store’s calendar will update in real-time. Costs $249/year.
There are hundreds of other WooCommerce sales extensions on their marketplace, too. Many of them don’t cost a thing.
While you’ll need to decide how your company will handle shipping, there’s more good news here if you choose WooCommerce. The platform automatically calculates taxes and shipping prices from leading carriers. This service is built right into the WooCommerce dashboard – no extra charge.
I’d also recommend you take advantage of WooCommerce Shipping, which is a free extension that you can use to print shipping labels right from the dashboard.
If you have specific shipping needs, I suggest you check out the full range ofWooCommerce shipping extensions available in their marketplace. Even though they come with a cost, they may also help you save money on your shipping fees.
5. Marketing and SEO Plugins So People Can Actually Find You
Speaking of plugins, the ones you’ll need to actually draw traffic to your website should probably be a priority, too.
- AutomateWoo –As the name suggests, this plugin is all about automating your WooCommerce store’s marketing needs. This covers features like cart abandonment, wish list abandonment, welcome series, follow up emails, subscription automation, and more. Costs $99/year
- Constant Contact –Arguably the best email marketing platform for eCommerce companies, Constant Contact comes stocked with dozens of professional-looking email templates, many of which were designed to be niche-specific. Create email lists and custom funnels to launch personalized campaigns to multiple audiences. Cost: $20, $45, and $195/month plans available
- LiveChat –Engaging with customers while they’re on your site is a great way to skyrocket your conversions, drop your bounce rate, and learn more about your market at the same time. LiveChat is a great platform for initiating live conversations with your website’s visitors. It can be connected to Google Analytics and a number of CRM platforms for improved analytics, too. Cost: $26, $33, and $50/month plans available
- WooCommerce Google Analytics –Google Analytics is a must for any eCommerce website. With this plugin, it’s easy to connect Google Analytics to your WooCommerce store, so you can start tracking analytics related to every channel of traffic (e.g., organic, social, referral, email, PPC, etc.). Free
- WooCommerce Points and Rewards –One easy way to increase your conversion rate and customer lifetime value is to offer points that shoppers can put toward discounts. You can also use them to incentivize other actions like signing up for your email list or providing a review. With this WooCommerce plugin, you decide how many points to award customers based on each dollar they spend and how many can be redeemed at once. Costs $129/year
- Yoast WooCommerce SEO –Yoast is probably one of the most popular SEO tools on the market and has been for years. The free version is a no-brainer and will do a lot to help you optimize each of your WooCommerce store’s pages, especially if you’re new to SEO. However, the premium version of Yoast will give you access to a library of training courses, numerous keyword research tools, help with interlinking, and A LOT more. Costs $69/year
While I highly recommend these tools for increasing traffic to your site, I also know some WooCommerce SEO experts who have years of experience doing this across multiple industries. Let us know if you’d like to have a quick chat about how we could help you attract the customers your store needs.
6. Security Because Cybercriminals Will Try Something
It’s a sad state of affairs, but the truth is that, if you have a website, someone is going to try to break into – probably many people, actually.
If you were just running a blog or your website only marketed services, having an SSL certificate and some basic security software would probably be enough to keep your company safe.
However, because your eCommerce business probably accepts customers’ payment details on a regular basis, your site is a prime target for cybercriminals.
As a WooCommerce user, one of the easiest steps you’ll want to take to protect your site from cyber criminals is making sure that your edition of WordPress is always up to date. That’s because these newer versions will, among other things, include any security patches necessary to address vulnerabilities that were discovered since the last iteration.
Another very important precaution to take is using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to separate WordPress from the rest of your WooCommerce site. This way, even if hackers are able to exploit a vulnerability in WordPress, they won’t be able to reach your actual eCommerce store.
Two of my favorite WAF options are:
Obviously, you can’t go wrong with the free version of Cloudflare, but I’d say the most expensive option is still worth it if it means avoiding the risk of much more expensive problems.
7. Help from a Developer (Optional but Encouraged)
Unless you have a background in website development – and specifically with WooCommerce – I highly recommend you get help from a developer with building your new eCommerce website.
While WordPress and WooCommerce are both very user-friendly, trying to save money by developing your own website is going to cost you dearly. Even if you follow the advice from section 5 and are successful at generating sufficient traffic, you’ll still struggle to convert customers if they decide to look elsewhere for a more user-friendly experience.
We’re pretty good at it…
WooCommerce Pricing: How Much Will You Have to Spend?
At the very least, you’re going to need to spend at least $10/month to cover hosting and domain registration if you’re okay settling for a free theme and doing the same for your necessary plugins and extensions. Cloudflare also has a free version to handle your security needs (though I really recommend you at least spend $20/month for their Pro Plan).
So, in total, WooCommerce site could only cost you $10/month.
But that would be very bare bones.
If you decide to bulk up some of the aforementioned features, like choosing a theme and extensions that will give your site the functionality it needs, you could easily spend closer to $200/month on your WooCommerce website.
You could add another $50-$100 to that total to arm your marketing efforts with the extensions I covered in section 5, depending on what your current goals are.
Finally, if you would rather an experienced developer handle building your site from scratch or transferring your current version to WooCommerce, let’s talk so we can give you a custom quote.
The Best Alternatives to WooCommerce
As I mentioned at the beginning, my team and I really love WooCommerce. Even with the above costs factored in, I still think it’s a steal. WooCommerce is simply one of the best eCommerce platforms on the market.
If you’re not sure yet, let me give you some other recommendations. I’ve covered the most popular alternatives to WooCommerce in other blog posts where I compare both options. The information in these should give you plenty to think about:
Of course, you can also contact us directly if you have any specific questions about whether or not WooCommerce would be a good fit for your unique business.
Hope to hear from you.