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automating sales in Woocommerce

Plugins that can help to increase sales and conversions in Woocommerce 2017

By | Business Growth, Ecommerce, SEO, Social Media, Woocommerce, Wordpress | 2 Comments

There are many great plugins that can help to increase sales in Woocommerce in this blog post I’m going to talk about 2 very effective plugins in this space: AutomateWoo and SumoMe .

 

AutomateWoo for increasing sales in Woocommerce

AutomateWoo has a lot of great features that can be setup to work automatically based on certain triggers, for example:

  • Win back inactive customers by emailing customers that haven’t shopped (after a certain time that you define) a discount code to Woo them back
  • Convert a percentage of abandoned carts into Sales by emailing customers that didn’t finish the checkout, to remind them of what is in their cart.
  • Follow up emails – Ask customers for reviews (good for seo), ask them to share on social media, show them other things they might like

automating sales in Woocommerce

There are many triggers that AutomateWoo can be setup to work on to increase sales and to help get your site shared on social media or content created for free in the form of product reviews. Product reviews is essentially free onsite seo (content). There are many other things AutomateWoo can do such as offer customers rewards and spending a certain threshold and so on.

This plugin has the ability to dramatically increase your sales.

 

SumoMe

This is plugin that pops up before a user is about to leave your website to

  • offer a discount
  • offer a signup form for your email  list (so you can market to them)
  • make it easy for visitors to share your website on social media

SumoMe uses a popup to capture user emails ( I used to hate popups for capturing emails, but this method of capturing emails has really improved in the last few years by building in intelligence to only popup when a user is about to leave your website).

 

 

 

 

Woocommerce Table Rate Shipping weight example

By | Ecommerce, Woocommerce, Wordpress | No Comments

Sometimes you need to ship by weight, and like most things when it comes to shipping the Table Rate Shipping plugin is your friend. So in this worked example I’ll show how to setup Weight based shipping using the Table Rate Shipping plugin.

Firstly we need to decide the costs and the weights for those costs.

For example lets say we’re shipping Mushrooms, and we want to ship by these weights:

0kg to 1.99 kg = £2.85

2kg to 4.99kg = £4.95

5kg to 10kg     = £13.75

We need to set this up: per order, then on the table select weight and min/max and then the cost.

This is best explained by showing the actual table like below.

woocommerce table rate shipping weight example

 

 

If you need help with a WordPress Website click here

How to speed up Woocommerce (and WordPress)

By | Business Growth, Ecommerce, Web Design, Woocommerce, Wordpress | 11 Comments
woocommerce GTmetrix pagespeed scores

GTMetrix after I tuned up a client’s Woocommerce website

 

Speed tuning in WordPress and Woocommerce

This post contains details of how to supercharge your WordPress website.

Here are some speed tuning tips for getting your Woocommerce store loading quickly and keep customers on your site (slow loading = loss of customers).

Check file load times

In firebug look at the console requests (eg all the css/images etc, but especially important check for any php files like admin-ajax.php ). Any files that are taking a long time to load are slowing down the page for the user. It can be any type of file (but large uncompressed images are a common problem).

Look for any slow loading files:

speed page loading waterfall

A common one on woocommerce /?wc-ajax=get_refreshed_fragments  often there is a plugin calling this (which causes a speed issue) – this may well be called by admin-ajax.php

https://woorkup.com/diagnose-admin-ajax-php-causing-slow-load-times-wordpress/

 

Minify, Combine and Compress

A great way to reduce the number of requests hitting the server is to combine your css and js files. Autoptimize will do this for you, just install and tick the relevant boxes on the settings page (it will also minify your html/css/js).

Run javascript when the page loads

By default javascript will load and run as soon as soon as the browser sees it ( this can slow things down drastically, if it takes awhile for the js to load ) . Most javascript can be run after the page loads, add defer or async to your javascripts to prevent js becoming a bottleneck in the page loading/rendering. If the js is loaded via wp_enqueue_script then you can use the Async Javascript plugin  , if some script/s aren’t loaded with wp_enqueue_script you’ll need to add it manually to your scripts e.g.

I recently had this problem with a mailchimp script mc-validate.js , holding up the loading of a page by about 2 seconds, defered it and now it loads super quick.

Woocommerce cart tip

Many themes have the cart details drop down, by having a static link instead you can save on alot of Ajax calls to populate the cart ( if you have a busy store this can make a significant difference).

It says on homepage, but you can easy edit your theme slightly, to just have a static cart link ( not having that js running gives you a nice little speed boost).

From (first comment):

https://woocommerce.com/2016/03/woocommerce-speed-first-steps/

 

Check how many requests are being made

This is a follow on to the first step, the less files you need to load (the fewer requests), the faster the page load. Of course there’s a balance to struck here. Between functionality / design and speed. Use a tool like Chrome web developer tools or a website tool like GTMetrix to check how many requests are being made

Some plugins load lots of files, it might be a case of looking at some of them and checking if you really need them all. As baseline I try not to have more than 20 plugins (but again this is very subjective, some are big , some small etc …)

 

Disable wp-cron

By default this runs on every request to your website, if you have lots of requests this will drastically slow your website down.

Disable wp-cron default if you are getting lots of hits ( reconfig to only check a couple of times a day), see this article on how todo so.

 

php.ini

check the memory_limit allocated (this is the max memory any one request/process can take, so this is for each users http request).

A quick way to get a glance at php.ini info is make a file with this in  <?php phpinfo(); ?>

These are probably among the most important values you will want to configure (the values will depend on your environment, how much traffic etc…):

There are various ways to configure that depend on your server setup, I’m an expert in this contact me if you would like help and I can give you a quote.

 

Check the usage stats

Use something like awstats to see stuff like how much bandwidth you using, and any files that are being called alot.

Check the logs

Is there anything that seems to be causing a problem ?

Check error_log in webroot if available (or standard apache error_log if not), or debug.log in /wp-content if thats available.

memory errors will look something like this:

Database

You might need to optimise the database (always back up first!)

https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/

https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/optimizing-your-wordpress-database-a-complete-guide/

Another thing you can look at to optimise your database is post revisions (they take up alot of space in the posts table, if you backup regularly do you really need them ?). This article tells you how to disable post revisions.

Database Problems with Woocommerce wp_options (especially true for Woocommerce 2.4 and before)

Woocommerce can be slowed down due to too many rows in the wp_options table, on a good host I’d advise keeping this under 10,000 rows as a max. On shared hosting you would probably want to halve that.

After all the above to speed up look at things like:

  • caching (there are many good caching plugins available)
  • image compression (smushit is a great plugin, smaller image sizes mean faster page loading times)
  • Look at using a CDN(content delivery network), this can take alot of load off your server and speed up the loading experience for your customers. Of the CDNs I’ve used Cloudflare is the best.

 

Ecommerce tips to help increase sales

By | Ecommerce, Marketing, Woocommerce, Wordpress | No Comments

In this post I’m going to give some tips to help you increase your sales.

horse-herd-fog-nature-52500 (1)

Speed – Make your website load quickly

Customers like fast sites they can browse quickly and find what they need. Slow loading pages will make many potential customers go to elsewhere site to buy, bottom line you lose money.

There are lots of ways to increase website speed including:

  • Fast hosting (you get what you pay )
  • Caching (this can bring big gains)
  • CDNs (content distribution networks)

There are many other ways check out this article I wrote on speeding up WordPress if you’d like abit more depth on some of these.

Monitor Uptime

How often do you check your site uptime ? If you don’t you could be missing out on loads of sales because of site downtime. Check out monitoring tools such as pingdom.

Test your website on different Devices

Check does it look good and is it easy to navigate on mobiles, tablet etc… A website that is hard to navigate = lost sales. Its essential you test this after updating themes , plugins etc …

pexels-photo

Abandoned Carts / Cancelled Orders

Alot of the big retailers woo these customers back by offering a discount/voucher code. You could (and maybe should) be doing the same.

Make your Offers prominent

If you are running an offer or incentive, don’t hide this away put it somewhere it can easily be seen by the Customer, a good example if to place a banner on all pages.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 15.45.01

Email Signup

Your best customers are your existing customers, why? Because if they have purchased from you before and like your product / service, they are likely to buy from you again. But sometimes you need to remind them you exist. This is why it’s important to capture customer/fan email addresses and get them signed up to your newsletter.

Ask for Product Reviews

Let your customers generate new content for you, boosts SEO (and more people find you). You could offer a voucher code to incentivise.

Get Social

  1. Post onto social networks as you add products, this generates good quality relevant inbound links to your website.
  2. Put social links in your customer emails, lots of customers will ignore them, but some will tweet etc… Again free inbound links

The feedback I’ve had over the last few months suggests that Pinterest and Instagram are best for promoting products (probably because of their more visual appeal).

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-12-53-14

Outreach to Blogs in your niche/field

Do promotions, asking bloggers in your niche (bloggers that have a good following), to feature your promotion.

Closed Feedback Solutions (such as Feefo)

Systems like Feefo only allow real reviews, and Google trusts them and bases its staring system on such systems.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-13-24-09

Try out Heatmaps

This can help you see how people are using your website and help with insights, see plugins such as this for an example.

 

I hope you find these tips useful to increasing your ecommerce website sales.

beginners guide to theming Woocommerce

How to make a WordPress Theme, Woocommerce Compatible from scratch

By | E-commerce, Ecommerce, PHP, Programming, Theming, Woocommerce, Wordpress | 6 Comments

In this post I’ll going to explain how I took a WordPress Bootstrap Theme and made it Woocommerce Compatible. I couldn’t find many good tutorials on this so I’m writing this one, so that it might help someone else.

The Process to make a theme Woocommerce Compatible

I’m going to take the very nice DevDmBootstrap3 theme and make it Woocommerce Compatible.

  1. I created a child theme of DevDmBootstrap3
  2. I added the required stuff needed to that child theme

I’ll skip over 1 (there are plenty tutorials of how to do that out there), and move right onto 2.

Complete code below (can be put in functions.php)

Sidebar Code for Woocommerce (wp-content/themes/THEME/sidebar.php )

The DevDmBootstrap3 theme didn’t have a sidebar.php so I added one to my child theme with the following:

Explanation of Code

Remove the Woocommerce default wrappers (this drops wraps the Woocommerce content in the theme, so everything looks nice), see remove_action lines.

Next, we need to make our own wrappers so Woocommerce can nicely be wrapped into the theme and all looks good. See functions gbb_theme_wrapper_start() and gbb_theme_wrapper_end(), in these functions I wrap the content in the theme (todo this on different themes this will vary slightly).

Roughly speaking the contents of the 2 wrapper functions will be output between the header.php and footer.php files of the theme you are using.  As you can see below I’ve added content to drop in relevant stuff from the DevDmBootstrap3 theme such as the menu e.g. ‘topnav’ .

 

Essentially what I’ve done is created a bootstrap row with 2 columns: column 1 is two thirds width and column 2 is one third width.

Column 1 (col-md-8)

This contains the main Woocommerce content.

Column 2 (col-md-4)

This contains the Woocommerce sidebar.

After that I declare Woocommerce support in the theme, and lastly create a sidebar for the theme (that I can use as my Woocommerce sidebar). The sidebar can be seen in the themes sidebar.php template file (which I created for this theme as it didn’t have one).

And thats about it in nutshell as they say, hope you find this useful.

 

 

 

 

References:

Woocommerce third party theming

Theming Jigoshop , this is the best resource I could find (Jigoshop is a fork of Woocommerce or vice versa)

 

Update 27 June 2016

To Download the latest version of the Woocommerce Compatible theme click here

In this version there is no sidebar on woocommerce pages (except on cart / checkout, this can be switched on/off via devdm-theme-options is needed).

To have a sidebar in the shop / product page etc this can be setup via the wrapper functions see file: make_theme_woocommerce_compatible.php (as in the tutorial above).

 

TODO at a later date I will do a part 2 to this tutorial to  create the rollover cart contents script (that will be put in the header to quickly preview whats in the cart).

 

 

 

Onsite SEO for Ecommerce websites 2016

By | Business Growth, Ecommerce, SEO, Woocommerce | One Comment

In this post I’m going to talk about some of the things you can do to improve your Online Store’s visibility in Search Engines such as Google. To get more sales of your products and services. Onsite SEO for Ecommerce websites isn’t difficult but does require some perseverance.

Onsite SEO for Ecommerce websites

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate

This means encrypting communication between a users computer and the server that your website is on. Google has added this as a ranking factor in its search algorithm and it will also give your customers and potential customers more confidence in your website when they land on it (i.e. help increase conversions).

Unique Product Descriptions

Many online stores use the manufacturer’s description of a product on the product page on your website. The problem with this is Google doesn’t like duplicate data, so if you can write your own product description this is going to benefit your website ranking. Use tools like Googles Adword Keyphase planner to get ideas or tools like keyword checker to see what other stores are doing.

Speed of page loading

Another important ranking factor for Google is how quickly your pages load. Check out Googles PageSpeed insights to see how quickly your page loads from Googles perspective.

Use the Alt tag on images (especially on the product page)

Its another useful ranking signal (and there are tools that can automate it for you), that can help boost your product/s pages above the competition.

Product Reviews

Try to get your customers writing product reviews (maybe incentivise them with a discount). You will get unique natural content about your products. That search engines will like and boost you up abit more.

NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) in footer on every page

Another factor the search engines like is your Name , Address and Phone number clearly stated on every page.  Also use the itemprop attribute for every part of the address and phone number e.g. for phone number something like this: <p itemprop=”telephone”>873873873</p>

Offsite SEO Bonus Tip: Link Building is Dead

I know the tips here are onsite but I just thought I’d throw this one in as well. Alot of inbound links are no good (or very little good). The links that google likes are links that have been put there in editorial content, ie in the middle of an article / page etc.

The type of links that are pretty useless for SEO purposes are blog and forums comments and signatures etc. So be very careful about paying people todo offsite SEO link building.

Conclusion

There you have some of the ways that Onsite SEO for Ecommerce websites can help you start to rise above your competition and get more sales. If you would me to help with your Ecommerce SEO contact me to discuss an Ecommerce SEO package tailored to your needs.