Is your WooCommerce store safe, secure, and running smoothly? Like any online system, maintenance and good practices are required to protect your business reputation and source of income.
Selling online can save you time and money on a physical store, but it’s not a static and forget-me-not solution. Here are ten things you should do on a regular basis to make sure your store stays in top condition and sales keep flowing.
1. Update all software
The first thing you can do to protect your site is to update the software immediately whenever a new version is released. In a WooCommerce store, this includes both WordPress core and WooCommerce, as well as your own theme and any plugins. Updating everything will protect your store from specific security threats and ensure things work together smoothly.
If you want the least thing to worry about, consider automatic updates. But if you like to update everything manually, be sure to check your site frequently to see when new versions are available.
We also recommend that you use a staging site to test all software updates. If your hosting company doesn’t provide easy one-click staging areas for testing, it might be time to consider changing hosts. Read our documentation for details on safely updating WooCommerce.
2. Scan for malware
When an online store goes offline, it’s a crisis. Sales are not happening, customers are confused, everyone is in a panic.
Keep emergencies to a minimum by running security checks and monitoring downtime. Your partners in keeping your site secure? High-quality hosting and security scanning software such as Jetpack Scan, which monitors attacks and site errors.
Use reports to check for potential problems and address issues before a power outage occurs. In the worst case scenario, Jetpack Scan will immediately alert you to malware so you can deal with it, often before customers know there’s a problem.
3. Back up your store regularly
Making sure your site is backed up goes hand in hand with security checks and software updates. You cannot afford to lose orders, inventory data or customer information, all of which may change on a minute-by-minute basis.
When you’re dealing with something this important, it’s easy to get real-time backups from a tool like Jetpack Backup. All your site data and information is constantly backed up, so no matter what happens, you’ll be able to get back the latest orders and sales.
4. Test all checkouts
Speaking of testing, it is always a good idea to test checkouts and checkouts on a regular basis. Don’t wait for customers to complain that their payments aren’t working.
Most payment gateways provide sandboxes for testing purposes, so you can submit test requests on your site without making an actual payment or affecting inventory. Use this function to stay ahead of any checkout issues.
5. Run site speed tests
Sites can slow down for any number of reasons, and you don’t want speed to be a barrier to sales.
Run a third-party speed test on your site as part of your monthly maintenance. Most reliable speed tests will identify problem areas – take them seriously and do what you can to fix them. Make sure the images are compressed, use only trusted plugins and themes, and combine functionality where you can avoid bloating.
And as always, remember that your hosting company is your partner when it comes to speed. Make sure you have a trusted and reputable host that specializes in WordPress and WooCommerce.
6. Spam filtering
Spam comments and reviews can slow down your site and damage your reputation. Part of your regular maintenance should be analyzing comments and feedback and removing anything that is spam or inappropriate.
You can manage spam with the right tools. Plugins like Jetpack Anti-spam — which is powered by the best WordPress spam filter, Akismet — can do most of the heavy lifting for you. It learns from millions of sites to automatically block spam comments and even submit requests. And you’ll be able to provide feedback and customize settings so that if a piece of spam creeps in, it’s less likely to happen again.
7. Inventory management
If you sell a physical product, you likely have inventory to manage. Accurate stock numbers are essential to satisfy your customers and ensure that every order is valid. The numbers will need to be updated frequently – daily is a good idea.
You can make it easy on yourself by adding a stock extension to your WooCommerce store.
- Wholesale inventory management. This allows you to quickly check inventory numbers on a single screen, and update numbers for many products at once.
- WooCommerce Square. This is ideal for syncing between the physical store and the online store. Square will manage your payments on both platforms and stock number format.
- Scanventure. Skip the expensive hardware and use your smartphone to quickly scan items and update inventory numbers directly from your warehouse.
8. Handling refunds and returns
Part of running an effective store is handling returns quickly and efficiently. Ensure that there are staff members willing to assist customers who need to exchange an item or request a refund. Addressing these on a daily basis is a key aspect of a thriving health store.
WooCommerce Payments provides the most convenient way to process returns – right from within the WooCommerce dashboard. It only takes a few clicks to issue refunds, so you’ll spend less time on returns and refunds and more on the fun parts of owning an online store.
9. Adding new content
If you want to grow your store, you will need a strategy to create new content on a regular basis. This not only keeps your site interesting and adds value to your existing customers, but can help attract new fans by boosting your site’s search engine rankings.
New content usually means blog posts, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Consider setting up a new product profile, showing customers who have used a product in a unique or interesting way, or sharing some of your store history.
10. Analytics Monitoring
Finally, an important part of maintaining your online storefront is keeping a close eye on your analytics. WooCommerce Analytics provides many detailed reports and summaries. You can track metrics like sales, orders, refunds, discounts used, taxes collected, and more.
Monitoring your store’s performance and progress is key to building a strong brand. You will know if your business is heading in the right direction, and you will be able to make good decisions moving forward.
Stay ahead of site maintenance
Don’t wait for problems to arise or for customers to tell you there is a problem. If you have goals for growth, being proactive can make all the difference. Put the time and effort into maintaining your site, keeping it secure, and understanding what works well. With constant care and support, your online store will thrive.