WooCommerce is a powerful and popular e-commerce platform, but it requires the right set of tools and processes to make sure everything is up-to-date and functioning as intended. To help you stay on top of your WooCommerce development tasks, we’ve created the following checklist. It includes recommendations for regular upkeep as well as essential maintenance checks that should be carried out regularly.
Backup Your Website Regularly
Having a backup of your website is critical in case something unexpected happens. It’s important to create regular backups of your website and store them in multiple locations, so you can easily restore your site if something goes wrong. This will help ensure that all your hard work and customer data are not lost in the event of an emergency. This should be the first step whenever you are doing WooCommerce maintenance so that if anything goes wrong with your Woocommerce update you’ll have the original to fall back on.
While your hosting provider might provide regular backups, keep in mind that these are typically courtesy policies which means they cannot guarantee the backups and may not be available in your time of need. It is recommended to have a secondary backup not associated with your host using a third-party backup service or a plugin that backs up to another storage cloud provider. You might also manually run a backup right before any updates or maintenance. Lastly, depending on the number of orders you have on a daily basis, you might also consider having hourly backups so if you have to restore your entire website, you don’t have to manually re-enter an entire day’s worth of orders, only the past hour, depending on the situation at hand.
Update Your Plugins Regularly
WooCommerce comes with many powerful features designed to help your store succeed, but they require frequent updating for optimal performance. You should regularly check your plugin settings, to make sure you have the latest versions. This ensures that all features are running smoothly and securely. Plus, you might find some new features that help you run your WooCommerce site even better. Of course, being that your website is taking customer information constantly, security is a large concern with any eCommerce website and WooCommerce is no exception.
Ensuring you have the latest version of both free and commercial plugins is essential to protecting your customer’s data and ensuring your online business’ reputation is not damaged. Keep in mind that plugin updates often can bring unexpected changes to your website, some good and some bad so it is recommended to test in a staging environment before applying to your live website. Breaking your live site could cost thousands in lost orders depending on how bad the issue is and your daily sales volume.
Lastly, since plugins are often made by various community developers, the plugins cannot be tested for every situation so you should consider relying only on reputable and consistent plugin developers to avoid conflicts. A WooCommerce maintenance service can help you keep track of all the latest updates and news regarding WooCommerce and help you figure out which updates and plugins are best for your eCommerce store.
Keep Your Theme Up-to-Date
Your website’s theme is a crucial component of any eCommerce site, and keeping it up-to-date is essential. Make sure to check for any theme updates that come out, and if it’s been a while since you last updated your theme, it’s probably time to do so. This will ensure your website looks great, reflects your brand, and functions optimally. Outdated themes can cause serious security issues and slow down your website, so it’s important that you’re always running the latest version.
Themes can cause more serious errors or display issues than plugin updates typically so it is always recommended to update your themes in a staging or sandbox copy of your live site first to ensure this is not affecting your user experience. Consider lightweight or so-called ‘skeleton’ themes that keep things simple – they tend to update without issue and provide the fastest front-end loading times. At Inspry, we don’t just offer a WooCommerce maintenance service, but also website development services that can help you build an original website that reflects your brand.
Test Your Store Regularly
Testing your WooCommerce site on a regular basis is essential for keeping things running smoothly. User experience plays a big role in who will shop where, and if your site isn’t user-friendly you risk alienating your audience and losing their business. Make sure to test all aspects of your store, from its admin interface to its checkout process, to ensure everything is functioning as expected. Testing these so-called ‘business critical’ functions are essential to earning your customers’ trust and a reliable sales process. Below are some specific user flows that should be tested regularly:
- Homepage is loading
- Product category page is loading
- Individual product page is loading
- Any product filtering is functioning and displaying the expected results
- Individual product page options are working as expedited and can be added to the cart
- Removing/adding products from the cart page is working as expected
- Checkout including adding billing information is working as expected
- Coupon/promo at checkout is functioning
The only critical business function that can be tough to test is the final payment screen and the associated admin and customer email confirmations. It is recommended to test those in a sandbox website using your payment gateway’s sandbox mode or an offline mode like ‘check / cash’ to finish the process. This isn’t an ideal solution so after major upgrades, you may wish to run live transactions with credit cards, etc. from time to time to ensure that there are no warnings or issues customers haven’t reported yet. Lastly, be on the lookout for any slowdowns in orders that seem out of the ordinary after any big updates or changes to the website.
Stay on Top of Security
Security is an important consideration when running a WooCommerce site, so make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to keep your site safe. Besides running routine updates and security patches on WordPress core, themes, and your plugins, make sure to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication whenever possible. Keeping up with a WooCommerce update like this on a regular basis will help you maintain a secure online store and ensure that you and your customers are safe from hackers.
Consider using a web access firewall (WAF) either at the hosting level or DNS level such as Cloudflare which can prevent many bad actors from even attempting security hacks on your website. Lastly, consider hiding your WordPress backend login URL to a random string of characters using a free plugin. This in itself doesn’t add to security but will reduce the number of bot/security attempts on your website’s backend since the scripts/hackers won’t be able to easily find your backend login to test credentials.
Monitor Your Site’s Performance
Monitoring your website’s performance is critical to ensure it’s running optimally. You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Analytics, and GTMetrix to monitor how quickly your pages are loading, the number of visitors you’re getting, and other metrics that will help you identify areas where improvements can be made. While these tools can give unrealistic results, passing Google’s Core Web Vitals related to page speed is critical to ensuring a proper user experience.
An experienced WooCommerce maintenance service can help you not only analyze these metrics but also tell you what changes need to be made such as a WooCommerce update to keep your website running optimally. In addition, consider enabling any logging necessary when trouble does arise from your payment processor logs to server-related logs to identify any issues that could be affecting only specific users and leading to lost sales if the customers do not report the issue to you.
By keeping up with this checklist, you’re taking the necessary steps to keep your WooCommerce site running smoothly and efficiently. With the right processes in place, you can be sure your store will remain successful and secure.
Need Help Managing Your WooCommerce Site?
If you don’t have the time or resources to manage your WooCommerce site yourself, consider working with a WooCommerce maintenance service like Inspry. We understand how important it is to have an efficient and secure eCommerce site, so we can provide the support you need to ensure your store is successful. Our services offer comprehensive solutions for keeping your store up and running at peak performance, from backups to security updates to troubleshooting any issues. With our help, you can rest assured that your website is always safe, secure, and running as intended.
WooCommerce maintenance doesn’t have to be a challenge – get in touch with our team today and see what kind of ecommerce maintenance plan we can come up with for you today!