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cPanel Pricing Changes: A Powerful Alternative

cPanel Pricing Changes: A Powerful Alternative

2020 has seen a big change for hosting clients. cPanel, a hosting admin panel that allows site owners to make changes to their hosting plans, has changed its pricing structure. As a result, the cost of hosting will likely increase for most hosting clients. 

But it doesn’t need to. There are a number of cPanel alternatives available to site owners that are just as powerful (if not more powerful). Here, we’ll talk through one of those alternatives.

What Is cPanel?

When you host a site with any hosting provider, you’re able to make a number of changes to your hosting infrastructure. cPanel is a graphical interface that allows you to do this without having to work through the command line. 

cPanel is a powerful tool for site administrators. It not only allows you to make changes to your hosting plan, it also allows you to:

  • Add and change SSL certificates
  • Create backups
  • View access logs
  • Access database administration
  • Configure FTP settings
  • Manage files

Unfortunately, cPanel is not owned by your hosting provider. As a result, cPanel manages its own pricing structure. As of January 1, 2020, they have adopted an account-based pricing structure. 

What Does the cPanel Pricing Change Mean for You?

The new cost for users depends on the server and plan types they use. However, on average the cost for end-users (you) will increase by 25%-50%. Since the cost is calculated on a per-account basis, in some cases you may see costs rise by more than 100%. 

This price change has come as a shock to much of the hosting community, with many users unsure of how to now keep costs low. 

Luckily, we offer an alternative to cPanel, one which is just as powerful and that comes bundled with all of our hosting plans: The Hostdedi Client Portal. 

The Hostdedi Client Portal is a custom hosting admin panel created for use by Hostdedi customers. As it stands, The Hostdedi Client Portal has thousands of licenses in production and as we continue to grow with our clients, we expect to increase that number by thousands more in the coming months. 

cPanel Alternatives

The Hostdedi Client Portal is similar to cPanel. It offers all the same features your find with cPanel in a slightly different interface. In addition, you’ll be able to access and configure the technology options you find with Hostdedi that you won’t find anywhere else. This includes Hostdedi Auto Scaling, Elasticsearch, and the Cloud Accelerator. 

The Nexess Control Panel

The Hostdedi Client Portal makes site management easy. 

You’ll immediately be given access to the Hostdedi Client Portal as soon as you sign up for an account. The screenshot above provides a basic overview of the Client Portal for Managed WooCommerce plans. 

Depending on the application you choose for your hosting service, you’ll have access to different features. Each of these is tailored to your specific setup and is designed to make developing your site as simple as possible. 

A number of tutorials for how to use the Hostdedi Client Portal can be found in the Knowledge Base

Moving to the Hostdedi Client Portal

If you’re not a Hostdedi client yet and are interested in making the move to Hostdedi services, you can get started by visiting our cloud hosting page and selecting the right plan for your requirements. 

Alternatively, get in touch with a Hostdedi support team member to discuss your options and how the Hostdedi Client Portal can help you. 

The post cPanel Pricing Changes: A Powerful Alternative appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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Welcome Our Newest Expert, Patrick Rauland

Welcome Our Newest Expert, Patrick Rauland

Hostdedi is pleased to welcome Patrick Rauland as our new Product Marketing Manager for managed WooCommerce. Patrick is a known WooCommerce expert with experience in development, configuration, and client-based consulting. 

Before joining Hostdedi, Patrick was a Woo Product Manager at WooThemes and Automattic, as well as an industry trainer and author. Patrick has experience developing core functionality in WooCommerce itself, leading technology releases, and helping run ecommerce conferences.

In his new role, Patrick will focus on increasing Hostdedi’s WooCommerce presence in the market.

“I’m excited to join Hostdedi. They have the hands-down best plan for WooCommerce customers and I’m excited to articulate exactly why that is and what you can get out of it.”

Patrick will work out of Denver, and we can’t wait to see his impact on the WooCommerce market and our own Hostdedi team. 

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WooCommerce Setup: Your Guide to Getting Started

WooCommerce Setup: Your Guide to Getting Started

There are over 2.3 million ecommerce stores hosted on the WooCommerce platform, and for good reason. WooCommerce makes creating your own store quick and easy. With Hostdedi, WooCommerce solutions combine great functionality, an intuitive interface, and a powerful managed hosting platform to provide merchants with an ecommerce foundation that drives growth. 

However, the question remains: How can you set up your WooCommerce store to start selling quickly and effectively?

This WooCommerce walkthrough will take you from ordering your managed WooCommerce solution with Hostdedi to creating your first product and customizing your storefront’s look and feel. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a fully operational storefront that’s bringing in revenue and attracting customers. 

What You Need:

  • A hosted WordPress or WooCommerce solution
  • An active internet connection (unless you’re going to be testing on a local account)
  • Around 20 minutes of your time
  • A fiery passion for ecommerce (optional)

Step 1: Ordering a Managed WooCommerce Solution

What’s a WooCommerce store without a hosting platform? To get started you’ll need a strong foundation to build your WooCommerce store on. This will help dictate the speed, security, and scalability of your store, and have a direct impact on the support you can receive. 

There are a number of different hosting solutions available to merchants and freelancers. However, we recommend opting for a WooCommerce cloud solution. Start by visiting our WooCommerce managed hosting page, and selecting the right size solution for your needs. 

The right size solution depends on a number of factors. The most important of these is the number of users that visit your store at any one time. This is because we grade our cloud solutions based on the number of PHP workers they can support. This is the number of concurrent users who can be performing an action on your site at any one time. Learn more about what PHP workers are and how they affect your site’s performance.

Not sure what size is right for your store? Talk it over with a member of the Hostdedi team. We’ll provide advice on sizing, integrations, and anything else you need to know.

If this is your first storefront then we recommend opting for the smaller plans. These will help you to get started and once you start to see more traffic, they can instantly be upgraded in your Client Portal with a click.

Once you have completed this stage, you’ll be able to log into your Client Portal and access your WooCommerce admin panel. From there, the first thing you’ll need to do is set up your store’s main properties with the WooCommerce setup wizard.

For WooCommerce setup documentation regarding site migration, visit our Knowledge Base to learn more.

Step 2: The WooCommerce Setup Wizard

How to start the WooCommerce Setup Wizard

Once you’ve installed and activated WooCommerce, you need to complete a short WooCommerce setup wizard. To do this, locate the left hand panel and find WooCommerce. Click it. If WooCommerce isn’t present then refresh the page and it should appear.

After you’ve navigated to the WooCommerce page, you’ll find a button under the page title called Run the Setup Wizard. Click this and prepare to let WooCommerce know everything you want your store to be (almost).

Remember, everything you set throughout this WooCommerce setup process can be changed at a later date. WooCommerce is an incredibly flexible solution for merchants and it’s almost impossible to get locked into any one particular solution.

Begin WooCommerce Store Setup

WooCommerce Setup Wizard basic info

The first group of information we need to let WooCommerce know is where we are, who we are, what type of product we’re selling, and what primary currency we’re going to be charging in. If you have multiple currencies then don’t worry. We’ll cover this later. For now, opt for your local currency.

The information here doesn’t have to be entirely accurate, although it will prevent revisiting setup at a later date if it is. Once you’re finished, click Continue to be taken to the Payment page (for configuring how people will be paying you).

Set up Your WooCommerce Payments

WooCommerce Payment Setup

WooCommerce offers some powerful and flexible payment gateway options by default. Both Stripe and Paypal allow you to accept credit cards and Paypal orders. They also sync well with your external accounts.

However, sometimes Stripe and Paypal aren’t the right solutions. Whether this is because you’re already used to an alternate payment gateway, or because you don’t like the transaction fees of the default, there are a number of alternatives available. 

Cost is going to be an important consideration with regard to your payment gateway. Some SaaS platforms, which attract merchants with low monthly subscriptions, quickly become much more expensive once you add costly transaction fees to the mix. 

WooCommerce does not, by default, charge transaction fees. From a WooCommerce pricing perspective, this often makes it more cost-effective than SaaS alternatives. 

If you decide to change from the default payment gateways, ensure that you research transaction fees, security, and support. There are 100+ payment gateway options available as WooCommerce extensions and each has its own set of conditions and features. 

If you’re unsure, then we recommend first-time store owners use Stripe and Paypal. Both are industry-leading businesses that offer no transaction fees and guarantee payment security for your customers.

Setting up Shipping

WooCommerce Shipping Setup Options

It’s now time to set up your shipping information. Here, you’re going to need to input your shipping zones to help calculate shipping rates. If you’re a beginner, we advise leaving these as their default options. 

Remember, these options can all be edited at a later date or expanded upon with additional plugins if you need.

You’ll also need to input the weight and dimension units you’re using. We recommend going with the most frequently used unit in your primary geographic location. For instance, if you are running a store in the US, oz and inches are likely the best fit. If, however, you’re running a store in the UK, it’s better to opt for kg and cm. Metric or Imperial, you decide. 

Once you’ve finished with this screen, again, click Continue.

A Few Extra Things

WooCommerce Recommended extensions
The final stage of the setup offers some optional plugins to install if you think they may fit your store. We’ll leave this up to your better judgment on whether you think they are suitable. If you’re unsure, we recommend getting in touch with a developer to see how these plugins will benefit you.

Once you’ve finished, you can then activate your WooCommerce install at the next screen and you’re ready to go.

Step 3: Creating Your First Product

What use is an ecommerce store without products?

This step will help you to create your first product so that it’s ready to go live on your WooCommerce site.

We’ll be covering the areas of:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Pictures
  • SKU
  • Inventory
  • Shipping costs

Remember, WooCommerce has a lot of added functionality over just plain WordPress. This functionality has been designed specifically for the purposes of ecommerce. We’re going to want to use as much of this as possible.

Before you get started with this step, there are a few things you’re going to need:

  • Some product photography – WooCommerce has a great blog post on how to create inexpensive product photography. Alternatively, you can use photos of products from suppliers.
  • Content and copy for product descriptions and names.
  • An idea of what SKUs you’re going to use (if you’re running a big store).

Now that you’ve gotten all of that sorted, head to WooCommerce down the left sidebar => Products => New Product.

Adding a New Product setup
This top section of the page will be very familiar to WordPress users. That’s because it’s basically the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.

Entering Information

You can enter your product name at the top and a product description at the bottom. Note that the product description here will be the long product description located below the product — not the short description located next to the image.
WooCommerce Product Page Example Layout
Once you’ve finished loading your content here, you’re ready to move onto some of WooCommerce’s finer product setup features.
WooCommerce Product Setup, product data
Advanced product data gives you a chance to select the price for your item, set inventory, organize its SKU, and more.

Along the top, you’ll notice two tick boxes for Virtual and Downloadable. If you are selling items that don’t require shipping, you can tick these and WooCommerce will ignore shipping rates.
WooCommerce short product description
This is where you can set the short description as shown above. It’s advisable to keep this section short as it will act as one of the first things a prospective buyer will see. Keep it catchy and fun – product specifics belong in the long description below.

Step 4: Adding Images, Product Galleries, Categories, and Tags

The next step for adding your first WooCommerce product to your catalog is including images and categories. To do this, you just need to head to the right side of your WYSIWYG-like WooCommerce editor.
Product Categories and Tags in WooCommerce
Here you’ll find the category options. You can add new ones if you wish to. These are incredibly helpful for aiding customers in their conversion journey and making sure they enjoy an easy and intuitive user experience. Tags can also be used to help with this and, once again, we highly recommend you use them — especially if you are running a large store.
Adding product images in WooCommerce
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to input pictures. WooCommerce has put together a great guide on how to go about improving product photography for your ecommerce store. We highly recommend making sure your product photography is high quality. This is because it is one of the most significant page elements involved in effecting conversions.

To add your primary product image, scroll to where it says Product Image and upload and select your image. Below this, you can add additional images to be featured in the product gallery, this way you can exhibit different aspects of your item. In creating a page for the incredible Hostdedi swag notebook, we’ve shown what it looks like from the front in the product image, and then a look at the inside in the product gallery.

Step 5: Exploring WooCommerce Themes

It’s important to customize the look and feel of your site so it stands out before taking your WooCommerce store live. To do this, you’re going to want to see the range of different themes already available — or possibly customize your own.

This guide will not go into how to create your own WooCommerce themes – that’s for another article – but we will direct you to where you can change theme settings and choose from a selection of pre-built ones.

The Hostdedi WooCommerce Site
To do this, head to Appearance down the left side of your WooCommerce dashboard. From here, you can select Themes to look at a range of different pre-built WooCommerce themes, or you can select customize to change elements on your site easily. This includes repeat elements like site titles, logos, and more. You can also take a look at Plugins, below Appearance, for a list of extensions you can add to your WooCommerce store to expand functionality.

Complete Your WooCommerce Setup With the Right Hosting Foundation

When setting up your WooCommerce store, the last thing you want is to experience site slowdowns and configuration issues. Instead, make your WooCommerce experience as easy as possible with Hostdedi managed WooCommerce solutions. We help you take care of the management and configuration of your site and bundle up to $6,000 in integrations, so you can focus on creating the store and customer experience you want.

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Welcome our Newest Expert, Jessica Mott

Welcome our Newest Expert, Jessica Mott



We’re happy to welcome Jessica Mott to the Hostdedi team as our new Southeast Regional Channel Executive. Jessica will be based out of Atlanta and brings years of experience building and nurturing relationships with Magento development partners. 

Before Hostdedi, Jessica served as the Ecommerce Partner Manager for Total Server Solutions, where she was responsible for direct and channel sales, as well as marketing for ecommerce and enterprise clients.

Jessica’s focus at Hostdedi will be to grow Magento agencies and partnerships, for which she will leverage her sales leadership experience and Magento expertise. 

“I deeply value partnerships. When companies work well together, common goals are not only met, but in my experience, exceeded. I am proud and excited to join the Hostdedi team!”

We can’t wait to see all that Jessica accomplishes at Hostdedi.

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Hostdedi Welcomes David Eblen

Hostdedi Welcomes David Eblen

We are excited to welcome David Eblen to the Hostdedi team as our new Vice President of Strategy & Analytics. With nearly 20 years experience in technology services and solutions, David brings a proficiency in business development and strong technical expertise in creating vision and business-focused strategies. 

David is joining us from Rackspace where he served for nearly 9 years. As the Senior Product Director at Rackspace, he managed a team of 85 employees across four global focus areas, led their applications business unit, and drove double-digit growth. He also served as the Director of Products and Senior Manager of Cloud Operations while with Rackspace.

David’s main focus at Hostdedi will be driving performance through constant focus and analysis of our Key Performance Metrics. 

“I believe strongly in an intense focus on customer outcomes and solutions. As a leader in the ecommerce space with those same values, I believe Hostdedi is a great fit for me.  I’m excited to join the team!”

David will be based in our San Antonio office and we look forward to his outstanding contributions to the Hostdedi team.

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What Prospective Clients Need Before Making The Decision To Hire An Agency

What Prospective Clients Need Before Making The Decision To Hire An Agency

Imagine what business would be like if you didn’t have to pitch and sell, or seek out and convince new clients to hire you. Imagine how different your business would be if your pipeline was consistently full and potential clients said “yes” with excitement after only a conversation or two.

It’s possible. Providing clients with the information they need to know quickly and effectively will turn your agency into one that persuades them to work with you almost instantly. By identifying clear data points for conversion, you’re able to build a client acquisition strategy that resonates and converts. 

Key to this is understanding what your leads and prospective clients need to feel, know, and learn to make a confident buying decision. While every client may present a unique situation, budget, timeline, and set of project requirements, the way they decide whether or not to hire you is ultimately the same.

How Buying Decisions Are Made

Buying decisions are made with the heart and justified with the head.

How many times have you purchased something you wanted even though it wasn’t in the budget? Each time you’ve done so, it was probably because that thing triggered emotions so strong that you threw logic out the window and made the purchase. You saw it and felt happy, excited, relieved, or even nostalgic.

Like you, your potential clients make buying decisions based on feelings and emotions. They want to do business with other people — people who they know, like, and trust. Ultimately, they make decisions about who they hire based on how they feel and how strong their connection with the service provider is.

Once a lead feels in their heart that hiring you would be a good decision, it’s up to you to make sure the head or brain is satisfied with the fine details and logic — their brain is looking to justify the emotional buying decision. Whether they realize it or not, there is a mental checklist of information they need to get so they can feel good about taking action. This is where you must follow up on promises of solutions and results with facts, figures, data, and social proof.

A lead who is on the fence about hiring you is one who is dealing with a battle of heart (emotion) and head (logic).

  • SITUATION 1: Their heart is saying yes while their head is saying no. This happens when it feels right, they like you, and they want to say yes, but there are logical details that are missing or have not yet been addressed and the lead needs clarification and reassurance.
  • SITUATION 2: Their head is saying yes, but their heart is saying no. This happens when the contract, the fee, and everything you discussed is right, but for one reason or another, emotionally they’re just not feeling the partnership.

Your job as a business owner and service provider, is to help your audience connect with you and your brand emotionally. To do this, you need to build a relationship with your leads and provide prospective clients with the critical information they need to sign a contract. Some of this will be done in conversation and on sales calls, but most can be done on your website with the right approach.

Once you’ve built up a sales pipeline, it’s vital you keep your agency sustainable. Learn how

A Foundation For Lead Generation

To stay in business and grow your business, you need to generate a consistent pipeline of new leads, which means you’re expending time, effort, energy, and resources on brand awareness tactics, marketing campaigns, and lead generation strategies. With so much effort dedicated to developing leads, the worst thing that could happen is that a prospective client reaches your website, fails to make an emotional connection, and leaves without taking action.

To avoid this, it is imperative that when a new visitor reaches your website, they can quickly discover what it is about, confirm they’re in the right place, and find more valuable information.

When potential leads find your website:

  1. You want them to feel like it’s their lucky day because they found exactly what they needed
  2. You want them to feel like you “get them” and that your services were designed just for them.
  3. You need the right information to help them self-identify as a perfect fit or near perfect fit for your services and/or packages

But how do you get a visitor to self-identify as a prospective client and become a hot lead? And, how do you turn your website into your best salesperson that generates leads for you around the clock?

Your website can become a solid foundation for lead generation that works when you’re not working by implementing the four-step Know, Like, Trust, Convert approach.

Know

  • Help people learn more about you and your background, what you do and how you do it, who you serve and why, and what results you get. 
  • The basic web pages that typically help leads get to know you are the Home page, About page, Services page, Contact page, Thank You page.

Like

  • Help people get to know your personality, form a connection with you, and decide if they like you, like your perspective, and like your approach. 
  • This content offers glimpses into your personal life, showcases your personality, and shares your opinions and is typically found on the About page, Media page, and Portfolio page, as well as in case studies and blog posts.

Trust

  • Establish credibility, reliability, and trust by positioning yourself as an expert, providing value and quality content, and showing a history of proven results. 
  • This content typically includes the About page, Testimonials page, Portfolio page, Media Page, and Privacy Policy and Disclaimer pages, as well as blog posts, case studies, as seen on logos, and links to interviews and features.

Convert

  • Help people take action—contact, click, register, enroll, sign up, buy, subscribe, download, opt-in, call, email, join, or purchase. 
  • This content includes the Get Started page, Contact page, Sales pages, and Landing pages, as well as opt-in offers, pop-ups, and registration pages.

By applying the Know, Like, Trust, Convert approach to your website, visitors who are a great fit for your services will naturally self-identify as an ideal client and receive the exact information they need to move forward in the buying process. As a result, the quality of inbound leads your WordPress agency receives will improve and more leads with convert to paying clients.

Managed WordPress Hosting Is Better For Clients

When beginning a new website project, the last thing a client wants to do is figure out what website hosting company they should choose. Make it easy for your clients by recommending Hostdedi Managed WordPress Hosting. Managed WordPress Hosting takes care of image compression, automatic updates for plugins and the platform, automatic daily backups, automatic SSL, and staging environments, as well as access to developer tools and no pageview/traffic limits.

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WooCommerce vs Magento: How Opposites Attract

WooCommerce vs Magento: How Opposites Attract

Choosing the right ecommerce CMS for your storefront is important. Not only does it influence what you’re able to do, but it also allows you to set expectations in terms of development costs and timeframes. But with your CMS choices now more diverse than ever before, picking the right solution out from the crowd can be difficult. 

Two applications you’ll be introduced to early on are Magento and WooCommerce. Both are used by an impressive number of stores. WooCommerce is used by over 3 million stores, while Magento runs over 200,000. Both offer flexible feature sets that can be expanded easily with extensions, and both are backed by supportive communities.

So why should you choose one over the other? 

As you seek to drive revenue and distinguish your store, it’s vital that you pay attention to the customer experience you’re able to provide. Now is the time to drive change within your organization and optimize the commerce experience for your customers. By selecting the right solution for your storefront, you’ll be able to optimize your speed to market and drive revenue quickly

Let’s pit WooCommerce vs Magento and see which ecommerce platform is best for your store. If you’re a merchant that still needs to make a choice, keep reading to find out more.

Magento vs WooCommerce Summary

 

WooCommerce pros and Cons

WooCommerce Pros and Cons

As a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce comes armed with features that make it great for managing both content and ecommerce. Originally launched in 2011, it has grown to become the most used and versatile ecommerce platform available to merchants and agencies alike, with over 3 million active installs worldwide.

Now, with Managed WooCommerce hosting from Hostdedi, its versatility and ease of use have only improved, with up to $6,000 of integrations available for optimizing speed, security, scalability, and service.

Pros

  • Very easy to use and get started with
  • A huge range of templates and themes for merchants without any coding knowledge
  • Bundled integrations that provide advanced functionality for analytics, updates, site optimization, and ecommerce delivery

Cons

  • Doesn’t afford the same level of customization as Magento

 

Magento pros and cons

Magento Pros and Cons

The first application we’re taking a look at, Magento, is a powerful ecommerce platform capable of empowering merchants to create storefronts unlike any other. Originally released March 2008, it has since grown and inspired the release of a new version, Magento 2, in 2015. This version has gone on to become the perfect ecommerce platform for storefronts with a global reach.

Pros

  • A powerful ecommerce platform capable of creating unique user experiences
  • Offers more customization options that WooCommerce
  • An incredible community that, despite being smaller than WooCommerce’s, manages to easily hold its own
  • True hosting optimization through an optimized Magento hosting provider

Cons

  • Requires a developer to create a fully functioning storefront
  • Costs more than a WooCommerce implementation

 

  Interested in other ecommerce options available to merchants? See our comparison of the best ecommerce platforms or check out our Magento vs Shopify showdown. 

 

Performance

Questions about speed and power are usually some of the first merchants ask. Most of the time, merchants need to prioritize one. This especially holds when looking at Magento vs WooCommerce.

Speed and power are two different performance metrics and rarely go together.

While Magento may offer more in terms of power, it also requires more resources to deliver the same experience as WooCommerce. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a very lightweight and fast platform, but it lacks a lot of the functionality you’ll find with Magento. 

WooCommerce Is Lightweight

Magento vs WooCommerce in terms of performanceWe’ll say it again: WooCommerce is lightweight. This means the same hardware and resources can serve more customers with a WooCommerce store than with a Magento one. Take a look at our SIP and SIPWOO plans to see what this means in terms of real numbers. 

MagentoWooCommerce
Daily Visitors5,00010,000

*Based on a SIP 400 server build.

Although being lightweight means a higher customer capacity, WooCommerce has comparatively limited functionality out of the box. Without modification, WooCommerce lacks the ability to track activity through other channels and deliver a personalized experience. Magento offers these features by default, but they still require advanced configuration to get the most out of them. 

Bear in mind, while WooCommerce requires additional plugins to add advanced functionality, it will almost always perform better in terms of speed. Add to this the capabilities of managed WooCommerce and you’ve got an ecommerce platform that provides the best of both worlds. 

Magento Requires the Right Host

For Magento, it’s important to host with a provider that offers optimized infrastructure. While several providers state that they offer optimized hosting, the reality is that only a handful truly optimize their infrastructure for Magento. Hostdedi is known to offer a truly optimized Magento hosting foundation. Here are four reasons why

In addition to finding the right hosting provider, the quality of the code used to create a Magento store can also have a significant impact. Poorly edited code and unoptimized extensions can cause any server-side optimizations to lose their significance. If you’ve implemented multiple speed optimizations and your store is still crawling, it may be a good idea to start a code audit. 

Poorly edited Magento code and unoptimized extensions can easily cause any server-side optimizations to lose their significance.

Two Different Performance Bands

Like much of this comparison, Magento and WooCommerce fall into two different performance bands. WooCommerce is a lightweight contender, with comparatively less power behind it. However, being such a quick and nimble platform means that it requires a smaller hosting plan to support the same number of customers – even when you expand functionality with additional integrations. While Magento has much more power behind it – in terms of stock functionality –  it can slow down significantly when too many customers are active on your site.

Despite the two applications falling into two different performance bands, WooCommerce is the winner here. Being lightweight means it’s capable of outperforming Magento, with fewer resources required to serve the same sized customer base.

Functionality

Magento has long been known as the ecommerce king of functionality. Not only does it allow for the creation of unique and personalized user journeys, but its integration capabilities are second to none. 

With that said, a savvy developer can still get a lot out of WooCommerce. Part of the reason for this is that both applications come with REST API. This means that both platforms are capable of supporting expanded functionality through development. 

The WooCommerce REST API documentation (including hooks, endpoints, filters, and more) can be found here. Similar documentation for Magento can be found here

WooCommerce Requires WordPress

Functionality is an easy win for Magento

A common myth is that WooCommerce only offers limited functionality. The truth is much more complex. When combined with plugins, WooCommerce’s capabilities expand significantly. There are over 50,000 unique plugins available for WordPress, offering functionality for both the ecommerce and content sides of your site. 

Beyond plugins and integrations, the REST API means that WooCommerce is also capable of being expanded to suit more advanced functionality requirements through development. This means being able to create unique customer journeys that rival Magento and that scale as your store does.  

Coffeebros.com, for example, has created a storefront that includes discounts, calls to action, and a clean, easy to understand buying experience. Weber.co.za, the grill provider, has also created an easy-to-use store that integrates both the ecommerce product and content recipe sections seamlessly.

The ability to integrate both commerce and content seamlessly is one of WooCommerce’s strengths.

This is one of the biggest pros for WooCommerce: WooCommerce lets merchants integrate the content and ecommerce sections of their site seamlessly. Magento does not offer this.

Magento Powers Global Commerce

Magento powers some of the biggest ecommerce stores in the world. There’s a reason for this: the functionality it offers global retailers. 

Magento allows for Global storefronts with regional differences.

Magento powers some of the biggest ecommerce stores in the world. There’s a reason for this: the functionality it offers global retailers. 

HP transformed their selling experience in the Asian Pacific through Magento. They launched five different stores on a single platform, with regional differences and global similarities. This allowed them to meet local requirements for payments, fulfillment, language, and order technicalities, while also optimizing site management with global consistency. 

Rubik’s also managed to create a strong global online presence quickly, using Magento to expand worldwide. Magento’s functionality made it easy for them to spin up new regional storefronts and landing pages. Something which would have been a lot more complicated with other platforms. 

Not only does Magento allow for easier access to international markets, but it also enables a more in-depth customization of the buyer’s experience. Just take a look at the difference between a typical Magento site and a typical WooCommerce site. 

Still the King of Functionality: Magento

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this category goes to Magento. Its ability to customize the buyer’s experience and create unique, international storefronts is something you just can’t do in the same way with WooCommerce – unless you invest in development. Moreover, with Adobe’s integrations weaving themselves into the Magento ecosystem, its functionality is only going to improve. 

WooCommerce, however, is a close second. In many cases, plugins and development work can lead to customer experiences that are just as unique and targeted as Magento’s. It’s just slightly easier to implement them with Magento. 

With that being said, managed WooCommerce solutions bring with them some of the most important ecommerce functionality around, and they make them accessible out of the box. This makes WooCommerce the better option when it comes to balancing functionality and ease of use. 

Security

Security for an ecommerce store is vital. Not only does it help prevent loss of customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII), but it also ensures that merchants remain in compliance with the Payment Card Industry standards (PCI Compliance) needed to sell effectively online. 

While both applications offer environments backed up by security teams and vigilant communities, WooCommerce suffers from one major disadvantage: WordPress. As a plugin, it is vulnerable to the same exploits as its parent application. In 2018, 57% of web application vulnerabilities identified were from WordPress.

This doesn’t mean Magento doesn’t have problems of its own. In research conducted by Securi, 40% of Magento stores have at least one security issue. That’s much lower than the 73% of WooCommerce stores reported by EnableSecurity, but it’s still a sizable portion of live storefronts. And these are not complex vulnerabilities. Most of them could easily be detected using free automated tools. 

So why such large numbers? For many sites, it’s because they are out of date. Clunky update processes or simply forgetting are two of the biggest reasons for security vulnerabilities across modern CMS. 

Security is going to be a problem for Magento 1 store owners and is easy with Woocommerce.

One of the most common reasons that storefronts are vulnerable is simply forgetting to update

For this reason, one of the best security features offered is the ability to easily update. When compared with the WooCommerce update process, Magento security patches aren’t easy to apply. With a managed WoCommerce solution, not only do updates occur automatically, but they’re set to test any changes in case they break your site, before they go live. This makes maintaining and up-to-date site easy and effective. 

Despite this, Magento does have a lot of positive security features going for it, including:

  • Enhanced password management 
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack prevention
  • Flexible file ownership and permissions
  • Non-default Magento Admin URL
  • Two-Step Verification

The Magento 1 End of Life Impact on Security

Magento can be split into two versions: Magento 1 and Magento 2. Each is largely unique, in that moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 requires replatforming. Currently, a large percentage of Magento stores are still on Magento 1

In June 2020, official security support for the Magento 1 platform will cease. This means security will become a pressing concern for merchants still on the platform. If you’re a Magento 1 merchant looking for alternatives, we recommend reviewing your options and downloading the After M1 guide

Security Compromises

Security is never simple. The nature of vulnerabilities means that every application’s community needs to remain vigilant. WooCommerce offers some great security features for automating the update process and keeping everything up to date. However, it also has a lot more vulnerabilities to begin with thanks to running on WordPress. 

Magento has better security tools and features, despite patches being hard to implement and take full advantage of. 

However, managed WooCommerce solutions have brought with them a curated selected of security tools and features. From automated updates to an entire security suite capable of managing advanced configurations, WooCommerce comes with all the security features of Magento and adds ease of use. 

Design and Templates

Before a site can go live, a merchant needs to decide on a design. Without a design there is no site (at least, not an attractive one).

With WooCommerce, this is an easy process thanks to a large selection of templates and pre-designed themes. Taking these and tweaking them to individual requirements is a quick process, making the time from ideation to creation much faster than with Magento.

Magento does have a limited number of templates. However, these are relatively simple when compared with what Magento can actually do. They are also not particularly attractive. To take advantage of the platform, most merchants will need to hire a developer to design and code their site. 

Headless Possibilities

Design becomes a lot more complicated when headless implementations are considered. For Magento merchants, the application’s API makes implementation a relatively simple process. There are several headless Magento sites already using headless architecture to deliver unique user experiences. 

Two examples of headless Magento implementations are the Magento 2 PWA Venia theme and the Magento 2 PWA Tigren theme

Headless architecture allows for stores to utilize an optimized ecommerce API and flexible front-end design.

For examples of live Magento sites currently using PWA, you can take a look at Alaskan Harvest or Soomzone.com. Both of these sites effectively leverage the Magento API to create unique JavaScript front-end experiences.

With WooCommerce already being a plugin, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use it in a headless implementation. Instead, it may make more sense for merchants looking towards headless WordPress to opt for something like BigCommerce instead.  

WooCommerce vs Magento: Template vs Design

WooCommerce, with its huge library of themes, is much better in terms of templates. Yet the two platforms draw when it comes to design. Both offer an expansive API, both provide you with the ability to design a unique storefront, and both offer extensive feature sets capable of integrating with your designs.

If you getting started with your first store or looking for ease of use, we recommend using WooCommerce and taking advantage of its themes and templates. If you’re a medium-sized store though, deciding between Magento and WooCommerce isn’t going to be a decision made around design.

Extensions and Plugins

While an application needs to have great out of the box functionality, it’s also important to be able to expand and customize it with plugins or extensions. Today, almost all CMS offer plugins or extensions in one form or another; WooCommerce and Magento are no exception. 

In terms of numbers, WooCommerce wins due to having access to the WordPress plugin library. Here, over 50,000 unique plugins are available to you. Chances are, with a selection that large, the functionality you’re looking for is already there. 

However, bear in mind that WooCommerce and WordPress are different applications, and not all of these WordPress plugins will be optimized to run on your store. 

Magento, on the other hand, has over 4,700 plugins optimized specifically for its ecommerce platform. Not only that, but Magento’s extensions provide a lot of in-depth customization. 

Magento extensions allow for merchants to:

  • Upgrade internal search functionality
  • Build custom checkout experiences
  • Improve sorting and categorization functionality
  • Create up-sell and cross-sell campaigns
  • Customize shipping and fulfillment options

Dedicated WooCommerce extensions are relatively light. They provide some useful social and payment integrations, some basic enhancements, and a few useful shipping and fulfillment extensions. Overall though, the options are not as powerful or diverse as Magento, despite growing quickly. 

Managed WooCommerce Bundles up to $6,000 of Plugins

With Hostdedi managed WooCommerce, you don’t have to worry about plugins and extensions. We’ve bundled up to $6,000 worth of integrations for free with all of our managed WooCommerce solutions. These cover everything from image optimization to page building and abandoned cart emails to business analytics. 

With Hostdedi, getting started with a WooCommerce store is faster and easier. The ability to easily implement the right technology solutions for every store means taking the guesswork out of platform selection. 

We recommend managed WooCommerce for merchants looking to expand their store. Not only is it more cost-effective, but you’ll also have access to a team of experts to help you keep your store performing at full capacity. 

Product Management

Managing an ecommerce store means managing products. That includes how, when, and where they are delivered to customers. Many ecommerce stores today deliver personalized buyer journeys, setting the bar high.

It’s Magento’s advanced functionality that shines here. In addition to offering merchants the ability to provide regional deviations in product delivery, it also allows for the creation of unique journeys within a specific area. This includes upsells and cross-sells. While this functionality can be added to with the use of extensions, the default feature is powerful in its own right. 

 WooCommerce doesn’t offer the same flexibility. But what it does provide by default are:

  • Categories
  • Attributes
  • Types
  • Taxonomies

Extensions can be added to provide more functionality, but in terms of user journeys, the same level of personalization can’t be reached with a WooCommerce store. For smaller stores with a limited number of SKUs, this is fine. For larger stores with a lot of SKUs, this can lead to a drastically reduced conversion rate. 

Magento vs WooCommerce: A Summary

Magento Is Great for Medium-Sized Stores Looking for Great Functionality

Magento does best when a merchant wants a custom implementation. It allows for an unequaled exploration of the buyer’s journey and creates personalized sales funnels tailored right down to the individual. 

Unfortunately, this level of customization and functionality has meant that it requires a development team to support its full range of capabilities. Implementing its best features needs to be planned down to specifics. So while it will likely increase your bottom line and lead to a surge in sales, it also takes an investment to get you there.

As a result, we recommend Magento if you have a larger storefront and are looking to invest in growth. If you’re interested in getting started, take a look at our Magento cloud hosting solutions and talk to a member of the Hostdedi team today. 

 

WooCommerce Is Great for Smaller Stores Looking For Ease of Use 

Alternatively, if you’re running a small or medium-sized storefront and still haven’t decided on which platform to use, we recommend WooCommerce. Not only does it offer much quicker speed to market than Magento, it also makes store management simple and allows for merchants to take advantage of WordPress’ content management tools. 

However, it doesn’t provide the same level of store customization as Magento. For that reason, we recommend WooCommerce to smaller stores. If you think that means you, see our WooCommerce cloud hosting solutions.

 

The post WooCommerce vs Magento: How Opposites Attract appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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5 Strategies To Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value in 2020

5 Strategies To Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value in 2020

Running a WooCommerce store can be as exciting as it is frustrating. Besides identifying targeted sources of traffic, you also need to increase revenue across those traffic sources. Often, this requires implementing sales and marketing tactics to draw in more consumers and direct them to the products they need. 

Another way to increase revenue, however, involves leveraging the customers you already have and increasing their average order value (AOV).  

Average order value is the average value of a single order through your store. For example, if one customer purchases several products for $10 total, and another customer purchases a single product for $8, your average order value is $9. 

Increasing AOV is a surefire way for you to move the needle quickly and effectively, allowing you to drive revenue growth without having to generate more traffic. While it still involves some careful planning, it’s often easier and quicker to cross-sell products than it is to find new customers. 

Let’s take a look at the principles behind increasing average order value in WooCommerce, and explore the different tools available for doing so.

Bundle Products That Work Well Together

Bundling works well for physical and digital products and is a proven way to increase your average order value in WooCommerce. This is because it helps your customers understand which products play nicely together and which don’t.

For example, you could bundle an essential oil dispenser with a set of oils at a slightly discounted rate. Or, if you’re in the fashion industry, you could bundle a pair of trousers with a complimentary shirt. As a merchant, it is your job to find which products work well together, and market them as such.

Once you’ve decided on which products should go together, there are many reliable plugins for WooCommerce that let you create bundles. A few of these include the Product Bundles plugin and WPC Product Bundles for WooCommerce. There is also Composite Products, which allows your customers to configure their own type of bundle.

You can also target specific consumers with suitable bundles. To do this, you will need access to a marketing analytics tool that allows you to segment your audience. According to Gartner, 32% of businesses prioritize marketing analytics in their budget, with 76% saying they use data to drive key decisions. That’s why we include an analytics and segmentation tool – Glew.io – as part of our Managed WooCommerce solution as standard. 

 Learn more about Managed WooCommerce and how it can help you drive revenue.

Use Minimum Quantities for Discounts & Perks

Many online stores already implement this strategy in the form of a banner offering free shipping on orders over a certain value. Offering free shipping for orders that exceed your target AOV is a win-win situation. Firstly, you can use this technique to increase your bottom line. Secondly, customers feel good because you’re offering them a free shipping option.

But don’t rush to your WooCommerce admin area to set up that banner now, at least not if you don’t know what your free shipping threshold should be. Without knowing that threshold, you can easily find yourself in a situation where you’re losing money, due to the cost of shipping that now needs to be added into your price calculation.

When calculating your threshold, it should be a target AOV where your customers have to purchase multiple products or a bundle – it has little psychological value if it’s easy to attain. Conversely, If you set the free shipping threshold too high, you can turn off your customers and they won’t even try to reach it. You’ll need to balance your price to effectively increase your AOV.

You can take this strategy to the next level by not just having a static banner at the top of your shop (the WooCommerce notification bar works well for that banner), but by having a dynamic element on your Cart and Checkout pages that tells your customers how far away they are from reaching the free shipping threshold. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to understand how close they are to getting free shipping.

Leverage One-Time Offers

One-time offers (OTO’s) are presented to your customer right after they purchased one (or multiple) products in your WooCommerce shop, and provide them the option to add another discounted product to their order with a single click. OTO’s can be super effective if you set them up correctly. Let’s go through a few of their key characteristics:

  • Relevancy: the offered product needs to add value to the products already purchased.
  • Pricing: The OTO needs to be at a discounted level and should be lower than the order value, so that the perceived added value is as high as possible.
  • Ease of use: Adding the OTO must work with a single click. If you make your customers enter their billing details again, they’ll likely cancel the order process for the OTO.

WooCommerce developers recognize the importance of one-time offers and have created many powerful plugins to support this functionality. These plugins often get used in funnels built with WooCommerce.

In his post, Chris describes example funnels using the plugin WooCommerce Redirect Thank You, but you could also look into the plugins WooStroke (see screenshot below for an example flow) or Smart Offers.

analyze data from the past 7 days

Start Selling Gift Cards

Gift cards can be a powerful tool to increase the Average Order Value in your WooCommerce shop. But also need to be used with caution in certain situations. Let’s see how you can use them to not just increase your AOV but also potentially reduce future ad spend for recurring purchases.

Begin by determining average product value. It may be that your typical product has a price tag of $25 or higher. In this case, you could send every customer a free $5 gift card for them to use on their next purchase. You can send them the gift card electronically or, better yet, have a batch of them printed and added to each package you send out. 

Having that gift card at hand increases the likelihood with which the customer will order again from your shop, to spend that $5. This helps you reduce the retargeting ad spend to get this customer to buy again from you. 

Keep in mind, the prices for your products need to be high enough to leverage this strategy. “High enough” means that the gift card should not result in a free order, causing a loss for you. Additionally, if you’re running “Free Shipping” campaigns, ensure that the gift card cannot be used on shipping costs.

Even if you’re not giving away a gift card with each order, you can sell them directly in your shop. There are plenty of plugins for WooCommerce that allow you to do that. Take a look at Gift Cards for WooCommerce (see screenshot for an example) or YITH Gift Cards. If you want to dive deeper into the ways to create gift cards in WooCommerce, read this article on Business Bloomer.

Incentivize First-Time Buyers with Deals

Offering discounts to first-time buyers is a common method of incentivizing visitors to become a customer. You could use hooks like a percentage discount, free priority shipping, a free gift card (see above) or a free product to encourage customers to buy from you. When you’re coming to almost any web shop, you’ll see an offer to save X% on your first order when subscribing to their email list. That’s an example of this strategy put into action.

A second incentivization strategy involves adding these opportunities to the Cart or Checkout page, and to not advertise them as aggressively. Similar to the “do you want chips with that” question you are asked when ordering a fast food burger, you can add special offers your customers can put into their carts with a single click.

There are plenty of plugins you can leverage to add a function like this to your WooCommerce shop. Two of the ones I recommend are WooCommerce Multiple Free Gift (see screenshot below for an example) and WooCommerce Checkout Add-Ons.

Bonus: Implement Price Anchoring in Your Products

Price anchoring is a psychological principle that controls how your visitors perceive the prices in your WooCommerce shop, without actually selling anything. 

To efficiently use price anchoring, you need to understand what your target Average Order Value is – as that’s the base price. You’ll then position a product with that AOV (could be a bundle if you don’t have a single product at that price) between one product that provides much lower value at a much lower cost (e.g. one piece of the bundle) and another product with a higher perceived value at a much higher price.

This strategy helps to make the product with the target AOV look like the most reasonable and well-priced choice. The other product options are designed to not look valuable or to have such a high price-tag that they feel unattainable to most of your customers. Using this strategy, you’ll find that you’re enticing most of your web shop’s visitors to click on the Average Order Value product. That’s the goal of the strategy.

Implementing price anchoring in your WooCommerce store is fairly straight-forward. You have to create multiple products that match the pricing categories outlined above. One type of product goes into the “low-value” category, then you’ll have another category for the target AOV products and one category for the “high-value” products. 

Keep in mind that the term “category”  is used here as an abstract way to categorize the products for yourself. You should not create customer-facing WooCommerce categories that only contain one type of product. 

After creating those products, you need to place them side-by-side, so that your customers can compare them directly. To do that, you can use a plugin like Rearrange Woocommerce Products, or use your page builder of choice.

Conclusion 

As you can see, there are many ways to increase the average order value in your WooCommerce shop. You can get quite creative in your approach and find ways that work perfectly for your brand and setup. 

This article is really just the foundation of strategies available to merchants and agencies for increasing AOV on their stores. As you begin exploring these strategies yourself, you’ll likely discover more techniques available. 

Beyond the techniques outlined in this article, try exploring the opportunities available to you with managed WooCommerce. All managed WooCommerce solutions come with up to $6,000 worth of integrations, including bundling and product attribute plugins. Learn more about the options available to you now.

The post 5 Strategies To Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value in 2020 appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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