Converting your Ecommerce website to WordPress & Woocommerce or Jigoshop

We’ve done a lot of work this year converting customers from older legacy ecommerce CMS systems or platforms across to a WordPress powered platform.

Quite often these customers are completely happy with the design and layout of their website but the features offered by their ecommerce platform are no longer good enough in todays online environment.

Typically older ecommerce CMSes are missing key features like:

  • support for Google Shopping and product feeds which means the customer doesn’t have access to one of the cheapest and best forms of website traffic (more information about that on the blog post about Ecommmerce online marketing strategy)
  • no support for simple SEO elements like page titles and meta descriptions on product pages
  • poor URL structure or no support for keyword rich URLs
  • no support for Google Analytics Ecommerce tracking which means for bigger ecommerce sites the customer has no way to determine which elements of their marketing or which traffic sources are actually generating revenue
  • no support for more advanced ecommerce features such as cart abandonment emails, rich snippets or one page checkouts, all of which can contribute significantly to improving conversion rates.

Converting your Ecommerce site to WordPress

So long as you don’t have an overly complex site design converting your site to WordPress is a relatively straightforward process. Typically we’ll use ether Woocommerce or Jigoshop as the ecommerce engine to power the site. Woocommerce is actually a fork of the Jigoshop code so the two products are almost identical however we’ve found Jigoshop has slightly better support, is generally more stable and currently has better plugin and addon modules.

Usually we cover the tasks below as part of the rebuild:

  • rebuild the existing site design in WordPress & Woocommerce/Jigoshop (the design will stay almost identical or as close to as possible)
  • we usually build the site on Pagelines theme framework which provides a lot of functionality around future tweaks and changes and a lot of flexibility around the design
  • import/migrate all existing products to new WP instance
  • import/migrate of all existing pages/content to new site
  • setup of backend Woocommerce ecommerce elements, eg merchant facility (assuming Paypal or something supported by Woocommerce), configuration of shipping, configuration of the rest of Woocommerce elements like shipping emails and so forth
  • setup of proper Google Analytics ecommerce tracking
  • import of existing blog articles into new WordPress instance, have the blog fit correctly in the site using the site header, menu structure & CSS.
  • SEO best practices setup:
    • setup of feed in Google Shopping
    • optional setup of Google Product Display ads
    • templated page titles and meta descriptions for all products setup in appropriate fashion
    • setup of WordPress SEO plugins in best practices format (we use Yoast’s SEO plugin)
    • setup of Google & Bing webmaster tools
    • 301 redirects for all old URLs to the appropriate URL on the new site, note that the site URL structure changes completely so this is an important part of the rebuild

Other important bits and pieces:

Hosting
Where possible we prefer to use our own hosting so there’s no surprises. Most cheap hosting providers choke their hosting platform performance which can cause problems down the track. Alternatively, for bigger ecommerce sites we recommend WPEngine as our preferred third party provider.

Backup
We strongly recommend all our WordPress ecommerce clients use Vaultpress on their site even if they’re using a top tier host like WPEngine. With Vaultpress, website changes (e.g. new customer orders) are backed up in almost realtime and offsite. Most hosting providers at best backup daily so even for a small ecommerce website, a daily backup is not enough. For $15/month its a small price to pay for complete protection of the site data.

Extra Security – Cloudflare
We like to configure Cloudflare.com firewall and acceleration for all our clients sites – it makes them faster and protects them from a lot of low level threats so we recommend all ecommerce clients also use Cloudflare. In some cases a Cloudflare premium subscription may be required which adds an additional $15/month to the cost of hosting.

Project Timeframes & Cost
Typically an ecommerce conversion like this takes 4-6 weeks from commencement to completion, assuming all logon details can be provided in a timely fashion. Generally conversion costs are somewhere between $2000-5000 depending on the number of products to be brought across and the complexity of the existing system.

For more information on ecommerce conversions, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected]

2 Comments

  • Craig E

    Reply Reply March 26, 2013

    This is a very interesting read. How do you use PageLines with Woocommerce? I’ve read that they don’t work together. I’m using Woocommerce with WooThemes and would like much tighter controls over the design. I have a PageLines license as well but never tried both plugins together.

    • Brendan Tully

      Reply Reply November 14, 2013

      Hey Craig – no issues with Pagelines and Woocommerce at all

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