If you don't maintain your WooCommerce store, it will eventually fail to work. So maintaining your WooCommerce store is essential for keeping it running efficiently and avoiding any potential problems.
This includes updating all plugins and the theme, as well as working on a staging server. Updates ensure that your store is running the latest version of WooCommerce, with all the latest security enhancements and bug fixes.
Why it's important to maintain your WooCommerce store regularly
Basically, there are 3 parts that require updating - WordPress, theme, and plugins. If you don't update them regularly, you may experience issues with performance, security, or compatibility. And in the worst case, your store could stop working altogether.
This is happening, because as WordPress, WooCommerce and other software evolve over time, new security vulnerabilities are discovered and new features are added. So if you don't keep your store updated, it will eventually become outdated and no longer compatible with the latest versions of WordPress and WooCommerce.
How to maintain your WooCommerce store
You need to update WordPress, theme, and plugins, but in a safe way. The best way to do that is by using a staging site.
A staging site is an exact copy of your live site, but it's not accessible to the public. This means you can test updates on the staging site before pushing them to your live site.
I can't stress the importance of a staging site enough. It's a must-have tool in your WooCommerce maintenance toolkit, as it allows you to make sure everything works as expected and prevents any unwanted issues on your live server.
If you do the right update on the production site and something goes wrong, your whole website could go down and you could lose customers. So, please, don't skip this step!
Build and use a testing protocol
It's a list of actions that should be performed, to test that your WooCommerce store works correctly. For example:
- Check that the frontend of your store looks correct (including specific pages like product categories, product single)
- Check that the backend of your store looks correct
- Place a test order and check that it goes through without any issues
- Check that all email notifications are being sent correctly
This is just a basic list. With my clients, we create a complex excel sheet. It usually contains like 100 actions per one WooCommerce store. Including testing payments, shipping, order statuses, third-party plugins, etc.
But if you don't have that level of sophistication yet, start with the basics and build up from there. The important thing is to have a plan and to test your site thoroughly after each update.
When doing the updates on production
Don't forget, to do a backup first of your site first! If something goes wrong, then you have a place to renew.
Then put your site in maintenance mode. It's important to do this before updating so that users don't see a broken site and start leaving.
Then do an update of WordPress, all the plugins and theme. After that, test the site thoroughly to make sure everything works as expected.
Once the updates are complete, make sure to disable maintenance mode so that your customers can get through.
Or consider hiring a WordPress developer for a retainer
Maintenance of the site is an activity, that could be easily standardized. It means creating a process to follow. Because of that, it's fairly easy to delegate it.
The simplest way to do that would be to hire a WordPress developer through Codeable for a retainer. A retainer is basically an agreement, where you pay a fixed monthly fee and the developer agrees to provide certain services.
For example, with my clients, I offer updates of their site and an ongoing consultancy. They often need a small help with something related to WooCommerce or WordPress. Change a button here, change a text there.
The monthly fee gives them peace of mind, knowing that there's someone they can rely on when they need help with their store.
If you decide to go down this route, make sure to hire a developer you trust and who has experience with WooCommerce.
I can recommend Codeable. io, as a great platform to find experienced WordPress experts. I'm operating there, so you can post a preferred project for me.
You need to maintain your WooCommerce site, otherwise, it will stop working. You can create a process from the maintenance activity. This will allow you to perform the updates of your site and testing much faster. Or also delegate, if you would like to hire someone to take care of this aspect for you.