How to Improve Your WooCommerce Site with Headless Technologies
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Just like WordPress itself, it has undergone many changes in recent years and has transformed from a simple cart functionality tool to a powerful eCommerce management platform.
With the increasing numbers of functionalities and the needs of modern eCommerce solutions, this platform has several challenges that are hard to solve with classic methods, such as changing the template files or installing additional plugins.
In this article, we will outline the main difficulties of building stores using WordPress and WooCommerce and offer modern technology stack solutions.
Problems of the Classic Approach to WooCommerce Development
Working with PCP Template Files
No Freedom for Frontend Developers
Additionally, Frontend developers don’t have full freedom to build the necessary business interfaces; they must collaborate with Backend developers all the time and explore the capabilities of WordPress, PHP, and existing infrastructure. This repels the development of the best specialists who do not want to work with an old stack, and accordingly, there is a difficulty in recruiting a quality development team.
Legacy Code Accumulation
This is compounded by the number of additional plugins needed to extend the existing functionality – each with its features, templates, etc. As a result, either the product code is transformed into non-expandable porridge, or one has to give up a customization for business purposes and adjust to the opportunities available.
How Is The Headless Approach Different?
Headless development is a complete separation of the Frontend from the Backend and the development of the front (visible) part of the site from scratch, using a modern technology stack, for example, based on the most popular framework – ReactJS.
Since WordPress and WooCommerce already have extensive RestAPI capabilities, it is quite realistic to do this without making any critical changes to the core of the platform.
This way, you can remain familiar with the admin part to manage your base and products and get all the benefits of a modern technology stack.
Let’s list some of the benefits you get when you switch to Headless technology.
Standards concerning the performance of websites, and especially online stores, are continually increasing, and now users expect a download speed to be as fast as mobile applications.
Accordingly, if your site takes more than a second to load, you will already start losing users, and if it takes more than 3 seconds, you’ll lose search engine positions and potential traffic.
WordPress-based sites with WooCommerce often use third-party themes, full of scripts and unnecessary code, as well as many plugins. That’s why it may take these online stores longer than 4-5 seconds to load.
If the store uses a lot of speakers and wants to be more user-oriented, the cache plugins that do not work well with the speakers are often not helpful, and if you add multilingual plugins and a broad product base here, the download speed becomes terrible.
Static Files and JamStack Technology
The most up-to-date solution for maximizing your site today is JamStack technologies that allow you to store your entire website as static files, which can then be easily downloaded to a CDN server. As a result, your site will open immediately.
Unfortunately, the downside to the popularity and convenience of any platform is the desire for a variety of hackers to make money from this infrastructure. It’s no secret that WordPress sites are often subject to attacks and bottlenecks.
As a result, one of the owners’ problems is the constant monitoring of updates, the structure of installed plugins, hosting, etc., and regularly feeling afraid of being hacked.
If you switch to JamStack Gatsby.js technology, you will be able to solve the issue, since you will have a full separation of the Backend from the Frontend and the attackers will not know where your admin panel is. Static files will not be able to crack, meaning there is no point in hacking the site.
When you separate the head from your front and build a Headless solution, you can smoothly run different versions of the site on different domains. What’s more, you can use various tools with the same base but without the need to incorporate any additional development, so that your Frontend team can work.
Therefore, multi-brand and multinational networks will be able to get the level of freedom they need and build their system the way their marketing strategy requires, free from any technology constraints.
Additionally, JamStack sites don’t require a lot of server resources, so you can go for a significant cost reduction and be sure that you can withstand peak loads during advertising campaigns and promotions.
Development of Progressive Web Application
It’s no secret that the mobile data audience has exceeded the desktop audience, and it needs the level of usability that mobile applications have.
Developing a mobile app for a store is usually very costly, as it may require an app for both platforms. According to Gartner’s latest research, there is a considerable drain on retail apps from popular marketplaces and they are being replaced with Progressive Web Applications.
It is a new look and feel for building websites – both web and mobile applications using a browser. As a result, your site will virtually become a web-based application that can be installed by loyal users on their mobile phones or used in a browser without loss of usability.
These kinds of applications have a significant impact on the promotion of your site by search engines, including Google. Websites with PWA have shown an increase of up to 100% in the number of users and up to 30% in conversions.
How Complex Is the Transition to New Technologies
If you decide to give a new impetus to your business or are just planning to use WooCommerce, you need to be clear about what the basic build provides,how you would like to expand, and which components to add.
Your requirements for eCommerce, user management, content management – which are not included in the basic build of WooCommerce and WordPress – can significantly affect the final complexity and, therefore, the cost of your project.
If you would like to get detailed advice on the process and capabilities, check out our service: Website development and web commerce sites