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EPISODE 104

11 Best WooCommerce Plugins: What to Install and What to Skip

Best WooCommerce Plugins

Best WooCommerce Plugins

Welcome back to another episode of The Savvy Teacher Seller! In this episode, we’re diving into the world of WooCommerce plugins. With so many options out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and wonder which plugins are truly necessary for your online store. I’m here to clear up that confusion by sharing my top recommendations for plugins that can significantly enhance your WooCommerce store, from improving customer experience to automating processes. 

I’m also highlighting some popular plugins that might not be worth your time. Whether you’re aiming to streamline your checkout process, boost your marketing efforts, or simply make managing your shop easier, you’ll find something valuable in today’s discussion. So, let’s get started and discover how to make your WooCommerce store better than ever!

02:09 – Autocomplete WooCommerce orders
03:39 – ConvertKit for WooCommerce & other email platform plugins
05:10 – Custom Product Tabs for WooCommerce
05:48 – CartFlows
06:55 
– FiboSearch
07:37 – Free Downloads WooCommerce
08:32 – JetSmart Filters
09:31 
– Kadence WooCommerce Email Designer
11:01 – Products and Order Export for WooCommerce
11:41 – Woo Product Bundles
12:27 
– WooCommerce Cart Abandonment Recovery
12:54 – Why you should be selective about what plugins you add to your website
16:34 – Unnecessary plugins

The free plugins mentioned can be found in the WordPress repository by going to Plugins -> Add New and searching the exact name I shared.

Kristen 0:03
Okay, TPT sellers ready to see growth in your business. You’re in the right place. Welcome to The Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m Kristen Doyle and I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sale. Let’s get started y’all.

Kristen 0:23
Hey, y’all, welcome to this episode of The Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And today’s episode is all about plugins that you can use to make your WooCommerce store look and perform better.

Kristen 0:38
Whether you are just getting started with WooCommerce, or you’ve had your store for a while, you have probably seen lots of plugins out there to add functions to your store or customize your pages. And you’ve probably wondered which ones you should use. It’s easy to get overwhelmed because there are so many options out there and wonder which ones are trustworthy or not. Which ones you actually need and which ones do you should skip.

Kristen 1:06
So today, I’m hoping to help you clear up some of that confusion. I’ll be sharing my top recommendations for WooCommerce plugins that can improve your store. From better customer experience to automating processes to reminding people to check out. But I’ll also be talking about some popular plugins that maybe aren’t necessary and why you should avoid them.

Kristen 1:29
So whether you’re looking for ideas for streamlining your checkout process, how to improve your marketing, or you just want to make managing your shop a little easier, you will find something that you can use in today’s episode.

Kristen 1:42
All right, let’s get right into the plugins that can make a big difference for your WooCommerce store. These plugins are all ones that I have either used myself in my own store, or they come highly recommended by my website maintenance clients. And I’ve worked with them inside their websites as well. Either way, I have seen firsthand how these can help your store. Most of them are free, but some of them are paid. So I’ll try to make sure I share that info for each one.

Kristen 2:09
The first one I want to share with you is called Autocomplete WooCommerce orders. This is a free plugin, you can find it right in the WordPress plugins repository. That’s the place you go when you click on plugins and then add new. And it is a simple lightweight plugin that you can use to skip the order processing phase and go ahead and mark purchases as complete as soon as the payment goes through.

Kristen 2:34
This is perfect if the only thing you sell is digital products. Because what happens is all of our digital product purchases go into this order processing phase. And the idea inside WooCommerce is that you’re going to sell something physical and that you need it to sit in a processing phase until you’ve boxed up the package and mailed it off, and then you would mark it as complete. But with digital products, we don’t need that. So you can set this up to apply to your whole store. Or you can specify that it only applies on virtual or downloadable products.

Kristen 3:06
So if you have a mix of digital and physical goods in your store, you can still use this plug in for that. And it will go ahead and let you skip that order processing phase and mark those purchases as complete in your back end orders listing. This is great for you just for keeping up with everything. But it’s also good for your customers because this skips the customer getting that email that says your order is currently in processing, and then getting a second email that says your orders now complete. So your buyer would just get the one email that says the order is complete.

Kristen 3:39
The next one I want to recommend is another free plugin. And my recommendation is going to be the ConvertKit for WooCommerce plugin. I absolutely love this plugin. I use ConvertKit for my email marketing, and this plugin adds buyers to my email list. It does this automatically. And what I recommend that you do is only send these buyers product update emails. So if you have revised a digital product, and you want to encourage them to go download it again or you’ve added something to a bundle, you can go in on ConvertKit and see everyone who has purchased a certain product and you can email them all.

Kristen 4:18
It essentially adds a tag to them or adds them to a subscriber group if you are on a different type of email marketing platform. The other thing you can do is you can also add a consent checkbox on your checkout page for those people to be added to your main email marketing list. So make sure that you’re doing this, you’re following the laws and you’re not adding them to your email marketing list unless they have checked off that consent box. However, you can add them to ConvertKit as long as you are only sending them those product update emails.

Kristen 4:50
If you use a different email marketing platform, then I would recommend you look to see if they have a WooCommerce integration plugin. I know MailerLite has one it’s called MailerLite WooCommerce integration. MailChimp is called MailChimp for WooCommerce. And there are probably lots of other ones out there as well, but those are some of the most popular.

Kristen 5:10
The next plugin I recommend is called Custom Product Tabs for WooCommerce. This is also a free one that you can get right in your website. And it is great if you want to add extra tabs to your products. In the area that shows the description and the reviews tabs, those that are automatically generated by WooCommerce. You can add additional tabs beside those for things like FAQs. Or maybe you have tutorial videos, instructions on how to use something and you want to add those custom tabs. You can add different tabs for every product so these can be really unique and it’s really easy to use.

Kristen 5:48
This next plugin comes in free and paid versions. And of course, the paid version has more functionality than free, but you can still get some great things out of the free version. It’s called CartFlows. And this is a plugin that works along with WooCommerce and Elementor. So if you’re using Elementor on your site already, this one will be great for you. What it does is it allows you to create sales funnels for your WooCommerce products.

Kristen 6:15
So if you wanted to create a full sales page for one of your products, and maybe you want to include upsells, or down sells, order bumps, all of those kinds of things, you can do that within CartFlows. Of course, the paid version has more functionality, you can get very complex in the types of sales funnels, you’re creating with lots of conditions to show different things to different people. But the free version also does a really great job of creating some more simple sales funnels. You can also design completely custom cart and checkout pages for your WooCommerce store with CartFlows as well. So I absolutely love it for both of those use cases.

Kristen 6:54
Another free plugin that I recommend is called FiboSearch. And what this plugin does is it turns on autocomplete in your search box for WooCommerce. So as someone starts to type in a phrase, it will start pulling up products within your store that match those search terms. It’s those as you’re typing suggestions that pop up. You can also set it to show the product image, the price, even the first part of the description in that search box that pops up in addition to the product title It’s really cool, and can really help people to just see products and find them really quickly.

Kristen 7:37
The next plugin is called Free Downloads WooCommerce. And this is a free plugin. It’s very simple, but it’s so important if you have free digital downloads that you want to put in your WooCommerce store. The native functionality in WooCommerce makes people go through the entire add to cart, go to the cart, put in their name, their email address, maybe even their physical address, all of that has to be plugged in just to download a freebie. This can be a huge barrier to people wanting to download something free. It might even make them think it’s not actually free if you’re asking for all this information. So the Free Downloads WooCommerce plugin bypasses the checkout process when a product is free and downloadable. So that would let people just click the button and download that product without having to login give you personal information, any of those kinds of things.

Kristen 8:32
All right, this next plugin is only available as a paid plugin, but I really do love it and it’s a request I get from people all the time. So my favorite plugin for adding a filter system to your store is called JetSmart Filters. And I love this plugin because it makes it really easy to add filters on the side of your store so that people can filter by any combination of multiple categories and tags within your store. They could filter by a certain category and also a certain tag and products within a certain price range if you set up all of those different filter options on your store.

Kristen 9:15
JetSmart Filters works really well with WooCommerce and Elementor. It also works with WooCommerce and Gutenberg but I have not actually used it in that tech stack. I know how it works with Elementor and it does a great job. Definitely recommend it but like I said it is a paid plugin.

Kristen 9:31
The next one is called Kadence WooCommerce Email Designer and it’s a free plugin. And I know it has the word Kadence in it so you might think that you need to be using Kadence, the theme, or Kadence blocks in order to use this plugin but you do not. I actually use this plugin long before I had ever tried a Kadence theme or any of the other Kadence blocks. I use on a lots of websites that don’t have anything else from Kadence installed.

Kristen 10:00
And what this one does is it lets you very easily customize the WooCommerce emails that get sent out to buyers. The default emails use WooCommerce branding, which is bright purple, and might not match your branding or your style. So you can customize the branding so that your emails reflect your style, your fonts, your colors, maybe they have your logo on them. But you can also edit the actual content of the emails.

Kristen 10:26
I’ve done some things with my own purchase confirmation emails that have really cut down on the questions I’m getting from buyers not knowing where to access things, or how to download because I’ve added a lot of that information right into the order confirmation email that they’re getting as soon as they make their purchase. So I really do recommend installing this one on your store for everyone, because it really does help you to make those purchase emails that your buyers are getting good and useful and helpful beyond just serving as a receipt of their purchase.

Kristen 11:01
Alright, the next one is a free plugin that I use and recommend a lot but I don’t think everyone needs it. So just listen carefully. It’s called Products and Order Export for WooCommerce. And if you have need of exporting a CSV file of your orders, your customers, your products, this is the best plugin I’ve found to do that. However, it is not something that just everyone needs to do. So install it if you are needing to export any of those things from WooCommerce. But then just go ahead and remove it. If you don’t need it anymore. It’s not one you need to keep on your site all the time unless you are regularly exporting that content.

Kristen 11:41
Alright, the next one is a product bundle plugin. And I wanted to make sure I mentioned one, because I always get this question which product bundle plugin should I use? Which one is the best? And hands down, I recommend the one from WooCommerce the official WooCommerce plugin called Woo Product Bundles. Now this is a paid plugin. And yes, I know you can probably find free plugins for bundles out there. However, I only recommend using the official WooCommerce plugin for product bundles and a few other use cases. Because the other plugins that are out there can sometimes have some compatibility issues. So I recommend that you use Woo product bundles even though yes, it is a paid plugin.

Kristen 12:27
And last but absolutely not least, I love the plugin called WooCommerce Cart Abandonment Recovery. This is a free plugin from the people who created CartFlows and it emails customers who have added a product to their cart, but they didn’t check out yet. And you can set it to email at different time intervals with different types of emails to prompt them to head back and check out with their products.

Kristen 12:54
Okay, so those are 11 really great plugins that I recommend for WooCommerce. But anytime I share about plugins for WordPress, there is one important thing I want to be sure I get across. It is tempting to think that more plugins means more functionality on your site means a better website. But that is not always the case. Before you hit install on that next plug in, let’s talk about why you should be really selective about what plugins you add to your website whether they are for WooCommerce. From this list I’ve given you or something totally different.

Kristen 13:29
First up, performance. Every plugin you add has the potential to slow down your website. They add extra code that your site has to load, which can sometimes increase your page load times. And we all know that even a few seconds delay can lead to lost customers because customers will lose patience and leave your website.

Kristen 13:49
I tell people to think about it like packing your suitcase for a plane trip. Everything that you put in your suitcase is perfectly fine. It might be helpful, you might need those things you might have extra things in your suitcase. But at some point, you’re going to put something in your suitcase that is going to push it over that 50 pound limit. And now you are going to be stuck paying extra for your baggage at the airport. And unless you have an airport scale at home, it’s hard to know when that’s going to happen. And your WordPress site is kind of the same way.

Kristen 14:20
Every plugin you add whether they are great plugins or not, is adding additional code that your site has to load and at some point, it is going to increase your page load times and cause some speed problems on your site. So I recommend keeping those plugins as minimal as you can while still including the plugins that you need in order to make your site function unwell.

Kristen 14:40
Okay, the second reason to be careful about how many plugins you’re installing and what plugins you’re installing is compatibility issues. See, all these plugins out there are created by different developers. In fact, you’ve heard me say a couple of times in the list of 11 that I do recommend. This one was created by WooCommerce this one was Created by CartFlows or Kadence. They’re all created by different developers. And they might not always play nicely together. One plugin can conflict with another, which leads to glitches that affect either your user experience, or it can even break your site entirely.

Kristen 15:15
Most of the time, these conflicts pop up after updates. So you might install plugins and everything looks great now, but one of your plugins gets an update, and another plugin is no longer compatible with it. And you see how this can start to cause problems. The more plugins you have installed, the more often these kinds of issues pop up. And the more of a nightmare it is to diagnose and fix them.

Kristen 15:40
Maintenance, of course, is another big factor. It is critical, and I do not use that word often, but it is critical for your website security, that you keep your plugins up to date. But every update also carries the risk of breaking something else with some of those compatibility issues. So it is a little bit of a balancing act. And the more plugins you have, the more potential there is for problems to pop up.

Kristen 16:06
So the big takeaway here is not never install plugins. But to always ask yourself before you install it, do I really need this plugin? Does it add real value to my website? Or could I manage without it? Do I already have a plugin installed that could do this functionality, and I’m just not using it? Remember, the goal is to create a fast, secure and user friendly shop and sometimes less is more.

Kristen 16:34
Alright, with that in mind, let’s talk about some types of plugins that you might think you need, but they could actually be unnecessary. I see a lot of website owners load up on these not realizing that they duplicate features that are already available in WooCommerce. Or that they might not be as secure as they should be. So here is my rundown of plugins you might want to reconsider.

Kristen 16:56
First up coupon and discount plugins. Unless you need and are regularly using really fancy coupons, you can do almost everything you need to with the native coupon builder that is part of WooCommerce already. You can set discounts based on certain product categories or specific individual products. You can have a discount only on bundled products, or only on certain price ranges. There are so many ways to set different types of coupons and discounts with that native coupon builder. Most people really don’t have a need for a third party coupon plugin.

Kristen 17:36
Another thing that I see a lot that you don’t need anymore is Google Analytics integration plugins for WooCommerce specifically. In fact, Google Analytics integration plugins period are not needed anymore. WooCommerce now fully supports Google Analytics with no extra plugins required. So you should not need to install, for example, Google Analytics for WooCommerce, or any of those types of plugins.

Kristen 18:01
One that WooCommerce tries really hard to get you installed is called WooCommerce payments. And I’m gonna lump it in with any other unofficial payment processor plugins. And I’m going to tell you not to install those for security reasons. WooCommerce payment puts itself on your payment processor list, and really does prompt you to install that plugin. Unless you click dismiss this notice or something like that. Essentially, the WooCommerce payments plug in is WooCommerce is the way to take advantage of those processing fees for payments on your website. And I do not recommend it.

Kristen 18:41
When it first came out there were a lot of security issues. And because of that, I just don’t trust this plugin. So I recommend that you only use the official Stripe or PayPal payment processor plugins that are created for WooCommerce. And I’ll make sure to put links to those that I do recommend in the show notes for today’s episode.

Kristen 19:01
All right next up, you do not need to install any additional plugins to see your sales data. WooCommerce has really improved their sales data that’s available right inside the WooCommerce dashboard as part of their main plugin. So you do not need an additional plugin for that. And if you’re not sure how to find data or read those sales reports, look on the WooCommerce website. They have lots of tutorials to walk you through it.

Kristen 19:25
Okay, next up, people always ask me if they should install wishlist plugins on their website. So from my experience, people actually don’t tend to use those wishlist plugins on individual WooCommerce shops very often. People really only wishlist things on sites that they shop frequently. Think about the way that you use your own wish list in different places. Maybe you have wish lists on Amazon or wish lists on Teachers Pay Teachers. You know, you’re going to visit those websites and you add products to your wish list. So You know, forget about them. And you go back and check that wish list when you’re looking for something later on. But if they have to remember which website yours is to come back to it to see what’s on their wish list, they’re a lot less likely to use that feature. I think it’s a great feature for giant ecommerce sites. But if you are just a small WooCommerce store like most of my listeners are, then it probably is unnecessary and it’s not likely to get used very often.

Kristen 20:27
All right, last but not least, and this is going to be a big blanket statement, rather than a specific plugin to avoid. If you are wanting to heavily customize the layout of your shop, your product listing pages, any of the other WooCommerce pages like the cart, the checkout my account page, don’t add a ton of plugins to your site that each do one little customization on those pages. You are a lot better off using something like Elementor Pro, where you can fully customize all the pages.

Kristen 21:00
And guess what, so so many of you already have Elementor Pro installed anyway. So I would recommend that you just use that. Again, we’re back to that concept of use the plugins you already have before you install something separate. Quick note though, Elementor Pro is not compatible with every theme when it comes to customizing the WooCommerce pages. And this is specifically a problem if you’re on one of the older themes that are based on the Genesis Framework. Something in the way that those things are coded prevents the updates you make in Elementor from actually displaying on your WooCommerce pages. So you’re just not able to do that if you’re on those themes.

Kristen 21:42
And if you need help transitioning off of one of those things, I am happy to help with that feel free to reach out to me. Overall my rule is always look and make sure that no plugin you are already using can do the thing that you want before you go add something else to your site. Because like I shared earlier, the fewer plugins the better.

Kristen 22:02
We have covered a lot today from the 11 plugins that I recommend to improve your WooCommerce store to those that might just be bogging down your site or affecting your site security. Remember, the key is not just adding any plugin because it sounds great, but making sure that you’re adding the right ones to your site that are going to make a big difference for your customers.

Kristen 22:24
I hope this episode helps you to make some good choices about which plugins to add to your website and which ones to pass on. Before we wrap up, I have a simple action step for you to take today. I want to encourage you to test out one of the plugins I recommended that might solve a specific problem you’re having in your store or add a feature you didn’t realize you could do until you heard it on this episode.

Kristen 22:46
That’s it for today. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If I left off one of your favorite plugins or if you have questions about whether you should delete any of the ones on my to avoid list, drop me a message on Instagram @Kristendoyle.co I’m always happy to answer your questions and I love talking websites with you. Talk to you soon.

Kristen 23:09
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please share it with another teacher seller who would also find it helpful. For more resources on growing your TPT business, head to Kristindoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.

Ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place.

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About Your Host

Your host, Kristen Doyle, has a decade of experience selling on TpT and has made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to! As a web designer and the go-to SEO expert in the TpT world, she loves helping TpT sellers stand out in the crowd & grow their businesses with passive income strategies.

Tune in to hear Kristen cover all aspects of running a TpT business – from leveraging SEO, to improving product listings, to effective TpT seller strategies for your store and website.