Book Review: Building E-Commerce Solutions with WooCommerce

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building ecommerce with woocommerce

WordPress has grown rapidly in the past decade with a dedicated community of contributors. I’ve always loved WordPress and I think the WooCommerce system is a powerful and secure way to run a WP-based web shop.

This lead me to reviewing Building E-Commerce Solutions with WooCommerce currently in its second edition.

The book targets website owners who want to build a DIY ecommerce site without needing a technical manager. You learn the ins and outs of WooCommerce as a shopping system, both the frontend and the backend. It explains the most important tasks and even delves into extra features with themes/plugins.

If you want to launch your own ecommerce shop or help manage someone else’s then this WooCommerce book is all you need.

Book Contents

Eight detailed chapters are packed into this 194 page starter’s guide to WooCommerce.

Each chapter has its own internal sections which break up the reading experience. You learn one feature at a time and you get practical instructions to follow for your own websites.

Here’s an overview of the book’s chapters:

  1. Setting Up WooCommerce
  2. Creating Your First Products
  3. Using Downloadable Products and Variations
  4. Payments, Shipping, and Coupons
  5. Working with WooCommerce Themes
  6. Customizing a WooCommerce Theme
  7. Running Your Online Store
  8. More Possibilities Using Plugins

Ultimately this content is geared towards complete beginners who want to learn about WooCommerce from scratch.

The first chapter introduces you to WooCommerce as an extension of WordPress. You’ll learn how to install it from scratch, how to create your first products either physical or digital, and you’ll learn how to accept payments.

Security is often a big concern which is covered in great detail. Handling sensitive information like credit card numbers is a big task.

Thankfully WooCommerce does have a plugin for credit cards via Stripe and many other payment gateways. This book does a great job illustrating what payment options you have and which ones are most viable.

woocommerce homepage layout

Note you do not need to fully understand coding like HTML/CSS or PHP for themes/plugins. The 6th chapter titled “Customizing a WooCommerce Theme” does get into detail about code customization. However you can skip this and still get a lot out of the book with zero coding knowledge.

The 5th and 6th chapters get into themes, both installing pre-built themes and customizing them. This is a necessary skill and it’s worth going as deep as you can. But to be honest you do not need to learn web development to run a WooCommerce store—it just makes the job easier.

By the 7th and 8th chapters I was left wanting more. This really is just a beginner’s book and it will get you started in WooCommerce management, but it won’t make you an advanced WooCommerce user.

Who Is This For?

An absolute beginner who wants to learn everything about WooCommerce. You should probably have experience managing WordPress websites or at least know your way around the dashboard.

But there isn’t much technical content in this guide to throw you off. However there is enough technical knowledge to make this a worthwhile purchase for web developers interested in WooCommerce as an ecommerce solution.

WordPress enthusiasts who have no experience with WooCommerce will learn everything they need to know to get started. And even if you don’t know much about WordPress you can easily learn as you go.

The CMS is wildly popular now powering 25% of the Internet. This means WooCommerce is powered by a tested CMS that’s stable and easy to learn.

If you have any interest in ecommerce with WordPress then you will adore this book. It covers absolutely everything you need to know and by the end you’ll be able to comfortably manage your own web shop.

However if you’re an experienced developer who wants to build custom WooCommerce themes and plugins then you need to look elsewhere. I’d recommend the WooCommerce Cookbook as a great resource to start with WooCommerce development.

Pros & Cons

This is pretty straightforward and I think it’ll be obvious to everyone reading this which category you fall into.

Are you brand new to WordPress or WooCommere? Then this book will prove invaluable and teach you a hell of a lot for just under 200 pages.

Are you a web developer who knows a little about WooCommerce that wants to build custom plugins or themes? Then you will not be happy with this book.

On the pro side, this book is full of so much detail for beginners that you can pick this up even without knowledge of WordPress and still learn. By the end you’ll have a firm grasp of WooCommerce management and you’ll know exactly which areas you want to learn more about.

On the cons side, it really doesn’t cover much about WooCommerce development in detail. Chapter 6 does explain a little about customizing themes. But for anyone with serious development skills this will seem like a joke.

Web developers who want to customize WooCommerce need an intermediate-to-advanced level book. Again I think the WooCommerce Cookbook would be the best place to start.

I also wish there was more discussion about WooCommerce security. The author did bring up payment methods and how to handle SSL transactions. But an ecommerce site needs to think about security because it’s a real problem in the online marketplace.

Overall this is a powerful book for anyone just starting WooCommerce or general ecommerce. For all my complaints of this book they really just boil down to “I wish this was longer”.

What you do get is an introductory guide that’s easy to read, easy to reference, and detailed enough to bring a complete novice up to a level of competency with WooCommerce.

Final Summary

At the end of the day this book really targets one group of people. But it does this so well that I think Building E-Commerce Solutions with WooCommerce is the best guide for anyone looking to learn WooCommerce from scratch.

You’ll learn everything from installing a brand new site up to creating products, handling payments, and dealing with custom themes/plugins.

Advanced developers looking for a comprehensive customization guide will be disappointed. But developers who want to start with the basics of WooCommerce before getting into advanced topics will really like this book.

I do wish it was a little more comprehensive on security and customization. But for what you get I think this is a terrific deal and the 2nd edition adds much more clarity to the writing.

building ecommerce with woocommerce book cover

Review Rating: 4/5

Author:

Alex is a fullstack developer with years of experience working in digital agencies and as a freelancer. He writes about educational resources and tools for programmers building the future of the web.