the header hero image for the main site at Flying Twigs

There’s a lot to be said for using something like a Squarespace or Shopify or Big Commerce to run a store.

You let them take care of all the security issues; they have great layouts with all the styling elements, and you can just get on with the business of selling whatever the product is that you’re selling.

But what if you’re the kind of person who likes a bit more control over what your site looks like?

Or what if you have special needs such as that you’re selling wholesale and you need some minimum quantity that the buyer must buy with each order?

Then there is the fact that sites running on Squarespace, Shopify, or Big Commerce cannot be exported. If you stop paying the subscription, you have nothing.

Tamara and I needed more control because we have a trade site with special requirements, so I set up our store with WooCommerce on WordPress, and it’s excellent. The things you can do with it are absolutely terrific but of course you have to take care of the security yourself.

That’s not such an onerous task. You have to make sure that you keep everything up to date; that you use strong passwords; and that you are careful not to use any dodgy plug-ins or pieces of code that you’re not sure whether they are the right thing or where they came from.

But if you do that and you choose a good web host (that’s a web host that doesn’t let hackers in through the back door), then you should be okay.

So it might come and surprise to find out that it’s not okay in one rather simple aspect. And that is the theme that controls the styling and the look of the store.

When we first started we used Canvas which was a theme from WooCommerce. We thought the theme would just go on forever. And then WooCommerce dropped it.

So we switch to a theme made by Array Themes, and it was excellent. And then what happened? The owner of Array Themes gave up his business to become part of StudioPress, which is part of WPEngine.

And that was the end of support for that theme.

We had to look around for another theme because I knew that sooner or later there would be a template file or something that was no longer compatible with the latest version of WooCommerce or WordPress. And you have to keep abreast of these things otherwise you will definitely run the risk of having your site hacked.

So where are we now? We are now using the Generate Press theme with the pro add-on.

It’s the most flexible and undogmatic theme I’ve ever used. It is a pleasure to be able to put things here and take things from there; move things around and do whatever we want.

And it is built with a deep knowledge of what WooCommerce shop owners may want to do with their sites, and it does it ‘right out of the box’.

I hope the theme author keeps on trucking.

Posted by:David Bennett

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