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Woocommerce is a great WordPress plugin that gives people the ability to build online stores simply and quickly, but many people have their favorite theme that they love to use and want to build an e-commerce website and they wonder if Woocommerce will work with their theme.

Woocommerce should work with all WordPress themes, however, some themes will integrate better than others and if it hasn’t been built with Woocommerce there can be some issues with will mostly be cosmetic. If you want to use Woocommerce to sell online, I would recommend using a theme that is optimized for Woocommerce and by a reputable developer.

There are a few things that you need to consider when it comes installing Woocommerce on your WordPress theme.

Security risks

One of the best features of WordPress is that its open source, so anyone could make a plugin or a theme and release it to the world to use.

While this has lead to a great community of developers creating software to improve WordPress there are risks that could leave your website vulnerable.

There are thousands of themes out there for people to use, some free and some paid.

So a lot of people, when they get started, prefer to use free themes which is understandable because they want to reduce overheads.

However, because developers aren’t financially incentivized to keep a free theme updated.

It’s not uncommon to see a free theme unsupported for months or even years.

This can lead to major security risks if the developer isn’t patching potential security holes that hackers can exploit.

Also, because WordPress is open source, there is the possibility that a malicious developer could potentially write code that allows them access to the back end of your website.

While all these issues are really bad for any website, these are even worse for e-commerce, if someone hacks your blog, only you are at risk, but if someone can hack your online store, then all your customers who put their trust into you, all their data is at risk.

Cosmetic issues

One thing I’ve noticed is that there can be some visual issues when using Woocommerce on a theme that isn’t built specifically with Woocommerce in mind.

One of the most notable issues is with product pages because the Woocommerce product page layout is pretty set in stone, I’ve noticed that some themes don’t do the best job of integrating.

For example, buttons, I’ve noticed even with some of the most popular premium themes that if you don’t set up the universal buttons correctly, there can be issues with the add to cart buttons.

While these can all be fixed with custom CSS, I feel that if I’m paying for a theme that advertises the fact they integrate with Woocommerce I should have to fix it.

Widget, module, and shortcode options

While Woocommerce comes default with shortcodes to display your products in a catalog and a range of widgets to help your customers find the products they want in the sidebar and footer. Some themes also include their own ways to display products, for example, the Divi theme has a shop module with their page builder that lets you display your products and customize the appearance.

Some themes that aren’t built for Woocommerce may not have the additional options and you may have to rely on the default display settings that come with Woocommerce.

While this may not be a bad thing and you can certainly build a great looking store with the default options that Woocommerce gives you.

However, if you want to build a store that represents your brand, having access to these additional display options could be handy.

Theme speed

While this aspect may not be unique to Woocommerce, there has been a proven link to the page load speed and conversion rate.

Some themes are just faster than others, this could be caused by the way that it’s built or because over “bloat” within the theme.

But if you have an online store that is running on a slower theme, you could be losing valuable sales because of how long it takes to load a page.

There are other factors that can affect how fast it takes to load a page such as hosting and image size, but some themes can take longer to load than others.

What if I want to keep my old theme?

There is a way to keep your favorite theme that may not be optimized for Woocommece but still run an online store, and that is to run Woocommerce on a subdomain.

A subdomain acts like a separate website, so instead of your online store looking like example.com/shop, it would be shop.example.com, which means you could have the theme you really like on your main domain and then use a Woocommerce specific theme such as Storefront for your online store on your subdomain.

Subdomains are easy to set up and can often be free depending on your hosting company.

You can then place links to your new subdomain store on your main domain such as the nav bar and direct your traffic to your store.

Conclusion

For most people, if you want to use Woocommerce I would recommend using a theme that is built with Woocommerce in mind.

Because Woocommerce primarily uses shortcodes to display its information, there can be some issues that are more hassle than it’s worth to fix such as security and display.

If you are committed to your theme and it doesn’t work with Woocommerce, I would recommend that you set up a subdomain and set up an online store on the new subdomain and link to it from your main website.

That way, you can keep your main theme on your main domain and use a more specialized Woocommerce theme such as the Storefront theme on your subdomain.

As far as I’m aware, Woocommerce should work with every theme, I am yet to find a theme that Woocommerce doesn’t work with.

But Woocommerce will work with some themes better than others and if you want to run a successful online store using Woocommerce, I would highly recommend a Woocommerce theme that is built from the ground up to perfectly integrate.

I understand that you might have your favorite theme, but keep in mind that if it’s not built with Woocommerce in mind, you may have to do some custom CSS or build a subdomain where you will host your online store.