What does it take to create a finished e-commerce website? Spend some time getting estimates from agencies and you’ll find the answer to be something like the following:
- 80 hours build time – agencies can’t spend every hour of the day on your project, so that equates to about 2 months (I’m being generous here).
- A sizable budget – a bespoke build involves planning, wire-framing, designing, programming, testing and content. A lot of time and resources to pay for. Start thinking in the thousands.
- A very clear idea of what you want – without this, you often get what the agency wants and can face another month of changes.
- More Patience.
Even then you’re still not guaranteed a perfectly functioning website that works under any circumstance. Your site is probably a fresh build, without countless revisions to iron out the bugs.
So, after that headache, you’ve got your finished e-commerce website. Now you want to add some features; perhaps another payment type, some adverts from Google, a new landing page, fresh content, a different product type… essentially all the things that are required to actually manage a successful e-commerce site.
That’s all OK, just get your web agency back on the project and repeat the points listed above. Repeat and rinse every couple of months.
There are other ways though.
There was a time when saying “use a WordPress template” to any self-respecting web specialist would unleash a torrent of hyper-critical, supercilious, downright offensive comments (or at least a disdainful glance). Well, here’s a revolutionary revelation for you: WordPress sites are better.
Now allow me to backup my bold statement:
- WordPress is free. Simple as that. No extra charges, no limitations, just free.
- It can be used for ANY type of website. Ironically, most web design agencies have WordPress sites.
- It works. Millions of sites run on WordPress, thousands of programmers and designers contribute to it. It has countless updates, tests, revisions and patches. It always works.
- Support – If you’re struggling with something, just Google it. There are hundreds of responses, tips, articles, websites and suggestions for how to work with your WordPress site.
- You can do it. If you or somebody in your organization has standard I.T skills (ie. able to use Microsoft office), then you can use WordPress. The admin area will give you total control over every aspect of your site. Even if you get a web expert to do it for you, it’s fast and (should be) cheap.
- Plugins, plugins and more plugins. Everything in WordPress works on plugins. A plugin is simply something that you can activate in your WordPress admin to add to/change your website. Want a PayPal integration? Use a plugin. Google adsense? Plugin. Fantastic looking scrolling gallery of your products. Yep, plugin. Anything your site needs, there’s a plugin for it. 90% of the plugins are free but even the paid ones are only charging a handful of dollars.
- Fantastic designs. There was a time when a web template didn’t look so great. Not the case anymore, certainly not with WordPress. Take a look at these themes and you’ll see what I mean: wpmu.org/16-beautiful-and-free-responsive-wordpress-themes
Many templates are free, but again, the paid ones are just a few dollars. (WordPress includes a default template if you’re not fussed about fancy designs). Some people worry about using a theme that somebody else is using. Well, don’t. There are about 8 billion websites around today, similarities are going to happen. If your clothing store looks a bit similar to that Australian flower shop I doubt you’ll be losing business because of it.
- Security – Due to the exhaustive testing and upgrading, coupled with some nifty plugins, you’ll struggle to find a more secure solution.
- Google has a bit of a thing for WordPress – I’ve yet to come across a site that gets indexed faster and and gets more Google-love that a WordPress site.
(I’m not adding a tenth, I’m bored of writing lists of ten.)
Don’t just take my word for it though, WordPress has been used nearly everywhere by a lot of big brands such as:
- The Wall Street Journal
- New York Times
I haven’t even mentioned what WordPress is like for developers but to those who don’t know: Try it, you’ll love it.
WordPress has also got the other big areas covered:
Mobile platforms: One plugin and your site is mobile ready.
Social Media: So many plugins, so many ways to link your site to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. All for free.
Possibly the best part about WordPress is that it puts the site owner in control, full control. After showing WordPress to people needing websites upgrading or building, a common response begins to form: “WordPress is magic.”
Note: If you are having a web agency build a site for you, ask them if they will be using WordPress. If the answer is yes you may well want to discuss just how much they are planning on charging you.