Self-hosted eCommerce website development is complex. A number of software applications all need to work together to provide a smooth and successful shopping experience. Let’s Talk Graphics has the technical experience necessary to get your business online and selling!
eCommerce website development is a true investment. Website infrastructure isn’t always cheap, product data entry can be tedious, and maintaining one can be very time-consuming. If you aren’t sure that your online business can cover the monthly costs associated with an e-commerce website, you may want to reconsider!
On the other hand, if you have a solid plan in place and are ready to proceed…
Hosted or Self-hosted
The very first thing to decide is whether to go hosted, or self-hosted:
Companies such as Volusion and BigCommerce are examples of HOSTED e-commerce solutions. A hosted environment includes all of the critical e-commerce components ‘under one roof’. Most features are included in the cost of a monthly membership fee. As long as you pay the bill, you have a website. (Some things, like the payment processor, are additional monthly costs regardless if you go hosted or self-hosted.)
SELF-HOSTED e-commerce websites are exactly that, a website hosted by the website owner. It is the owner’s responsibility to select and implement each and every component of the website, as well as pay any associated licensing & service fees.
Which route is better?
Hosted platforms are convenient, but I do not recommend them for the long-term. That said, Let’s Talk Graphics can work with nearly any hosted platform provider. Their plans range from $15 to $150 per month. As long as you can pay their monthly ‘rental’ fee, you will have an e-commerce website.
For those hoping for a little more equity in their home page, I recommend self-hosted. The major components are:
- A hosting plan
- A WordPress theme that supports WooCommerce
- A payment processor such as Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal, or Square
- A merchant bank account
- SSL certificate (usually purchased as part of hosting plan)
- Any necessary WordPress plugin and WooCommerce extension
The price of going the self-hosted route is similar to paying for one year of hosted service. Most of the investment is up front.
One of the most attractive differences between hosted and self-hosted (in my mind) is, once your self-hosted website is built, it is yours to keep. You don’t pay a ‘rental’ fee.
Website development platform
Assuming your choice was self-hosted, the next choice is the website development platform. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, custom HTML, PHP — all are different web development platforms. Which platform is best for your e-commerce website?
The answer isn’t straightforward, and there are a ton of articles comparing the “3 Big” CMS platforms. Most will say that Joomla and Drupal have more internal features compared to WordPress (which implies a more powerful website), but when it comes down to user-friendliness, plugin support, and ease-of-use, WordPress is the clear winner.
We recommend WordPress, but if you have something else in mind, we’re comfortable working with most CMS software applications.
What to do?
I know this is a lot of information to take in, and some of it might be confusing. I’ve been building successful e-Commerce websites for a decade though and I know I can build yours too! Call! Let’s Talk!! If you like what you hear then maybe it’s time to finally open up that online business! Contact Let’s Talk Graphics at (775) 513-1402.