DIY Online Shop

Explain why I stopped developing online stores and why more people should use things like weebly, square space and Shopify.

To start let me explain the troubles developers have daily with online stores and why it costs so much to have it maintained:

  1. Updates and plugin issues – every time there is a software update, whether it’s wordpress or one of the plugins, there is the risk of a compatibility issue. They aren’t as bad as they used to be where developers lost databases and months of work, but you can very quickly end up with hours, even days of work to fix these issues. And that work will cost you, the client, money.
  2. Product updates. If you want a quality website, you need to keep pricing, images and product information up to date. This can be very frustrating for a client having to relay this information to your developer on a weekly bases, knowing that they’re charging you for the work as well.
  3. General maintenance. In the end, the developer is in the driver’s seat of maintaining your website and this too can be frustrating and expensive.

So what is the alternative?Well, if you’re in South Africa I would recommend ShopStar.co.za and then perhaps Shopify.com for the rest of the world, or even find a local service for your country. The reason I say a local service is that you want as many locally compatible payment gateways as possible. In South Africa our banking system is very strict with these payment gateways for security reasons, so a locally based service is best.Here are 2 major benefits to going with a “premade” solution:

  1. Rock solid stability. These companies handle all the updates, all the server issues, and any bugs that may arise. This saves you money, because your developer isn’t charging you hourly (or an inflated retainer) to fix these things.
  2. Because of the website backend issues being handled by a company like Shopstar, you can now focus on basic admin like managing sales and maintaining the creative aspects of the site like copywriting and images. The management is so simple with these sites that you may even be able to manage it yourself, which will save you more money. But your tech advisor or creative team will have zero time taken up with things like website updates.

Negatives? The only major negative I can see is the lack of customisability. You may not be able to tweak it as much as a custom or WordPress based site. However, I really believe the ease of use and cost saving far outweigh this negative.In short… A lot of the stuff you are paying a developer for will be handled, you may just need someone to help you set it up initially. You can then rather use your money for things that really count, like photography, copywriting and marketing.

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