Creating and Managing Your e-Commerce Website
This is an exciting time for entrepreneurs of all ages, genders, and income levels. Entrepreneurs understand they can start with a business concept and launch a website that generates revenue in a matter of days versus months / years. As documented on Inc.com article Top 5 E-Commerce Platforms in 2016, opening an online store is one of the fastest and arguably one of the best options that entrepreneurs have for launching a start-up. The top 5 were selected based on the following criteria,
- Ease of Setup
- Ease of Customization
- Mobile Friendliness
- Social Media Integration
- User Experience
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Modules for Content Marketing
- Customer Support
Topping the list is Shopify, ranking highly on ease of setup and landing page customization, good SEO technology, and excellent customer support. WooCommerce is number two on the list. WooCommerce is a free e-commerce plugin that allows entrepreneurs to integrate their eCommerce platform seamlessly with WordPress, WooCommerce is easily customized, includes a good shopping cart, a secure payment gateway, no limitation to product categories, a WordPress blog, and the availability of plug-ins and extensions. Yo!Kart is relatively new and includes hosted and self-hosted options. BigCommerce resembles Shopify in many respects with more features but the pricing is a bit more expensive. Magento started at eBay but spun off as an independent company targeting the large-scale retailers and enterprise level e-commerce websites. Magento provides a very high level of security and features that other e-commerce platforms do not include like multiple storefront, multi-language, and multi-currency support.
Before deciding on the optimal e-commerce platform for your business, you should keep in mind this article from PCMag, Building an E-Commerce Website: 7 Technical Aspects You Need to Know. PCMag understands how the multiple e-commerce platforms have simplified the complexity for many entrepreneurial technophobes. They recommend that you focus on the following when evaluating a platform provider:
- Website Security: The best websites offer 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, allowing for an end-to-end secure connection across all of the data and transactions on your website.
- Website Performance: Your web pages should load in less than 100 milliseconds (ms).
- Mobile First: The best e-commerce platforms focus the initial website development efforts on optimizing functionality for mobile users.
- Cloud Hosting: Amazon, Google, or Microsoft clouds are where your typical e-commerce platform provider will host their client’s website and store their client’s data. Researching each companies security, disaster recovery, and uptime metrics is a wise move before signing with a provider.
- Website Updates: How often does your e-commerce provider update your businesses website? Weekly or monthly updates are unacceptable. Find out how often they update the websites.
- Data Engineering: Website reporting is critical in order for you to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working on your e-commerce site. A provider that offers your business a dedicated team of analysts that assist in building custom reports is a big plus.
- Third-Party Integration: The ability to integrate the e-commerce website with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform makes it simpler to stay in touch with your website visitors and customers.
Does managing website content, site security, customer payments, SEO, etc. sound pretty daunting to you? Outsourcing is always an option.
1stel works in conjunction with a local agency, werkLab Studios (wLs). They enable 1stel to focus on their clients’ network communications while leaving web site design, content, security, and updates for wLs to manage. Visit their website to learn more about how they can help you at werklabstudios.com
Randall Smith – 1stel Marketing Analyst