As a small business owner, you may be looking at selling products or services on line with your web site. Many web site owners want more control over their website and they do this by renting or installing a CMS (Content Management System). This allows them to add and edit pages through the web browser any where they have a connection. However, CMS may be a weak solution for an online shopping cart.
Every CMS has a set of features like Photo Galleries or eCommerce. The problem is that these are broad terms. Once you have installed and trained on a CMS that features an online store, you may come to realize that the “store” feature was a little lack luster.
My point here is that feature sets are not everything. Just because it says “eCommerce” doesn’t mean that you have a solution for an online shopping cart. However, it depends on what you are trying to achieve.
WordPress as a website makes a great CMS for your business website and there are many plugins, one of which will turn your WordPress installation into an online store. While I haven’t tried it yet, when it comes time to start one up I will spend some time on their user forum to see what kind of issues people are running into. Do the gateways work? Does it complete shipping costs correctly? Does data get lost?
For very simple eCommerce, WordPress is a fine platform. For example: let us say that I have one widget to sell like the “Cigarette Spy Camera”. I can start up a free Paypal account and get the buy button code to paste into a product page on my WordPress site. It is easy.
I didn’t need a shopping cart. I just needed a way for customers to buy the one item. Because it is a WordPress web site I can blog and talk about the Cigarette Spy Camera ad nauseum.
If your business plan includes selling many products and it is important that your customers have an excellent online shopping experience, you may want to go to the experts that provide you with a 3rd party shopping cart solution.
While many 3rd party shopping carts may not have the ability to add pages or blog (that is changing) they are very good at the “online shopping experience”. Also, there is great security knowing that the 3rd party cart vender specializes in eCommerce solely and if other major companies use them they are not going to be going away any time soon. The chances of down time is minimal if at all.
When shopping for the ultimate 3rd party cart system, compare prices and features as well as ease of use. This is important because you are wearing many hats and can’t be bogged down with web stuff when you need to be marketing and making sales.
Don’t worry if the cart system you choose doesn’t have the ability to add pages or blog because you can accomplish that with WordPress or any other type of CMS web site.
In that case the blog site or content site talks about all the benefits of the products you are selling and is always linking back directly to product pages of the cart site.
Don’t try to get everything under the sun on one web site. It leads to custome development and a huge expense.