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DIY eCommerce website solutions – the good, the bad and the ugly

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There are a huge number of companies who offer do it yourself eCommerce website solutions, these options promise to be good value for money and very simple to deploy and manage, so why would you take any other option?

Now don’t get us wrong, some DIY eCommerce solutions are great and perfect for a very particular set of requirements. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of DIY eCommerce website builders.

The Pros

Well, the choice is not quite as simple as it first appears and it all depends on what you are trying to achieve.

On the plus side, the DYI option can be cheaper and there are lots of templates and options to choose from with a variety of costs associated.

If you are confident with coding skills, some providers such as SquareSpace allow you to write your own code which can enable you to create something unique. And again, those who are quite comfortable with website editing could use some of the great WordPress plugins available through their existing WordPress CMS. This option avoids the issue of having to pay an external provider for hosting and being locked into an agreement with one provider.

A solid option is also to link off to an existing merchant eCommerce website from your website. Meaning you avoid the hassle of building an eCommerce website completely (exactly like diverting off to PayPal to pay for your eBay purchases).

The Cons

However, if you are looking for a streamlined professional website, where you keep your customers on your website to pay, the DYI options can be problematic.

The available templates can be restrictive in terms of formatting and as mentioned previously some providers lock you into a hosting agreement with a specific company which could work out to be very expensive over time.

Customisation within the templates available with each provider can be costly too, building in extra upfront costs which are not immediately obvious. If you want to change provider at a later date it can be very difficult to move your website information from these templates, meaning you might have to start from scratch and rebuild your website.

The Alternative

So what is the alternative? A professional eCommerce website built by a qualified and professional web designer of course.

A professional web designer can create a bespoke eCommerce website which is tailored exactly to your business requirements.

The investment you make in your website is crucial. Whilst a professional website design and build may sound more pricey, this may not be the case long term (after you’ve factored in the on-going charges) and certainly will not be the case if you end up re-building your website because it’s not quite right or it outgrows the current provider or having to pay fees later if you want to switch provider.

Any interaction with a hosting provider can be problematic and enlisting the help of a professional web designer will certainly give you a more professional and future proof website. You should consider whether the ability to maintain your own content is important to you as well and whether the solution will drive customers to your website with good search engine optimisation.

Our Advice

So, the key here is if you are going down the DIY route, research your options carefully and be confident in your design editing and in some cases coding skills.

We recommend that you identify 3 or 4 DYI options and compare them closely, do they deliver all the features you require, what payment gateway is being used, are any 3rd party integrations required such as PayPal, can you fully manage the content on the site including stock control, what are the initial costs and what are the ongoing costs.

Alternatively, of course, you can come to us and we can design and build a fully bespoke eCommerce website perfectly tailored for you and your business for much less than you might think! Take a look here