This article entails my advice to a friend of mine who owns a small business in PNG and wants an e-commerce website. Since I am in the business of helping people to get setup and succeed online, I have received requests and questions from people relating to e-commerce. This is what I shared with my friend and now sharing with anyone interested in e-commerce business.
Website Development/ Design
The decision to owning an e-commerce website and business is dependent on several factors that must be considered in the decision making process. Firstly, hiring someone to develop your website from scratch is going to take a lot of time and will be costly unless if someone agrees to do the work for less under some sort of agreement or arrangement.
Benefits of CMS (Content Management System)
CMS websites as we know take less time to build as there is no code involved in building the website and as such the upfront cost can be cheaper compared to building a website from scratch and from the ground up with the help of specialist website builders. Remember, that if you pay for a package then it is a monthly payment of some 20 to 30 dollars (WordPress, WIX, etc.).
CDN (Content Delivery Network) – required for prevention of DDoS attacks. Taken care of by WordPress, WIX, etc.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is important for e-commerce so it is important to have a SEO long-term goal for your online business. If you can do it yourself then great as it will be a lot cheaper. However, not everyone can do that, so the easiest is to have a WIX or WordPress website so that is taken care of for you. You just need to pay for a plan or package with the service provider.
Note that if you are doing it yourself, do not expect results to be overnight. It takes time before you start seeing any positive result. So for the time being do not worry about your site showing up on search engines, instead continue doing the necessary work that will eventually optimize and get your website ranked on search engines.
On the contrary, a CMS platform like WordPress can do that easily for you and I mentioned WordPress intentionally because SEO plugins in WordPress are free. WIX or Weebly may be desirable alternatives for WordPress in PNG due to cost, support, and payment options that are available and accessible in the country. Payment Gateway services such as stripe is not available in Papua New Guinea so do take note of these things when you are choosing the e-commerce platform for your site.
Security is taken care of by WordPress, WIX, etc., if you choose CMS for your e-commerce website and again you can take advantage of the free plugins that come with the package you pay for. There are updates every time as well and since WordPress is open source, when there is a vulnerability in the system, programmers all over the world contribute to fixing the issue quickly so your security well taken care of.
However, if you choose to get a developer to work on your website then they will charge based on the work done including work put into ensuring your site is safe from online threats and hackers. As such website done by a specialist can be costly. The downside to this option is that many developers and designers operating as sole traders in the country do not follow standard work processes resulting in many security flaws in systems.
Support is an important deciding factors when choosing where and how you would like to build and host your e-commerce website.
- Make sure that there is 24 hours support.
- WordPress and WIX are known for great support and support is free for WordPress. WIX has support for paid service.
- Hiring a developer is great as well. However, it can be a one of payment for support only. After the site has been launched, additional work after that can be considered as extra work hence requiring extra payment. Important to have full time support so if you run into problems with your website, there is someone there to help.
- Finally, have a think through your options, taking into consideration the return on investment (ROI) and costs in running an e-commerce website. If the cost of having a CMS website will offer long-term benefits and is in-line with your business goals, then that should the choice for you. Otherwise, if hiring a specialist (developer) to build your e-commerce site from the ground up from scratch is the one for you then by all means.