I’ve watched many clients take on too much overhead (financial and technical) to run an ecommerce store when they can’t afford it. So not only can I give you this absolute, definite rule for your website, I can provide you a completely simple path to determining when you can host your own ecommerce website.
You should not host your own ecommerce site until you can fulfill these three requirements:
- You are able to pay someone in-house to manage it full-time.
- You can afford to pay a developer in-house or agency to support it
- You have 100 or more products for sale.
If you have a small business, you likely don’t fulfill these requirements. So don’t even consider the massive overhead for an ecommerce site (software licenses, SSL setup and maintenance, credit card processing, so much custom code).
Let me be unambiguous in my advice here: DON’T EVEN LET YOUR AGENCY HOST ecommerce ON YOUR SITE unless you, personally, can fulfill those requirements above. I used to work for an agency that set up a massive, expensive, and sluggish ASP.NET storefront platform for any ecommerce client (even if the client was selling only one or two products). Then the client had to call the agency and get put in a support queue just to change a price or deactivate an item.
I’ve also watched WordPress agencies oversell a plugin called WooCommerce to run ecommerce websites for clients. The result is the same: it complicates the client’s business, costs too much, requires too much maintenance.
The reason I can give you such hardline advice on ecommerce is this: there are options available for you to run a sophisticated online store with WAY less overhead.
- If your website is primarily for your offline business but sells a few items, check out Squarespace’s ecommerce options.
- If your website is mostly a store, check out Shopify.
I’m all about reducing overhead so that you can spend your time and money on the right things. You probably need marketing more than you need ecommerce support. So off-load that support to a host. Go with a third-party solution that will manage the support, SSL, and credit card processing for you.
“Seriously, do not start down to the path to a website for your small business until you read Todd A’s book.” — Amazon review
Check out good.simple.open for more ideas about doing better work.