I need some help choosing a webstore service. I have been looking at sites like miashops, papshops, highwire commerce, WAHMshopes, etc. Are any of you familiar with these? What is the difference is in the services they offer? Are they pretty much all the same? I do not know web design well, I can kind of edit HTML, but don't want to go deep into that. I want to be able to get my site up easily without having to do a lot of editing, but I also have my own ideas about background picture, buttons, layout, and fonts that I want to incorporate, hopefully with out having to edit the page manually. I have already bought products and spent a long time feeling overwhelmed by building the site so any help would be greatly appreciated!
I've never used any of those platforms so I can't offer specific advice but here are a few tips for choosing a service:
--Prioritize what's really important to you and choose a service that best matches. Often it's not the most expensive or the least expensive.
--Long term, the more flexibility and control you have the better but that means a trade off in how easy it is to use. The more you can customize and add features, generally the more difficult the software will be to use.
--If the software offers a list of companies that use them, e-mail those companies and ask. You may have to send quite a few e-mails to get someone to talk to you (I know there's no way I can respond to all the requests we get) but the info can be invaluable.
--A professional look really matters. Really. We started with a not so nice site, went to a nicer site and a nicer site and now we are on our 4th site in 3 years. Not a great way to do it but I can tell you that every time we upgraded our average orders and conversion rates increased--often drastically. Remember you are competing not only with your direct competitors but also everyone else on the web. Customers often decide instantly if they can trust you based on your site (i.e. does it seem like a good idea to give these people my credit card info?). They're used to looking at websites and can spot an amateur a mile away. Have a nicer site then your competitors for sure and the nicest site you can manage to account for the reality of having web savvy customers. Believe me, I know that's easier said then done.
Mama to DS (6/07) , DD (6/09) , and DD (07/12) ..
Thanks for your reply. It really helps to get some words of wisdom from some one who has BTDT. After a few frustrating days trying to modify the template I finally figured out CSS enough to be able to play around with the look a little bit on my own. The look I am going for is something simple/artistic rather than conventional. But I always struggle with finding the line between standing out and being too far into left field. I do have a web designer friend who offered to help for next to nothing so I may also go that route. I just don't have any experience with this so I am wondering if having a designer do the template might make it harder for me to control in the future. Just wanted to give that update. Any general thoughts/advice appreciated.
I started a free trial with Highwire.com. So far it seems sufficient. I realize now the design really has nothing to do with function. I figured out CSS code enough to edit the template a little myself, but might still consider consulting with a designer for a more professional look. Maybe once I finish I can post here for feedback.
Thank you everyone for your input. This forum has helped me so much in becoming a WAHM through out the past year.