Don’t Limit Your Chances Before You Even Start, Choose The Right Platform For Your Site

Choose The Right eCommerce PlatformI’ve worked with a few different companies over the years and have had the ‘pleasure’ of using a variety of different web platforms for their CMS (content management systems) and ecommerce offerings.

It still amazes me how far behind the pace some of these platforms are in terms of usability and SEO (search engine optimisation).

Some of them are so bad that it would almost be funny if they were not costing the businesses using them a lot of money!

A Bad Platform Is…

  • One that makes updating content a headache and only doable by a technical person
  • One that reproduces your entire website on a separate live domain which is freely accessible by humans and search engines
  • One which uses horrible url’s full of meaningless querystrings (?id=xxx&page=1234…)
  • One which will only let you adjust page title and meta tags on ‘top – level’ pages
  • One which uses such a convoluted way of performing 301 redirects that it makes adding in manual ones virtually impossible
  • One which the stock answer from the developers is ‘No’ to every change request (or even worse ‘Well, it’s on our schedule and we hope to be getting to it within the next 3 – 4 months…’)

A Good Platform Is…

NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Argh…

I had the misfortune recently of helping a company with the online marketing efforts who were using a CMS and eCommerce platform which had all of the above ‘features’.

Having moved to the platform 6 months prior to my involvement and losing all (yes I mean ALL) of their search engine rankings they wondered what the issue could be.

The Moral of This Rant Story

Deciding on an eCommerce (or CMS) platform when starting out on your ecommerce adventure is a big decision so, do your research, try to speak with existing users of the options you are considering, and, if a web development company, speak to more than one company.

Getting 6 or 12 months down the line with an inadequate web platform could spell disaster for your business, or at the very least mean a lot of inconvenience for you in switching at a later date.

Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Choosing the right eCommerce platform is vital. It’s like choosing the foundations for your online business and has a big effect on the success (or not) of your online venture.

    I’ve researched some of the most popular free and open source eCommerce platforms and found OpenCart to be one of the best. It has almost none of the above “features” (implementing 301 redirects might not be totally easy through the admin area). Here’s what I found anyway: http://www.antropy.co.uk/blog/shopping-cart-review/

    But as far as I’m aware it seems to be one of the best carts out there.

  2. Yes, some platforms that are now horribly outdated in many aspects still seem to do well, perhaps because they’ve built up a strong marketing and sales pipeline over the years. Definitely something for new merchants to be aware of.

    Dare I ask which platform the company you mention was using?

  3. Hi Matt,

    I’m still working with the company at this time and they are quite tied into the platform they are using so I don’t feel mentioning it publicly would be appropriate at this time.

    Thanks for the comment though, Darren

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