Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why WordPress Isn’t a Suitable E-Commerce Platform?

With the recent advances in information technology, even small and  medium sized firms are moving towards eCommerce.  There are over 500 platforms for eCommerce development that makes it difficult to choose the best one for your business. One of them is WordPress which is a leading  Content Management System. Almost all of you are familiar with Wordpress, or at least heard about how easy it is to learn and implement. Doesn’t it sound good to add an eCommerce plugin and manage everything under your WordPress dashboard? Definitely it seems to be a cake walk, but reality is very much different.

Don’t get me wrong, even I love Wordpress and use it in my various sites. But, Wordpress is only a blogging platform and suitable only for content based websites. It doesn’t matter whether it has 1000 of plugins and themes available or it is free, the basic fact remains same that it is unsuitable for eCommerce. I am not saying that you can’t do anything with Wordpress, in fact, if your product catalogue is limited and straightforward and you don’t have a large range of products to sell (not more than a couple of dozen), Wordpress is more than sufficient for you.  But if you have big dreams for your store, then dedicated eCommerce platforms are better choice  as they are built from scratch for eCommerce and online stores, and also have specific features that make them easy to use as an eCommerce Development Platform.

WordPress is basically a content management system with extra features to use it as eCommerce but a dedicated eCommerce platform is basically a store management system

It is best to use a tool for the purpose that it was intended. Here is a list of the some points that make Wordpress unfit for eCommerce development:
  • I t can’t be used for sites with a lot of sales due to the heaviness of database queries.
  • You only get what you pay for, so you can’t expect necessary features for professional online store from free WordPress plugins. And support is available only from the community of users not from the original developers.
  • Being an Opensource it is simply available to everyone so it is the easiest target for hackers. As an online store owner, the last thing you want is your customers' information being stolen.
  • Last but most important point is that they are not PA-DSS compliant. It means you can’t accept credit cards on your site.  Your customer can only pay through  third party services like PayPal or Google Wallet, which will hurt your conversion rate in the long run.
  • Even if, Wordpress plugins for eCommerce like WP e-Commerce or  WooCommerce claims that their platforms support thousands of products, but generally they do not perform as well as a platform which is dedicated to eCommerce.
  • Although we can add several themes and plugins to make it work for eCommerce, but problem arises during Wordpress upgradation. Maybe your installed theme and plugin does work well with the upgraded version.
What do you want content or online store - WordPress CMS are born for Content and eCommerce platforms are born for online stores.

Conclusion: No doubt that WordPress is a great Content Management System, and I always commend it as a ‘blogging’ platform. Although we can make it compatible for eCommerce by integrating various plugins, but the basic fact remains same that Wordpress is not developed to be an eCommerce Platform. However, you can’t deny the importance of using a true store management system for your online store.  Questions?  Feel free to ask in the comments.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Factors That Make Your Website Working Well Under Stress

People often wonder about the fast approaching deadline that can be usually achieved under more stress. But the fact is, stress makes it difficult to focus upon the task which is being performed. And hence, no one can achieve the quality target under the pressure, but can meet the time limit. Meeting the deadline is not our only aim, but achieving the quality should be the primary concern.

In the same scenario, business owners or entrepreneurs must focus on the website that works well under pressure. Website maintenance takes a lot of time and cost and one must ensure about its performance under stress also. Load and stress performance testing must be tested on a regular basis.

Here are some activities that can help you ensure that your website perform well under stressful conditions:
  1. Measure the effectiveness: First and foremost step is to establish a baseline for the effectiveness of the website after the modifications that have to be made. You can also take the help of some tools like speed test tool or page load test tools and also the uploading and downloading internet speeds.
  2. Reduce the Page load time with images: Reducing the resolution of images or compressing images will help you get better loading time. Images with better resolution may take more time as compared to compressed images. Reduced file size gives the better uploading speed.
  3. Always use Tag Manager: Most site owners integrate third-party applications for a better user experience and hence leads to the worst performance sometimes. The more relevancy sometimes leads to the worst performance. To improve the performance, these types of applications use tags to provide feedback for social media campaigns and internet advertising. A tag manger works like a traffic cop which reduces the page load time where tags are already installed. It is recommended that always use a tag manager for better speeds as slow pages are not good for business and better user experience.
  4. Enable Cache: Caching saves lots of downloading time and hence enable caching wherever you can. You can enable caching in the browser, at server side and also at network level with the help of content delivery network provider. The Thounb Rule: 80% of customer response time is spent in installing the components of a web page; reducing the distance to deliver a web page between the customer and the unique content can reduce web page loading time.
  5. Implementing Content Delivery Network (CDN): Implementing CDN lowers the bandwidth utilization and improves the latency issues. It is helpful in some cases where you have lots of static content and you want to reduce the content delivery time.
  6. Website Testing: Properly perform the system testing and identify the failure points within the application before your customers. Discover all small preventable faults on your web application before they become any major stability problem for customers during the revenue season.
  7. Optimizing Database Queries: Since web pages are generated dynamically from the online database directory stored on the website in most eCommerce online stores, it is recommended to optimize the database queries so as to give instant results and to reduce access time for long queries.
  8. Identify the Broken Links: “Page not Found Error” is not a good impression for any user as it leads to the lost of queries and hence it may take user away from our website to a competitor’s site. Using free tools like Broken Link Checker can help you to scan your website for broken links and reduce the 404 errors.
Hope these factors will help your website with no loss of customers during your peak revenue season. Not only these, other factors like your website design and easy navigation is also helpful for a better user experience.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Preview: iOS8 v/s Android L

The past month of June witnessed the unveiling of two of the most vibrant mobile operating systems developed by the two technical giants of the Silicon Valley, namely Apple Inc. and Google. While Apple set ablaze the proceedings at the WWDC 2014 with its latest version iOS8, Google followed up with the new, improved and revamped version of Android, the Android L. Instead of precisely comparing both mobile operating systems with each other, we are generalising a verdict according to the levels of productivity they provide in the given sections.

Before going further at the feature comparison let's have a quick look at the Availability:
As per sources of the companies, both iOS8 and Android L will be released for the users this autumn, i.e. in September or October. Currently, these mobile operating systems are available in beta; while Apple’s iOS8 beta version can be downloaded by joining the Apple’s developer program at a cost of 99$ , Android L on the other hand, as per its open source nature, can be downloaded for free.

Since there have been numerous amendments and introduction of various new tweaks in both Android L and iOS8, it’s time to compare the Features.

The Android L comes with the feature of enhanced notifications that will be visible over the locked screen. Although you can manage the content shown according to your privacy measures, the phone will also prioritize the order of notifications according to the accuracy of actions towards a particular app.
The notifications in iOS8 have also been made more interactive; you can reply to a text, re-tweet, like Facebook statuses, snooze your alarm, all without even leaving the current application you’re working on.
Lock Screen
Android L brings about a new lock screen to the devices through which you would be able to see the notification. You can access the camera by swiping left, swipe right to launch the dialler and swipe up to unlock.
The lock screen in iOS8 remains unchanged and looks similar to the one in iOS7.
Developer Features
Google has added several new tools that would lead to the enhancement of the overall credibility of Android L. Apple Inc. which is known for maintaining its privacy when it comes to developing tools has also opened up a bit, giving iOS developers some scope for development. The Extensibility feature will provide iOS apps with the ability to intermingle with each other. That would facilitate user like never before. Now, by using ‘Action Extensions’, the Bing Translate feature can be incorporated into Safari so that the users can use the capabilities of both apps simultaneously. Google has introduced new features in Android L such as direct links to apps from Google Search; this feature was available for limited Android developers but is now available for the entire lot.
Beta versions of both these mobile operating systems are available for developers, which can lead to the creation of immense possibilities for the development of new tools.
Apple has finally introduced widgets which are termed as ‘Todays Extensions’ that can be placed in the ‘Today’ view in iOS8’s Notification Centre. iOS users seem to be quite excited about this addition as the inclusion of widgets similar to those in Android had always been a hot topic.
Handoff is another new feature in iOS8 that is going to facilitate the iDevice users at the next level. Under this feature each and every device will be interconnected to each other in order to enhance ease of functionality. If you’re taking a call over your iPhone and have a sudden urge to use the OS X (Yosemite) on your Mac, you can easily switch your call over to it and even back to the iPhone. This is not limited to just calls, when typing mails you get options to continue over various devices; you can see all your iPhone Messages as well.
Such features are available in Android L too, although third-party apps are required for the execution, which is not as seamless as Apples’s Handoff feature. If you happen to own a Chromebook then there can be a performance boost as Android L will automatically unlock your laptop if your smartphone or tablet is in the vicinity, the notifications will appear on both, the laptop and your mobile device.
Battery Life
The exact boost that both Android L and iOS8 will provide to the battery life is not known yet. Although there is one major factor that Google had discussed at the I/O 2014, the Project Volta. It is being claimed that Project Volta will lead to an increase in thebattery backup of the Nexus 5 by 90 minutes. As for iOS8 there hasn’t been any modification that enhances battery saving.
Both Android L and iOS8 have employed a series of changes in their respective platforms but without any doubts it can be said that the features introduced in iOS8 will prove to be a game changer in terms of user experience.