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.