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View Full Version : What do you guys use to manage your websites?



Jay Selway
07-08-2017, 12:11 PM
For my laser cutting business we've been using Squarespace with great results. However, the ecommerce side of it is pretty weak. I've been looking into Shopify. Curious if any of you guys are using it and if so, what your thoughts are.

Thanks!

Tim Bateson
07-08-2017, 12:28 PM
I use OpenCart.

Pieter Swart
07-08-2017, 3:19 PM
I recently opened a Wix Premium site... not the free one, but one that actually accepts payments, manages stock, inventory, handles shipping calculations, tax etc. allows me to either use their financial institutions or add my own. It allows easy customization of the item... I.e. color, size, text fields for engraving etc. and notifies me immediately if anyone is on my site, for live online assistance... turned that off in a hurry.... got a notification every 5 minutes...

Took a while to set everything up... had to figure out SKU's for everything... but once I got it all in and done... it was smooth like glass!

Mike Chance in Iowa
07-08-2017, 4:03 PM
I second OpenCart. It has it's share of flaws, but it's pretty darn good for a free shopping cart. It helps if you know HTML and PHP so you can modify code to suit your needs.

Robert Bonenfant
07-08-2017, 4:31 PM
Try Shopify for free and see if you like it - We have three sites with them that generate 3000 + orders per month. We choose Shopify because they offered integration with Amazon, eBay, Etsy. They have a ton of good apps to help build custom features that would have cost us aton to setup our selves.

Kev Williams
07-08-2017, 9:29 PM
Glad it's you guys have to worry about these interweb things :D

A guy back east has been selling some car stuff I make for 17 years, and he's always got some problem going on with shopping cart issues, deadbeat chargebacks, whiny people who don't understand the difference between 'made to order' and an Amazon warehouse, and just plain "the public". I don't envy him or any of you guys one bit. The internet has helped some people find me (which isn't always a good thing), but I've never needed a website to sell anything (which is a GREAT thing!)...

I have great respect for anyone selling to the public at large, you're braver than me! ;)

--just wanted to throw that out there, since I have no help to offer!

Julian Ashcroft
07-09-2017, 2:26 AM
I use Opencart. I looked at all the various open source commerce software options out there and found it to be the easiest and best looking of the lot. I have added a theme which I have done a few subtle changes and have a three or four extensions which have helped get it working as I want. It isn't perfect, but to the customer it comes across as quite professional looking. im still learning though.

When I was setting up my site, as it's just a micro business, I wanted to keep costs right down. I looked at the various paid options, but felt they wanted too much of my money. I'm paying around 30.00 a year for my domain and hosting. I take PayPal and to cut costs down more customers can now pay by Bank Transfer, which while my Bank offers me free banking means no fees.

Brian W Evans
07-09-2017, 11:11 AM
I use Vend (https://www.vendhq.com/us/) for my point of sale (cash registers, inventory, etc.) and they offer ecommerce as well. I don't personally use the ecommerce feature because I don't sell online, but if I did it would make my life much easier. It automatically syncs things sold in the shop and things sold on the web (e.g. the last item sells in the shop, it doesn't allow that item to be purchased on your web site until you add more to inventory), keeps one customer database instead of two, one product database instead of two, one company to deal with, etc... It also integrates well with many card processors and with quickbooks, which I use for my accounting.

I think Square probably does the same thing and I'm sure there are several others. May be a little pricey if you don't need POS services (i.e. don't have a physical presence).

No relation to Vend other than using their service for a few years.

Jacob John
07-09-2017, 7:56 PM
Try Shopify for free and see if you like it - We have three sites with them that generate 3000 + orders per month. We choose Shopify because they offered integration with Amazon, eBay, Etsy. They have a ton of good apps to help build custom features that would have cost us aton to setup our selves.

3000 orders a month?! How are you advertising? Facebook, Instagram, newspapers, etc.?

Tim Bateson
07-10-2017, 8:20 AM
...How are you advertising?...

This industry doesn't work that way. They just need to find you on the web when/if they need your services. Advertising is a waste of $.

Mike Null
07-10-2017, 8:45 AM
I stopped "advertising" about 18 years ago. Have never spent a dime since. I am home based and don't want retail customers.

Scott Shepherd
07-10-2017, 9:20 AM
My favorite is when people cold call and tell me that they see my site isn't doing well in Google Search Results. I listen to them tell me how poorly we are listing and how they can help me. Then I asked them what they searched for that showed us listing so poorly and it goes quiet. I explain that we're number 1 in everything we want to be number 1 in, and the call usually ends abruptly.

Tim Bateson
07-10-2017, 1:49 PM
Web page placing.. including Google can be done without spending a dime. I'm at or near the top - depend on your search for my area. I have a lousy web page and my web store isn't much better. My wife has been on me for nearly 10 years to build a better web page. Fancy is nice, but it isn't likely to make or break a serious sale. I'm so busy just off referrals & my Web page that I routinely turn away customers every day. I should note that unlike Robert, I don't sell much in the way of products. That's not my business model. Instead of products I chose to be a Service company. On other words, I have nearly zero inventory. I just laser and/or cut other peoples products, mostly industrial.

Oh.. back to Web placement... This IS highly important, just not worth it (to me) to pay for it. My secret for easy placement high on search lists...... wouldn't be a secret if I told.

Kev Williams
07-10-2017, 2:13 PM
Web page placing.. including Google can be done without spending a dime.
You don't even need a web page, all you need is a phone number. I've been trying to get Google & Yelp to remove me altogether, but yeah, right. I DO have a 'webpage', but between about 2012 and 2015 my page said nothing but 'out of order, check back later'. Because I thought it would help keep the phone calls and questions to a minimum, now my page is just an explanation of what I do and what I don't do. Doesn't help a bit, nobody reads it. It's obvious most people just call the first few numbers that come up in a search and don't even check the web page.

Scott Shepherd
07-10-2017, 2:45 PM
This IS highly important, just not worth it (to me) to pay for it. My secret for easy placement high on search lists...... wouldn't be a secret if I told.

I'm surprised at how many people think that someone in the same industry and market is going to tell the world how they got their customers and what they are doing. If you told 10 competitors how you got to #1 on the search engines, then you could be #10 and they'd be 1-9. I'm all about helping people, but I'm not too keen on helping people take my customers away from me for free.

Gary Hair
07-10-2017, 3:02 PM
There are two guaranteed secrets for success.
1. Never tell all you know.
2.



I'm surprised at how many people think that someone in the same industry and market is going to tell the world how they got their customers and what they are doing. If you told 10 competitors how you got to #1 on the search engines, then you could be #10 and they'd be 1-9. I'm all about helping people, but I'm not too keen on helping people take my customers away from me for free.

AL Ursich
07-10-2017, 8:08 PM
This industry doesn't work that way. They just need to find you on the web when/if they need your services. Advertising is a waste of $.

That is a Golden Quote.... And for me 100% correct.... Tracked all the pay stuff I did a few years ago and got ZERO orders for my money, about $6k in all. Thought it would work... The people that use my stuff were the target... I ask every customer how they find me?.... 9 times out of 10.... Just did a search and you showed up a few times in the first few pages with lots of images...

And I use a very CHEAP Site... Former Yahoo Small Business for $119.00 per year. Bought out by someone last year. It's easy and works for me...

AL

Jacob John
07-10-2017, 11:07 PM
I'm surprised at how many people think that someone in the same industry and market is going to tell the world how they got their customers and what they are doing. If you told 10 competitors how you got to #1 on the search engines, then you could be #10 and they'd be 1-9. I'm all about helping people, but I'm not too keen on helping people take my customers away from me for free.


Hopefully this wasn't referring to me. :cool: I only asked about platforms, not keywords, search strings, SEO strategies, or anything specific.

So Scott, what's the secret squirrel sauce for ranking higher than everyone here? 363618

Bert Kemp
07-11-2017, 2:04 AM
google yourself about 10000 times a day and eventually you'll get to the top of the list:D

Scott Shepherd
07-11-2017, 8:03 AM
Hopefully this wasn't referring to me. :cool: I only asked about platforms, not keywords, search strings, SEO strategies, or anything specific.

So Scott, what's the secret squirrel sauce for ranking higher than everyone here?

Not directed at anyone in particular, just a general comment referencing people that have asked me for help with their SEO over the years. No thanks :) When LinkedIn hit the market I joined it and started building out my network. It had the potential to be fantastic for connecting to people I was having a tougher time getting to at the time. Just find someone I know that knows the person that I want to meet and then I'd be golden. It worked and helped me meet some good contacts. I built my network of people that were my customers and business related contacts. My network was essentially, some of my good customers. Then my competitors, who we also did wholesale work for, started asking to join my network. What? Wait a minute.....if I connect to you, then you can now see who my customers are and target them directly without me knowing. Essentially, by connecting to my competitors, I was handing them my customer list. Well, that's pretty dumb from a business standpoint. You wouldn't write down your best customers and hand that list to your competitors, so why would you do that electronically. At that point, I stopped using LinkedIn. I'll look at it from time to time, but I never link to customers these days.

Searching for your own name in Google isn't going to help anything. That's not how it works :)

Tim Bateson
07-11-2017, 8:46 AM
...That's not how it works :)


"That's not how this works, that's not how any of this works....." Great commercial line. lol I agree Steve, I could share one secret that made a huge difference for me, but may not necessarily work for someone else. This business is funny & different from region to region. What works here may not work there & vice versa..... THAT's how this really works.... or does it? :cool:
Did I mention that I've worked in IT for 35 years... Pre-internet.. well pre-internet as we know it today. I was surfing & abusing the web long before browsers were invented.

Kev Williams
07-11-2017, 1:54 PM
My (dad's) business all started from his Litton work buddies. Litton was their 'McDonalds', a place to start before moving on. As they did, his buddies new jobs involved needing something engraved; desk signs, name badges, a watch or two, ID plates- and they'd call dad. Many moved on again, leaving their replacements behind with our number, and going to a new place that needed engraving...and so on and so on, etc. etc... and that progression has never stopped, and because of that we have never had to search out a job. When LinkedIn started, I was flooded with emails, none of which I've ever answered.

If I actually had to search out work, I'd likely starve to death! :)

Scott Shepherd
07-11-2017, 2:35 PM
Keep in mind Kev, you took over a business that had grown over decades. Most of us are having to start from scratch, or close to it, so we couldn't sit back and wait for repeat customers to call.

John Kleiber
07-12-2017, 12:28 AM
I use Hostmonster with Joomla. Be warned, if you have no IT background, be prepared for a severe learning curve.

Matt McCoy
07-12-2017, 9:41 AM
Wix, Square, Big Cartel, and Shopify are popular options. Easy and most of the under-the-hood stuff is done for you. They're also pretty customizable, if you're savvy, especially Shopify.

Jacob John
07-12-2017, 11:22 AM
google yourself about 10000 times a day and eventually you'll get to the top of the list:D

Ok I did that, but 20,000 times. I broke 3 keyboards in the process. Now what?

Melissa BurnerMN
10-20-2017, 10:33 AM
Our company has several e-commerce sites done in Zen-Cart. It's open source and has an active community tweaking it. You can also do a lot tweaking (damage) yourself since you will have access to all the files that make up the CMS.