7 Ways To Make Your Business Website Better

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As a reviewer of small business software and services — and a human who lives in the modern era — I’ve seen my share of business websites. Many of them are so basic that they serve only to confirm that the business in question, be it a bowling alley or an accountancy firm, is not merely a front for backroom bookie Big Sal and his associates (Fingers, Lefty, and Slippery Joe). What is dodgier than a business without a URL, after all?

(Read this article if you’re wondering whether your small business even needs a website. Spoiler alert: it does.)

Few websites are anything other than forgettable, and the ones that stand out usually owe their memorability to monumentally funny errors rather than to craftsman-level design.

Your website can be — and should be — more than just an online throwback to the yellow pages, a mere repository for basic information about hours and addresses and contact emails. Your website was destined for greatness. And I’m going to help you take it there. Here are several steps you can take to make sure your website stands out for all the right reasons:

Table of Contents

Join The 21st Century (Be Mobile Responsive)

When I say, “join the 21st century,” I am not being snarky in the manner of a 90s sitcom character. (If I were, I would have said: Welcome to the Oughts, holmes!)

I am trying to stress the importance of having a modern, mobile-responsive site. There’s a word for businesses with websites that don’t work well on smartphones. And that word is defunct.

Consumers are addicted to their mobile devices. And according to this article by Marketing Land, mobile devices now drive an estimated 56% of web traffic. That’s right — chances are that more than half of your customers will find your website on their mobile browser. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, I guarantee they will exit your page as quickly as they enter.

When viewed on a smartphone, non-responsive sites appear either too large or too small, requiring the reader to manually adjust the screen. Responsive sites, on the other hand, automatically adjust to accommodate each device, be it an iPhone, a Kindle, or a Galaxy Note8. Mobile sites are often simpler and/or allow the visitor to scroll down for more information, rather than navigating from one page to another.

Effective mobile sites are sleek, minimalistic repositories of information. They should be reminiscent of your full site and good ambassadors for your brand. They should not make people throw their phones in anger.

Happily, most do-it-yourself website builders allow for mobile responsive design; if yours doesn’t, it’s time to look for a new platform. And it goes without saying that if you’re paying a developer to design your site, you should insist that they make it responsive. If you want more information about this topic or tips about how to make it work for you, read our articles What Is Responsive Design? and Creating Websites For The Smartphone Generation.

Update, Update, Update

To stay competitive, your site has to look current. People are only becoming more attuned to (and judgemental about) the aesthetics of their technology. Older designs simply won’t cut it. You must update, and update frequently, to stay alive.

To be clear, we’re not just talking about upgrading from something like this…

If your site looks like that, you either went out of business in 1996, or you are using the design ironically. If it’s the former, and you’re now trying to get back into the game, good for you. Burn the site and start over. Burn it. If it’s the latter, you are invariably a hipster and I don’t want to talk to you or your handlebar mustache.

This is the horrible truth: your pages don’t have to be neon and underlined to look hopelessly dated.  Sites built as recently as 2012 now appear sad and outre. First impressions matter, and the average consumer will ditch your site without blinking an eye if it looks sketchy or old.

To stay in the game, you must update the design of your site every few years. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it will cost you time, money, or both. But what you gain in street cred will be worth every dime.

Updating actually isn’t so bad if you’re using a modern website building platform, like Wix (read our review) or Squarespace (read our review). New, intuitive site editors make it easy to switch layouts, change templates and forms, and alter color schemes — without paying an hourly rate to a spendy developer.

Provide Accurate & Complete Information

I know I spent a good part of the introduction talking about how business websites need to be more than just storehouses of basic information. That is 100% true, and I stand by every word. But…and this is a big but…it is vitally important to put basic information about your business on your website, front and center, or everything else in this article is pointless. Highlight your operating hours, address, phone number, and digital contact information, and put that information in more than one place. If your business occupies a physical space, your address and phone number should be above the fold. In other words, website visitors should not have to scroll down or navigate to another page to see this information.

You also need to give potential customers and new visitors at least a hint of what your company is all about on your home page. Don’t write a novel at this point. As you’ll see in the screenshot of Merchant Maverick’s home page below, a simple summary phrase — Unbiased Reviews That Save You Time And Money — is enough to convey the purpose of our site.

An “About Us” page is a great place to go more in-depth about exactly what your business does, and why you do it. It can also be a good vehicle to introduce yourself or your staff. Include mini-bios and pictures if you can. People are social animals. We’re evolutionarily wired for relationships, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The exchange of goods and services is occurring less and less in the meatspace, but we still like to know who we’re dealing with.

Avoid Grammar Mistakes

You don’t have dig deep to realize that American public schools are sadly failing when it comes to even basic writing competency. Just log in to Twitter for 10 seconds and yOull sea that Im rite. (There’s a little editor humor for you.)

You can get away with shocking grammar in Tweets, texts, and even over email (alas). But your website is not the place to be slipshod and careless. Save that devil-may-care attitude for Facebook or Christmas cards, where only some of your acquaintance will be judging you. If your website is riddled with typos and syntax goofs, you will lose customers, period. Error-laden copy connotes one of two things to your client base: you are illiterate or you are lazy. Ponder this riddle: What’s more off-putting to a consumer — an uneducated merchant or an indifferent one? The answer, of course, is moot. Neither one is going to survive.

This may all seem terrifying if grammar isn’t exactly your thing. But don’t worry! There’s no need to hastily enroll in a community college course. Simply running your site through spellcheck should catch most spelling errors, though you’d be surprised how many merchants neglect to do so. For higher level syntax and grammar issues, try using a service like Grammarly. It’s not perfect for higher level writing, but it catches almost 100% of basic errors (there/they’re/their, etc.), and it’s free. You can also enlist help from friends and family. The more eyes on your website copy before you publish, the better.

Write Engaging Copy About Your Products/Services

It’s not enough for your content to be grammatically perfect. It must also be useful and interesting. And there’s the rub.

How does one write captivating copy? Especially if one is trying to sell items as unsexy as, say, lawnmower parts or plumbing services? The key is to know your audience. Your stuff doesn’t have to be Dostoevsky-good. It doesn’t even have to be Reader’s Digest-good. Excellent website copy is defined by only three characteristics:

  • Detail
  • Utility
  • Appeal

Let’s take them one by one.

Detail

Presumably, you understand your business and your products or services well. Take the time to describe them, providing as much or more of the minutia as is reasonably warranted. Color; size; shape; weight; feel; smell; taste. Go further into the aesthetic sensibility of your items if you want. The more your customer knows about the product or service, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their purchase.

Utility

The overall helpfulness of your copy will depend in part on how wisely you’ve used detail in your descriptions. But you must go even a step further. It’s not enough to state that a scarf is hand-knit, blue, and made of angora wool. It’s not even enough to say that it is 60-inches-long and machine-washable. For optimal impact, you’ve got to paint a word picture for your potential customers. Give suggestions about various ways to wear the scarf. Talk about occasions or events the scarf is appropriate for. If a customer can imagine your product as a useful part of their daily life, you’re far more likely to make the sale.

Appeal

This one’s not so straightforward. The line between interesting copy and content that is mind-meltingly dull is thinner than you’d expect. When in doubt, go back to the advice above: know your audience. If you’re hawking lawnmower parts, it’s best not to be cutesy or make attempts at humor. You’re likely to simply irritate people. For utilitarian products and services, appealing equals factual and descriptive. But if bespoke spa treatments or patchwork quilts are your daily bread, be as whimsical as you want. Go nuts. Employ first-person language. Break out the charm. And if you don’t feel up to the task, hire someone who is. There are plenty of freelancers out there who write website copy for a living. Sites like Upwork are teeming with writers who would fist-fight each other for the privilege of generating your web content. (I know because I used to be one of them.)

Use Original Images

On the internet, as in life, it often pays to be unique. And not in an after-school-special, every-snowflake-is-beautiful kind of way. Search engines like original content. They give preference to it, in fact.

That said, unless your name is Dorothea Lange or Ansel Adams, you’re much better off using BigStock or Getty Images for your graphic content than simply uploading pictures from your digital camera or smartphone. Unique isn’t always equivalent to good. My iPhone pictures, for example, are invariably blurry and too dark, invoking what I’m sure are merely pity-likes on Instagram. Yours may be better (and likely are), but I can say with near certainty that they aren’t good enough to be featured on your website.

Website-quality photographs and images should be:

  • High-resolution
  • Well-lit
  • Sharply focused
  • Artistically blocked, posed or designed
  • Minimally cluttered

Images like this don’t grow on trees. They come from professional photographers and graphic designers who use professional equipment. In other words, you’ll have to pay for them. Craigslist is a good place to find relatively cheap freelancers in your area, or you can solicit help from sites like Upwork and Guru.

Maintain A Blog

Blogs aren’t just for bloggers. Used wisely, a blog can be an excellent marketing tool for your retail, restaurant, or service business.

For starters (to reiterate my point in the section above), search engines give preference to original content. They gobble it up, in the manner of hungry hippos. To be clear, Google is an equal opportunity tool in that, if you have a URL, you’ll show up in an appropriate keyword search…eventually. But if you want to rank a little higher than the two-millionth results page, you’ll need to put it a bit more effort. Creating unique, high-quality content for your site increases your visibility to potential customers online. The key phrase here is high-quality, by the way. Search engines employ highly trained digital bloodhounds that can sniff out BS filler-content a mile away. You can try to cover redundant or pointless copy with metaphorical coffee grounds, but Google algorithms just keep getting smarter.

If you equate blogs solely with hot-button social issues like politics, the Mommy Wars, religion, and the like, it may be difficult to see how having one could benefit — or even apply to — your business. There are only so many edgy articles you can write about lawnmower parts.

Blogs don’t have to be hilarious rants or incisive social commentaries. In fact, if you want them to work well for your site, you should avoid controversy and/or high-art altogether. Instead, think about what kinds of things your customers are interested in, and provide content that caters to those interests. Do you sell custom clothing? Write a few how-to posts about accessorizing or blog about fashion trends. Run a pet shop? Talk about what pet owners can do to keep their dogs healthy. Rank cat toys from worst to most purrr-fect. Cat owners in your area who search for toy ideas may just stumble on your article and become loyal customers. Blogs exist to provide helpful information for your current clients, but they serve to draw in new customers as well.

Here are some articles types that work well for business blogs:

  • Top 10 Lists
  • How-To Articles
  • Dos & Don’ts
  • Product Comparisons
  • Guides
  • Best Of/Worst Of Lists
  • Industry News
  • Trends & Fads
  • Interviews

If you don’t feel up to creating the content yourself, hire someone who is.

Final Thoughts

In our increasingly digital society, your website is the most visible face of your business. It behooves you to make that face as clean and attractive as possible. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to create a professional, effective site.

Consider the tips above and take action where you can. With just a little TLC (and a little cash), your website can go from bland and forgettable to sleek and profitable.

Further Reading

We’ve talked about seven ways that you can create a better website for your business. Here are some other resources to help you get started.

Starting From Scratch?

Check out our large selection of do-it-yourself website builder reviews or compare top website building software vendors. If your website needs to incorporate an online store, you’ll want to peruse our eCommerce software reviews and compare some of the top shopping carts.

Read these articles if you need help deciding on a platform:

Looking To Improve Your Current Site?

If you already have a site, but need some tips on how to take it to the next level, these articles should help:

Want Tips On eCommerce?

We’ve written a comprehensive ebook on starting an online store. It’s free and well worth a read. If you’re operating an online store already or are thinking about adding one to your website, check out these articles:

Need Help With Social Media For Your Business Website?

Social media is a huge part of good business marketing, and it’s helpful to integrate your social media channels with your website. Check out these articles for more information:

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is a writer, editor, and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband and two small children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time reading early 20th century mystery novels, staring blankly at her iPhone, and attempting to keep her kids fed, clothed, and relatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

“”

10 Weebly Alternatives

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weebly alternatives

I like Weebly (see our review).

There, I said it.

Weebly isn’t the most exciting or buzz-worthy website builder around, and it is generally not the choice of web designers who design high-end websites for their clientele. However, Weebly occupies a special place — in my heart, at least — for its supreme familiarity and ease-of-use. There isn’t a service out there that makes the website building process easier. Throw in the 300+ feature add-ons available through the Weebly App Center and you’ve got yourself quite a handsome little package.

However, there are plenty of reasons you might want to go with a different website builder. Maybe Weebly’s just too basic for you. Maybe its templates just don’t do it for you. Regardless of the reason, there are plenty of alternatives to Weebly out there just begging for your attention and money. Let’s explore 10 of them!

Table of Contents

wix pricing

Wix (see our review) is undeniably the colossus of the website builder industry. A publicly-traded company with 110 million users in 190 countries, Wix is one of the few website builders with the resources to be able to advertise on the radio, on the sides of buses, and at the Super Bowl.

Like Weebly, Wix offers a limited free plan — one that, of course, requires users to use Wix advertising and a Wix-branded URL — while paid plans run from $5 to $25 per month.

wix

Wix’s website editor is more advanced than that of Weebly, allowing for greater precision in designing your pages. However, if you want an editor that guides you along and holds your hand the way Weebly’s does, just use Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) — Wix will take your content and color/font choices and create a website for you, which you can then edit using a simplified Weebly-like editor. Essentially, Wix is two website builders in one.

Wix’s App Market is an expansive repository of in-house and third-party add-ons that rivals that of Weebly, and its eCommerce system — more advanced than Wix’s — doesn’t take a platform transaction fee from your sales.

There’s a reason why Wix is the world’s most popular website builder, and it’s not just marketing!

squarespace

Squarespace (see our review) is the fancypants of the website builder industry, technically-speaking. Their templates are widely regarded as being the class of the field. It can’t compete with Wix or Weebly in terms of sheer number of users, but that’s due to the fact that Squarespace has no free plan (though you can try it for free for 14 days). Squarespace’s subscription plans are a bit more expensive than those of most of the competition, with plans ranging from $12 to $40/month.

photography websites

Squarespace’s emphasis on style means that people might assume your DIY site is the work of a professional web designer. And with Squarespace’s excellent eCommerce and blogging capabilities, you get a lot for your money. You’ll have to spring for one of the two pricier plans if you want eCommerce without a 3% Squarespace transaction fee, though.

duda

I enjoy Duda (see our review), and not just because Duda’s creators named their company after The Dude from The Big Lebowski (true story).

Duda’s free subscription plan includes a 10-item online store, and I’m always partial to website builders that offer some degree of eCommerce for free. Their two paid plans go for $14.25 and $22.50 per month, respectively.

[embedded content]

Duda’s photography templates are particularly appealing and make Duda a great choice if you’re looking to set up a photography portfolio or blog. But what really sets Duda apart is their use of what they call “personalization rules.” These rules allow you to create elements which appear only when certain conditions are met. You could create a message that displays only to repeat visitors to your site. You could set up a contact page that displays different contact info depending on the time of day — a “click-to-call” button could appear during business hours while a contact form displays during non-business hours. It’s a versatile and innovative feature — one that makes Duda worth looking into for any small business.

From the Russian & Ukranian makers of the old-school code-based website builder uCoz, uKit (see our review) is a website builder that really punches above its weight in terms of quality vs. the amount of attention it gets.

ukit

Sadly, uKit doesn’t offer a free plan. Their four subscription plans start at $4/month and go to $12/month.

uKit’s editor is fantastic, combining depth with supreme ease-of-use. You can build your website piece-by-piece, or you can stack and re-arrange preformatted content blocks. Their template selection is both vast (over 250 at last count) and high-quality. Their blogging tool is top-notch, and they are fully integrated with Ecwid’s online store. All in all, uKit might be the most underrated website builder out there.

Webflow (see our review) is a unique website builder. While Weebly and Wix focus on making website building as accessible as possible, Webflow is a precision web design tool geared towards professional web designers who build websites for their clients. The platform certainly isn’t restricted to web designers, though — just don’t expect a simplified experience!

Remarkably for such a sophisticated site builder, Webflow has a free subscription plan. Their paid plans are categorized into “hosting” plans and “designer” plans, with “team” plans available for teams of designers working on projects together.webflowWebflow’s blogging system is backed by the full weight of a CMS, thus making Webflow a possible alternative to WordPress for bloggers. The one major feature Webflow lacks is built-in eCommerce.

strikinglyThere has recently been a spate of new website builders dedicated to creating single-page websites designed for easy scrolling on mobile devices, and Strikingly (see our review) is probably the best of the bunch. Forbes even put out an article that described the company’s creation.

strikingly

Strikingly offers a free plan that includes eCommerce, though you’re limited to selling one solitary item. Their two paid plans go for $8 and $16 per month respectively.

As I said, Strikingly’s specialty is single-page websites. Businesses whose customers find them largely through mobile devices may find this kind of website appealing — people surfing the web via smartphones often just scroll through a business’s homepage without clicking on any other pages. And with blogging, eCommerce (with a Pro subscription), and a third-party app store, and you’ve got an impressive package for the right kind of business.

pixpa

Pixpa (see our review) is a stylish, attractive website builder with a singular focus: the creation of photography portfolio websites.

Unfortunately, Pixpa has no free plan. Their four free plans run from $5 to $20/month.

What’s cool about Pixpa is that not only are their photo galleries an ideal way to showcase your work, but you’re also given the tools to monetize your images.photography websites

Pixpa’s integration with Fotomoto (an eCommerce service through which you can sell your images as prints or downloads) means that you can take those pictures that are just sitting there uselessly on your SIM card and turn them into cash.

I approve.

zoho sites

Zoho Sites (see our review) has some unique advantages as a website builder. It isn’t the most visually spectacular builder and the templates aren’t the freshest, but since the Zoho Corporation (sounds like a villainous outfit from a comic book) puts out a wide array of highly-rated SaaS business packages, you get a lot of top-notch features lacking in much of the competition.

Zoho Sites has a free plan, but it lacks many of the features that make Zoho Sites the cool product it is. Their three paid plans cost $5, $10 and $15 per month.

The main thing Zoho Sites brings to the table is integration with their advanced business services. Their form builder is so formidable that it could easily stand alone as a piece of software. It’s the most advanced form builder in a website builder I’ve come across.

zohosites

One feature that businesses that handle large amounts of data will benefit from is Dynamic Content. With this feature, you can link to a Zoho Creator database where you can edit your content, which then automatically updates to your Zoho website (along with any other Zoho SaaS product you have linked).

There aren’t many website builders that cater to data-heavy businesses, so Zoho Sites has this niche nearly all to themselves.

jimdo

Jimdo (see our review) was once considered one of the top website builders out there, and while they may have lost a step, they still boast a formidable user base of 15 million. Let’s explore further.

You can use Jimdo for free and get the basic features, but if you want more — like the eCommerce — you’ll have to spring for one of the two paid plans ($7.50 and $20/month).

ecommerce

Jimdo doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but everything they do, they do well. With solid blogging, eCommerce, and a nifty mobile editor (more website builders need to allow for editing from a mobile device — it’s 2018, folks!), Jimdo is a good, steady choice for individuals and small business owners.

xprs

From the makers of IM Creator, XPRS (see our review) is a nifty mobile-responsive website builder that gets less attention than it should.

XPRS has three subscription plans: a free plan, a Premium plan ($7.95/month), and a plan that allows you, for $350 a year, to white-label the website builder. That means that a web designer can build sites for their clients and then let their clients edit their sites on their own using XPRS.

XPRS’s templates lend themselves very well to mobile devices, though they look slightly underwhelming on a desktop. The editor itself is incredibly easy to use. Every bit as easy as Weebly, in fact. Blocks of content are referred to as stripes. Adding, mixing, and rearranging your stripes couldn’t be more intuitive.

xprs

XPRS’s blogging system is rather lacking, but their eCommerce system — an integration with Shoprocket — is top notch, though the fees are a bit much. All in all, XPRS is a solid website builder that, judging by user feedback on Trustpilot, is well-received by users.

Final Thoughts

If Weebly has treated you well over the years but you find yourself looking for alternatives, there’s a world of website builder options out there for you, of which these 10 are but a few. The right choice for you, of course, depends on the nature of your business or pursuit.

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

“”

Shopify vs. Squarespace: Online Store Options Compared

Shopify vs. Squarespace – they are two of the most well-known brands in the online store / website builder industry. I’ve written a Shopify review here and Squarespace review here. But how do they compare directly to each other?

First, a bit of background. Over the past few years, online store software costs have plummeted, and the technology to get a website from idea to reality has blossomed.

Whether you’re using a text editor and uploading to the Amazon cloud, hosting your own site powered by WordPress + WooCommerce or using a drag and drop website builder, there’s never been an easier time to create an online store. It’s no longer 2002 where every storeowner had to know PHP, HTML, CSS and a bit of Javascript.

All-inclusive ecommerce builders have been particularly interesting. Companies like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Shopify, and BigCommerce – not to mention platforms like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon – have brought ecommerce to everyone regardless of their coding skills.

On the wide spectrum of ecommerce store building solutions, they all live on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to get started and grow your website.

That is in contrast to solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately. That’s not a good or bad thing. But it is something to be aware of when you’re choosing one of them as a solution since it affects your website both long and short term.

In the long-term, it affects your versatility, functionality, and, of course, your brand. In the short term, it can certainly add/take away a lot of headaches. That said, just like choosing a physical house or office, there is no such thing as an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s only the right choice relative to your goals, experience, and circumstances.

Using an online store builder is like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key because there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.

Ecommerce Real Estate Tradeoffs

Shopify, Squarespace and other options like BigCommerce and Weebly as a group compete with options like WordPress (which provides the free software to build a website that you own & control – see my WordPress setup guide here) all the way to options like typing actual HTML code into a text file.

The last preface I’ll mention is that Squarespace is an all-around website builder with ecommerce capability.

Shopify, in contrast, is strictly an ecommerce platform.

This focus puts Squarespace behind as an advanced ecommerce tool and Shopify behind as a general website builder tool. With their respective free trials, you can quickly see the differences.

Try Shopify for Free

Try Squarespace for Free

Make sense? Awesome – let’s dive into the comparison.

Side note – if you want this comparison in a BuzzFeed-style quiz, you can take my online store builder quiz here…

You can also look at my posts on –

Otherwise, we’ll look specifically at pricing, onboarding/user experience, design features, technical features, ecommerce features, marketing features, and customer support.

Disclosure – I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My opinions & research are based on my professional experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

Pricing

Comparing pricing between Shopify and Squarespace is fairly straightforward if you have a clear idea of your needs. This comes from the fact that Shopify focuses on *only* online store owners whereas Squarespace markets to everyone.

The short version is that Shopify is more expensive. But there’s a few caveats to look at.

Shopify Pricing

Squarespace Ecommerce Pricing

The first caveat is credit card fees.

Squarespace syncs with Stripe and PayPal. Their fees are 2.9% + $.30 per transaction.

Shopify has their own payments gateway that charges lower per transaction fees. But – if you use a non-Shopify gateway, Shopify charges an additional transaction fee that Squarespace does not have.

So why is this important? If you already have a gateway (ie, Authorize.net for your physical pop-up shop) and you want to use them with Shopify – then Shopify’s transaction fee kicks in. But – if you want to use Shopify Payment’s for your online store – you can save a bit of money on transaction fees. Those fees add up. If you have revenues of $100000 – a 0.4% reduction in fees could equal $500 per month.

The second caveat is value pricing.

On front-end features alone – Squarespace is significantly cheaper than Shopify, especially on their Advanced plan, which compares almost directly with Shopify’s Standard plan.

See Shopify’s Plans here.

See Squarespace’s Plans here.

But – like I mentioned in the introduction, it’s hard to compare their pricing tables directly since they are really different products for different audiences.

It’s a bit like comparing the pricing of a motorcycle vs. an SUV.

Sure, the motorcycle is much cheaper and it gets you from A to B. It has wheels, an engine, and it drives on the road just fine. But it’s also meant for a certain type of driving.

It all really comes down to what you need for you project – two wheels that will get you where you need to go or a vehicle that has plenty of room along with lots of features. So let’s look at other differences.

Aside – if you’re curious, Shopify’s $9/mo Lite plan isn’t applicable since it’s more of an inventory/payments software than an online store builder software. You can upload products, manage them, and accept payments, but you can only sell them via other platforms such as a Facebook plugin or a button on an existing website. Same goes with Squarespace’s Business Plan. It’s meant to do a website that happens to have a couple things for sale – not really a full online store solution. I’ll set both those options to the side for the moment.

Onboarding & User Experience

No matter how intuitive and simple a piece of technology is, there’s always that moment of “what am I looking at and what do I do now?”

Onboarding is the process of guiding you past that point. In theory, a huge selling point of online website / store builders is that they have a near-zero learning curve. They have a straightforward process from website concept to website reality.

On this point, Squarespace and Shopify both do alright but in different ways.

Shopify has a quick path from free trial signup to site launch. They have guided tours and a very straightforward setup. They also have customer support outreach focused on getting you up and running quickly.

Shopify Backend

However, Shopify also has many more features, apps, and technical options available that can present a challenge. The most daunting hurdle is linking your domain name to your store. It’s not difficult but is daunting at the mention of “setting your CNAME” (in fairness, you don’t have to direct your domain if you purchase via Shopify for a bit more per year than via a 3rd party).

Since Shopify functions as a platform for payments, offline inventory and more – their website store setup is actually on the second menu of their main dashboard rather than front and center.

Squarespace has a ridiculously fast sign up to live site process. Their backend is fairly intuitive for basic websites. However, they to have a “Squarespace jargon” to get used to. They like to appeal to developers and freelance designers – so there are advanced tools that can clutter simply launching a site.

SquareSpace Onboarding

Their support emails and tours are structured well. But since their software is made for all types of websites, the ecommerce features are a bit buried (and limited) from the perspective of an online store owner.

I would not rule either provider out on onboarding/user experience. But their differences are sort of like a restaurant with a waiter (Shopify) vs. a fast casual restaurant with a menu above the cashier (Squarespace).

If you want more help and more customization, then Shopify is your choice. If you want to quickly see and order from the features, then Squarespace is less daunting.

Design Features

Part of the overall value of website builders is simple, straightforward design – no web designers necessary.

But good design is hard. And it matters – a lot. A lot of people can spot a good looking website but have a harder time figuring out how to get there. Using a template for a foundation and then customizing it is a good way to get the site you want without paying for a custom design.

Both Shopify and Squarespace use templates (aka “themes”) for design. But they are very different in customization options.

Shopify has a solid drag and drop design feature. You can create any layout element you’d like and drag it into place. You can click and edit any portion of any web page – including both content and design.

But – Shopify does not combine design and content. You have to get your design right – and then add content in a separate area (ie, it’s a template).

Since you can edit HTML/CSS with Shopify, you can build any design possible. There are few, if any, limits to any design that you see on the Internet. Additionally, Shopify has a drag and drop template editor.

Shopify Drag Drop

Squarespace has a hybrid approach. They famously have beautiful pre-built designs.

Squarespace Designs

They also have drag and drop – and pretty intuitive editing.

But – they also combine design and content with their editor. This approach has tradeoffs. On one hand, you can edit the design for specific pages. On the other hand, your design can go “off-base” pretty quickly – especially with content for hundreds of products.

The other drawback with Squarespace is that their off-the-shelf themes require *a lot* of really good imagery. If you don’t have access to high-quality photography, their themes are not going to work well. Many of Shopify’s designs are fine and functional regardless of product imagery.

They both have large marketplaces for premium designs (in addition to professional designers).

If you are a fan of raw functionality – then you’ll appreciate Shopify’s approach to design. If you want your site to look amazing off the shelf, love to edit details, and have access to good imagery – then you’ll appreciate Squarespace.

Ecommerce Features

The absolute core features of an ecommerce store are a –

  • product database
  • shopping cart
  • checkout page
  • payment processor
  • order database

That is it.

But, especially in 2017 (and 2018 and beyond), there is a *lot* more than can (and should) go into an ecommerce store. There’s everything from selling via Facebook Messenger to syncing with Amazon FBA to integrating with eBay – not to mention features for executing on marketing fundamentals.

Even for advertising products, there’s selling via Buyable Pins, Google Merchant, Twitter cards, and more. There’s remarketing and coupon codes. There’s A/B testing. There’s inventory synchronization with vendors like AliExpress. And there’s order synchronization with shippers like UPS and USPS.

And that’s all a drop in the bucket.

Obviously, not every store needs every feature. If you are trying to sell a couple T-shirts or a couple specialty products – you certainly don’t need them all. But if you want to grow and expand, you’ll need your options open.

For ecommerce features, Shopify wins hands down, though Squarespace does make it simple to sell your product. Squarespace has a few advanced features (like abandoned cart recovery), but it’s nothing like Shopify.

Shopify not only has more features directly integrated into their platform, but they also have a well-established app store that includes free and paid apps to extend your store with every feature you could possibly need.

Shopify Integrations

That said, this section is a bit unfair to Squarespace, because, again, they are a general website builder that includes ecommerce. Shopify is strictly an ecommerce platform.

If Shopify didn’t “win” on ecommerce features it would be a surprise. Technically, Squarespace competes more with the likes of Weebly and Wix or WordPress who are also website builders that provide core ecommerce features.

In short – if you need core ecommerce features integrated in a simple, straightforward way, then Squarespace is fine. If you actually need a full suite of ecommerce features to grow, then Shopify is hands-down better.

Technical Features

Technical features are all the web development best practices that don’t really “matter”…until they matter a lot. I’m talking about generating clean URLs, editable metadata, allowing page-level redirects, etc.

On this point, Shopify does very well – and not just compared to Squarespace, but compared to any hosted platform.

Traditionally, hosted platforms presented a risk for web designers, developers, and marketers who wanted to work on the technical aspects of the site.

I know that I flinch anytime a prospective client tells me they are on a hosted platform of any kind.

But Shopify and Squarespace perform well in general. Many skeptics of hosted platforms note that they actually take care of the technical features well. You still don’t have FTP access to your server, but you do have access to change things via their Liquid editor (Shopify) or Developer Mode (Squarespace).

Where they differ (especially for me) is in their potential for technical features. And again, here, Shopify’s app store is their “killer” feature. Even if a feature is not native to Shopify, a non-developer can usually add it.

On the flip side, Squarespace has a lot of native features that simply “work” – and a process of continually adding & revising existing features.

Both Squarespace and Shopify have inherent limitations as hosted platforms (ie, when you leave, you a lot of your data), but Shopify does a bit more to eliminate the weaknesses and capitalize on strengths as a hosted platform.

Marketing Features

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character says “if you build it, they will come.” Sadly, that is not true about websites. Like any business, you have to actively promote and market your online store for anyone to show up.

Marketing features like custom metadata, open graph information, Schema markups, email signups, share buttons, landing pages, etc all make marketing your site a lot easier.

For marketing features, both Shopify and Squarespace both do really well. They support header scripts. They integrate with many products. They add meta data, product schema and open graph tags automatically.

But like design & ecommerce features, there’s the same catch. For an ecommerce store owner, Shopify has many more (and higher quality) built-in features plus a better, more developed app store.

Squarespace has core marketing features built-in, but with more limits.

Support & Service

Customer support and service are difficult to judge. Like I’ve said in most of my reviews, a single customer can never really know if they happened upon a disgruntled rookie or if the company is really that bad.

That said, there are ways to look at a company’s investment in both customer services and support.

For Shopify vs. Squarespace, I think the clear “winner” is Shopify. Shopify not only provides more channels for customer service (phone, chat, email, forums, social media, etc), they also have an incredibly extensive help center.

The help center not only tackles technical issues, it also tackles customer success issues (aka problems with making money).

Squarespace has email support, and limited chat support – but no phone. Their knowledgebase does not have the attention or the depth that Shopify has.

Comparison Conclusion

So Shopify vs. Squarespace – which one is a better fit for your project?

If you plan on running a growing online store and want all the features possible, then you should go try Shopify.

Go try Shopify for free here.

If you want a simple store – or a general site with a beautiful look, then Squarespace might be a good fit for you.

Also – bookmark my post on creating an ecommerce marketing strategy here.

Good luck!

“”

Team Bio Series – Chris Motola (Gamer Extraordinaire)

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Chris Motola: Merchant Maverick’s own little piece of Brooklyn. When he’s not writing about, erm, extremely dubious financial products, he’s playing table games, hiking, or geeking-out, Tarantino-style. (What is a Tarantino-style nerd? Do they perform Kill Bill cosplay? Or meet for table reads of Jackie Brown? Chris isn’t telling.) Let’s find out more about how the East Coast’s number one writer of MCA reviews rolls…

Name: Chris Motola

Title: Writer – Loans and MCAs

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Current city: Middletown, NY

Education and background: BA in English Writing from SUNY Oswego; MS in Interactive Media from University of Central Florida. I’ve worked a variety of jobs over the years–banking, warehouse, social services–but I keep coming back to writing in some form. I started off in print working for a small business and healthcare publisher in Upstate New York. I’m just old enough to have worked both sides of the digital transition.

Merchant Maverick department/specialty: I mainly cover merchant cash advances, but I also write about equipment financing, loans, and credit cards. Previously I was covering scheduling software and email marketing as a freelancer.

How did you discover Merchant Maverick?: Through the grapevine, really. My friend is friends with my editor’s brother. He told me Merchant Maverick was looking for writers. It was a happy coincidence.

Proudest professional moment: It’s hard to pin it down to any one thing. I enjoy the feeling of producing something, whether it’s a tangible product like a sandwich or something more abstract like an article. If you put a gun to my head, though, it would probably be the first time I saw my name in print. It felt like I’d managed to finally make it through the gate.

Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: It would definitely be the invitation to join the staff. I had some experience covering finance from back in the day, so it turned out to be a good fit. As for content, I like knowing I’m helping readers make informed decisions about risky financial products.

What do you do when you’re not working for Merchant Maverick?: In my other life, I’m a game designer who dabbles in web development. I enjoy learning as a hobby, which might sound pretentious, but it’s more masochism than idealism. I like powering through frustration until the moment where something clicks. I’m into a lot of geek stuff: movies, tabletop games, video games, shows, though my geekdom probably aligns more with Tarantino or John Carpenter than Marvel. When I step away from glowing screens, I enjoy cooking, eating out, climbing mountains, and exploring towns and cities in the region.

You’re a new addition to the Marvel Universe. Who are you and why?: In spirit, I’d probably have more in common with Squirrel Girl than Doctor Doom or Captain America. I’d be Oblivion, a Walter Mitty type who discovers that I can create dimensional holes when I zone out or daydream. At first everyone, myself included, would think portals lead to pocket universes born of my imagination. In truth, they just deposit my victims into random Yum Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) franchise restaurants throughout the world.

Favorite ‘90s song: Soundgarden’s Outshined

Favorite breakfast food? I usually skip breakfast, but I’ll be a basic New Yorker and say bagel with cream cheese.

What are three items on your bucket list?: 

  • Travel to Asia
  • Complete and publish a work of fiction, either a game or a novel
  • Be functionally literate in another language, probably Spanish

If you could travel back in time and live in a different era, which would you choose and why?: Hmm. Most of them were objectively pretty bad. I’d probably be self-serving, go back to the 90s and set myself straight.

Mac or Windows?: Mac’s alright, but I prefer Windows.

If you could have lunch with a famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?: I’d be really curious about what Karl Marx was like in a casual context. After a drink or two, would he be talking about revolution or soccer?

We’re not sure if we’d enjoy a summer blockbuster about a superhero like Oblivion, but we do give a big kudos to Chris for working a Walter Mitty reference into his interview. We love having Chris on the team, and wish him a future filled with Spanish-speaking and Thai adventures.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is a writer, editor, and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband and two small children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time reading early 20th century mystery novels, staring blankly at her iPhone, and attempting to keep her kids fed, clothed, and relatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

“”

Using Amazon . com and eBay Integrations With Shopify

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Omnichannel and multichannel are two greatest words in eCommerce. Even though I frequently roll my eyes at these buzzwords, I must admit that multichannel selling is indeed a, lucrative trend.

Research has shown that adding a sales funnel for your online shop can considerably increase revenue. Actually, stores that sell on only one marketplace additionally for their online shop notice a 38% rise in revenue. And retailers who sell on two marketplaces generate 120% greater than individuals without any marketplaces.

Shopify is among the dominant platforms for online sellers, and they’ve lately introduced new methods for retailers to include marketplaces for their system. The Shopify Application collection now includes integrations with Amazon . com, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, and Messenger. With the addition of these integrations, sellers can manage their marketplace and website sales within the Shopify dashboard.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll be discussing two most lately integrated marketplaces: Amazon . com and eBay. We’ll discuss how these integrations work, discuss their merits and flaws, and assess how you can (or might not) assist you to sell more.

Table of Contents

Shopify & Amazon . com

Amazon . com is definitely an apparent first-step with regards to marketplace selling. Boasting over 95 million unique visitors each month, Amazon . com offers retailers huge possibility of expanding their customer bases.

In The month of january of the year, Shopify introduced their house-grown Amazon . com integration. Retailers are now able to connect Shopify accounts to Amazon . com with only a couple of clicks. This connection gives retailers the opportunity to monitor inventory, sales, and customer interactions in one comprehensive dashboard.

Exactly What Does It Decide To Try Integrate?

To be able to integrate Amazon . com together with your Shopify account, you simply need a couple of things:

  • A Shopify Account
  • An Amazon . com Sellers Account ($39.99/ month + additional selling charges)

Making the bond between Amazon . com and Shopify is simple. Once you’ve subscribed to your Amazon . com Sellers Account, you are able to sign in to your Shopify account, visit the “Sales Channels” panel, and click on to set up the combination. Then you’ll need to consume a couple of prompts to permit the bond to talk about information across platforms and ensure developer access for Shopify.

Once that’s accomplished, you can sync your product or service and inventory across both platforms. Having a built-in integration such as this, it simply doesn’t take much for connecting your Shopify and Amazon . com accounts.

So How Exactly Does This Integration Work?

Not every integrations work exactly the same way. Some only sync inventory or relay order information others do a lot more. Here’s exactly what a Shopify-Amazon . com integration will help you to do:

  • Create New Amazon . com Listings In Shopify’s Dashboard: This selection presently is only for select groups. These groups are:
    • Clothing, Footwear & Jewellery
    • Health insurance and Household
    • Beauty and private Care
    • Home and Kitchen
    • Patio and Garden
    • Sewing, Arts, and Crafts
    • Sports and out of doors
    • Games and toys
  • Incorperate Your Shopify Products To Existing Amazon . com Listings: In case your goods are already on Amazon . com, it is simple to incorperate your own purports to the listings. This works best for all groups.
  • Sync Product Information: Send your products details, variants, and pictures from Shopify to Amazon . com.
  • Set Cost And Inventory For Amazon . com: Try listing unique prices for items that show up on Amazon . com. Which means that marketing exactly the same product for $15 in your site and $20 on Amazon . com. You may also keep the inventory separate in situation you fulfill individuals orders using different ways.
  • View Revenue In Shopify Reports: Use Shopify’s reporting features to trace selling on Amazon . com.
  • Sync Inventory To Your Shopify Dashboard: Shopify could keep a tally of all of the products you sell on channels.
  • Fulfill Amazon . com Orders From Shopify: Have your orders import to your Shopify dashboard.
  • Receive Notifications In Shopify About Amazon . com Orders: Manage customer interactions on Shopify’s platform.

User Response

Within my initial research from the Shopify-Amazon . com integration, I had been hopeful that this is an easy solution for a lot of retailers. However, when i investigated current reading user reviews, I began to feel more reluctant.

The Amazon . com integration, because it is indexed by the Shopify Application Marketplace, has received 77 reviews in the last year by having an average rating of twoOr5 stars. To be able to comprehend the causes of that relatively low overall rating, I just read a number of of individuals 77 reviews. Generally, here’s what users are saying concerning the integration:

  • Tiresome To Produce Listings By hand: Customers say that it requires a lot of time to upload products to Amazon . com and enter details.
  • Poor Customer Support: I have seen numerous complaints regarding customer support, although it is unclear whether clients are complaining about Amazon . com or Shopify.
  • Doesn’t Work: I have seen plenty of reviews proclaiming that the combination simply doesn’t work. They are saying the systems don’t sync correctly, and also the application appears like it’s still in beta testing.
  • Useful After Setup: Some state that after you’ve set everything up (and become beyond the initial learning curve), the combination could be a helpful tool. You are able to eventually utilize it to simplify day-to-day operations.

Even if I checked out the couple of five-star reviews, there have been indications of trouble. One positive review stated the integration might seem to be damaged because changes may take a complete 24 hrs to update. Good golly! In my experience, this type of lengthy update time is the effect of a damaged integration.

In A Nutshell

I believe, these overwhelmingly negative reviews hold lots of weight. It’s disheartening to determine that so couple of have experienced success using the platform. However, basically would sell on Amazon . com and Shopify, I’d consider this integration a choice. It’s not even close to ideal but still in need of assistance of a lot work, however it may solve a couple of problems a minimum of. Here’s wishing Shopify revisits the combination soon and resolves these problems.

Shopify & eBay

Amazon . com is clearly probably the most popular marketplaces for all of us-based retailers, however it isn’t the best platform for everybody. Retailers who sell used or collectible products would possibly benefit more from your integration with eBay. Using more than 169 million active eBay buyers, eBay comes complete with possibility of expansion.

Fortunately, Shopify and eBay have sellers’ backs. Just recently, eBay released their new, built-in integration for Shopify with the objective of simplifying the mix-funnel selling experience.

By using this integration, you can sync inventory information and process orders on a single platform. Keep studying to uncover much more about this application and discover if you’re able to make money from it.

Exactly What Does It Decide To Try Integrate?

It doesn’t take much to integrate eBay and Shopify. Unsurprisingly, you’ll need:

  • A Shopify Account
  • An eBay Account
    • Dues from $24.95/month to $349.95/month

Once more, if you have these two accounts setup, making the bond is straightforward. You just need to add some marketplace beneath your “Sales Channels” tab after which select “Add sales channel” around the following page. You will subsequently be in a position to click on the “Connect” button, that will redirect you to definitely your eBay account where one can complete the bond.

So How Exactly Does This Integration Work?

eBay’s integration is comparable to Amazon’s in lots of ways, although it appears eBay’s application includes less features. Here’s the things they promote concerning the connection:

  • Immediately Sync Inventory Information: Send information like product title, description, item specifics, cost, and quantity from Shopify to eBay.
  • Import eBay Orders To Shopify: Process all of your orders on Shopify’s dashboard.
  • View eBay Messages From Shopify: Manage customer interactions out of your Shopify workspace.

User Response

Since its release in October, eBay’s integration has gotten 39 reading user reviews in Shopify’s marketplace. A lot of individuals comments are negative, producing a 2.5/five star average.

Confusingly, these reviews incorporate a healthy mixture of both 5-star reviews and 1-star reviews. It’s baffling the way the users list is really so divided about this one application. Listed here are a couple of from the comments I have seen recur in individuals reviews:

  • Plenty Of Bugs And Kinks: Users report glitches and hiccups within the integration. It seems that one was launched just a little prematurely.
  • Easy To Setup: In comparison, plenty of users are absolutely loving how easy it’s to set up the applying.
  • Mixed Overview Of Support: Customer care seems to become a mixed bag. Quite a few users have experienced positive encounters with eBay support representatives (especially, it appears, one repetition named Matt), yet others have experienced difficulty contacting anybody.

In A Nutshell

The eBay-Shopify integration isn’t perfect. I truly really wish i could say otherwise, however it appears that Shopify must put more work to their marketplace integrations. However, once more, if you want to connect eBay and Shopify, it may be worth a go. An undesirable connection is preferable to no connection, right?

Final Ideas

Shopify has excellent intentions in connecting marketplaces for their platform. Regrettably, execution of the goal continues to be somewhat missing to date.

We’re likely to keep our eyes on these integrations within the coming several weeks. Hopefully Shopify as well as their partners continuously enhance the functionality and dependability of those connections.

Have you ever used a Shopify marketplace integration? Tell us about this within the comments below.

Liz Hull

Liz is really a recent college graduate residing in Washington condition. As recently, she will frequently be located haunting eCommerce forums and securing with customer support representatives. When she’s free, Liz likes to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and browse poorly-written youthful adult novels.

Liz Hull

“”

5 Things This Remote Company Learned By Meeting Face-to-Face

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Technologies are evolving at breakneck speed. Think about this: after i was created in 1982, pcs weren’t a factor (though we had rotary phones for hrs of dialing fun). Personally, i observed the genesis and extinction from the VCR, CDs, CD-ROM, diskettes, switch phones, and America online. That’s lots of technology to increase up and flame in the length of a couple of decades. Our forefathers used horse-attracted wagons for hundreds of years we abandoned walkmans after about ten years. My iPhone 5s — a tool so astounding that Isaac Newton might have tossed up if he’d seen it — generally is a bit of garbage now.

All of this new technologies have necessitated formerly uncommon business practices, and as a result remote workplaces have grown to be almost commonplace. After I tell people I telecommute 100% of times, they are doing not immediately assume Sometimes for any answering services company. That’s what lengths we’ve come.

Remote offices are perfect for several reasons (not only since the commute is excellent). For any lengthy time, work-existence balance in the usa would be a enjoyable myth, a fairy-tale we told the kids. Now it is a superbly solid reality.

But telecommuting has its own downsides too. For just one, it’s isolating as heck. A house office is excellent if you want remaining inside your pajamas all day long and also have a strong dislike to washing hair it isn’t so excellent for those who have a inclination towards depression. It is also not particularly favorable to creative problem-solving. Human intellect doesn’t appear in vacuum pressure — we want one another badly.

I recognized that in vivid clearness a week ago, when the organization Sometimes for continued a retreat for the first time. Merchant Maverick’s virtual “office” includes about 20 people, all whom work remotely from locations across the nation. Before a week ago, the majority of us had not met face-to-face. For those we understood, our co-workers were highly advanced bots, catfishing us from afar. Though i was pretty sure i was employed by a genuine company having a real founder (and becoming a paycheck each month sure helped to verify our beliefs), there is always a modicum of doubt that no quantity of Slack conversations or video conferences could quite allay.

Until November fifth, 2017, that’s.

Late your evening in a hotel bar, crowded together in a ridiculously high table over fish tacos and artisanal pizza, we finally met personally. As well as in that dim lounge, though i was all tired and awkward and some people were feeling weepy (certainly not me–it wasn’t me), something magical was created. We joined that hotel like a dozen telecommuters we left, 72 hours later, together.

We learned several things during our time together, however these five things stick out because the most important…

Table of Contents

1) No Man Is Definitely An Island

Mankind owes John Donne a great deal, and not simply for many pretty vivid, er, adult poetry. Donne’s jobs are apt for thus many occasions. For instance, each time someone cuts you off in traffic, I suggest muttering: “Never send to understand to whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee, jerk-face.” It’ll make you are feeling better.

Possibly Donne’s most well-known contention is the fact that no man is definitely an island. And boy was he right. Telecommuting could make people feel self-sufficient invincible. Work-from-home positions, mainly in the tech field, have a tendency to attract highly intelligent loners. We do not need others to inform us we’re doing well–obviously, we’re killing it. But remote employees, greater than every other group of workers, need the organization of fellow humans to thrive. And remote employees, greater than every other group of workers, try our very best to disregard that fact—to our hindrance.

Charles Johnson once stated:

…some things [are] only easy to a guy in companionship…No mind [is] so great it [does] not require another mind to counter and equal it, and also to reserve it from conceit and blindness and bigotry and folly.

Regardless of how smart I believe I’m, I do not — I can’t — know everything there’s to understand about my job, about my industry. I anxiously need my co-workers.

During our week in Palm Springs, this idea was driven home over and over. Issues that appeared unsolvable after i was sitting alone within my office rapidly dissipated when laid prior to the collective hive mind. Actually, among the best things we did throughout the whole trip was to possess a serious group conversation about where the organization had began where i was going now. Brainstorming about lengthy-term goals and hopes helped many of us form much deeper commitments towards the company’s main point here.

We didn’t have to hold official conferences or book a celebration room. Simply speaking through difficult aspects of interact basically we sunned (or perhaps in my situation, shaded) at the lake was enough to untangle thorny knots which had stumped us for several weeks. Hubris may be the overweening crime from the telecommuter the only real cure would be to deliberately ask for the input and (infuriatingly) greater knowledge of individuals around us.

2) The Organization That Plays Together, Stays Together

Basically had browse the statement above prior to the Merchant Maverick company retreat, I’d have folded my eyes with enough contentration to necessitate an ER visit. That sort of come-together nonsense is ok for insufferable startups within the San Francisco Bay Area, using their open-concept offices as well as their smug bike share programs, what does it need to use real people?

Quite a bit, really.

Fun is a nice strange element of humanity. It’s not necessary, like air or vitamins or Netflix. Its not necessary it to sustain existence, win buddies, or influence people. And lots of effective companies get on all right without them. However a work existence without shared fun is much like gumbo with no liberal sprinkling of cayenne: bland (along with a little okra-heavy). One-third of the adult’s sojourn on the planet is spent working if we’re only making here we are at fun using the people we have seen within the other two-thirds in our existence…well, exactly what a tragic waste.

It’s easy to enjoy other remote workers over communication platforms like Slack. Actually, I recommend it. At Merchant Maverick, we’d be nowhere without our meme-shares and our random forays into shared nerd culture. And who could your investment day’s the pun wars?

But written jokes and emoji-based humor pale compared to actual human interaction. Once you’ve seen a co-worker laugh so difficult they snort, your relationship assumes new dimensions.

A week ago in Palm Springs, our organization culture solidified into something exciting. Which was largely because of the fact that people required time to allow our hair lower. We teased one another. We swam together. We made stupid jokes concerning the “adult” pool. (Precisely what am “adult” about this?! Could it have been dug out over 21 years back? Were only people from the adult film industry permitted to go swimming there? Or could it have been a swimming pool for those who desired to, um, swing just a little?) We nerded-out concerning the individual merits of every iteration of Dr. Who and in some way found methods to jokes more than a card game that needed individuals to put historic occasions in chronological order. Was parchment invented after or before nov Rome? We’re not telling.

We are made up of introverts, which may be a drawback at occasions. However when inward-focused individuals have genuine fun with others, we make buddies. So when we make buddies, it’s an issue.

3) That You Can Do Trust Falls Without Getting To…Do Trust Falls

If we’re speaking when it comes to Innocent ideals, the archetypal company retreat consists entirely of trust falls. Drunk hookups, pep-talks, brainstorming sessions, and scavenger hunts are just variations on the theme: shadow figures on the cave wall. Company retreats are trust falls and trust falls are company retreats.

Being several total other people (and introverted other people at this), the Merchant Maverick team made the decision to forgo literal trust falls in support of figurative ones. So we began the procedure by really turning up. It was not really a mandatory trip. As well as for individuals people to whom social interaction is similar to obtaining a flu shot—necessary, however a bit terrifying—leaving our spouses and our children and our cats and becoming on the plane were actions of trust.

Everything felt similar to free-falling. What can our coworkers end up like? Would them be serial killers,  or worse, fans of Carrot Top? Would our courageous leader, Amad, physically embody the type, intelligent, and thoughtful person he made an appearance to become over Slack and Skype, or would he grow to be a complete doofus?

The gorgeous factor about this all is the fact that our decisions to believe one another compensated off. We drawn up making community happen. It had been a sheer act of will, initially. Rather of choosing room service, we joined together in the morning every morning. We shared plates of fruit and monkey bread. Actually: we touched spoons that others had touched.

So we went even more than that. All of us required an aerial tram to the peak of San Jacinto mountain, an event that in my experience, combined vertigo and also the anxiety about imminent dying.

Then, some people required a hike round the very fringe of the height. Unused towards the elevation–hearts pounding, lung area squeezing–we walked across the ridge from the mountain, frequently leaning within the edge to obtain a better picture. Consider it: we switched our backs to individuals we hardly understood and was on rocks over drops of 8500 foot. I had been close enough to my fellow managing editor, Tom, to push him right within the precipice (see below).

I did not, if you are wondering.

We needed to trust one another to, well, leave no man behind. Not to, for instance, abandon anyone person on the top of the mountain as cougar-bait because we counted wrong.

4) Humanity Can’t Be Expressed Through Technology

I recognize that seems like a Luddite fight cry or even the mantra for that unhappy figures of the publish-apocalyptic YA series, but it is true. Technologies are mighty for the moment (and hopefully world without finish, amen), humanity is mightier. Regardless of how hard we attempt, we can’t truly convey our souls–our essence–by typing or Skyping. Physical closeness is paramount to true understanding of some other person. (Don’t bother getting up You Have Mail to protect the alternative position since i can come lower difficult on you with all of 97 instances of Catfish: The Television Show.)

Messaging co-workers is really a convenient method to communicate, but it’s fraught with danger. Tone could be pretty difficult to convey with no liberal utilization of emojis. As well as then it’s a crapshoot. What one individual thinks funny, another may see as aggressive.

Meeting one another personally went a lengthy way towards helping us are more effective at home. Whenever you really have a friend, it’s a great deal simpler to infer tone and meaning using their written words.

There have been lots of possibilities to spend time together throughout the trip. Over casual walks, raspberry-mint lemonade at the lake (see below), and ridiculously costly dinners, we’ve got to understand each other on the personal level.

We didn’t want to speak shop whole time, which permitted us to satisfy one another anew as individuals, not coworkers. We discussed relatively benign subjects, such as the merits of fresh versus. frozen vegetables, and deep issues, like social networking abuse and bullying in class. We’d heated debates concerning the exact concept of the word “pool chocolate,” a mysterious food selection at our hotel coffee shop.

Speaking to each other, with this mouths and never our fingers, did wonders for the feeling of cohesion. All of us came back with restored enthusiasm for the work along with a better knowledge of how to talk with one another. In a nutshell, we transformed from avatars on the screen to real people.

5) We Love To Telecommuting

Meeting face-to-face was good going home again was good too. Merchant Maverick is, in the end, comprised of individuals who like working alone more often than not. I was the children in class who quietly endured when group projects were assigned, because 1) We’re able to get it done better by ourselves and a pair of) Well, there’s no second reason.

Telecommuting makes our way of life possible. Some people have kids we take proper care of throughout the day others benefit from the freedom to reside wherever they need without getting to are accountable to an actual office. Inside a remote work atmosphere, early wild birds and night owls could work together harmoniously. We do not have to smell each other’s lunches or coffee breath. We do not have to decorate to thrill. (We are able to work naked to. Nobody is watching.)

Essentially, we love to telecommuting.

As well as for a lot of us, which was our final takeaway in the trip. I was so lucky so that you can finally meet together. Our work lives will change due to the experience more potent, as pleasing and much more efficient. So we were so lucky so that you can take what we should learned there home again with a brand new appreciation for the flexible work-existence balance.

Merchant Maverick team: I loved meeting all of you. Let’s try it again. The coming year, the swimming pool chocolate is on me.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is really a author, editor, and native Oregonian who resides in the gorgeous Willamette Valley together with her husband and 2 young children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time studying early twentieth century mystery novels, looking blankly at her iPhone, and continuing to keep her kids given, dressed, and comparatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

“”

Wix Versus Shopify

Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

This is actually the dawning of age Disruption, and the majority of us find ourselves one of the Disrupted. As wages remain stagnant, decent benefits become ever harder to secure, and temporary work becomes the permanent reality, the cultural centrality of at-will employment lessens on an hourly basis. With couple of legal or institutional norms left to provide us from economic uncertainty, Doing The Work Yourself appears more rational than ever before. And believe to DIY rather than leverage the cyber-commons to market things online?

Because of the recognition of these two platforms, I figured it might be useful to check and contrast Wix and Shopify, two most prominent online services utilized by individuals and firms to bring in the eCommerce dough. However, some background info.

Table of Contents

A Fast Take A Look At Wix

wix pricing

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Wix (see our Wix review) began in the year 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan. Getting grown to get probably the most broadly-used DIY website builder available on the market, Wix now boasts 110 million users all over the world — several unquestionably boosted because Wix is free of charge to participate.

A Fast Take A Look At Shopify

Shopify (see our Shopify review) may be the colossus from the eCommerce industry. Launched by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake (and in 2006), this Ottawa-based company presently hosts over 500,000 online stores and it has helped generate $46 billion in sales.

The 2 platforms possess a fundamental difference of emphasis, however. Wix is really a website builder with sophisticated eCommerce abilities (among additional features), while Shopify is really a dedicated eCommerce platform with website building features. This distinction should become apparent when i guide you through my comparison.

Web-Located or Licensed

Both Wix and Shopify are web-located.

Software and hardware Needs

All it’s important to use Wix or Shopify is really a computer, a web connection, along with a modern internet browser. Worry not, friend.

Prices

Here’s something which reveals the variations between the two platforms’ particular target audiences. While Wix has five compensated subscription plans available, you may also generate a free account. As long as its not necessary a web-based store, your personal domain, or any other advanced features, this can be used free account in perpetuity.

However, with Shopify, you are able to join without entering your payment info, but following the 14-day free trial offer ends, you’ll have to select from between three compensated plans. Basically, Wix is perfect for the hobbyist and also the casual blogger in addition to serious online sellers, whereas Shopify is about supplying an eCommerce platform—everything else is of secondary importance.

With Wix, you receive the next with a forex account:

  • Full Use of Wix’s Design and Editing Platform
  • 500 MB Storage
  • Limitless Pages
  • Free Hosting
  • Free Wix Domain — your URL is going to be [your Wix user name].wix.com/[your website name]
  • Wix Brand Ads

If you would like more from Wix, you’ll need to spring for just one of Wix’s five compensated plans:

Connect Domain Plan

  • $5.00/month (annual plan)
  • $4.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $3.50/month (3-year plan)
  • $7.00/month (monthly plan)
  • 500 MB Storage
  • 1 GB Bandwidth
  • Connect Your Domain (rather of “wixusername.wix.com/sitename”)
  • Free Hosting
  • Google Analytics
  • Premium Support

Combo Plan

  • $10.00/month (annual plan)
  • $9.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $8.50/month (3-year plan)
  • $14.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • Free Domain (for just one year)
  • 3 GB Storage
  • 2 GB Bandwidth
  • Removes Wix Ads

Limitless Plan

  • $14.00/month (annual plan)
  • $11.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $10.00/month (3-year plan)
  • $16.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • 10 GB Storage
  • Limitless Bandwidth
  • Site Booster Application (annual plan only)
  • Form Builder Application (annual plan only)
  • $300 Ad Vouchers (annual plan only)

eCommerce Plan

  • $17.00/month (annual plan)
  • $15.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $14.00/month (3-year plan)
  • $20.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • 20 GB Storage
  • 20 GB Bandwidth
  • Online Shop

Very important personel Plan

  • $25.00/month (annual plan)
  • $22.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $20.50/month (3-year plan)
  • $30.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • 20 GB Storage
  • Limitless Bandwidth
  • Exclusive Very important personel Support Line – Priority Callback
  • Instant Response
  • Professional Site Review

Observe that while Combo-level plans and above incorporate a free personalized domain for just one year, you’ll need to pay to resume it beyond that — the typical rates are around $10 each year. If you would like your personal personalized email that suits your domain, Wix offers that (through G Suite) for $4.08 monthly. In addition, Wix has over 200 feature add-ons obtainable in the Wix Application Market, quite a few these apps are premium services and wish their very own compensated subscription.

Shopify, by comparison, has three primary subscription packages to select from:

Fundamental Shopify

  • $26/month (annual plan)
  • $23.25/month (2-year plan)
  • $21.75/month (3-year plan)
  • $29/month (monthly plan)
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.9% + 30¢
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.7% + 0¢
  • Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
  • Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: 2%
  • 2 Staff Accounts
  • Limitless Products
  • Limitless File Storage
  • Shopify POS Retail Package: yet another $49/month
  • Shopify Shipping Discount: “Good”
  • Print Shipping Labels
  • 24/7 Support
  • Fraud Analysis
  • Manual Order Creation
  • Discounts
  • Website and Blog
  • Free SSL Certificate

Shopify

  • $71/month (annual plan)
  • $63.25/month (2-year plan)
  • $59.25/month (3-year plan)
  • $79/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.6% + 30¢
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.5% + 0¢
  • Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
  • Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: 1%
  • 5 Staff Accounts
  • Shopify Shipping Discount: “Better”
  • Gift Certificates
  • Professional Reports
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery

Advanced Shopify

  • $266/month (annual plan)
  • $235/month (2-year plan)
  • $219/month (3-year plan)
  • $299/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.4% + 30¢
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.4% + 0¢
  • Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
  • Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: .5%
  • 15 Staff Accounts
  • Advanced Report Builder
  • 3rd Party Calculated Shipping Rates

Shopify, like Wix, sells custom domains. Shopify’s domains cost $14/year for any .com and a little more for other domain types. Shopify also offers an application store of their own, featuring more than a 1000 feature add-ons, both free and never-free.

Furthermore, Shopify provides a service known as Shopify Lite just for $9/month. However, this plan of action doesn’t range from the online shop, that is, in the end, what many people consider once they consider Shopify. It will permit you to sell products in your social networking accounts, another website, or personally (presuming you receive Shopify POS for $49/month). Lastly, for businesses which make over $a million in sales each year, there’s Shopify Plus. It’s packed with advanced features, but you need to contact Shopify to even obtain a cost estimate, which means you know it’s just for the greatest outfits.

Having a free plan available along with a cheap $5/month plan since it’s opening compensated subscription, Wix is clearly the cheaper of these two platforms. Plus, Wix’s least expensive eCommerce-enabled plan’s $17/month when compared with $26/month for Shopify (annual plan prices), therefore if cost is an essential factor for you personally, Wix may be the champion. Obviously, you need to consider what you’re really getting for the money, and Shopify’s advanced eCommerce system might provide you with more bang for your buck.

Simplicity Of Use

Wix and Shopify both try to be as accessible as you possibly can, and both largely deliver. We’ll begin with Wix. The conventional editor combines simplicity of use with nearly infinite versatility. All of the tools you have to add features to your website can be found via buttons across the left from the editor. When you wish to include something, you simply choose the element, click on the Add button, and drag it wherever you would like it. It’s as easy as that. Many website builders restrict where you’re in a position to place elements, forcing you to definitely stack your elements like blocks and restricting you against placing things more precisely. Wix enables you to place anything anywhere (though if you want assist with precision placement, Wix provides options like “Snap to Objects” that will help you.

This method to website building means you need to be conscious of methods things can look on cellular devices, and that’s why the editor has dotted lines that demarcate the boundaries of the smartphone screen.

wix

If you’d rather not need to invest in this degree of fine-tuning, Wix comes with an even simpler website building model for you personally: Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). When you begin building your Wix website, you’re given a choice of using either Wix’s standard editor or Wix ADI. Pick the latter, and you will be motivated to point the objective of your site and also the features you would like incorporated (a web-based store, your blog, etc). For those who have a current online presence, Wix ADI will pull your articles on the internet to include to your site. You’ll then be given some design/color/font options. When you make these choices, voilà! An internet site is going to be produced for you personally! After that, you are able to direct the AI to create specific changes aimed at your website for you personally, or it can be done yourself, utilizing a simplified form of the Wix editor which fits similar to the “arranging content blocks” model I pointed out earlier. It makes sense an editor that provides you less freedom but that makes it even simpler that you should create a beautiful website. Wix enables you to pick the editing model that works well with your purposes. Should you need assistance, 78 tutorial videos walk you thru pretty much every part of the website building process.

Shopify can also be one that is functional by almost anyone. You’ll begin within the dashboard in which you have quick access to every facet of your eCommerce site. In the links around the left from the dashboard, you will see and manage your orders, add products, see the details and buy good reputation for your clients, view site analytics, generate discounts, add apps in the Shopify Application Store, and make additional sales channels so that you can sell your product or service on Amazon . com, Facebook, Buzzfeed, and much more.

shopify

So far as customizing the feel of your eCommerce site goes, you are able to download a totally free theme (something like a Wix template), purchase a premium theme in the Shopify Theme Store, and edit your present theme. It ought to be noted that, naturally, Shopify has numerous more eCommerce-specific styles than does Wix.

When you attend edit your theme, you’ll discover that your articles — products, images, slideshows, and so on — is arranged in stacks that you could reorder when needed, much like Wix ADI. Creating, rearranging, and editing your articles is easy.You need to haven’t much problem creating a beautiful online shop using the Shopify editor.

A couple of facets of the editor aren’t as seamless, however. For instance, after i attempted to include a roadmap from Google Maps to my Shopify store, I had been forwarded to acquire and enter a Google Maps API key, which is an inconvenience. With Wix, you simply set the address you would like the map to focus on and add it. Overall, though, they are two very user-friendly platforms, so that your decision about who to choose most likely won’t hinge on simplicity of use.

Features

Both Wix and Shopify provide an impressive variety of features. Since Wix is really a general-purpose website builder, it naturally includes a broader number of available features than does Shopify. Wix provides you with a high-notch blogging tool, photos from Bigstock, many social networking integrations, a forum feature that allows you to setup your personal membership-based network, an excellent form builder, and far, a lot more. Wix’s eCommerce system has enough features to fill a quite sizable page online, including order tracking, inventory management, worldwide shipping and tax rates, coupons, pop-up marketing sales tools, invoicing and accounting — other great tales. Actually, you may also produce a Shopify store and plop it on your Wix site!

Additionally for their standard online shop, Wix has some good feature packages tailored to a particular industries. There’s Wix Restaurants, an element set together with a menu element, a table reservation system, along with a full online ordering system which assists both pickup and delivery. There’s Wix Hotels, with a full reservation management system, multilingual booking for worldwide visitors, along with a feature that will get your website for auction on TripAdvisor. There’s Wix Music, which is a perfect tool for bands to setup digital distribution of the music. In addition, there’s Wix Occasions, a bundle that provides you all you need to manage and monetize a celebration. Truly, there’s little that Wix can’t do.

While Shopify is, obviously, centered on eCommerce, there is a great blogging tool too — a terrific way to showcase what you need to offer. It’s no afterthought, either. You may also do such things as schedule posts ahead of time and add tags. There’s also image galleries along with a e-newsletter signup form. The majority of Shopify’s features, however, are based on the internet store! Shocking, I understand.

Listing all Shopify’s online shop features will make this short article pretty ungainly, so I’ll list the highlights for you personally. You receive automatic shipping rates, abandoned cart recovery, as well as an automatic tax calculator that considers your location and also the location of the customers. Unlike Wix, Shopify lets your clients setup their very own accounts together with your store (though it doesn’t pressure these to create accounts) to create future transactions simpler and to provide you with valuable data relating to your customers’ shopping habits. You will find fulfillment center options and dropshipping apps, together with social networking integration, product variations, and digital revenue. Basically, if you are establishing a web-based store, there isn’t any contest: Shopify may be the platform for you personally. However, Wix includes a better attract certain industries, like restaurants and property management.

Integrations and Add-Ons

Both Wix and Shopify have extensive repositories of third-party integrations prepared to be connected to your website. The Wix Application Market has 248 apps to select from, both free and premium. These apps vary wildly from live chat apps, business tools, form builders, marketing tools, video players, booking apps, eCommerce apps — choose a feature, and you’ll likely find multiple options in Wix’s Application Market.

To not be surpassed, Shopify’s Application Store has more than one 1000 apps prepared. Marketing, sales, shipping, accounting, social networking — if it is eCommerce-related, you’ll probably think it is within the Shopify Application Store. Shopify even has product sourcing apps in situation it’s not necessary almost anything to sell and therefore are searching to market the other party’s products!

One key Shopify integration you may remember in the prices section is by using Shopify POS, something that allows you to accept charge cards to create sales wherever there is a purchase to make. It integrates seamlessly together with your Shopify store and it is an excellent tool in case your store has both a web-based along with a meatspace component. Wix, however, doesn’t have POS system of their own. You are able to integrate your Wix store with Square POS, only on iOS devices and just in a few locations. Advantage: Shopify.

Payment Processing

Shopify has significantly more payment processing options than does Wix, offering over 100 to Wix’s 15. However, with platforms, you’ll only have the ability to use a few of the available payment options, as the majority of options are location-specific (certain payment gateways are just obtainable in many places). One awesome factor about Shopify is they their very own in-house payment gateway: Shopify Payments. Make use of this, and Shopify won’t charge any transaction charges. Use another payment processor, however, and they’ll (the speed depends upon your subscription level). Wix, by comparison, charges no transaction charges, regardless of what payment processor you utilize.

Observe that both Wix and Shopify allow you to accept offline payments too.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team

Wix includes a telephone number for direct support, available Monday-Friday from 6 am to five pm PST. They likewise have an assistance ticket system along with a healthy assortment of FAQs and support articles within their help center, but, alas, no live chat.

Shopify’s customer care is much more robust, with 24/7 phone, email, and live chat, together with many support articles. Again, advantage: Shopify.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Wix and Shopify have a massive quantity of users, and together with which comes a higher amount of complaints, as you may notice in the comments published to the reviews of these two platforms. Wix will get lots of stick for poor customer support, slow/buggy sites, and unpredicted billing charges. Others have complained that Wix sites aren’t mobile-responsive — that’s, it normally won’t adjust instantly to suit the screen of the device.

Shopify also sees lots of complaints regarding customer support, and also the transaction charges (billed whenever a payment processor apart from Shopify Payments can be used) are very unpopular. Others have complained that Shopify doesn’t adhere to the legal needs in a few countries where they nevertheless sell their product. And others have experienced security problems. Overall, these issues have introduced lower the Trustpilot scores of these two companies — Wix’s Trustpilot score presently is 4.1 while Shopify’s Trustpilot score is 3.4.

Positive Testimonials and reviews

Wix and Shopify have ample fans too. Many users rave about the caliber of Wix like a design tool, while some really praise the oft-belittled customer support. Shopify users love the simple intuitiveness from the platform, along with the well-designed templates. Suffice to state, there’s no popular consensus regarding Wix or Shopify!

Final Ideas

You’ll observe that in many of these groups, I haven’t announced a champion. That’s since these two platforms don’t entirely share exactly the same audience, though there’s certainly a large amount of overlap. What it really comes lower to is that this: if you are building a web-based store, or you possess a physical store by having an online component (or the other way around!), Shopify is what you want. Shopify handles eCommerce unlike any other. However, if you are creating a website with no online shop, or maybe you’re intending to sell restaurant orders, hotel reservations, or music online, Wix is the greatest option. The treatment depends on which your plans are for your own personel particular slice of cyber-territory.

Thankfully, both platforms can be used as free on the trial basis, so that you can explore without risk. Go on and try them! That old world is dead, and it is not returning. Embrace the ” new world ” before it slips your grasp! (The ” new world ” is very slippery, careful.)

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is really a author, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from North Park. A local Californian who enjoys the shore, Jason nevertheless would rather do his surfing on the internet, the raddest wave of all of them. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

“”

Tardy towards the Party: Get yourself ready for eCommerce Holiday Sales in October (Or Later!)

We’re already well into October, and supermarkets everywhere are intending to replace their aisles of Halloween chocolate with ornaments, chocolate canes, and cheaply made stockings. Yuletide is nearly here, and when you haven’t yet begun, it’s time for you to start preparing.

It is really an important here we are at many retailers, including online sellers. Based on research by RJ Metrics, the holiday season months are the biggest duration of revenue for online retailers, with November and December driving 30% more revenue than non-holiday several weeks.

With your an enormous possibility of growth, it’s imperative that you try everything inside your capacity to get this to holidays effective for the business. In the following paragraphs, we’ll cover a couple of the best way you are able to ready your business for that Christmas hurry.

Table of Contents

Review This Past Year

Among the smartest (and quickest) methods to begin get yourself ready for a brand new holidays would be to take a look at encounters this past year. Go over profits reports, shipping expenses, and inventory reports, and get yourself the next questions:

  • Which products did I sell most this past year?
  • How must i stock this season thinking about last year’s sales?
  • Was my fulfillment strategy effective? Did packages achieve their destinations rapidly in a reasonable expense?
  • How did customers react to my marketing strategies this past year? What labored? What didn’t?

Record your ideas throughout this method, and your past encounters in your mind while you approach this season.

Produce a Promo Calendar

Because of so many holidays and purchasers to think about, it can be hard to keep an eye on all of your promotions and email blasts. To start, you need to choose which sales days your store will take part in. Listed here are a couple of to think about:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Eco-friendly Monday
  • Free Delivery Day
  • Christmas
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Eve
  • New Year’s Day

Once you’ve made the decision which days your store will promote, dive to your e-mail marketing software and obtain planning. Make certain your email blasts advertise each promotion a minimum of per week prior to the purchase day.

Provide Your Site an appointment

While promotions are essential during christmas, you shouldn’t spend all of your time perfecting your email blasts and website banners. Regardless of how good your promotions are, if your site is dreadful to make use of, profits are affected.

Now is an ideal time for you to provide your site an over-all checkup to make sure situations are working easily. Check out the next aspects of your site:

Speed

Internet buyers are really impatient. Research has shown that 40% of internet users leave an internet site whether it takes more than three seconds to load. With your a brief elegance period, it’s critical your website loads as rapidly as you possibly can.

One magic formula to enhance your site’s loading speed would be to eliminate bandwidth-draining images and let lazy loading. Should you feature multiple large images in your squeeze pages, you may be slowing lower your page speed. Consider reducing the amount of large images you feature. And let lazy loading in your site by doing this, images is only going to load as the customers scroll for them.

You might consider buying a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is really a system of servers located worldwide which distribute your site’s information. Utilizing a CDN brings your website nearer to your clients, shortening time it requires for the site’s files to maneuver in the server for their internet browser.

Checkout

While you likely know, your checkout is an essential page of the online shop. Regrettably, it is also the page in which you likely begin to see the greatest abandonment rates. Based on the Baymard Institute, 68% of potential eCommerce orders never pull through checkout.

This astronomical abandonment rate is a result of a number of factors, most of which you’ll never have the ability to eliminate. However, there’s a couple of things you can do how to retain a minimum of a couple of of individuals customers who’d otherwise bounce.

First of all, never require your clients to on line to be able to take a look at. Based on Econsultancy, 26% of consumers abandon an order if they’re needed to on line. Rather, you need to provide your customers options allow them to take a look at as a guest or decide to on line.

Whenever your clients are finally with that all-important checkout page, make certain you do not scare them off by requesting an excessive amount of information. Only request the information you have to process an order, for example:

  • Complete name
  • Shipping Address
  • Billing Address
  • Current Email Address
  • Payment Information

Finally, keep customers in your checkout page by hiding the area by which customers can enter coupons. Research by Statista shows that 8% of internet shoppers abandoned their carts in 2015 simply because they couldn’t look for a promo code. Keep the abandonments low by not reminding customers they is going searching for any promotion. Bury your promo code field inside a link that buyers can click to spread out.

Security

Preserving your site security isn’t just essential for your customers’ safety, however for yours too. Security breaches increase throughout the holidays, so it’s smart to take a moment how to look at your site for just about any holes.

Should you work on a wide open-source platform, consider your platform’s support documentation to make sure you’ve downloaded and installed all the recent security patches. Do what you could how to safeguard your and yourself customers.

Check out Fulfillment Strategies

Remember after i requested you to definitely take a look at last holidays? This is the time to drag individuals notes out.

How good have you handle the shipping hurry this past year? Have you get the packages delivered promptly? Had you been in a position to cover the expense of shipping? How has your company altered since that time?

Based on your solutions to individuals questions, you may want to consider new fulfillment techniques for these approaching several weeks. A couple of strategies you might consider:

  • Purchase Shipping Software: Should you haven’t enrolled in a shipping software yet, now’s a great time to test one out. Shipping software packages assist you to process orders faster by automating shipping calculations and enabling you to purchase and print postage in large quantities online. Additionally they frequently offer discounted shipping rates with select carriers. Check out a couple of in our favorite shipping solutions or watch our comparison page for any side-by-side analysis.
  • Employ a Couple of Extra Hands: If you have a great shipping strategy in position, but it’s not necessary time to carry on with it, this is the time to employ periodic help. Your time and effort is much better spent monitoring your website and promoting profits, not packing boxes.

Strengthen Customer Support

Another fantastic way to encourage sales would be to ensure things to look for over these several weeks. Make certain customers possess a telephone number they are able to call with any queries or concerns. If you’re able to, give a live chat choice for customers who’re presently browsing your website.

Again, you might consider getting a couple of periodic employees to deal with customer support during this period, based upon your business’s needs. Should you choose hire periodic employees, make certain to coach them inside your eCommerce platform’s backend so that they feel at ease by hand creating orders with respect to customers or checking in with an order’s status.

Keep in mind that with regards to customer support, some extra love goes a lengthy way.

A Couple of Other Great Ideas to Consider…

Until this time, I’ve attempted to pay attention to the most crucial methods to ready your online shop for that holidays. I’ve skipped over specific marketing strategies—in part since you can find plenty of marketing advice elsewhere—and also because marketing means nothing if you are still losing people to cart abandonment. However, since we’re in the finish want to know ,, it appears a great time introducing a couple of from the more creative marketing tips I discovered within my research. Listed here are a couple of fun methods to enhance your marketing for that holidays:

  • Work with a no cost Brand: Locate a brand that sells items that compliment your personal. For instance, should you focus on hand crafted soaps, locate a company that sells hand crafted ceramics. Partner up to provide a discounted (reely) hand crafted soap dish with each and every purchase. Combine forces to help your marketing.
  • Produce a Gift Guide: Should you have a blog for the online shop (and also you absolutely should), write articles having a couple of of the best gift-able products.
  • Deck the Halls: Help remind your clients of christmas by wintering-your website. Include some cheesy snowflakes or holiday-themed banners to place shoppers inside a festive mood.

What Exactly Are You Awaiting?

Using the winter holidays rapidly approaching, you have virtually no time to get rid of! October is unquestionably a late month to begin preparing, however it isn’t far too late to possess a effective season.

Get going and make certain your marketing materials are on the right track, profits funnel is smooth as silk, as well as your fulfillment strategies are primed to visit.

Tell us within the comment section below if we’ve missed all of your favorite holiday prep strategies. We like to hear what matches your needs!

Happy Holidays and More happy Q4!

Liz Hull

Liz is really a recent college graduate residing in Washington condition. As recently, she will frequently be located haunting eCommerce forums and securing with customer support representatives. When she’s free, Liz likes to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and browse poorly-written youthful adult novels.

Liz Hull

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Quick Tips To Shopify Prices

Shopify alternatives

With regards to shopping cart software platforms, Shopify may be the someone to beat. This hugely popular eCommerce software serves over 400,000 retailers worldwide and it has facilitated $34 billion of sales since its founding.

Shopify’s easy-to-use design and cost-effective cost turn it into a highly accessible option for small company proprietors who wish to expand online. With prices options varying from the couple of dollars per month to some couple of 1000, Shopify can certainly accommodate growing companies.

Just how much does Shopify cost? The reply is, in a nutshell, “it depends.” Keep studying for an entire introduction to what Shopify offers each and every cost point and then any additional expenses you need to get ready for.

Table of Contents

Shopify Prices and Essential Features

Shopify offers prices levels that meet the requirements of promising small to enterprise level retailers. Check out Shopify’s prices chart below for any brief summary of the 3 mid-level plans:

As you can tell, prices isn’t based on the amount of products you list or by the quantity of bandwidth and storage you’ll need. Rather, prices is determined by the amount of staff accounts you’ll need. Each step-up in prices provides you with use of more admin seats (and much more advanced features).

While Shopify doesn’t charge for bandwidth overages, they’ve maintained their transaction charges through the years. Greater level plans take advantage of lower transaction charges. Or, if you opt to use Shopify Payments as the payment processor, you could have individuals transaction charges waived entirely.

Note: Not everybody is qualified for Shopify Payments, so don’t bank on individuals transaction charges disappearing.

All Shopify users have the same core set of features. For $29 per month (using the Fundamental Plan), you obtain access to the next:

  • Limitless products, bandwidth, and storage
  • 24/7 Support
  • Promo Code Engine
  • Free Shopify Card Readers
  • Online Shop and Blog
  • Shopify Shipping
  • Free SSL Certificate

Shopify comes with a level cheaper plan, known as Shopify Lite, that is only $9 monthly. Shopify Lite enables you to sell on Facebook, add products to some blog or website with buy buttons, and accept payments. However, it doesn’t have an online shop builder, therefore we won’t concentrate on it in the following paragraphs.

Advanced Features

To get use of more built-in features, you’ll need to pay a little more monthly.

The next phase up, the $79/month plan, enables you to sell gift certificates, both physical and digital. Additionally, you’ll get access to better professional reports as well as an abandoned cart recovery tool.

The Advanced Shopify Plan’s considerably more costly at $299 monthly. The extra cost provides you with not just 15 staff accounts minimizing transaction charges, but the best discounts on Shopify Shipping. In addition to this, you can get a sophisticated report builder and you can feature third-party calculated shipping rates at checkout.

Investing in a yearly Discount

Our bargain-hunting readers might have observed that Shopify offers discounted rates to retailers who invest in their software for any year or even more. If you buy a yearlong membership with Shopify, they’ll discount your rates 10%. If you purchase 2 yrs out, the discount is 20%.

I’m able to already hear you Costco shoppers and coupon clippers celebrating, but prior to going purchase Shopify for any year or even more, I highly recommend you move back. Don’t invest in a whole year of Shopify unless of course you’re very sure the software will meet your needs.

I frequently see complaints from retailers who dedicated to an application too soon (this is correct of numerous software packages, not only Shopify). They’re frustrated the software doesn’t work for his or her business, and they’re not able to obtain a 100 % refund around the purchase.

Make an effort to to sign up for Shopify’s monthly plan not less than twelve months prior to going all in. That provides you with a high probability to make certain the woking platform works for the company. That annual discount only helps you save $34/year around the Fundamental Plan, anyway.

What’s Track Of Shopify Plus?

If you’ve looked far into Shopify, you’ve likely heard reference to Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus is definitely an enterprise level offering for retailers who require scalability, greater support levels, and server abilities.

Shopify Plus is meant for retailers who sell over $500K each year. This platform are designed for as much as 10,000 checkouts each minute, and offers 13+ PB of storage and also over 29,000 CPU cores. Whenever you join Shopify Plus, you’ll have individuals annoying transaction charges waived and receive premium support having a dedicated account manager.

Prices for Shopify Plus varies based upon your company’s needs, but you need to know that plans start at $2K monthly. For more info about Shopify Plus, check our full review.

Additional Fees to think about

Although SaaS solutions take pride in being all-inclusive, that monthly subscription isn’t the only expense involved with running your web store.

Listed here are a couple of additional things you are very likely to cover while you construct your Shopify store:

Add-ons

Shopify is a superb store-building software with regards to fundamental features. However, this cart isn’t perfect and it has lots of space for improvement with regards to advanced features. To be able to build-your Shopify store and access advanced features, it’s important to add-on a couple of extensions. Opt for integrating with third-party solutions for shipping software, CRM software, marketplace connections, and accounting software. Many of these add-ons will definitely cost yet another fee every month.

Payment Processors

It is money to earn money. To be able to accept online payments out of your customers, you’ll have to enroll in a repayment processor or credit card merchant account. These types of services have a small cut of every transaction they process, frequently additionally to some fee every month. To understand more about payment processors and merchant services, check out our comparison page or download our free eBook, The Beginner’s Help guide to Payment Processing.

Website Design

Although Shopify offers numerous free styles with excellent website design tools, you might not enjoy Shopify’s free options. Within this situation, you’ll need to do a number of the next: buy a premium theme, create your own theme, or purchase anyone to build a website for you personally. These options can rapidly become costly.

Development

It may be tough to get multiple software systems to be effective together. Sometimes, you’ll need a specialist to part of. Shopify experts are for sale to hire. The price of their assistance varies from a couple of $ 100 in to the thousands.

How to find a Plan

With this point, you most likely know which Shopify plan fits your company best. However, should you aren’t sure yet, listed here are a couple of points to consider:

  • What features do you want?
  • What advanced features are you able to add-on?
  • The number of user seats do you want?
  • What else could you afford at the moment?

It’s also wise to join a totally free trial of Shopify to make certain the program works seamlessly together with your business. Upload your product or service, try out the look tools, and get in touch with to customer support. And don’t forget, if you choose to register, always opt for the monthly plan first.

For additional info on Shopify’s features, design tools, and customer support mind on to our full review. Or, to determine the way it stacks facing your competition, try our comparison page.

Liz Hull

Liz is really a recent college graduate residing in Washington condition. As recently, she will frequently be located haunting eCommerce forums and securing with customer support representatives. When she’s free, Liz likes to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and browse poorly-written youthful adult novels.

Liz Hull

“”

Weebly Prices: So How Exactly Does Weebly’s Value Compare?

weebly

Weebly constitutes a strong situation to be The People’s Website Builder. Its website editing model is definitely probably the most intuitive available, and it is appeal to the non-techies in our midst is unparalleled. Consistent with their focus on supplying value towards the masses, there’s a totally free plan open to everyone. For this reason you’ll from time to time see Weebly known as “free website builder.” The truth is, a lot of why is Weebly an engaging website builder is restricted to having to pay subscribers.

Within my overview of Weebly, I describe Weebly’s editor featuring as completely as you possibly can. In the following paragraphs, however, I’d like to pay attention to the prices of Weebly’s services and also the value you obtain as a swap.

Table of Contents

Weebly Prices And Essential Features

Weebly gives all comers use of their platform for that low cost of free. Anyone who subscribes can get the next without getting to go in any payment information:

  • Drag & Drop Website Builder
  • Display Weebly Ads
  • Free Hosting – Weebly.com Subdomain
  • Internet Search Engine Optimization
  • 500MB Storage Limit
  • Chat and Email Support
  • Online Community
  • Lead Capture

However, time will probably come when you wish more from your Weebly site, whether that’s eCommerce, video backgrounds, or perhaps your own personalized domain. Well, for those that, you’ll require a compensated subscription. Fundamental essentials features you’ll get with any Weebly compensated plan:

  • A customized domain, free for that newbie
  • A $100 Google ad credit
  • No Weebly ads
  • Connect your overall domain
  • Limitless storage
  • eCommerce
  • Advanced Site Stats

As the compensated plans possess the above features in keeping, they differ when it comes to cost along with other features offered. Listed here are Weebly’s compensated plans, the prices (in line with the annual rate — I do not recommend a regular monthly subscription because they are more costly and don’t incorporate a personalized domain free for any year), and a few of the features they include:

Weebly Plan Starter Pro Business Performance
Prices (annual plan): $8/month $12/month $25/month $38/month
Phone support? No Yes Yes Yes
Video backgrounds/HD video & audio? No Yes Yes Yes
Membership pages? No Yes – As much as 100 people Yes – Limitless Membership Yes – Limitless Membership
Email promotions?  No  No  No Yes – 5 email promotionsOr30 days

At $8 monthly, Weebly’s least expensive plan’s very affordable indeed. However, it doesn’t include much of more features, so you aren’t getting a great deal for the money. It’s in the Pro subscription level where Weebly’s premium plans begin to show their value. At $12/month, a Weebly Pro subscription entitles you to definitely phone support, provides you with video backgrounds, high-definition audio and video, and enables you to setup membership pages which people can sign in having a password to gain access to exclusive content. If you are searching to operate a properly-featured non-eCommerce website, the professional plan could just be the “sweet place.”

weebly template

Hold on! What if you wish to build and run your personal online shop? Let’s compare the eCommerce options that come with Weebly’s compensated plans.

Weebly eCommerce Features

Weebly Plan Starter Pro Business Performance
Weebly transaction fee? Yes, 3% Yes, 3% No No
Quantity of products: As much as 10 As much as 25 Limitless Limitless
Checkout: On Weebly’s domain On Weebly’s domain On your domain On your domain
Digital goods/inventory management/SSL? No No Yes Yes
Abandoned Cart Email/Real-time Shipping Rates? No No No Yes

You’ll observe that underneath the least expensive two plans, Starter and Pro, Weebly charges a transaction fee of threePercent on every purchase someone makes in your site. If you are a web-based seller, this will make the Starter and Pro plans a lesser value proposition. Bear in mind this transaction fee comes on the top from the transaction charges billed through the payment processor, which generally emerge to 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.

Beginning in the Business level, not just are Weebly’s transaction charges waived (the payment processor’s charges remain), however the limit on the amount of products marketing is finished. You’ll also provide your clients take a look at on your domain, not really a Weebly domain. (A lot more professional-searching this way.) You may also sell digital goods, track your inventory, and reassure your clients with SSL security. Just for $25 per month, Weebly’s Business package is very the offer.

Additional Fees To Think About

I pointed out earlier by using Weebly’s compensated subscription plans, you will get your very own domain for the site free of charge for that newbie. Later on, however, you choose in the cost. Domains provided by Weebly renew at $19.95 on the yearly basis, with reduced prices for 2, 5 and 10-year renewals. This rate is greater compared to rate for domains billed by Wix and Squarespace.

The price of personalized email is another good point. Some website builders include email within their compensated subscriptions — Weebly doesn’t. Rather, like Wix, they provide email like a standalone package through G Suite. The cost is $4.08 per user monthly, and you’ll reach use 30 different aliases (as with [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] etc).

Certainly one of Weebly’s selling points may be the Weebly Application Center, a sizable assortment of feature add-ons for a multitude of purposes. A number of these apps have the freedom, but a number of them work on the freemium model where you’ll need to pay between around $4 to $25 per month for that premium version.

Final Ideas

I’m keen on Weebly, and I’m glad they’re managed to get their pursuit to focus on as broad a crowd as you possibly can. Techies aren’t the only real individuals who require their very own DIY online presence. For any small fraction from the cost of hiring web-site designers to place something together for you personally, you should use Weebly to produce your personal attractive and functional website. As long as you make certain to pay for all of your bases feature-wise, you will be all set.

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is really a author, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from North Park. A local Californian who enjoys the shore, Jason nevertheless would rather do his surfing on the internet, the raddest wave of all of them. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

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