Employ a professional or do it yourself?
Unless you are a capable web developer, skilled in HTML and PHP, this really is a no-brainer.
Quite simply, eCommerce is a beast! Sure, if you are competent in WordPress or some other CMS platform you can set up a website, install an appropriate theme and/or plugin and believe that is ‘job done’. But it never is. I have created scores of such sites and, apart from the expected customisation issues, never once have I not had to resort to HTML to hard-code certain tweaks and adjustments to make the site work as I, or my client desired.
Creating and setting up an interactive, multi-function, eCommerce store is a world apart from creating a basic, non-interactive site. Everything about eCommerce is bigger and more complex. Such sites take much longer to set up, there is much more to go wrong and thus much more to test and retest. As a result, they cost more money. Contrary to the belief of many, they are not sites that offer an extra feature or two – such as a calendar, a weather summary or a Contact form. They are on an entirely different level and are not something you can adequately learn by having a go at your own site.
So, do it yourself and there is every likelihood that at some point you will need (expensive) professional support and end up spending more to get your site up and running than if you had employed the professional from the outset. For a professional to take over and sort out your problems, it is more than 90% likely that he is going to have to check everything that you have done – and this will take longer than if he had done it himself, using his own proven methodology. More time = more cost = more money from your pocket!
Site security is a major concern. People care about security anyway, but when their money is at stake, they become doubly serious about security. And of course, the security of your site is a very important and serious matter. Amongst other things, you will be asking people to provide credit card information as part of the purchase process. Even though you may not see the actual details yourself, technically you will be receiving their financial data into your custody and care. So it is of paramount importance that you get your security right.
This is just one area where eCommerce can be very complicated. Your new site will be interfacing with banks and/or payment processors and other related intermediaries as part of the process of transferring money. So your site is not a simple, straightforward site. There are more players, more processes, more steps and much more code. These complications increase exponentially.
Setting up an online store is a big deal and will be a lengthy struggle for many people. If you’re not used to tackling such complex projects, you should ask whether you up for it, and up to it! Can you cope with the complex processes or will you end up longing for the simpler days that you previously enjoyed?
If you have been contemplating having your own online store now or in the near future, my strong recommendation is that you take a look at the amazing value that is offered by Clockwork Internet.