Using a Blog Vs Using a E-commerce Website?
This is a subject I’ve been exploring over the last week to decide whether or not to use a blog with an add-on shopping cart, or to use an e-commerce system such as Zencart or Oscommerce. I have a few clients who will be using my services to design their e-commerce website and I’m deciding between using a blog with shopping cart add-on functionality or running an e-commerce system with blog integration. It’s been quite interesting reading comments from forums and on other blogs about this topic and here are my thoughts.
My Previous Blog / E-commerce Experience
I’ve been using WordPress for a couple of years now and have tried integrating it for a ZenCart ecommerce site. It worked okay but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The issue was that I have to create a WordPress site and an ecommerce site with matching themes, so that the end user would have the experience of a single site. This solution was not ideal because the site administrator would have to login to different backends to update information.
On the other hand, installing WordPress as the main system and installing an e-commerce add-on sounds like the ideal situation (for now, I’ll call this an eBlog). Everything will be in one system and on one database and no need to log into two different systems as I previously had to. I have tried this method and so far it works okay as well, but there are a few issues such as payment methods, having large product catalogues and limited reporting. The WordPress plugin can’t handle these things as yet compared to e-commerce systems which have been designed for this.
Advantages Of Using eBlog Vs E-Commerce System
Simplicity and easily customizable
The reason why I am choosing eBlog is it’s simplicity of use. Especially when you are training a client how to use the system for the first time, it is quite self explanatory from just looking in the back end of WordPress. Additionally the vast amount of themes available make it easy for any developer to customise and install new website faster without consuming too much time on a project.
Search engine friendly
Another advantage is, search engines love blogs and the content that comes from them allows them to be easily ranked in search engines much faster than e-commerce websites. Most e-commerce website only have products listed and require additional programming to be allow them to be search engine friendly. In comparison, WordPress has additional plug-ins that automatically make any article or product become search engine friendly saving time and money for a client.
Since the release of WordPress 2.7 every update can be automatically deployed with a click of a button and makes upgrades and changes very easy. Unlike Zencart or Oscommerce, whenever a new upgrade is released it takes me almost a week to upgrade due to the vast amount of customised plug-ins installed and main files that can be overwritten.
Disadvantages Of A Using eBlog Vs E-Commerce System
At the moment, there are limited amount of payments being accepted via the eBlog and a lot of development and programming would be required in eBlogs to accept the vast range of payments other e-commerce systems offer. The most common available is Paypal, but what if I wanted a payment gateway for eWay or other commercial banking gateways? It’s not possible as yet.
Handling 100 products on a single database
Most e-commerce systems have been build to handle lots of products and be available to display on their website. The architecture for this is not available for eBlogs and limits any Internet business to less than 100 products. It’s possible to have 100 products on an eBlog but to find them on this system will take forever.
It’s important to track what customers are purchasing and knowing what the numbers are in your business. Unfortunately eBlog doesn’t offer accounting and proper reporting.
Overall if you have an Internet business that has a few products to sell, this would be a simple way to get started and have your Internet business up and running quickly. Though for Internet businesses with a range of products and requiring greater functionality, a proper e-commerce system such as Zencart or Oscommerce is still the way to go.
-By: Tyrone Shum
Tyrone Shum is an internet business marketer. You can read more Internet business articles at Internetbusinesspath.