Best Small Business Platform?

19 Jan 2011 - 6:35pm
3 years ago
5 replies
974 reads
heidi newell
2008

Hello.
I am looking to launch a boutique business website, which will initially offer sales for a single design product (hopefully more products will be offered in the future). Is Yahoo Small Business still considered the best platform for this kind of business? Does anyone have recommendations for how I seek out a great programmer, who can stick with me as a consultant as the business grows? 
Many thanks for your thoughts.

Heidi

Comments

19 Jan 2011 - 8:05pm
Dan Klyn
2010

Hi Heidi,

I'm a big fan of shopify.com for the ecommerce scenario you describe. And consulting-wise, I think you'll get mo-better results from an information architect specializing in online commerce or an SEO/SEM practitioner than from a software developer?

Best Wishes,

Dan K

19 Jan 2011 - 8:05pm
david grubman
2008

Heidi,

We have a business on the yahoo small business platform and would be happy to provide detailed commentary offlist. My high level comments:

Pros
+ reliable
+ stable
+ outstanding support
+ ease of ongoing care and feeding once setup

  • ease of PayPal and UPS integration
    + reasonably rich feature set
    + extensive service providers directory (services and add on features)
    + site structure is good for SEO

    Cons:
    - Based on RTML which is a mystery to us

  • Because of the RTML we had to hire out the build
    - Because of the RTML we are challenged to enhance without hiring it
    - We are to the point of wanting more functionality that the platform does not offer natively


As I said, if you are interested in more details, i would be happy to provide. Mileage may vary. Everyone's experiences will be different.

- david

19 Jan 2011 - 8:05pm
tonyzeoli
2008

I am currently working on a blog and shop, lilswanky.com, for a client. It is hosted with Yahoo Small Business.

What they are basically doing, is taking a bunch of open source products and allowing you to one-click install. The issue with this is that your site and your blog platform are not integrated, and you have to then manage two sites for SEO--your site and your blog (or content pages--whatever you prefer to call them).

I am building a few online shops right now with WordPress and WP-Ecommerce, which fully integrates the shop into the site, so that all URL's / Permalinks are efficiently optimized across the board. I much prefer to built on WordPress and WP-Ecommerce, such that all the Shop pages then fall under the Shop tab, but you have a widget counter that you can add to a sidebar or header, which is your cart/counter. You can also featured products on blog pages using shortcode. And, WP-Ecommerce works with downloads as well. You can sell music, pdf's, and other types of files. It also has a gold cart plug-in, that you can get to run your merchant account through Authorize.net. Or, you can stick with PayPal and Google Checkout. It's one of the most advanced shopping carts I've seen. Some developers complain about how it's underlying code is written, but they are in the process or rewriting the entire system to perform better, because it does suck a bit of memory on the server. You must be running php5 and at least 128MB of php memory for it and the rest of WordPress to hum nicely.

For the LilSwanky site, to manage the shop, you have to log-in to their store creator. To have a blog, they give you a one-click install of Wordpress, and they block the sendmail feature, unless you call them and tell them to turn it on for you since you don't get SSH access and root privileges on the server. Sendmail is the feature that sends system notifications from WordPress whenever anyone registers, whenever you publish and update a post and more.

I find working in the Yahoo control panel a bit of a mess and it's not very intuitive. I'm just not a fan. You can do much better getting a MediaTemple DV account for $50 a month and run WP with WP-Ecommerce and you'll be humming along.

Of course, you could go with Drupal and Ubercart, but that might be overkill for one product. I'm not a Drupal expert, but I wouldn't rule it out. However, I do feel that you can come up with much nicer front-end designs for Wordpress than you can for Drupal, which ends up always looking like a bunch of blocks on the page.

Best regards,

:: Tony Zeoli
:: Founder
:: Digital Strategy Works
:: Digital Media Experience that works for you

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19 Jan 2011 - 9:05pm
burlapdesign
2010

What are you needing in a "small business platform?" Email, crm, etc?

19 Jan 2011 - 10:05pm
DigitalWoman
2010

Hello Heidi,

From my client's experiences, Yahoo Small business Platform is not very flexible and is very hard to modify and update.

I would recommend the following:

  1. Setting up Wordpress as a content management system (CMS) with a shopping cart plug-in

  2. Open source highly customizable shopping cart platforms: http://www.magentocommerce.com/ or http://oscommerce.com/

  3. Hosted ecommerce solution like Shopify.com

Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Sincerely, Nelly Yusupova Digitalwoman.com nelly@digitalwoman.com 917 603-9226 (phone) URL: http://www.digitalwoman.com Blog: http://www.webgrrls.com/blog/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/DigitalWoman

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