OK, I have been seeing many people including clients that are using products that I really do not care for and dislike using. Mostly because they are a pain in the ass to use, are outdated, don’t work well, are expensive, or will help them lose money. And if you really hit the jackpot, some of these products all of the aforementioned things.
I just happened to pick the names out that I see most bandied about as the greatest thing since sliced white bread and the ones that my clients seem to have the most trouble with and that ones that I hate to work on these days. The people that say they are great is because they usually have a vested interest or they don’t know any better. But I am willing to be convinced otherwise. But, it is going to take a lot, and I do mean A LOT of convincing.
This is just my little old humble opinion from having knocked around the internet for going on two decades now. Wow, how is that possible? LOL
Here is the long and short of it.
What has happened is that WordPress has taken over as THE code to build profitable Websites with these days.
Groupon got started on WordPress. It is now over a 5 billion dollar a year company.
Joomla and Drupal became obsolete when WordPress came around. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. So therefore, most things that have anything to do with them have the same shortfalls.
As far as some of the other things such as Infustion Soft, AWeber, GetResponse, Constant Contact and others, I will tell you why I don’t use any of them and try and wean my clients off of them as soon as I can.
Mostly because they are a pain in the butt to use, and overpriced in my book. There are custom solutions that you can get done for you for less than you pay for all of them. And soon, I know of an app that will replace all of them and cost pennies on the dollar compared compared to the apps mentioned and do a much, much better job, while being far more user friendly.
I asked one of my great partners who also happens to be the sharpest programmer that I know what his thoughts were about CMS or content management systems and some of the other things that I have mentioned. When I say he is sharp, that is saying a lot as I have worked with folks from Apple, IBM, and numerous start ups. He smokes all of them.
Here are some of Dan’s comments and mine.
1. VirtuMart is a module for Joomla so all the cons of Joomla are applied to VirtuMart
2. Joomla and Drupal are CMS’s (the classic version of the term). Each one is fat, hard to understand and consumes a lot of resources compared to WordPress. Trying to make a plugin or a theme for Joomla or Drupal is a pain in the ass. For example: they are using blocks for each widget inside the theme so you need to style each widget individually. Hooking an e-commerce plugin in this monster is like you driving a car while another car drives over you.
Andrew’s two cents. I cannot in good conscious, put anyone into Joomla or Drupal. It can ruin your business in my opinion.
3. osCommerce – is the father of all e-commerce solutions but it’s outdated. They have trying to create a new version for years. The osCommerce is based on the code wrote in ~2000. Customizing the osCommerce it’s not easy: you can’t create a custom theme easily or change the layout. In order to do that, you need to be a very good programmer with a ambition and patience
4. ZenCart – is based on osCommerce. The code is better but the theme system works the same. Instead of widgets, you have modules. Also, if you want to change some elements of the theme, you need some good php/html knowledge.
Plus, each one of those products have a plugin database but you can stuck with two situations: 1 the plugins are outdated and are not compatible with your current install; 2. The plugins are hard to install and maintain.
5. Magento is a solution for enterprises and i think the only reason they offer an open-source version is for the beauty of open source. They have a module management integrated inside the product so you don’t need to work with files, but i never (and I tried for 100 times) succeed. The product is heavy and you need a dedicated server to manage a shop, even a smaller one (100 products)
6. PrestaShop is a french e-commerce script and it’s a good (not great) solution for low-budget sites. You can search for plugins in forums but you don’t have any kind of warranty because they are made by the community. Of course, you can buy other plugins made by the creators of Prestashop or third parties. Another thing that I don’t like in Prestashop are the unfinished features. For example, they have an affiliate module but you can’t use it because: 1. it lacks of functionalities; 2. you don’t have an affiliate manager interface, 3. it’s not working. After some research, i found that you need to buy an affiliate plugin in order to have the whole thing working. Also, their interface is a complete mess. It’s hard to follow options or to change basic options. A pro for PrestaShop: they have a nice and informative dashboard with Statistics (no. of sales, orders placed, no. of registrations and product pages viewed. They also have some statistics as an alternative of Google Analytics but the interface ruins everything.
Thank you Dan!
Now as far as AWeber, Constant Contact and Infusion Soft. It is not that they are terrible products, it is just that I never ever feel comfortable letting someone else keep my mailing list hostage. It is the one thing that is the heart and soul of any online business.
I feel that once you get rolling all of them are over priced and in the order I listed them, they become more expensive and harder and harder to use.
I want my customer list on my server, not someone else’s. I also do not want someone else dictating what I can do with my mailing list.
The key with all of them is that they have to keep very tight controls on the users because if anyone of them does something questionable, they can get shut down. So, they have to treat everyone like a 3 year old and not an adult Business person.
Plus true integration and customization into your site is a pain in the butt.
So there you have it for what it is worth.
WordPress is the only platform I can recommend and it is getting better and better all of the time. As far as the rest, I will be giving you some alternatives that cost a whole lot less and work much better. At least I think so and perhaps you will too.
If you have an opinion, would love to hear it.