Shopify vs. WooCommerce- Which is More Cost-Effective?

Shopify vs. WooCommerce- Which is More Cost-Effective?

Shopify vs. WooCommerce : Which is More Cost-Effective?

Shopify vs. WooCommerce : Which is More Cost-Effective?

When it comes to an eCommerce solution, as an entrepreneur, you want the maximum bang for your buck while offering your clients top service. The world of online shopping is mostly divided between the two giants, Shopify and WooCommerce, but which is the most cost-effective?

We are going to make a head to head comparison, but let you decide the winner, according to your budget and needs. However, don’t forget that it is not only about current costs, but the potential to generate more revenue and the total expenditure.

WooCommerce

This is a free plugin for WordPress and is it designed to work with most themes which follow the guidelines in the Codex. However, although the software it’s free, running an actual shop will require a domain, hosting, an SSL certificate.  Additional features, like the design and other plugins (e-mail marketing, SEO), are usually part of the deal and could increase the total cost.

A rough estimation shows that you’ll spend at least $120/year to run a secure shop build on top of WordPress, using WooCommerce. The actual amount depends on the additional features you integrate, but not on the volume of sales.

Shopify

This is a SaaS platform designed specifically for shopping. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything you might want or need to start immediately, hassle-free. You can test it for free for two weeks, then you’ll have to decide between the four payment plans:

  • Lite ($9 per month)-only available for Facebook stores
  • Basic Shopify ($29 per month)
  • Shopify ($79 per month)
  • Advanced Shopify ($299 per month).

The basic plan offers you a package of hosting and SSL, but you still need to get your domain. The downside is that they also charge a part of your transactions. There are even calculators to show you how much you will pay every month.

The Verdict

Our recommendation is to invest more time and even money in the initial phase of your e-shop development using WordPress. Out of the box solutions like Shopify might seem tempting at first, since you can sell right away, with no coding knowledge. However, these offer a limited set of design options and are way costlier in the long run. It’s better to steer clear of any shop that charges you per transaction. Better spend more money upfront, one time, than having a recurring payment problem.

WooCommerce is the definite winner of this competition. It offers infinitely more customization options and total control over your data and source code. Without being paranoid, you wouldn’t like your information to become an additional revenue source to a platform already charging you monthly.

Top 3 Free Tools To Check Your Website’s Speed

Top 3 Free Tools To Check Your Website’s Speed

Top 3 Free Tools To Check Your Website's Speed

Top 3 Free Tools To Check Your Website’s Speed

We live in a world where the attention span of the clients is shrinking every year. An anecdote said that it is under 8 seconds, which is less than a goldfish’s.  Even if this is a myth, the reality is that developers need to aim for under two seconds loading speed to prevent bounce.

Studies already show that tasks which take longer than three seconds, even for web shops make users abandon the page. Google even advises going as low as half a second. They also announced to take a mobile-first approach, ranking websites after their mobile version’s performance.

Here are a few tools to help you see how does your website rank in the speed challenge. Be sure to test it with all of them and take into consideration the differences. Every tool has a different algorithm, and you should consider your actual speed as an average between the results.

 

Google Page Speed Insights

This tool provided by Google themselves is a way to assess the performance of both your mobile and desktop versions. It measures the loading speed of the elements situated above the fold and the entire page. The great thing about this tool is that it gives you a zipped folder with the resources that you need to improve. You have to change your existing images, CSS sheets, and JavaScript with the ones provided and see your score jump.

 

GTMetrix

This tool combines results from multiple platforms, including the one mentioned before and YSlow. It offers a school-type grade from A to F. We love this tool for its feature that lets you test the site from multiple locations and compare speed for different connection types (cable/dial-up/4G). Run the test a couple of different times to get an accurate report.

 

Pingdom Website Test

Similar to GTMetrix it offers multiple test locations, a breakdown of the elements organized as a waterfall, and possible improvements. We use this tool in conjunction with the others since it also has a history feature. Pingdom comes in handy when you want to track developments and identify the influence of specific elements.

Do you have the courage to run your site through these tools? If you got not such stellar results, we are here to help. Sometimes even small changes like optimizing one image can boost performance considerably. Remember, when it comes to website speed optimization, the devil is really in the details.

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

How to Define Marketing KPIs to Drive ROI

They say that what gets measured gets done. Although a marketing strategy can have softer purposes, like awareness and brand recognition, the final goal should always be generating revenue. Enter the KPIs (key process indicators). This is a way to put a number on a dream and create an actionable metric.

However, it’s worth noticing that not any metric is a KPI and not all KPIs have a connection to actual profit. The best way to create valuable KPIs is to start with the result in mind and think about the best ways to get there.

Define Your Vision

Think about the best-case scenario and write down the result you would consider excellent. For example, if you just launched your business, you could hope for $10K sales in the first quarter. Try to be as specific as possible and don’t be afraid to dream big.

Remember to create S.M.A.R.T. goals at this stage:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant

Create a Strategy

Once you know the general direction, ask yourself how you can get there. From a marketing perspective, this could mean creating a sales funnel, revamping your social media pages or using new channels. Think about the vision you have and what are the best ways to get there.

Design a Plan

Next, break down the big goal into daily or even hourly smaller chunks. Identify where are your target clients and be present in those channels. Create a simple checklist to be completed. Make sure the sum of the tasks on the list is more than your objective. Always allow a margin.

You don’t have to obsess daily over meeting the goal, but at least a weekly check can help you stay on track. If you fail to comply with your targets three or four consecutive weeks, maybe an assessment and redefining is a good idea.

Each business is different, but here are a few marketing KPIs that trigger changes in the ROI. You can use these as inspiration to define your own:

  • Cost per lead- divide it by inbound and outbound
  • Traffic to lead ratio
  • Lead to customer ratio
  • Landing pages conversions
  • Social media conversions

Still feel confused and overwhelmed by the need to measure? Get out a pen and paper and start drafting a plan before you waste any more money on likes and impressions. You spend hard cash to get even more.

Top 10 Best Plugins For Image Galleries (or Other Feature) in WordPress

Top 10 Best Plugins For Image Galleries (or Other Feature) in WordPress

Top 10 Best Plugins For Image Galleries (or Other Feature) in WordPress

Top 10 Best Plugins For Image Galleries (or Other Feature) in WordPress

They say an image is worth 1000 words, but how about more pictures displayed artistically? WordPress is the first choice of a wide variety of businesses in need to show their work. Freelancers like artists, photographers or designers also choose this platform to highlight their latest creations. For visual coherence and optimization purposes, it is best to select a dedicated plugin for your galleries. We have a list of the top-rated options, with some pros and cons. 

FooGallery

This is a drag-and-drop gallery plugin offers shortcodes. We love the fact that it is open-source and developers extend it regularly. The out of the box options include styles such as responsive galleries, polaroid and cube displays and masonry arrangements. Some layouts come in light and dark themes to accommodate any color schemes. If you love Instagram-like filters, this is the tool for you. It has frontend filtering and advanced options. The only downside is that it can be a little intensive on resources.

Envira Gallery

One of the most feature-rich options available, the Envira tries to do it all. From the ease of use given by the drag and drop interaction to WooCommerce integration and watermark protection, the developers are continuously polishing this product. This is for someone who loves order and has a keen eye for SEO and is looking for a semi-automated pagination option.

NextGEN Image Gallery

The workhorse of the WP image gallery section, with millions of downloads, is the first option for beginners. It is excellent for displaying albums and slideshows. Also, a smart choice for being responsive. In fact, if a gallery is not offering this, it shouldn’t be on your list at all. Nice features also include the ability to add watermarks and resize/crop options. The UI is not so brilliant and could be enhanced by a drag and drop module.

Modula Image Gallery

This plugin promises to be lightning fast and reliable. It takes a more cinematic approach to displaying images by adding load effects and hover effects. Learning from social media preferences, it offers filters, and social sharing options to help visitors with the “Sharing is Caring” mantra.

Photo Gallery by Supsystic

A minimalistic gallery which offers instant image optimization, video support and is fully responsive. Design features include different page styles like masonry, polaroid, carousel, and horizontal scrolling.  We love the individual customization option for each photo. Unfortunately, the video gallery is only available in the paid version.

Selecting Ambassadors and Collaborations on Instagram

Selecting Ambassadors and Collaborations on Instagram

Selecting Ambassadors and Collaborations on Instagram

Selecting Ambassadors and Collaborations on Instagram

Sometimes beating your own drum on Instagram won’t get you too far. The best advertising is when other people endorse you. Extra points if these people are knowledgeable in the industry, trustworthy and have enough followers to make a difference for your baseline.

First, you need to get straight some terminology. In this game, you have bloggers, influencers, and ambassadors. The first can range from a very local influence to national, household names. Usually, the number of followers dictates the status, and most influencers have at least 10K fans. Ambassadors are selected from influencers and develop a closer relationship with the brand.

Initial research

When selecting your ambassador or just a collaboration you need to start by researching their profiles. Look at the hashtags they use, the reactions they get per post and even the color scheme. All these elements need to be in tune with your communication.

Research their endorsement terms and check if these match your projected budget. Inquire if they only take cash or would be happy with a product exchange. Usually, the higher the rank of the influencer, the less likely they will work just in exchange for products. It never hurts to ask. Create a list of “most wanted,” “highly preferred”, and “ok”.

Look at the numbers

Speaking of numbers, fill in the previous list with relevant metrics. These include the total number of followers, the average number of reactions per post (engagement rate) and demographics.

Don’t be afraid to ask the potential collaborators for relevant statistics from their back-end. It is not intrusive; it’s just due diligence. If they refuse to offer their engagement rates or other statistics that is a major red flag.

The key is to go for the sweet spot which balances the reach, engagement, and budget.

Picking the wrong ambassador

Selecting the right ambassador is a delicate matter, and sometimes even big brands fail. For example, using Oprah (14.8M followers) for Windows 8 was not the smartest move.

The key to social media marketing is authenticity. Although people know sponsored posts exist, and ambassadors make money, they still want to feel a connection.  

Another mistake not being on the same page with your ambassador, either the message or even as tone. They already are a brand on their own, don’t try to change them to match yours. Just select wisely from the available pool.

Do you think you know how to select a brand ambassador or you feel overwhelmed by the number of possible choices? Give us a message if you think you could use some guidance in choosing the Instagram face of your company.