Home – New Forums Tech talk Business catalyst or Webpress? How much will I pay?

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  • #1034037
    JohnSheppard
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    John Debrincat, post: 40925 wrote:
    John, are you really serious about that? Should your motor mechanic get involved with your business or your plumber or your electrician? Advising on a business and specially marketing is a serious responsibility. I know lots of web developers, all great people and really capable, none would advise a customer on business affairs unless asked (maybe) and then only within the area of their expertise. Apart from the fact its not their job there is also an over-riding issue of liability if something goes wrong. The process of establishing and running a business has at its roots the need to have a good plan that lays out the business strategy. Successful business people will seek, connect with and retain good advisors in the key areas of the business. Maybe the web developer has a role to play. But be very careful how far you think that should extend.

    John

    Yes you make a good point :) You are right. I will say tho that depends how integral to the business the website is. E.g. If I’m building a formula1 race team, you bet I want a mechanic being heavily involved in my decision making process. If I’m running a pizza delivery joint, I dont care what the mechanic said….

    But I stand corrected, it was gumby thing to say lol :)

    #1034038
    JohnSheppard
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    TheTrish, post: 40911 wrote:
    Some really great comments here.

    I have met with clients who have grand plans for the next stage in their business, they have a marketing plan, business plan, budget etc they are keen to get moving which involves their website. I advise them on their expected input to the site and their expected outcome for the site, all is looking good, but things change, businesses change, opportunities arise.

    You can get all the advice in the world but you can’t predict the future, there will always be a better way to do things. Some people swear by Joomla, some love SaaS or cloud computing eg Business Catalyst but some don’t like the idea of having data stored on the internet and not on a computer they “own”, it is all about what is right for you, and sometimes what is right now, may not right in 12 months time.

    Take the Flying Solo site for example, it started as a simple brochure site, then added the Newsletter, then the comments on the articles, then the forum and it grew so much they wanted/needed to rebuild it to a more robust system, why would they invest their time and money into a robust system from the outset not knowing if they needed it.

    Is this caution and not “going hard” or is it about providing the right solution for the right time?

    I would love your thoughts on this as I have found that most web people tend to have very strong opinions on what CMS is best for the client based on their own personal preferences.

    There are so many CMS’s out there that it is impossible to test them all and who has time! When they find one that works they usually stick to it.

    In addition to this a most web people I have met believe that they need to use the free Open Source CMS as cheaper is better and free is the right price, but just because it is free doesn’t mean it is the right solution for a client.

    I used to use a handful of CMS’s depending on the level of computer literacy of the client, the easier it is to use the more expensive the CMS, the free ones are the hardest to use, in my experience and I don’t recommend a CMS at all for the clients that are not very computer literate no matter what they have been told by their mate at the pub.

    Trish

    Poor ol’ original poster, her head is probably exploding :|

    Thread is getting a bit confusing I think…I’m getting confused haha

    You raise some good points there, which I tend to agree with some and I’ll agree that CMS aren’t for everyone, there are countless people that can’t figure them out. I just think, if you can’t and you don’t understand the Internet, you are in trouble wanting to base your core business on it……I’d have a different opinion if it’s just a sideline…

    I.e. It’s a difference answer depending on the business and I should probably not generalise things that don’t generalise :)

    #1034039
    TheTrish
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    JohnSheppard, post: 40931 wrote:
    Poor ol’ original poster, her head is probably exploding

    I totally agree.

    A more constructive answer for Katie is that knowing Business Catalyst, it can grow with your business.

    BC has:
    content pages
    comments on pages
    newsletter
    In built CRM
    In built Stats
    e-commerce
    web apps eg directories that users can add and subscribe to, even pay to subscribe
    e-products
    regular subscription (monthly, fortnightly) payments eg member areas, or repeat orders
    Member areas or secure login areas, maybe to view previous orders and other special content
    Web form building – add a web form anywhere on the site with payments eg donation form
    Photo galleries
    banner ads

    These are all built in, no installation or add ons

    Word press has:
    content pages
    comments on pages
    e-commerce – I think?

    Not sure what else, maybe a wordpress guru can add to this but I have a colleague who is using WordPress and she is constantly searching for add ons to install like Analytics, she didn’t realise that she needed to install software to get stats. With BC it is just there.

    In summary, I wouldn’t use WordPress for an e-commerce site but that doesn’t mean you need to use Business Catalyst, there are other choices.

    I hope that helps, we kind of high jacked your thread :-|

    #1034040
    Keau
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    Too funny!!! It was getting a bit confusing I have to admit!

    That said, I still find people’s comments really interesting. So many options, and naturally so many opinions to boot. I don’t want to get bogged down in the decision making process, I imagine it could go for ages.

    While I like the sound of WordPress, and obviously it’s a bit cheaper than most- I don’t want to have to keep adding plug ins etc. That sounds like a headache.

    BC sounds good, for the features that you mentioned Trish. I also agree with starting with what you think you need and building on it from there. (I will also check out magic dust to see what they offer).

    I’m pretty good tech wise and I learn quickly, plus my husband is a software engineer so he’s not too bad either ; ) I feel I could learn a new system easily enough.

    So, if I could ask…. what alternate hosted solutions would you recommend and why? I’ve heard of Sales Force but don’t know much about it. I also know about InfusionSoft but that’s too pricey for me. Someone even recommended 1shoppingcart though I still need to get the website built.

    Mmmmm, so much to think about.

    Thanks for the comments!
    Katie

    #1034041
    John Debrincat
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    KTP, post: 40936 wrote:
    Too funny!!! It was getting a bit confusing I have to admit

    So, if I could ask…. what alternate hosted solutions would you recommend and why? I’ve heard of Sales Force but don’t know much about it. I also know about InfusionSoft but that’s too pricey for me. Someone even recommended 1shoppingcart though I still need to get the website built.

    Mmmmm, so much to think about.

    Thanks for the comments!
    Katie

    Hi Katie, yes we all get carried away when we get on to our pet subjects. SalesForce is not an ecommerce or web site building system. It is a hosted CRM, probably one of the most successful, but I used it as an example of successful Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. So apologies if I threw in a red herring. I left an earlier post with some hosted alternatives:

    Netregistry – StoreXpress
    Commonwealth Bank iShop
    eCorner Cloud Shops
    gate13
    aShop
    Shopify – USA Based
    Volusion – USA based
    BigCommerce – USA based

    This is not a full list that would be huge. This site might also help but I hope not confuse you – http://www.shopping-cart-reviews.com/

    Hope that you get the right solution for yourself. If your hubby has IT experience it will make it easier for you. But you still want to try to get a solution that is a good fit. You don’t have to spend $7,000 to get there.

    All the best

    John

    #1034042
    JohnSheppard
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    Just on the wordpress thing (or pretty much all the open source cmses);

    They all base their philosophy on having a core which you then add on ‘extensions’ to. The stock standard installs are usually pretty basic and stripped. For the uninitiated, the costs of finding and figuring out all the extensions yourself (in terms of labour and headache) easily outweigh a commercial solution. The difference comes in when you have someone who really knows word press back to front and in side out. They can build you a site cheaper than a commercial solution (arguably?).

    On the Magicdust front, I’m pretty sure they sell wordpress, and at the price point they sell at, I doubt it comes with much, but I could be wrong. Ring them see what they say :)

    #1034043
    TheTrish
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    KTP, post: 40936 wrote:
    So, if I could ask…. what alternate hosted solutions would you recommend and why? I’ve heard of Sales Force but don’t know much about it. I also know about InfusionSoft but that’s too pricey for me. Someone even recommended 1shoppingcart though I still need to get the website built.

    Be aware of hosted solutions like Joomla and OScommerce as you need to make sure the security is rock solid. As you are managing your own hosting you are responsible to ensure it is setup properly and that may include installing patches. There must be a hosted solution expert here somewhere. Here is a security checklist for Joomla, quite daunting.
    http://docs.joomla.org/Security_Checklist_4_-_Joomla_Setup

    But with a SaaS solution like BC or the ones John suggested you don’t need to worry about configuration, hacking, security or server issues.

    PS, during my google search for the secuity checklist I found this.

    http://www.ecommerce-guide.com/article.php/3529356/Choosing-a-Hosted-E-Commerce-Solution.htm

    Might be of use!

    #1034044
    JohnSheppard
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    That Joomla checklist isn’t too much to worry about IMO. You’re web person will know that stuff (or at least should). It’s more related to hosting environments than anything.

    The security problems come from not keeping updated or installing bad extensions. In the open source world, let me tell you, there are 100’s of bad ones…yes they have reviews etc, but I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve sunk into those which are just plain crap house time vampires….

    If you decide to go with any of the open source CMS you just have to make sure that you stay constantly updated. This is true of closed source CMS too, but it’s a bit more important with open source ones…..it’s all a cost you need to take into account….one you can avoid with the Saas type solutions.

    Joomla doesn’t currently have updating built in, but that is coming version 1.6 which is just around the corner.

    Personally, I am not aware of any e-commerce extensions for Joomla that are any good, and I wouldn’t currently recommend that platform for it…..in 6 months that may be a different story tho…

    #1034045
    IgniteDM
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    I think most of the major points have been covered by everyone else here…

    but my 2 cents worth:

    We use Business Catalyst not only for our own sites, but for quite a few client sites as well. It really depends on the budget they come to me with and what features they want out of it.

    What I always say to people who only want something small to start with is always allow for expansion -because its so much easier down the track when you have an expandable platform! I generally recommend the base level options with Business Catalyst and let my clients know they can upgrade to using more features when they need to, i.e. to add marketing/ecommerce etc

    I use WordPress for some applications but just personally prefer the ease of adding all sorts of features to pages in BC without needing a coding person. ie. web forms, FAQ sections, Blogs etc. I find WordPress is better for people with a more limited experience in editing websites… its quite user friendly. BC is great but can take a little more getting used for for the un-initiated.

    Having said that BC has its limitations. But Adobe are continuously working on updates and roll these out quite regularly. Updates are automatically added on – you dont need to do anything.

    My main point would be that no 1 solution is going to do everything perfectly. 1 CMS might be cheaper, but not so Search Engine friendly. Another might have more features but be more expensive. Just choose your most important must have features, budget and work your way back.

    Good Luck !

    #1034046
    KatieP
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    Hi again,

    Thanks for all the posts. I have learned a lot. After reading the posts and doing my own research, I decided to go with a hosted solution as it will have less ongoing upkeep and I will have less worry about security issues. I have also decided that BC has what I need and offers the possibility of expansion when I need it. So, now I’ll see how I go. I have also found someone to do the site for $3500 + GST. He uses templates, many of which I like and offers lots of features- all of which seems very reasonable. Got to be happy with that!

    Thanks !!
    Katie

    #1034047
    TheTrish
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    Congratulations Katie,

    I know you have made the right decision, Business Catalyst is awesome and they are constantly improving it which means you will get the benefits immediately when they happen, no server to manage at all.

    Good luck with it all

    Trish

    #1034048
    kbrookes
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    I’ve worked with BC for clients and for the most part it’s a good system. I do recommend it to some clients – but not all.

    My main problems are that their email servers seem to go down with alarming regularity and they’re a little disingenuous about what can and can’t be modified.

    They say ‘everything is customisable’ – that’s not really true.

    There’s plenty of elements where you have no access to modify the core HTML structure – and that’s a big problem for me.

    Their templating system for newsletters is absolutely atrocious. Considering integrated marketing is part of their spiel, they really should have better methods in place. There’s also no spam testing or client-side delivery testing, without which you’re flying blind.

    They also really need to work on providing a better out-of-the-box checkout process. The current one is cumbersome and it took me a fair bit of time to make it flow more nicely.

    That said, their CRM setup is awesome and the auto-responder capabilities are fantastic – it’s a great system for an all-in-one solution. Even so, I have big problems with some elements of what they do and prefer to roll my own with Joomla, Virtuemart and Campaign Monitor, depending on the client.

    #1034049
    webtronic_webdesign
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    Hi Katie,

    My name is Glen Harrison and I am the Owner/Director and Webmaster for WEBTRONIC WEBDESIGN™ the leading Adobe Business Catalyst Partner in Australia.

    In answer to your question Adobe Business Catalyst gives you 10+ systems in one including eCommerce and a shopping cart with a built in Content Management System (CMS) so you can manage content. WordPress does not offer you the same systems or flexibility but is more a Blog tool and publishing platform.

    We would be happy to work with you to build you an Adobe BC website that your happy with at a price you can afford. Go to: http://webtronic.com.au/ and send us an email through the Contact Us page and we can trade emails regarding what you want, how you want it and we can negotiate on price.

    Kind Regards,
    Glen

    #1034050
    Warren Cottis
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    JohnSheppard, post: 40930 wrote:
    Yes you make a good point :) You are right. I will say tho that depends how integral to the business the website is. E.g. If I’m building a formula1 race team, you bet I want a mechanic being heavily involved in my decision making process. If I’m running a pizza delivery joint, I dont care what the mechanic said….

    But I stand corrected, it was gumby thing to say lol :)

    This has been an interesting thread.

    Quite frankly, I don’t think you said a gumby thing, John.

    In fact I am befuddled… if web people are going to deliver a website to a client and not involve themselves in the client’s internet marketing plans then what are they really delivering?

    Is the answer… a glorified business card?

    #1034051
    kbrookes
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    To be fair, many companies have internal marketing people or outsource that function.

    Also, only microsites could be equated with a business card. Anything more complex requires expertise, planning and skill. Given the clientele listed on your website, you already know this.

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