What has Yell got to do with it?
We've noticed many businesses out there have succumbed to adopting Yell for a business website, primarily to get up and running with some kind of 'affordable' website that doesn't require any DIY skills and no agency outreach - It's just fast, it's advertised on TV and you can put your feet up at night and concentrate on running your business.
But! This is an especially bad decision for service, non-conventional commerce businesses and here's why.
Yell is actually very, very expensive for what you are purchasing... a simple, text based website, some imagery, contact details and a variation from 10 separate, similar pages.
Their Premium (but it's actually very basic) package begins at £499 and offers 'personalisation' - We're not sure why that's even classified as an inclusive element given any business website should be personalised. Monthly fees apply, these can range from £30-£100 a month and is a bit of a scandal in our opinion. Oh and you get a whole, new page free each quarter if you want one... lucky you.
Premium Plus plan is £999 with monthly fees attached and you get a 'personal design consultation' (we're not sure what this involves but are tempted to find out). Here's the real kicker, once you spend either £499 or £999 on your basic, template website with zero extra functionality, it's not even mobile responsive. That means, anybody viewing your website from a mobile phone (and recent studies show that could be as high as 80% of all website traffic) will not be able to view a mobile responsive website. Oh, miserable.
In fact, if you want a mobile ready site too, you need to contact sales and it's estimated to start at around £3000 (and includes on-site photography).
Can I connect my Google Analytics? Nope.
Yell won't allow for you to connect any integration in fact, whether it's basic analytics, live chat customer support, social feeds, you name it, they won't include it. Why? Probably to keep pushing their in-house (yet limited) products and services or partner products. Either way, it's a closed shop, no open API to connect other online services and that kind of centralised thinking is against the status-quo and leaves you too closely tied to their service. They will however have an annoying sales person ring you every now and again to push whatever they're selling that quarter, though.
Search Engine Optimisation is super important if customers are going to find you and let's be honest, who's seriously using Yell over Google to find any kind of business, local or national. Does Yell come with a built in SEO solution? No idea, their internal team build your site and most likely do not optimise your site to your industry and most likely do not view the current SEO trends inside Google because, they're anti-Google.
Also, you can't manually update anything on your website (what! No Content Management System? - CMS), such as products, services, prices, promotions... woah, nightmare. Not only is this bad news for your customers but it negatively impacts your Google ranking, as Google routinely crawls sites and looks for any changes or updates - stagnant websites get a down rating. This might not be a problem for local businesses who are reliant on locally defined seaches but it's still detrimental for your customers in the long run who will hope for some kind of interaction or reward for their customer loyalty at least.
"In a nut shell, using Yell would be hell", Jamie Anderson - Aulter founder.
What about Wordpress?
Wordpress originally began as a platform for Bloggers - Bloggers would open up a page for free and use a Wordpress 'subdomain' (example - 'aulter.wordpress.com') and start adding text or image based articles to a feed... similar to what you do on Facebook, except this was a website.
Wordpress has evolved since those days however is still struggling to become a player that is fully functional in accommodating any kind of interactive website that is commerce capable - Many small agencies will adopt Wordpress to build you a website because of its ease of use and fairly straight forward code base at the backend.
Wordpress is free to relatively affordable, however if you want the premium business plan to begin adding integrations and become SEO friendly, as well as include Google Analytics then it will cost you £20.83 a month BUT it's billed yearly. So, that's £249.96 up front.
There isn't as big a repertoire of layouts and themes to use on Wordpress as there is on other commerce focussed platforms (such as Shopify) - Furthermore, adapting styles and design elements is more limited in range, leaving you with fewer options when it comes to aesthetics, alterations and optimisation, ultimately this only serves to hurt sales and customer expectancies.
Wordpress has always been more appropriate for hobbyists or beginner developers to adopt for a quick idea or a bit of fun, now that they seem active to accommodate small businesses and a DIY landscape, it's evident there is a severe lack of an open ecosystem to help support the newcomers.
Shopify (and other commerce platforms) are equipped with enormous forums, help pages, video tutorials, case studies, drip feed newsletter anecdotes and an army for live chat support. It's almost impossible to match that unless you have the scale of a Shopify... and unfortunately for Wordpress, they simply don't - Resulting in a subpar service.
There's no rich dashboard for orders or bookings because the platform was never intended for it, that's a huge problem if you ever elect to begin selling products and services but with Shopify it's expected from day one.
"More appropriate for hobbyists or beginner developers", Jamie Anderson - Aulter Founder.
Working with Wix?
Although WooCommerce, BigCommerce and LightSpeed Retail fall under the category of DIY commerce vendors, Wix has sprung up as an unlikely alternative. The company is now accommodating commerce and includes a rich dashboard for orders and also bookings, separately - This is especially useful for service and hospitality industries such as hoteliers, vacation rentals, B&Bs, caravan parks, wedding venues and booking related industries.
If you're a small, local business and don't have a high volume of sales and don't expect to radically expand your operations then Wix is a friendly alternative to Shopify at £10.10 a month for the basic commerce package. That also matches Shopify with a free $75 Ad voucher (£75 with Shopify mind) but you also get the option of add-ons, such as a form builder for $48 - You do have the option of a wide ecosystem of apps inside Shopify that can embed these kinds of elements but with Wix it comes pre-built in.
As does their booking extension - This resides separately to their order dashboard, so you can evenly split orders of goods and bookings and differentiate between them.
Much like Wordpress, Wix is limited in the variations of design templates - It also doesn't have the army of outside developers monetising designs submitted to Shopify.
The functionality of creating a contemporary, online presence becomes a little more fragmented and difficult to achieve inside Wix and that's bad for future growth, business and the needs to secure a wider ecosystem. This is always very important, as once you launch on a hosted platform, you don't want them disappearing out of business, as you'll disappear with them and be required to launch elsewhere. Shopify brings that added security.
There are some hindering limitations with Wix, firstly is the payments. Shopify comes ingrained with a Stripe connection to accept debit/credit cards and that comes with all fraud related protections and signals built-in, you never have to worry. With Wix, you need to create your own Stripe account and affix it to your Wix account and you're responsible for all fraud related activity, chargebacks and payment related details (such as informing your customers their stored card details with you are about to expire).
This can be time consuming for a small business, as is their severe lack of apps to connect - Such as analytics, store/business locators, email integrations, customer support apps and all the eCommerce fundamentals that are taken for granted in the Shopify app store. Why is this? Simple, scale... Shopify has external developers on board and a strong partnerships team to ensure its customers get easy access to the best solutions in the commerce arena.
"A great commerce starter package, even if it is a little complex at times but ultimately falls short on Shopify in many key areas", Jamie Anderson - Aulter Founder.
As ever, circumstances and budget will ultimately dictate what solution to adopt, however we see Shopify as firmly in the middle when it comes to competitiveness on price but goes above and beyond other solutions when it comes to functionality, support and pushing up sales in your business.
Naturally, we are Shopify partners but we'd like to think our transparency and comparisons with other key solutions available on the market showcases where those other solutions still have vulnerabilities when tackling Shopify.
Shopify is a robust and fun to use platform with support aplenty, we're proud to call them partners and we'd encourage any visitors or prospects to check out what's available with Aulter when seeking to try out a Shopify presence.
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