It is confusing enough trying to get your business working to the best of its ability online without having to consider every should and should not, especially when you run an online store. Surely it makes more sense to have your online store merged with your core website to centralise everything as it's simpler and promotes cross selling, right? Consider this, your website sells your business image, it conveys an impression of how you operate, what you value and what you hope to acheive. If a client enters your website, then what do they see, think, feel? Do they feel like they are being bombarded by "sell sell sell"? Is your website cluttered, busy or difficult to find what you need? An additional benefit of splitting your shop from your primary domain allows you to target SEO and marketing campaigns more specifically for each web environment, make website maintenance easier, in many cases minimise costs and serve the right content to the right audience.
Consider your kitchen cupboards, is everything stacked randomly together or do you have the contents somewhat seperated? It makes sense to store your plates kind of seperate to your cups but you have a pantry to store food which is other storage all together. The idea is that it is easier to find the food you are after or the item you are after by seperating them. You could store your food under the sink but if a guest came into your house is that where they would look? We are creatures of habit and classification and as such we need to take this into account when we expect visitors to interact with our web content. Put it where they expect it and they will not spend a long time looking for what they need or look for the exit. When you go to a food supermarket you go there to buy food generally, you buy other things as well at times but your main aim is food. If you want to buy a lotto ticket then you expect to go to the newsagent. While you could do both out of the one store a person would not expect to be able to do both unless they were explicitly told they could. If a supermarket sold different items from different types of stores but not all items then you don't really know exactly what they have. This would generally lead to people spending more time trying to find what they actually want which can deter people if they prefer to get what they want as quickly as possible. Consider your website and ask yourself, how patient would you be and how much time would you be prepared to waste?
How do we split websites? We use a mechanism in domain structures called sub domains, this is the first word or series of letters preceding your actual registered domain name. Your primary website is usually located at https://domain.com.au or by using the subdomain "www" like so https://www.domain.com.au. By extension we can create a shop at a new website location such as https://shop.domain.com.au. This might not seem like a big difference to the casual observer but now I can run two different types of websites that work completely differently using a single domain name. We secure these domains by using SSL security certificates which are known as multi or wildcard type certificates which allow for sub domains. These are typically more expensive but the benefit of splitting your web content up is well worth it and wildcard certificates have no limits on how many sub domains you run.
Take our domain for example, our business has so many different functions, services and components that it is essential to split up our web content which makes marketing more effective while also making maintenance and management much simpler. It allows us to have web content created for the function and do it well, i.e. our blog is a dedicated blog platform, our shop is a dedicated shop platform and our services oriented websites are dedicated to their functions too. I mentioned maintenance and management but I didn't really explain how this influences your decision. One key aspect that is often overlooked is maintenance activities such as updating systems and one of the most common issues that can cripple your whole site is when a flawed update is rolled out that crashes, disables or results in unexpected behaviour which now effects every user and potentially every corner of your site. The management aspect is all about access control (who can do what), impact of changes (such as outages and scope), improvements and staging of changes. Imagine you wish to advertise a sale or something unrelated to the shop, with everything bundled together is it easy to show this where you want it or make it display how and when you need it to?
In the end, it comes down to your personal choice but often this decision is pushed upon you by service providers who look to entice you with "do it yourself" approaches and by your own cost pressures. You are generally offered an all in one solution that is dynamic, one flat fee and effectively outsources the labour to yourself. If you are employing a staff member to maintain your website or other online services then you should factor this in to the actual cost of your website. Maybe it's time you ask yourself a few questions like, is your webpage worth what you are paying, is it crowded, is it "clean", would I want to buy from my business and how does the website respond when you run it on a laptop and in mobile environments? What are you getting for the services delivered through these dynamic providers, do you need to be tech savvy, do you have any idea of what impact your choices have? It is effectively the same principle as with your car, if you feel comfortable with doing the maintenance yourself and have sufficient time to spend doing that particular task then do so. If you feel like you need professional assistance, advice and who is capable of doing the tasks that are outside your capability then maybe you should involve a professional. If you are looking for a professional then look no further, ActsIntuitively can assist you and we have the capability to work on projects of varying size, complexity, to your budget and assist on an ongoing basis. If you are interested in finding out more about what we can do for you then please feel free to visit our main website or contact us. Thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.
Technical Services Manager
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