Monday, April 7, 2014
One Crazy Month
Cold Wars was fun. I always enjoy seeing the people there, especially those I've actually had the chance to talk with and get to know. I sold some miniatures, saw some friends, played some games and started a couple of new sculpts.
Since then it's been crazy. A week of taking care of Susan while she was sick then a week of taking care of myself after I caught the bug were the low points. I was also informed that my shopping cart at the website would not be compatible with the latest version of PHP and Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. So...
I spent a week researching website and eCommerce solutions. Weebly was really tempting. It's a drag and drop web design system that has eCommerce solutions built in. Super simple, super slick and... well, super slimy. I currently use Bluehost for my website. They have a plug in for Weebly that allows you to use their software for free. All well and good. If you need eCommerce solutions you need to buy a premium Weebly addition and the Weebly eCommerce addition. Ok, fine, it was still going to cost less than a totally new professional level Weebly account. I set everything up and started adding products only to find some of the functionality missing. I called Bluehost to see if it was a problem on their end. Sometime webhosts are not totally current with the versions of third party software. After about 30 minutes of talking with the tech there, some other issues I was having were sorted out, but not the Weebly problem.
My next email was to Weebly customer service (they don't have phone support). I have to say they were prompt in their replies. But the answer I got from them was that they don't supply a full working version to their third party suppliers. I wrote back to thank the sales person for the reply and told her that I thought that was a pretty slimy practice especially when I had to pay extra for both parts of their service to use it on the third party site. She sent a 20% discount coupon code for their hosting.
I thought about things for a couple of days and decided I really didn't want to give them my business. Bluehost has been really good to me when I have problems or questions and having that 24/7 phone support is really nice. The other factor was that with Weebly, I couldn't see the back end of the website. There is no way to access the files and directory structure. Not having that access irritates me.
I chose to stay with Bluehost and designed the new website with Wordpress and Woocommerce. Word press is a one click install on Bluehost and Woocommerce has basic eCommerce solutions that work. If I want the super detailed shipping module that breaks things into zones and weight classes and such I have to pay $150 for the add on. But I think I can manage without it. I'm not sure I like the theme for the site, but that's a click of the button change if I decide on something else. For now the backup site is functioning and ready to go when needed.
The next decision is to upgrade to Windows 7 or not. Anyone with thoughts about keeping XP or upgrading sing out. My big concern is security, but things get run through a router here anyway so that may not be an issue. Bueller? Bueller?