Owning and running your own ecommerce business, in the end, is like any other business. It is a risk. It takes considerable capital, time, work and a lot of 40-hour weeks before you can brand your business as a success.
One of the considerations that many new entrepreneurs who want to venture into ecommerce is whether or not they should start with an independently hosted site. Many established web companies offer templates for ecommerce sites, with add-ons or widgets that you pay for in subscription fees. So why not minimize risk and just invest in that?
At first, joining an established network may seem like a smart plan. But before you do so, make sure you weigh the pros and cons. There are many good reasons why you should own your ecommerce website. Find some of the main ones below:
Control Over Hosting and Bandwidth
Owning your own ecommerce website means you have control over serving hosting, the size of bandwidth and the amount you pay per month. You can scale your bandwidth to your business needs and upgrade later on. Paying for this also means that you own your own domain name, which can be a boon when business booms.
If you host your site on a network, you have no control over where or when your server will go down. Because the network also controls the server, you are at the mercy or whim of their network, not your own. This becomes a valid issue during server maintenance, which may be done during off-peak hours in the home state the server is based in. This may be peak hours where you are.
It's Your Main Source of Income
Many small ecommerce sites hosted on a network are often side businesses. Not every blogger becomes a sensational success based on number of hits alone and not everyone hits it big with a new and different product. For many entrepreneurs, they consider their ecommerce sites a side business or as an additional source of income. This means they do not really want to be troubled with the costs that come with server hosting or site maintenance.
If your website will be your main source of income, you need to have bigger creative control over your content management system and shopping carts.
You Want To Stand Out
Many platforms that host ecommerce sites offer templates for convenience and quick setups. This means that unless you really know what you are doing, you will end up with a generic template that looks and feels exactly like everyone else's ecommerce site. Although many ecommerce sites follow the same design principles, the presentation and the look and feel differs from one website to another. How are you supposed to attract your customers if your website looks exactly like a thousand other websites out there?
On the other hand, templates are very convenient if a) you do not really know what you want or b) your budget is nonexistent. However, you may end up considering moving to your own website sooner than later, as templates quickly become boring and you are exposed to more design ideas.
Those Charges Add Up
Platform websites often offer basic services and subscription-based services. Other offer premium services for monthly or yearly fees. They charge more if you want to override existing programming and input additional code. They charge more if you want to upgrade your images. They charge more...you get the idea. These charges, although they may look like simple one-time charges that will save you money, actually add up.
Individually, $18 a month for extra space does not sound too bad, but that an extra $216 dollars at the end of the year. Add that to the $14 a month they charge for extra picture uploads and the $25 they charge for hosting. How about the $4 a month they charge for additional shopping cart widgets? That's $728 a year. So you end up paying more for convenience than you would for subscription package.
There are four of the best reasons why you should consider owning your own website. It can make a lot of difference when it comes to creative control, standing out from the competition and avoiding additional expenses for your ecommerce business. It can make or break your business and knowing these reasons can help you make a better decision.