Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video Focus on your strengths, part of Choosing an Ecommerce Platform for Developers.
- [Instructor] There's always new technology, new APIs, and new best practices for a developer to keep on top of. That means at least some of the time you'll be learning new things, and when I learn new things, I have a billing trick. I double the time, and half my rate. I do this so when inevitably a new technology doesn't work as expected, I have time to fix those problems and the project can be delivered on time and I charge my client a fair rate for learning on the job. This works great when I'm building a WooCommerce website where I'm already familiar with WooCommerce, and they want me to build a new integration with let's say Dropbox, which I've never worked with before.
So the time I set aside for building that integration will be doubled and the rate halved. The problem with this model is you can lose a lot of money if you're always working with new technologies, and with hundreds of e-commerce platforms, it's easy to use a new system for every single site. I could use Magento for an older client, I could use BigCommerce for a client with 10,000 products, I could use WooCommerce for a client who wants to do a lot of content marketing, and I could use Shopify for a small store just getting started. All of these are valid choices, but they do make it hard to stay in business since you have to stay on top of so many things and continuously learn.
That's why it's really helpful to pick a few platforms that you specialize in. As an example, I tend to work a lot with WooCommerce and Shopify stores, if someone needs Magento, I'll usually point them to a different developer. To illustrate just how much there is to learn, both WooCommerce and Shopify are very active platforms. Look at the news from one year of Shopify Unite, there's over two hours of keynotes, tons of sessions, all new features, and a ton of links.
Each of these links will take me to a page where there's tons to read, learn, and maybe even implement. And I just helped WooCommerce run WooSesh where there's a two hour keynote and 14 more hours of content, that is a lot of information to learn and absorb and I don't have enough time to do that with every single platform. You don't need to pick a specialty immediately, in fact if you've just started with e-commerce, it's beneficial to try different platforms, but eventually you'll realize that spending too much time learning and managing different platforms will lead to less money, at that point you want to focus on one to three platforms and double down.
- Understanding the costs of each platform
- Hosted vs. self-hosted
- Comprehensive vs. distinct services
- Customizable vs. easy to configure
- Payments and security