I am quite sure I have mentioned each of these Zen Cart tips many times before — Just not in this consolidated form. We receive many calls and emails from frightened and surely scammed ecommerce site owners. These calls range from outrageous to just plain poor planning. To help you get started or make your current ecommerce business more manageable we will share these crucial tips all in one place today. Stop back as I may add to this list, as we hear new nightmares frequently.
- Your Zen Cart is not a free meal ticket. It’s not easy, nor work free. Very likely you will find it to be a great deal of time and effort. Make the commitment early on — and stick to it.
- NEVER, EVER, EVER allow a webmaster or Zen Cart designer/developer to register YOUR domain in his/her name. If you have to ask why, you have not done enough research to get started in this business.
- Demand that your designer/developer maintain a fully transparent line of communication regarding your Zen Cart project — Start to finish.
- Get it in writing! If your Zen Cart developer cannot give you a maximum quote (at least), then he/she is not experienced enough to give your project the quality it deserves.
- Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Certainly our Zen Cart store packages are more expensive than some… But many times shop owners call us with a great looking, terribly coded and broken Zen Cart (which was quite expensive in many cases). There is so much more to a website than its design. I cannot even count how many Zen Cart owners have contacted us after a year with little or no sales and a really spiffy looking, broken cart!
- Demand full access control including user names and password for your hosting account and Zen Cart admin. You don’t want to be calling us because your webmaster skipped and you can’t access your cart — or worse you don’t even know where you are hosted!
- Question everything! If your designer/developer cannot at least try to explain everything they are doing…. You likely chose a lemon.
- Do not let the designer/developer tell you what your cart is going to look like and how it will function. They should be giving you the opportunity to describe your envisioned dream site and then guiding you and helping you avoid problems and future issues.
- Ask around. While you site is in development, there is no reason you cannot seek the opinions of other web professionals, friends and family.
- Plan to spend a great deal of time working with your designer/developer on your site. To do this right, requires great and descriptive communication… Plan for this in an ongoing capacity and do not wait until he/she is done to ask for changes.
- Get an SSL… Even if you use PayPal, trust me you need it and it will increase your ability to convert sales.
- During and after development plan to learn to use your Zen Cart. While this is no easy task… it is a crucial piece. NEVER depend solely on someone else to manage YOUR business.
- Make use of the wealth of knowledge and excellent community support in the Zen Cart Forum.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your designer the what, why, how and other questions regarding the layout, design and functionality of your Zen Cart.
- Make sure you have installed Google Analytics — You will be a while learning how to extract the data you need to succeed, but in time you will learn and Viola! the data will be there for you.
Remember, this is your business… Would you have a brick and mortar business you don’t even have the door keys for??