10 Steps to Magento Ecommerce on a (small) Budget

September 3, 2010

This post basically regurgitates greatly expands on an email I sent to a good friend of mine this week when he asked me about building an ecommerce webstore, and whether the quote he had of $25,000 was reasonable for an owner-operator hand-painted pottery website. Hint: it’s not.

Naturally enough I didn’t think that was reasonable, and I listed a few simple steps that can be taken to get a free Magento webstore up and running for a small budget – at least an order of magnitude less than the agency quote. The catch is, it takes a bit of elbow grease and tech savvy – it doesn’t require you to actually program computers though.

I’ll state upfront, I’m the kind of person who would rather have a store that only does half of the things you want it to, running; than one that is still in development with load of great features ‘coming soon’. I subscribe to the actually shipping is the best feature philosophy of software development (that’s also my excuse for releasing buggy beta software).

So, with the 10 steps below, you can join the dot.com boom and get selling your products online through Magento. I’ll run through the steps below, and try to keep a running tally of costs as we go. If you spot anything you disagree with, please comment, I’d like this to be as accurate as possible. Preamble over, let’s get down to it.

1. Domain name

The trend these days is to get a keyword loaded domain for your ecommerce store, like handpaintedpottery.com. It’s true that the domain name keywords are a factor for SEO, but if you’re looking to build a cottage webstore, probably better to use your own brand name – that’s not scientific, just some friendly advice. You buy domains separate of your web hosting, always. Get .com domains from Go Daddy and cTLD’s (eg .co.nz) from the equivalent budget reseller in your country.

It’s worth noting here that buying a domain from Go Daddy is like running through a gauntlet of sneaky upsells, crossells and all-out traps.

My advice, first do a Google search for a go daddy coupon – there are approximately 10 million spammy Go Daddy affiliate websites in the world, so you just have to find a code, they’re not at all hidden – write it down, if you click on it they’ll try some spammy linking techniques, which is a pain.

Now you go through the Go Daddy Gauntlet, just say no to everything, don’t tick any boxes, enter your code at the checkout page. Depending on your code your checkout total should be between $7.50 and $11. If it’s not that, you have failed to make it through the gauntlet and are about to subscribe to a crappy email/hosting plan or pay for 5 years of domain registration when you only need 1 – start over.

Don’t worry too much about setting up the DNS records at this stage, your hosting provider should probably help you with it – let’s move on.

Cost so far, $10.

2. Hosting and Magento Install

I group Magento install and Hosting together because your host should do it for you, and should support it. We run our own servers so it’s hard to give expert advice on who to host with. I have reviewed several hosts and suggested Nexcess to many people and never once been let down by them. You can and should shop around of course. All hosts should give you a money back guarantee – if you don’t have a working Magento store within a day or two of signing up with them, move on. By working I mean you can log in to the admin, create a test product and upload an image for it – then see that product on the store front – that should flush out the usual permissions issues. Also, check your version of Magento is close to if not the latest.

Your host may offer email services, politely decline – you are about to sign up for the best free email service in the world.

Cost of hosting should be free setup, and up to around $25 or $30 per month for a small store.

Cost so far, $10 (and $30/month).

3. Email: Google Apps

Google Apps Email is by far the best platform for running your business email – best of all, the standard edition is free. There are some setup steps involved here, if you ask nicely your host may help, otherwise Google’s own step-by-step instructions are actually very good. Google detects when you’re using Go Daddy and gives you specific instructions. Follow the steps through and you should have a you@yourdomain.com email setup.

You’ll need to plug those details in to your store later for sending emails – you can use my extension to do it, and the setup is stupidly easy. (just a username and password is required)

Cost so far, still $10 (and $30/month).

4. Template Starting Point

For creating a simple low-budget store, I recommend buying a template that is close to what you want, you’ll need a developer license for it if it’s not _exactly_ what you want so you can customize it (see the next step). There are loads of places selling Magento templates, check the one you want is compatible with the latest version of Magento (1.4 at time of writing). Here’s a list of places Google turned up, there’s plenty of others, let me know if you want to add one to the list:

Once you pick a template you like the look of you’ll need to install it, if you’re going to hire someone in the next step to make some changes, probably better to let them do that first and install it once they’re finished. Otherwise most template sellers will install cheaply or for free – it’s worth doing it unless you want to roll up your sleeves and get nerdy.

Template prices vary greatly, also if you need PSD files for some major design changes that can cost extra too. Check with the template provider about what you are and are not allowed to do with their theme if you’re in doubt. In this step I’m going to budget on $250, that’s fairly conservative, I think you can get good themes for the $100 mark.

Cost so far, still $260 (and $30/month).

5. Template Customization

You should go through the demo template site or your own one with a couple of demo products loaded on it (if you installed your new theme already) and make notes on the things you want to change – these should be the must-haves, not the nice-to-haves at this point. It’s a good idea to look at the product types (step 8. below) when deciding layout changes. From a developer point of view, changing colors, fonts and minor layout details is quite easy, it’s hard to explain to a non technical person what constitutes an easy change, and what doesn’t but we’ll find out in the next step!

Once you have your list of changes you’re going to go to a site like Elance and post a new job request with your list and a link to the demo template. You should ask the bidders to give you an indication if any one item in your list is really hard as that might be a good one to drop off and make the quote smaller – you can communicate with the bidders about this.

It’s hard to say how much this step will cost, but a good magento developer should be able to tweak styles and fonts, and minor layout changes in 10 hours tops – rates on Elance for developers will range in the $20-$50 (some are much higher, but you don’t need one of those developers for template changes – that’s like hiring a water works engineer to fix a leaky tap!). You should ask for fixed quotes and they should stick to them. Again we’ll err on the conservative side and go with 10 hours of custom development at $50/hour.

Cost so far, still $760 (and $30/month).

6. Email Template configuration

This can be done by yourself by editing the templates via the Magento admin interface (System -> Transactional Emails) – but it might be better to hire a developer to help you, basically you just need to make sure the logo and language is as you want it. You can work through the emails previewing them in the admin interface, and post your changes to Elance like you did with the web templates. Should only take an hour or two to tweak the templates. Let’s allow another $100.

Cost so far, $860 (and $30/month).

7. Extensions

It’s very tempting to go like a kid-at-a-candy-store in Magento Connect with so many great extensions on offer. But it’s important that you realize extensions are not like apps on the AppStore. Each one you install is like another round of Russian roulette, where there’s a chance they’ll conflict and cause some obscure bug in your store. I’d almost suggest you try not using any to start with.

Naturally, I recommend my own extensions – SEO sitemap submission, SMTP emailing and more recently an offsite backup extension.

I’ll assume you get tempted by a couple of paid extensions at $50 a pop.

Cost so far, $960 (and $30/month).

8. Product listings

You’ll need to try out a few different product types to decide how you want to present you products on the front end. You should have decided this before you get a developer to make some changes to your template, as each product type has a subtly different template presentation. Once you know what product type you’ll use you can begin adding the products and categories. This will take some time – if you have 100′s of products, consider hiring someone to help yo import them from a spreadsheet. For a small pottery store, there will only be a handful of products and they can be entered manually.

Cost so far, still $960 (and $30/month).

9. Content pages

You’ll need to add some pages with content about your product, about you, and answer the usual FAQ about shipping, tax etc. Have a look at a few popular ecommerce stores to get a guide for what you should have here.

To actually create the pages, you can use the built in editor, but it tends to generate horrendous HTML – it’ll be ok for the first iteration of a store. Later it might be worth hiring someone to put it into nice clean HTML (tell them you just want div’s h’s, p’s and ul’s with CSS).

Cost $0 or $100 – let’s go with nothing for now. When your store sells it’s first 10 things, then you can go splurge on someone to help you tidy up the content HTML.

Cost so far, still $960 (and $30/month).

10. Payment Provider Configuration

There are two very quick, easy options here that don’t require a monthly fee; Paypal and manual bank transfer. These are the two options I suggest for your first few weeks/months of business. If you start getting a high rate of abandoned orders then consider getting a better payment gateway, but beware of PCI compliance, you never want to get in a situation where you need that, it’s more trouble than it’s worth for small stores. I’m pretty sure it’s all an elaborate scam actually, but that’s just my tinfoil hat wearing opinion.

You can sign up to Paypal for free, their site is a bit shit but you’ll be able to muddle through it. You’ll need some basic credentials added to your Magento backend in order to enable it.

Bonus step 11. Adwords

J.T quite rightly noted that to make any sales at all on day one you’re going to need to market your store. To make those first 10 sales, I suggest Google’s adwords. But the other big search engines also have CPC adverting schemes. There’s a million books, articles and blogs on the subject so I won’t try to give any tips on how to do this – it differs from product to product too. maybe someone would like to guest author a couple of simple paragraphs on the subject? – please let me know.

Conclusion

Well that’s my list of 10 steps that should get you in business online with Magento for under a $1000 . I’d really appreciate feedback and input on it, I’ll update it where appropriate as I would hope people find it accurate and helpful when starting out down the Magento ecommerce road.

Ashley

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Hi! I'm Ashley Schroder, a Software Engineer from New Zealand - this is a collection of notes on my experiences with Ecommerce Web Development, particularly Magento Development.

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17 responses to 10 Steps to Magento Ecommerce on a (small) Budget

  1. I Agree! You do not need 25K to get an eCommerce website. I guess, most retailers fear eCommerce for that very reason.

  2. May as well throw in step 11. AdWords to get those first 10 sales.

    I hear these horrendous fees every now and then as well. Of course, you are paying for the people who do the work, their income tax, the mark-up on top of their wages that goes to the agency and then for all the time it takes them to make fancy proposals and so on. Add it all up and something that literally costs 2500 will be quoted at 10K. If you have no idea of profitability yet, the 2.5k will be a better choice. If you need an an going relationship with people you can ring or visit, the 10K option may be better.

  3. Insightful as always, thanks JT. I’ve added a bonus step 11. You’re also right that if you have an agency you can expect support and service.

  4. Also a small correction on step 10.

    It’s not a matter of trying to avoid having to be PCI compliant, you simply have to be. I just went through the renewal system over the weekend as compliance is valid for just one year. In light of this being a beginners post, let me summarise…

    Option A. You simply use PayPal Standard and therefore Magento never gets to store, see or handle credit card details. You don’t use PayPal virtual terminal and therefore you never get card details by post or over the phone. You do fewer than 20K transaction a year. This all means you are a Level 4 Merchant of type 1. SAQ A applies to you. Simply complete this Self-Assessment Questionnaire A:

    https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/saq/index.shtml

    Tell your bank about this and you should be fine. Make sure you never ever get card details by email. As per the SAQ A, you need policies for the eventuality this does happen.

    Option B. You use PayPal, maybe also Google Checkout and perhaps other payment systems like Authorize.net where people are definitely shipped off to an external, PCI compliant website first, before they enter your card details. In other words, your site still never ever gets to handle, transmit, see or store, not even get a sniff of card details. On top of this, you use a virtual terminal, like PayPal’s, so you can take a card over the phone. Problem here is that you then get to hear and perhaps write down briefly the card details. Or at least, you type it in the virtual terminal, so whichever way you look at it, you get to see somebody’s full card details.

    This changes the game completely. You now become a Type 4, Level 4 merchant and SAQ C applies (like me). The questionnaire is a bit more comprehensive but still free. However, you now need more policies to ensure your network is safe. You enter the card details in your browser in the virtual terminal so the PCI DSS standards want to make sure your do that safely. This involves patches, virus scanners etc. the usual security stuff. On top of that comes a cost. You need to be formally scanned on your office IP address, at least quarterly. Through an approved scanning vendor (ASV).

    https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pdfs/asv_report.html

    That cost me £75 GBP so not too bad even for a beginner. The process was easy too. Once compliant, make sure you have policies and procedures in place to still never get electronic card details, like email. Paper only. And if on paper, shred it, or at least remove the CVV code as storing CVV is a big no-no.

    What Ashley probably means with 10 is, you definitely don’t ever want to use Magento’s built in ability to capture card data. Switch it off, break it and don’t use it. That gets you into a massive legal spaghetti junction. Your PCI requirements will go through the roof and will costs you tens of thousands of whatever Western currency. Store card details digitally = can of worms = nightmare = lawsuits if you loose that data.

    So in summary. PCI DSS applies to all merchants. The level of hassle depends on whether you get a sniff of card details. For beginners, you probably are Type 1, Level 4 and need SAQ A. Even if you take card details over the phone or by fax/post, it’s still easy and cheap enough through SAQ C. Anything beyond that and it gets ugly.

    So when picking a payment module, get in writing and verify yourself that at the point of typing in card details, you/your customer is definitely NOT on your website/server and those details do not get posted to or from your site/server. Then you’re cool.

    But hey, beginners guides shouldn’t have scary stuff so let’s not even go there… :) Sorry that the small correction ended up huge.

  5. Wow thanks for that PCI summary JT – sorry this didn’t get straight through onto the site, Akismet marked it for moderation. You’re right, basically I meant you never want to receive card details yourself, unless you are a big time merchant, or you love getting chargeback letters. The key is when some buyer wants to buy from you – make them do it through Paypal, or GC, never take their card details and process it on their behalf.

    I suggest using services like Paypal initially because they make you compliant out-of-the-box with standard payments. Google Checkout is also PCI compliant, so you don’t have to be apparently.

    I might be wrong on this, but as far as I’m aware if you never see, hear or know a customer’s credit card number – then you can’t be liable for any credit card industry security requirements.

    Let Google and Paypal worry about those and get on with making the best damn hand painted pots you can!

  6. Thanks for linking to our site! (MagThemes.com)

    I think this is a great post for people who want to start up their own operation. We get a ton of requests for new store development and while some people want to simply pay a fee to have everything done for them, others actually want to learn how it is done.

    Everyone in our office (myself included) was self taught in Magento. It took us a while, but if you are willing to put in the time, anyone with a bit of web savvy can get their own online shop started. Just don’t ever underestimate the amount of elbow grease you will need!

  7. what about amazon payments? compliant?

  8. Ashley, I think your Google link to the guy claiming PCI is not applicable is wrong.

    I may be wrong too but it makes sense to me that everybody needs to be PCI compliant, all merchants that is. If you sell stuff and people can pay with cards, you need to be compliant. It just so happens to be that if you have outsourced all of that, to say PayPal or Google, your attestation of compliance is extremely straight-forward. It becomes a statement of “I’m compliant because I don’t handle cards”. Without that statement, they have you as non-compliant.

    I base that on the official website, which I’d take any day over an unnamed guy in a forum. For that same reason, your readers shouldn’t trust my judgement either as they don’t know me from Adam either. But let me back up my thoughts:

    https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/saq/instructions_dss.shtml#instructions

    SAQ Validation Type 1, key quote: “Card-not-present (e-commerce or mail/telephone-order) merchants, *all cardholder data functions outsourced*.” My emphasis. That needs SAQ A. That’s the easy one, no scan required, done in 10 minutes.

    Who do you file your compliance statement with?

    https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/qsa_asv/find_one.shtml

    See “Approved Security Assessors”. Go through the process with them and then copy your bank/acquirer (if you have one) in too. Possibly even your business insurer. Better safe than sorry.

    So based on my extensive checking, EVERYBODY who sells stuff and their customers can pay by card needs to be PCI compliant. The fact your system doesn’t see, hear, smell or feel card details is no excuse. You still need to tell the governing bodies that that is the fact. No cards = not applicable = not true. In fact, it’s no cards = still applicable = very easy process. And mostly free.

    How Amazon Payments fits in I don’t know. But I would do this. Which is the procedure for any payment service.

    1. Try it out on a website that uses it already or set up a dev environment. Go through the checkout and take note of the URL of where you enter the card details. If that’s not your URL, you should be OK for simple PCI.

    2. Confirm that with the payment service provider in question as well as with the developer who built the payment bridge/module. Ask “Does your system/code cause my site/server to store, handle or pass card details?” If the answer is No from both, your’re good for simple PCI. If yes, you’re in for a more tricky ride beyond the scope of this post and its comments.

    3. Now complete PCI-DSS compliance with an approved assessor from the list above.

    Simples :)

    But it is still confusing despite their best efforts to make it simple. But I think I’ve seen enough proof to think that everybody needs to be PCI compliant and submit the attestation, whether you use PayPal or not.

  9. The time consumed by yourself is maybe missing and as J.T. explained we have labor on it (price per hour).

    For example, configuration is about 4 hours of work (including cronjobs, backups, etc…), inserting all products can take you days if you don’t import it using the importation tool and most of the time you have management to make on with your Elance guy’s recruited, preparing documents, preparing tasks, etc..

    So, finally I think that if you are a techie guy (like me :-) ) I would do it my self along my evenings but otherwise you will need to take someone to take care of your website.

    Between 10 and 11 I would add SSL Certificate $70/per year that is really important to gain trust with the customer. (even if you make some AdWords if you don’t have the customer trust you wouldn’t have some orders)

  10. @loopion – Don’t get me wrong, this list totally ignores your own time as the person setting up the store on purpose. If your time is valuable, like a $5k/day heart surgeon, I wouldn’t advise tinkering with your own Magento store on your nights and weekends – just hire someone to do it. Likewise if you have a big business that’s already making lots of sales offline. But if you’re a small business that can’t afford the big upfront of an agency, then what I’m saying here is that it can be done on the cheap, if you’re prepared to work at it.

    Regarding SSL – if you are using hosted payment options, you’ll probably not need SSL for any actual security reasons. You’re right though, in that some customers might feel safer if you add some SSL ‘flair’ to your site footer. I think people refer to them as ‘trust badges’?

    @J.T. – I can’t argue with that! It’s a bit of an interesting situation though. What if I sell my old fishing rod on ebay – where the customer pays *me* with a credit card via paypal – would I need PCI for that? What if I import and sell 1000 fishing rods via ebay? Or what if I sell my old books on Amazon, and then affiliate link to the Amazon listings on my blog? Are these situations any different in the eyes of the PCI-club than a merchant using Paypal or Amazon Payments? If so, why? It’s all very confusing to me – but it seems I need to fill out some SAQ forms – right after I fix this Google Checkout VAT bug I’m working on!

  11. I’m also in favour of SSL for any login page. No matter which payment processor you use. For the little money it’s a big gain IMO, though potentially tricky to set up for non-techs.

    And yes, your eBay example make PCI even more complex. You could argue you are still a merchant and your success or even failure of trading still evolves around people being able to pay by card. So if a lawyer were to find it fun to examine the depths of PCI DSS legal spiel, I’m pretty sure he’d find that even those need to be compliant. Remember the goal. Protecting card data. ‘They’ don’t care how you sell. As long as you are uber careful with card data. So it makes sense that they’d want everybody who sells stuff to be aware of the basics. Eg SAQ A. Because that still helps John Doe newbie eBayer to think about passwords, virus scanners and wifi security.

    But indeed, it’s not clear. But if you have a website and a business, PCI is part and parcel. If yuo don’t have a website and use eBay and don’t have a business because you sell the books from your loft-clear-out, then who knows, you may be exempt from PCI. But still have an netizen obligation to know about security.

  12. Just to bang on about the topic ad nauseam…

    I think it can be summarised as following.

    If you use PayPal-like payment processors where you and your website/server never get to see/process/store/handle card details, you still need to be PCI compliant by completing (in most cases) SAQ A. Because if you weren’t going to claim compliance, how else would they have a record of how you claim to process card details? It’s an attestation of compliance they need whether you process cards OR NOT.

    If you don’t process/handle/store cards, they still need to know.

  13. I find this to be a misleading article, as it sits on a very, VERY big set of assumptions; that you have the know-how and skill to perform all of the outline steps. If you dont have the skills required, you are going to need MASSIVE amounts of time to get them. I believe you get what you pay for, and under such instructions above, I believe you have a recipe for total disaster for somebody who has no idea about the technologies involved.

    The bigger question needs to be mentioned with this article to be responsible and that is:

    Should you as a business follow these instructions?

    If I need a brain surgeon today to remove a cranial growth I dont pull out a “do-it-yourself” book.
    There is waay too many books to read to perform the surgery correctly in the time required.
    But I am sure the tools are cheap, and the total procedure is done in under 40 minutes.
    I am not sure where to make the incision exactly (a minor detail), I will just cut somewhere and see what happens.

    However credit is due:
    Can you build a Magento online shop for less than $25000?
    Yes. (I mean – hell- a plastic scapel costs 95 cents – what a bargain!)

    So, should you?
    Just ask yourself what is at stake for you and your business and the answer is simple.
    If you are not certain, ask a surgeon if you should be performing dangerous self-surgery when you do not have the skill and know-how to do so. Take the surgeon’s answer. It will be the right one.

    I wouldn’t recommend any business to “do it on the cheap”, I would recommend they seek immediate financial advice/help if they even look at business in such a way. They obviously have bigger problems. If you think cheap, you end up getting paid like you think.

    Many businesses have problems stepping into ecommerce not because of the price tag per se.
    It is because they do not have the skill, know-how and resources to do so. A shop that expects yearly 5+ digit incomes* do not worry about 5 digit start up costs, because you make it back in the first years. Those start-up costs should turn into a drop in the ocean after 5-10 years if your business is still around. If you are earning less than 5 digits per year from your enterprise, dont give up your day job. Re-think your business plan. (* western world figures)

    Business is a risk. If you can’t risk, don’t do business.
    If you do risk, try and minimize that risk by weighing up the pros and cons of endeavours to form workable/profitable solutions.

    Access to digital tools have opened the gates to “amateur hour” and have changed the economic landscape, but good business sense has not changed for millenia, though it seems it is just harder to find it in the cacophony of progress.

    I recently use Magento as a solution for some businesses to sell online, it is great, but I have been doing IT and business for 14 years, I put that experience behind my work. Though some businesses don’t need Magento to make money online, when only a small single page website with an address and telephone number would do the same job. With 14 years of experience I can still tell clients that sometimes, simple is better. They pay me $$$ to hear that, and I know *when* to say it.

    Knowing *which* tool to use when and how to use it, is why clients should pay you $$$. They don’t pay you for the tool, the SSL cert, the PCI compliancy, Magento, OSCommerce, XHTML, CSS, JS, OOP, PHP, SMTP, jQuery, Flash, Adwords, Zend, Varien, Apache, MySQL, DNS,Google, PayPAL, CVV, encryption, public-keys…. blah, blah, blah.. (I could rattle off hundreds of IT invented constructs) these are meaningless words to your clients at the end of the day, even though it is your responsibility to know them… they pay you for the outcome of the tool, proportional to the success they will have with it. The bigger the potential for success and with greater complexity of implementation, the more they should be paying.

    At the end of the day a person who offers ecommerce solutions is just selling a mechanism for success for the customer. If your customer succeeds you will succeed as well, and you have done your job.

    If you think the $25000 price tag is for the Magento implementation only, you have been coding waaaaaay too long. Get some sunshine, and think about how you can do better business for your clients and yourself.

    They will pay you much more if you can show them how they will succeed. ;-)

    my 2c.
    Dave.

    BTW if you are a kid selling lemonade on the side of the street and you have *NO* idea about internet technologies, let me know when you have made your first Magento install and I can buy some online. I am thirsty after this post. :-)

  14. Dave, you do protest too much and its not hard to guess why.
     
    If someone has landed on these pages (nice remodeling by the way), and found this article they are showing definite signs of considering a DIY attempt. This article gives the confidence to do it – and reminds me I have built my store in a similar way but have failed to put it live – whilst messing with bells and whistles. Shame on me.
     
    Typically small businesses even the best bricks and mortar independent retail stores start small and are bootstrapped not funded by venture capital. Often the money has to be spent on overheads and stock.
     
    Great article, for people willing to have a go, and showing that you have options. It would be great to add in more steps on: Froogle which can be good for free traffic; links to SEO optimisation tips such as yoast; alternative transaction plugins, as some will already have a Visa merchant account; and finally advice about hosting, as a Brit I am always weary of the impact on SEO of hosting abroad.

     Remember it always feels good to pick up a paintbrush even if you can get a decorator’s quote.
     
    Well done Ashley.

  15. I agree: PCI compliance is a bunch of baloney. Ask yourself this question: If my store is compliant with the credit card industry then if something goes wary then the credit card company (who forced their compliance) should be responsible for the damages. Right? That will never happen. PCI is just a way to increase revenue streams across the board (c/c companies, banks, hosting providers, lawyers, etc). PCI seems to be intended to make doing business online safer but instead may be a destabilizing blow the ecommerce industry; especially for the small business owner.

  16. I approve this article :-) Yes setting up an ecommerce shop can be done for less than $1 000.
    And in less than a day, should I add.

    What I wanted to say is that I actually had some fun proving a friend that I could set-up an e-commerce site for free in one single day. Not with Magento, though.
    We’re talking about WordPress – I know what you think, but wait a minute: Magento is very badly coded, right?
    Probably the most anarchical, undocumented, vaguely object oriented, piece of software ever developped: Frankensteincode.
    Done with great marketing sense, I must admit.

    Back to our common desire to build a working ecommerce website for – way – less than $1 000.
    WordPress has come a long way from the super simple blog solution that made its reputation to becoming the most popular full blown open source CMS on this planet. Joomla is dead, Drupal is still doing fine.
    At least with WordPress there is a real community of tens of thousands of developers, and the biggest open source community in the world.
    The code is definitely better. And so are performances – admittedly not mind blowing out of the box, but still …. And the desired features are now there.

    Check the free WooCommerce plugin, for instance – there are many others but this one isn’t half baked.
    All you need is there, from catalog to cart to checkout to shipping to user management, follow-up marketing, gifts, vouchers, coupons…dozens of gateways and scores of plugins ( which usually are compatible, unlike many Magento extensions, and much much less expensive).
    Very little coding is required, and none if you buy a proper theme – and these are definitely sexier than Magento’s as it is one of WordPress’ strong points.

    And… it works.
    And yes it is less buggy than Magento.
    And yes it is faster.
    You may not benefit from advanced, top heavy, third party integration tools, things like that, right..No SAP, no Salesforce and so on. (Even though you could, in theory, developping proper connectors are always a possibility since the code is open.)
    But a full blown CRM suite or a warehouse management tool is not needed by 95% of ecommerce websites anyway.

    The same set of features would require you to shell out more than $ 10 000 with Magento, as some are only available with their Enterprise edition.
    And such ecommerce functionalities integrate very nicely with WordPress as a CMS, if you want a blog with your ecommerce shop. Which can’t be said about Magento, horrendous to use as a CMS.

    For a small shop selling hand made potteries, that would be a perfect fit.
    Without a doubt better than Magento, which I am afraid would be rather oversized for the task, if you ask me.

    I would not recommend the use of WordPress to handle a large ecommerce site, but let’s say that for 95% of ecommerce websites (you know the stats, those making less than $1 M/year), it is quite sufficient to start with.

  17. I tend to agree with Dave. An E-commerce shop for under $1,000 will rarely get you the outcome you want. Not to mention, step 10 is misleading. There is a monthly and up-front cost to Payment Gateways. Payment providers require payment, as do tax providers. Payment gateways like Chase Paymentech and Authorize charge a flat fee per month, as do various tax providers like Avalara, etc. You also didn’t mention tax providers. Magento does have this built into their platform, but it’s still something to consider. Also step 11, Adwords, there is a cost here as well. Say you’re buying $300 worth of words per month, that’s $3,600 annually. Anything less than $200-$300 won’t get you anything. So you’re nice little price tag has now risen from an unrealistic amount of $1,000 to well over $5k. The article is well written but sets the wrong tone for anyone starting out.