It has been true for a long time that ecommerce web sites can cost many times more than static product display or information sites. Unfortunately, this is a lot of smoke and mirrors, perpetuated in part by the desire of some really capable people to make a good living.
Sure, in the early days it might have been true, but for the most part I doubt if even they realize how much easier it has become.
So let me say this once clearly.
There is VERY LITTLE actual new code writing going on in the web site design community right now.
Why? Well, just like the university essays I used to write, code writing is an incremental kind of knowledge.
When a language is born – even English, for example – it has a rather limited set of attributes – words, expressions, nouns, verbs, and so forth. Computer languages are born in an even more rudimentary fashion, but also rely on public use for much of their growth.
As capabilities are demanded of the language, some really smart people get together and make new, revised standards for the language to support the new capabilities that web site designers are all clamoring for. It’s akin to writing an updated dictionary for the language to reflect the new realities of its use.
On the ground level, where we use the language to develop websites, older, less sophisticated expressions, nouns, verbs and the like are not tossed away. Newer, more advanced ones are simply added on to them. Most web site designers have hundreds or even thousands of such bits of web site languages kicking around and filling up way too much space on their hard drives…
It goes something like this: When I have to add a feature to a web site,a developer will generally look at existing code first to see if there is something closely related. When they find it, they basically say ‘It almost does what I want, but not quite, so let’s do this’. And Voila! A new piece of code is born. It is much faster and cleaner (as in less prone to time-consuming late night debugging sessions) to adapt and add to existing code than to write it from scratch.
On top of that a host of new platforms have emerged over the years that allow people to get ecommerce websites up and running in minutes!
Some of the key players in the space are Wix, Squarespace and Shopify. If you want more control over the detail and capabilities then WordPress is also an option.
While these offerings provide a “templated” solution they come with the advantage of being low cost and ready to go. By an large if you a small business owner you should first look to some of these tools before even considering a custom solution.