Which Platform Should I Choose For My Website?

Shopify, Wix, Barn2Door, there seems to be too many options to choose from! Which one is right for you?

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The Problem

You’re busy. Everyone is, especially with all the things going on at the farm. From weeding to planting, there aren’t enough hours in the day. Who has time to do the research on all the many platforms like Shopify, Wix, and the others?

Hopefully, you only have to read this article to make the decision.

What Options are there?

With the uprise of the market gardening world, many farmers are looking for the option that makes the most sense for their operation.

The great news is that there are a lot of options out there. And with that obviously means competition and lower prices.

To begin, let’s start with the basics. There are really 3 categories of platforms available, and depending on your abilities and time, it can alter which you ultimately choose.

  • Build your own through proprietary software/coding. (like Wix, WordPress, or Shopify) – or hire someone to handle this.
  • Have it Built by a software company, which offers some custom functionality. (like Barn2Door)
  • Social media. (like a Facebook Shop)

What do You mean by "customization?"

To keep it simple, you get what you pay for. If you go with a site builder, like Shopify, or Wix, you can get a bit of custom features. It might be enough for your context. However, if you are needing a way to  (for example) track taxes, inventory, implement a POS system at the market, set up a multi-vendor website for your entire farmer’s market, or set up a really custom shipping solution, such as home delivery, then you might consider hiring a developer. Consider using us for your project.

 

 

Options Available

Build Your Own/Hire Someone

Customization varies

Click one to see a breakdown

* Recommended for complete customization & functionality

Built For You

By a software company- with limited custom features

Click one to see a breakdown

Social Media

With minimal customization and very limited features.

Click one to see a breakdown

Which Should I Choose?

Whew! There’s a lot to unpack here. And we only listed some of the most popular.

Let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of each.

 

Build Your Own

“Build your own” sites like Shopify or Wix enable you to have control over the appearance and content of your site. It’s a great way to express your brand. When you’re just starting out, if you have the patience, it’s really nice to have the control and ability to do anything you might need to your site.

But there is a catch, and that catch is TIME. It takes a large amount of time to not only get it set up, but to update your content regularly, manage orders, inventory, customer troubleshooting, emails, running ads for the farm, blogging, and so much more.

 

Built For You

Sites that are built for you by software companies, such as Barn2Door are growing in popularity. You pay a monthly or yearly fee, and a lot is taken care of. Things like managing inventory, tracking expenses, tax reports, getting support when you need it, and more.

The cons? You rely on a support team or representative to handle any arising issues. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories (and I used to have them happen to me) about support teams not helping after business hours, passing you along to another representative, saying they’ll get something done and never doing it, and more. It almost always ends in loss of sales, and your bottom line.

You’re constrained to the design of that company’s template and abilities. So when things change at the farm, your site typically can’t change well with it.

We recommend using a developer with WordPress for complete custom features. If you need someone to help, consider Spidrbyte Web Services!

Social Media Stores

There are millions of folks on social media. It’s the ideal place to reach people. Problem for farmers is, their business model isn’t like most others. Your goods expire, and quickly.

This is the main reason why they aren’t a popular option.

Under other circumstances, offering your products on Facebook or Instagram might be a great source of traffic.

3/5
Pros & Cons

Plans from $59-$189/month

Pros to Barn2Door

  • Sell subscriptions to food boxes.
  • Track inventory.
  • Automate reminders to order. 
  • Use offer codes for customer discounts.

Cons to Barn2Door:

  • You’re limited to the amount of orders you can have in a month. The lowest plan? 25 orders per week. The highest is unlimited orders.
  • You have to pay an up front fee to build the shop, and then anywhere from $59-$189/month.
  • You don’t get a website unless you purchase a mid level tier plan or higher. anything under that gets you a shop page.
  • You don’t get support on the customer’s side on any of the lower tiered plans.
3.5/5
Pros & Cons

Plans from $49-94/month

Pros to Local Line

  • You get an online product “catalog” that customers can order from. This keeps it simple.
  • You can paste that catalog to any site via HTML code. Which means if you already have a website, you can have your Local Line catalog on that site.
  • Support is good at what they do.
  • You can download packing lists, pick lists for the field, and send invoices
  • You can track inventory, invoices, and payments.
  • They offer a free trial, and a free builder.
  • You can set up and route deliveries, for you or your drivers.
  • They offer plans for farmer’s markets. $14.99/month per vendor

Cons to Local Line:

  • The product catalog can sometimes glitch. Normally the support team will fix the issue, but it can be annoying, and make you look unprofessional in front of customers.
  • The route planner doesn’t always show you the most optimum route
  • You have to pay extra for the features that you’re going to need. It almost seems like they trap you into a plan, then upsell you because they know it’s easier to stay than start over.
  • While you can manage inventory, it does still make it hard to track if you try to merge sales at the market. – We recommend building a WordPress site and installing a POS system plugin. Contact us for more info on that.
4/5
Pros & Cons

Plans are $150/month, or 2% of deliveries. Whichever is greater.

So you pay $150/month unless you sell over $7,500 in a month.

Pros to Farmigo

  • You only have to pay during the months that you deliver.
  • the back-end (where you do the operating) is flexible and powerful.
  • You can take subscriptions for recurring deliveries.
  • You can build custom boxes.
  • You can plan routes for deliveries.
  • You can manage inventory, customers, and other producers.
  • You can view and manage reports.
  • You can offer coupons.

Cons to Farmigo:

  • Unless something has changed, pick lists aren’t available. Which is pretty critical for when you go out in the field to pick.
  • Your products link to a separate Farmigo-based site. This creates an area for confusion, and a place for customers to leave.
  • It seems to be ideal for offering custom built boxes that customers can subscribe to.
4.5/5
Pros & Cons

You pay a percentage of income from orders.

From $124-$424/month and up from there.

Pros to GrazeCart

  • You can place holds on orders before the customer gets charged. This is important for you beef producers that have to receive orders, but don’t know the exact weight of the product just yet.
  • There are no setup fees
  • No annual contract
  • You get a blog
  • Custom Domain Name
  • Unlimited Pages
  • You can Customize SEO
  • Unlimited Products
  • Custom order minimums
  • Pick Lists
  • Manage orders and invoices
  • Give custom prices to wholesale customers
  • offer coupons and more.

Cons to GrazeCart:

  • It’s expensive for those starting out.
  • While it’s likely one of the more solid solutions, you are still constrained to their platform. Just one example,  If you want a Point of Sale that pulls inventory from your online store while you’re at market, this isn’t possible with GrazeCart.
2.5/5
Pros & Cons

$75/month and up

Pros to FarmersWeb

  • There are no setup fees.
  • integrates a crop planner (on the enterprise plan)
  • No annual contract
  • Unlimited Products
  • Custom order minimums
  • Pick Lists
  • Manage orders and invoices
  • You can show a calendar of available products.
  • Give certain buyers special pricing
  • Syncs with QuickBooks

Cons to FarmersWeb:

  • No custom domain
  • You’re limited to their template, which doesn’t offer much customization. You can’t make the site you’re paying for your own.
  • They use a processor called Brain Tree, and through that processor, it takes anywhere from 5-9 days to receive your payment, which comes in batches. It’s a little frustrating for some who need the income for cash flow in the beginning.
  • You can’t change the Search Optimization settings, but after a few months of getting customers to your site, you seem to rank on  the first page on google when peope search your farm’s name. This is time consuming and a bit of a hassle.
4/5
Pros & Cons

$18/month, paid annually, up to $46/month

Pros to Squarespace

(pros are factored only for the most expensive plan)

  • You build it yourself. You have the control over the basic overall appearance of your site.
  • Get found on Google and Bing with their SEO features
  • Comes with templates to make your build a bit faster.
  • you get 24/support
  • You get a professional email
  • You can analyze your site’s performance
  • You get an online shop, with unlimited products
  • You get a point of sale app that connects to your site
  • You don’t have customers click to a link that takes them away from your site to checkout, do it all right there on your own site.
  • Abandoned carts can b recovered
  • You can sell subscriptions
  • There are a lot of shipping features
  • You can have custom coupons.
  • If you have a blog, it’s a great option.
  • Support is via live chat, so it’s easy.

Cons to Squarespace:

  • Both a pro and a con, you build it yourself. Which takes a lot of time to do.
  • Their most helpful application is really only available for Apple products on the iOS store.
  • There’s no autosave when you edit your project .It’s not a huge problem, but it can impact your editing experience when something doesn’t get saved.
  • It’s not a great option if you have a larger website that requires a lot of pages that need a intricate menu. You get one dropdown item.
  • You do get a professional email, but it’s from Google’s GSuite, and it’s an additional $6/month
  • The sites built on squarespace are SLOW. Which leads to slow mobile page loading, and harms your search rankings on google and Bing. It also frustrates site visitors. Over 65% of shoppers are on mobile phones. Your site needs to be optimized for mobile.
4.5/5
Pros & Cons

Plans

  • $29/month
  • $79/month
  • $299/month

Pros to Shopify

  • You build it yourself. You have the control over the basic overall appearance of your site.
  • You get unlimited products, and multiple store locations if you have physical stores.
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Gift cards and coupons
  • Shopify’s Point of Sale app Lite lets you take in-person payments and manage inventory.
  • It provides a decent user experience if you’re unfamiliar to building websites, and they have in depth guides if you run into trouble.
  • It’s easy to scale , and user friendly.
  • They offer both free and paid extensions for your store.
  • They offer 24/7 support that is top notch.
  • They take care of updates and security

Cons to Shopify:

  • Both a pro and a con, you build it yourself. It takes a lot of time to do.
  • Your own domain name costs extra, starting at around $14 per year.
  • It’s recommended to use Shopify’s own payment gateways to avoid any extra transaction fees.
  • Time is the big factor with Shopify. When you run into any issues, (and you likely will) going through their guides is time consuming. You can hire a shopify pro to help, but prices vary.
  • The URL format isn’t optimal for ranking well on Google. For example, it isn’t as simple as “www.farm.com/contact” it’s more  complex, and that can affect how you rank on Google.
  • Shopify charges additional fees on top of their payment processor.
  • It isn’t easy getting pages other than the shop set up the way you want them. You might end up needing a professional.
  • When you decide to scale up, and you’re needing something more custom, you can’t hire a regular developer/coder to fix your site with Shopify. Their platform uses their own, proprietary coding language. You’ll need to hire an actual Shopify expert that knows “Liquid” code.
  • Their reports range from Okay to really great depending on what plan you have.

I do build some of my sites with Shopify. If you are interested in finding out more about our pricing, click the button below. I’m very competitive on pricing, and I go above and beyond for all of my clients. You’ll not only love your site, but you’ll save a ton of time and effort, and make more money than if you did it yourself.

4.7/5
Pros & Cons

Plans are based on a 1 year contract.

Your domain is free the first year, and then it’s $19.95 yearly afterwards.

  • $0- You don’t get a custom domain name, and there is an ad down at the bottom of the page for Weebly.
  • $6/month- You get the domain name, but there’s still the ad at the bottom.
  • $12- Removes the ad, and includes video players, phone support, and audio players.
  • $26- Comes with pro features for eCommerce stores that are a bit larger.

Pros to Weebly

  • Ease of use and affordability is what sets them apart.
  • Their themes look great, and work really well on mobile devices
  • They offer add on apps, some that are from Weebly, others are 3rd party.
  • If you have multiple admins, they make it simple to assign editors so that you can access your site from the back end and make changes.
  • You can allow specific areas of your site for “members only”
  • The drag and drop builder makes it super easy, there’s no real learning curve.
  • Menus are completely customizable, unlike Squarespace.
  • Widgets for calendars, social media, galleries, videos, and more can be added to your pages to get that function just right.
  • Their Ecommerce is solid. Unlike Wix or Squarespace, or even with most Shopify plans, Weebly offers automatic calculations for shipping and taxes upon checkout for the customer.
  • Inventory management
  • Their search optimization is customizable, which is great.
  • Blog posts are limited to one author, but they are search engine friendly and your can schedule them to be posted when you want.
  • You can integrate Google Analytics, to see site stats like Traffic and more.
  •  Security is not an issue as far as I’m aware. They offer SSL encryption on all of their plans, and they ask that you create stronger passwords than other platforms.
  • They do give you access to the coding side of the site, unlike Wix or Squarespace. And it’s in a language that isn’t proprietary, like Shopify.
  • You can start your eCommerce store in the free plan, which you don’t find on other builders.

Cons to Weebly:

  • You don’t have complete control over the elements of your site. Wix will let you move elements anywhere on your page, Weebly won’t Some folks are okay with it, but others like the option.
  •  They don’t offer a ton of template designs. They only have around 50.
  • While its a decent option for an Ecommerce shop for smaller operations, it isn’t for large ones. It simply lacks features that larger online shops need on the back end.
  • They do offer a professional email, but it’s rather pricey, through GSuite, for $6/month.
  • It does take some time to get things set up how you want, and to get used to the interface, and the online store. However I will admit that it’s easier than other platforms.

I do build some of my sites with Weebly. If you are interested in finding out more about our pricing, click the button below. I’m very competitive on pricing, and I go above and beyond for all of my clients. You’ll not only love your site, but you’ll save a ton of time and effort, and make more money than if you did it yourself.

4/5
Pros & Cons

A company worth around $15 Billion (as of July 2020), Wix is a heavy hitter for sure, hosting over 160 million websites. 

They have a complex pricing structure.

Click here for their plans

Pros to Wix

  • Their drag and drop builder makes it really easy to use. You can place any element on any part of the screen
  • Works great for mobile phones and desktops.
  • They offer many different layouts
  • They have a ton of add ons
  • They have a free plan, but it doesn’t include your own domain.
  • You get cheaper plans if you don’t have a Business/eCommerce site.
  • You can animate certain elements, like text.
  • Automatically creates backup copies of your site.
  • Security is handled by Wix in the background, so you don’t have to worry.

Cons to Wix:

  • Add ons like live chat, bookings, are typically 3rd party, and Wix doesn’t offer support for those.
  • The ad free plan begins at $13/month, which is slightly higher than Weebly’s $8 plan
  • It’s difficult to change your template once it’s chosen. In fact, you can’t switch to a new one. It isn’t possible. This can be incredibly frustrating if you ever need a new look to you site down the road.
  • The loading speed is notoriously SLOW. Especially on mobile phones. This is a real problem. People won’t stick around and wait for your page to load. Your bounce rate will go up, and sales will struggle.

I do build some of my sites with Wix. If you are interested in finding out more about our pricing, click the button below. I’m very competitive on pricing, and I go above and beyond for all of my clients. You’ll not only love your site, but you’ll save a ton of time and effort, and make more money than if you did it yourself.

4/5
Pros & Cons

The largest Content Management System.

Powers over 34% of websites worldwide, including sites for

  • Nike
  • Martha Stewart
  • The United States Government.

WordPress.org is free to use, however you must purchase a domain name and get hosting to keep your site live. We recommend you use SiteGround.

 

Pros to WordPress

  • It’s THE most customizable platform, because it is open source, meaning its completely able to be coded, and changed just how you want it.
  • Plugins offer so many ways to create custom functionality. there are almost 60,000 to choose from.
  • Your site’s performance, security, and function at any level depends on the plugins you use, and they way you manage the site. Get found on Google with plugins like RankMath, or Yoast.
  • The best plugin I’ve found for eCommerce is WooCommerce. The basic free plugin offers a ton of features that will get your shop up and going with no issues. However if you want certain features like subscription payments, really custom shipping options, and so much more, those add ons do cost extra per year. But they do exist!
  • Anything you want to do with a website, you can likely do it with this platform, and keep site speed up!
  • Works great on all devices, especially mobile.

Cons to WordPress:

  • Updating- while other platforms perform updates, sites through wordpress.org do not. This can be a hindrance, because each plugin, your theme, and WordPress itself update regularly and often. Sometimes, updates bring up some small issues that may cause you return to a previous backup.
  • WordPress is an attracitve platform for hackers, since it is open-sourced code. However there are many security plugins that work really well to stop attacks. The threat of hacking is there, no matter the platform. You can only do your best to mitigate the risk, and have a plan B in case it happens to you. Spidrbyte can help ensure this doesn’t happen.
  • Site speed may vary depending on the theme you install, or the plugins. Every part is a gear in the machine. Spidrbyte can help make sure your machine operates as fast as possible.
  • Customization- Being one of, if not the most flexible tools on the market, you can honestly have any site you can imagine. However, if you are developing your site without a professional, you are likely going to run into issues. We recommend you at least talk to us and ask an expert before you build your WordPress site. 

With so many different things to consider with WordPress, I make it easy to manage. I perform updates daily on my sites, and erase the cons listed above. 

I highly recommend WordPress. If you are interested in learning more about what I do at Spidrbyte Web Services, please visit my page, or contact me today. I offer many services, complete site redesigns, seasonal refreshing, support, and so much more.

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