Volusion E-Commerce: Solid Solution for Smaller Blogs
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Sometimes all the bells and whistles just aren’t necessary. And in these cases, something humble but functional may be just what you need.
For serviceable e-commerce software without all the extras, look no further than Volusion. That’s not to say it lacks features — not at all!
It works very well, provides everything you need to get started, and runs on a stable — and generally bug-free — platform. It may not be able to boast about having the most customers or the most out-of-the-box features, but Volusion deserves consideration for its focus on practicality.
Made for Blogs & Small Startups
Though it’s a pretty generalized e-commerce program — one that suits the needs of just about everyone — Volusion works best for a certain demographic. That demographic can best be described as new bloggers, perhaps ones that haven’t even started their ventures yet, looking for a low-key program that will get their sites running without much difficulty.
Volusion is very easy to setup and use. And since all the necessities are included, searching for compatible hosting isn’t necessary. With hosting, site building, and general hassle cut out — and no coding required to work with the service — there’s very little difficulty involved with using this program. This makes it perfect for one-person startups, like bloggers who don’t have the time or money to hire designers or programmers.
For more extensive projects, however, Volusion might not be what you’re after. There’s a hard bandwidth cap and no apparent custom plan or upgrade options that make it unpalatable to larger operations.
All the Necessary Features
As a shopping cart program made for smaller merchants, Volusion doesn’t have the most exhaustive feature list, but what it does provide is geared specifically toward the needs of this demographic. A few free themes and a simple site builder are included, but for full customization, you’ll need to delve into the code. There’s not a huge list of themes but there’s enough variety to satisfy most.
The CMS allows you to manage your store easily. Check out the free trial if you want to see for yourself. Products aren’t unlimited, unfortunately, but product options are. You can sell a shirt in 100 different colors if you’d like. You can also manage your inventory, your social media profiles, payment, and customer info from this dashboard.
While SSL certificates and domain names are something you’ll need to worry about on your own, hosting and the e-commerce software itself are taken care of. There are no transaction fees so you can save your hard-earned money as you sell on Amazon, eBay, or directly through your site. Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.Net, and other popular gateways are all available.
WordPress integration is also available thanks to the Volusion plugin. Whether you have an existing WordPress blog or want to build a new one to accompany your Volusion-based store, you can connect these two entities using this plugin. Since WordPress is a favorite CMS among bloggers, having this integration available as an option is essential.
Rounding off the feature’s list is your typical SEO toolset: meta descriptions, robots.txt, and sitemaps are available to tweak. 24/7 support and plenty of do-it-yourself help articles and blog posts are there to help you along, too.
Again, it’s not the biggest set of base features, but for the low price and ease of use, new blogs and startup businesses will have a great foothold to get established.
If you decide to go with Volusion, you have four different plans to choose from, with offerings of a suitable range from brand-new blogs to more established publications. Most features are included in every plan, so choosing the right one is all about bandwidth and the number of products you want to sell.
The tiniest plan is inexpensive and perfect if you’re testing out e-commerce integration with a blog for the first time. Since all you need is a domain, you don’t have to lock yourself into a long hosting contract. The product cap is more than enough to suit the sort of sales bloggers most often make: artwork, digital downloads and ebooks, and other creative works. And there’s enough bandwidth to support a reasonable number of interested shoppers that will come to check out your new store.
From there, the two middle plans will hold up under a decent stream of customers and bandwidth usage as your blog grows in popularity. If you’re starting a larger project that needs lots of products and hefty amounts of bandwidth, you may wish to start here.
The last plan is for select, successful companies — and yet, it’s still surprisingly cheap, all things considered. You get unlimited products, your own account manager, and priority support. Bandwidth is still capped, but that shouldn’t be a problem until you become very large.
Unfortunately, there’s no indication of a custom plan with extra bandwidth. So once you outgrow Volusion, you’ll have to move on. Still, its services will work for most blogs, and most who hit the bigtime tend to hire a programming team and move on to platforms like Magento anyway.
Other Options to Consider
If Volusion isn’t doing it for you, no worries, there are plenty of other e-commerce platforms aimed toward bloggers and smaller businesses out there. Here are a few to choose from:
- SparkPay: this and Volusion rival one another. While the latter is a much cheaper deal, SparkPay contains some features you may be willing to pay more for. Otherwise, these companies are fairly similar.
- BigCommerce: while a bit more expensive, BigCommerce’s revenue-locked plans, with unlimited products, bandwidth, and so on, may be more desirable. It also works for larger projects.
- ZenCart: for a new project, ZenCart works great. Small developers may enjoy tinkering with the code or checking out the community-fueled app store.
Basic E-Commerce Hosting with Blog Integration Available
This may not be the most flashy e-commerce platform out there. Or the cheapest. Or the one with the most features. But it gets the job done. Often, you’ll have to sacrifice ease-of-use for a lower price tag or pay a high cost to get more features. Volusion is valuable because it’s perfectly balanced between price, features, and usability.
It’s an all-around good program, one that will work for a majority of blog projects that require e-commerce integration.
Add it to your list of prospects, and check out the 14-day free trial. If you like what you see, you’ll have a stable, balanced platform to grow your new blog business on. What Volusion lacks in showiness, it makes up for a solid foundation.