Yesterday was a busy day for us we were busy migrating our domain to a new hosting provider. We had been hosting with Shopify since March 2016, we felt that it was time for us to look for a more robust solution to bring the website to another level.
What were the reasons for us to make such a big change?
We were looking for a lot of ways to improve ourselves and we felt that we reached a stage whereby it was costly for us to maintain our website if we do not shift out of Shopify. We are talking about the monthly costs of maintaining a good SEO friendly website. In Shopify, a lot of good plugins are not free. That is understandable. But there are a lot of plugins which cost a monthly fee and it is costly in long-term. From our findings, Shopify is a premium hosting company which is specialized in e-commerce. So far, we tested. Shopify is one of the service providers that allows us to set up an e-commerce fast. We used it and we know. The basic infrastructure allows us to get everything up and running within 2 weeks even we have no knowledge about it. The only thing we have to worry about for Shopify is the content. Indeed, Shopify is a choice for starters who want things to be up and running in the shortest span of time.
In Shopify, a lot of good plugins are not free. That is understandable. But there are a lot of plugins which cost a monthly fee and it is costly in long-term. From our findings, Shopify is a premium hosting company which is specialized in e-commerce. So far, we tested. Shopify is one of the service providers that allows us to set up an e-commerce fast. We used it and we know. The basic infrastructure allows us to get everything up and running within 2 weeks even we have no knowledge about it. The only thing we have to worry about for Shopify is the content. Indeed, Shopify is a choice for starters who want things to be up and running in the shortest span of time.
When we gained a better understanding of how SEO works, we noticed that there are a lot of applications for us to choose and Shopify has a lot of partners to provide it at a cost. We also noticed a lot of these applications priced it on a monthly basis. We started to look for alternatives after we found out about this and we shopped around for a better solution. We ended up looking at Joomla. We like Joomla about its flexibility and a lot of its plugins are not priced on a monthly basis. You need to buy the application and not a subscription. This brought down our monthly cost but we have incurred an initial cost.
What are the advantages of moving a website from Shopify to Joomla?
We explored Joomla and we checked a few plugins. Our e-commerce plugin allows us to appoint distributors of our services. This means that if a distributor logs into our website, they can see the distributor's price and not the retail price. This is an advantage to those who likes to expand their business fast.
When we were using Shopify, we noticed that the sitemap.xml was created automatically by Shopify. For those who are familiar with SEO, we alway update our sitemaps as often as possible and upload it to Google Web Master Console. This is to inform Google that there are some changes and it will crawl the new pages. However, there were pages we deleted and there were pages we changed the URLs. We noticed there were a lot of pages with 404 statuses. This means that Google continued to crawl those web pages that we made some changes or those URLs we deleted. This was unhealthy from our standpoint. Now, we bought an application to help us to generate the sitemaps and amend the robots.txt. This should normalize our Google Web Master Console.
We bought a template which allows us to amend many features. Although Shopify has a lot of templates, there are limitations. In Joomla, we can put any article or menu in any place of the layout. The right content at the right place and at the right page. We are not very familiar with the programming language in Shopify and we failed to maximize the potential of it.
Currently, we are hosting our website and our emails under the same hosting center. In the past, we were using Zoho as our email hosting provider and we were using Shopify as our web hosting provider. We can create as many email accounts we want and the storage space is unlimited. All we need to do is to log into Cpanel and we can do all we need. This includes securing our site with SSL (which is free), backup our website (which is essential), create email accounts, upload & download files and make the amendments to all the data.
In the past, when we need to make amendments to our metadata, we need to make the changes on the web pages. This means that we need to login to the admin area, go to the page we need to make changes to the metadata. Nothing wrong with that but it would take a long time if we need to make changes to 70 web pages. Now, we only need to log into Cpanel and go to MyPHPAdmin. We will see the entire database and we can make the amendments in the table. Even if we need to make changes to 70 web pages, it only takes us less than an hour to do so.
After we used the new hosting service, we noticed that have a large variety of applications that are free for us to use as well. We can use Wordpress, Joomla and many web designing application to use. The best of all, these web designing applications are for data driven site which enhanced the performance of the website.
We bought a live-chat application as well and this is different from our Shopify website. We were using Facebook chat as the live-chat platform and we might miss out some inquiries.
How fast does it take to migrate?
That depends. The most important thing is to manage your own domain. In Shopify, you manage your domain via OpenSRS. We requested to transfer to another domain name registrar and we manage from there. All we need to do is to inform our web hosting provider and create an account for the domain we are transferring in and get a new Nameserver. We have the new website ready for the transfer. Other than that, we need to make some changes. We need to put in Google Analytics script into the new website and we need to create all the email addresses. It takes less than 2 hours for the transfer. The lengthy part was designing the new website. It takes us slightly less than 2 weeks to do so at an easy pace.
What are we trying to achieve?
Flexible and cost-efficient are our objectives and we think we achieved that.