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Who’s the Boss in Ecommerce World? Shopify vs WooCommerce

WordPress, as influential as it is in for digital entrepreneurs, provide great platforms to sell products and services. The relatively intuitive functions of WordPress make it a great tool to start an online business.

Now, there are plenty of services where you can use WordPress to build an ecommerce site. However, there are two big players that almost dominate said websites. They are Shopify and WooCommerce.

In this article, you can compare Shopify vs WooCommerce. You’d be looking at these platforms to compare and dissect each of their features. By the end of this article, you may be able to yield a decision on which platform to use.

shopify

Flexibility

Flexibility is, of course, a great issue in an ecommerce business. You also need to add some functionalities to your website to make it more empowered. Of course, you would want your ecommerce business to be enabled with capabilities like blogging.

Now, why is blogging important for an ecommerce website?

The answer is simple: Because content is king. This makes blogging a viable and competitive candidate as the future of marketing.

Here are a few reasons why blogging can become an avenue for marketing an online business:

  • Blogging and content sharing boosts exposure. (More exposure = more leads)
  • Blog posts that rank highly in search engines often give great amounts of organic exposure.
  • A blog gives authority to the brand.
  • Blogs build communities of the same interests and can be able to gather a group of customers for easy access to questions and concerns.
  • Blogging is indirect selling.

online-shopping

In terms of flexibility and blogging capabilities, WooCommerce comes on top against Shopify because the latter is built mainly for ecommerce.  It is never built for bloggers. Because of this, it doesn’t have features that a blog CMS can offer.

In addition to that, WooCommerce becomes a great avenue for blogging because it is used as an extension for WordPress, the best blogging CMS today. Because of this, it can be used with WordPress plugins that may increase and extend the functionality of the online shop.

With over 22.5% of websites today that use WordPress, users will always find it easy to use because of the number of tutorials for the development and troubleshooting of WordPress sites.

Also, the edge of WooCommerce being hosted with WP is that it mixes the power of WooCommerce shop management tools and features with WP intuitive dashboard.

Simply put, in terms of blogging for your website, WooCommerce comes on top.

Pricing

Of course, one of the major concerns right now is pricing, right? We will not go so much into highlighting how prices can affect the decision of a user but to put it in simpler terms: spending less to earn more is better than spending more and earning less.

That is why users would want their deals to be as low-cost as it should be.

Let us compare the pricing of these services:

Shopify

Now Shopify starts its services at $29 per month, where you will be receiving:

  • 1GB of storage, unlimited products
  • 24/7 support
  • 2% transaction fee.

This will be the equivalent of the hosting services provided to you by Shopify. This means that you do not have to use other hosting services.

Then, of course, you would want a theme set up. So, you look at an online shop and choose the theme you want. Let’s say, it’s free, so you cut your cost to $0.

Of course, you would want basic extensions to empower your site. Her are a few paid essential plugins:

All in all, using a free theme and some essential premium plugins, you will be paying $100.98 a month, plus the transaction fees you’ll acquire for the month.

Money-100s

WooCommerce

Now, since WooCommerce is not self-hosted, you will have to register your own domain and find a great hosting service.

As an average, you will most likely spend $10/month at max for a hosting solution that could offer you unlimited domains, bandwidth, and storage (Shopify only gives you 1GB for the price range indicated above).

For the domain, you will most likely spend another $10 for the first year of your registration. So, that totals to $20 for the first month.

Now, since WordPress and WooCommerce are free, you don’t have to spend anything on a CMS. You don’t have to spend anything on a theme either, so you’re saved in those three options. But you can always buy a premium one if you’d like to.

Like with Shopify, you will need basic plugins to empower your website. Now let’s compare the prices of the same plugins we used:

Adding everything up, you will most likely be spending $81.00 for the first month. Since the plugins you bought are not on a subscription basis, you will be able to use them without even minding of recurring fees. And, in the succeeding months, your projected costs will only encumber your hosting payments.

To compare in a long-term point of view, WooCommerce is less costly than Shopify. Plus, the lack of subscription-based plugins is what makes it work in the long run.

Help and Support

calling

One of the most important aspects of any Internet-based service is support. Every now and then, you will be bugged by problems and potential security loopholes. With that, you will be needing sound help and support.

This is where Shopify gains an edge. Because Shopify is mainly an all-in-one solution, you will never have headaches scrambling for help when you need it. Everything is all centralized within one system. Unlike in WooCommerce, you will have to identify which causes the problem before anything else. Afterwards, you will approach the developer of the plugin or hosting service that seems to be faulty, open tickets, talk to them before your site is fixed.

On the other hand, using WooCommerce might spell difficulties in the future as you wouldn’t be able to freely diagnose your site for errors without looking at the other facets it possesses. Also, because WooCommerce and WordPress are relatively free, support isn’t expected to be top billing.

Business Size

money-2

Of course, the size of your business also matters. This is important, especially if you are about to choose whether you’ll use Shopify or do things with WooCommerce. The ability to suit your online store to a size that fits your needs should always be put in mind. That is why, if I were to be asked, WooCommerce has an edge on this.

With the pricing range of Shopify, it is strikingly noticeable that most of its plans are set to a few sites alone. However, if you are to host your store in WordPress and WooCommerce, you will be able to cultivate your website without even worrying about your expanding size and value.

Noting the variety of bIt can extend from small-scale business entities to larger scales.

Which will I choose?

wondering

With all the arguments presented, it is not difficult to see WooCommerce fairly dominates Shopify as the best ecommerce platform there is.

The main edge of WooCommerce over Shopify is how flexible it is and how you are able to use it with other WordPress features.

It also helps your website to be shown higher in search engine ratings. You can also tweak and tinker the looks of your website.

The ace here is that WooCommerce provides a value that suits its cost. With little effort and costs, Woo just trumped any other Shopify webshop.

So, if you will be choosing an ecommerce platform, 1WD advises you to take Woo because it is a flexible, less costly and more expandable bundle than that of its competitor. Also, if you are looking for long-time benefits, I think Woo is becoming a lot more popular.

Conclusion

Which did you take? How does Shopify differ from other platforms? Does WooCommerce deserve this spot? Let us know at the comments section

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Master the Core: Web Design Code of Ethics

Web design, like any other profession, should always be ethical. It should always adhere to a set ­­­of norms set by the whole community. These codes guide designers to perform their tasks in the most honest and professional way possible.

But for the world of web design, being dynamic and fast-paced as it seems to be, still has not recognized a single set of ethics, the web design code of ethics.

authority

That is why we propose these codes in this particular character:

  1. I will uphold honesty and fairness in treating my clients by giving my best effort in finishing projects within agreed time and budget.
  2. I will protect the interests of my clients and refuse to disclose confidential information.
  3. I will play with competition honestly and professionally and never resort to spreading scandalous, libelous and malicious information against others.
  4. I will scrupulously ensure that the designs I publish are not, in any way perceivable, misleading to potential customers.
  5. I will not distribute, use and collect unlicensed or pirated software in my projects.
  6. I will protect the Internet, and its users, against copyright violations, property theft and plagiarism to the best of my abilities.
  7. I will not make use of any spyware, inject codes within websites for my own interests.
  8. I will stay away from looping or using codes to disable the “Back button” and trap the visitors to view a page they don’t want to.
  9. I will not use techniques such as “Web Rings”, and “Black Hat” to optimize my search engine popularity.
  10. I will do away with pop-up windows and technologies that intrude private data for advertising.
  11. I will code in the simplest way possible.
  12. I will not participate, link to, or even provide my services to sites that promote, develop and showcase pornography, exploitation of women, children, racial and ethnic minorities, violence, hate groups and terrorist organizations.
  13. I will design while putting in mind the easiness and speed of user experience.
  14. I will not participate in website redirecting  to pages users don’t expect.
  15. I will design not, in any way, destroy a competitor website.

Honesty and Fairness in Treating Clients

Honesty to clients should be the premier concern of web designers. As a professional, you have to say the truth about what you think and feel about the client and the project. You need to be fair to them and never resort to overpricing, misleading work and all those shenanigans.

If you want your clients to be honest with you, you have to be honest with them first.

Things you should be honest:

swimming-in-cash

  • Pricing

Some clients are cheated in terms of pricing. At times, in the web designers’ wanting to earn more money using the least of efforts; they resort to overpricing their clients.

As a responsible web designer, you should remember to be honest about money. You should be paid at the rate of your work. Don’t put hidden charges. Be clear about additional payments for revisions and more.

How would you price your clients? These articles provide great insights:

rush

  • Deadlines

Deadlines are probably one of the things most designers lie about. Normally, clients have two ways in setting deadlines:

  1. They set the deadlines by themselves.
  2. They ask you how long will it take to design.

Scenario 1.The client sets the deadlines. This option can be pressuring for a web designer. Your client gives you a certain time to finish your project and you have to deliver on or before this said day ends.

That is a privilege you can’t take away from them. They, too, have their own deadlines to meet.Now, what will you do if the client gives you a deadline you’re not sure you can finish?

Most greenhorn designers will surely choose to take on the project, compress the time, cram and rush their task.

Some other experienced ones will still take the project on. But when the deadline approaches, they are unable to finish it.

So, what you supposed to do?

  • If you say yes to a deadline, be sure you can finish it.
  • Plan your time wisely.
  • Ask yourself: Is the payment for this project worth the rush?
  • If you feel you need some extra time, negotiate.
  • If you can’t finish it, don’t take it.

Scenario 2.You set your own deadline. This option gives the designers some flexibility with how will they finish the project. Most designers want this because they will be able to work at their own timeframe.

In this option, designers have choice how to juggle their own time.This gives the designer some flexibility on finishing the projects because they can work at their own timeframes. However, doing this will be prone to procrastination.

This gives the designer some flexibility with how the designer can finish the project. Most designers want this because they will be able to work at their own pace. Because of this, the designer has the ability to juggle his own time. However, being able to set your own deadline can lead to procrastination.

So, what are you supposed to do?

  • If you set it, then finish it.
  • Plan your time wisely
  • Set some extra time just in case things don’t work out.
  • Craft a productive schedule

Client Confidentiality

Privacy has been a well-discussed issue online nowadays. With risks in the divulgence of unsolicited information, confidentiality has become a pressing issue in web design.

An ethical designer will:

  • Always adhere to protect the identity of the clients
  • Not divulge information that the client has requested to remain secret

client-silhouette

Some clients state these things in the contract, and web designers should follow it by the dot.

Following this code would mean that you will not, in any way, discuss to competing clients and other designers the specifics of your project. Doing so might jeopardize the company and you! So, better be careful with what you blurt out.

Here are some articles that you would want to read:

Honest Competition

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Of course, you are not the only person who is into web design. Whether you want it or not, there will be competition. There are some designers who came before you and they could be way better.

The best you can do is to improve your skills and talents to a point where you can compete fair and square.

Ethical designers play by the rules.They don’t engage in dirty tactics like smearing on others’ reputation. They also don’t involve themselves in hacking other designer’s works to destroy them.

To be an honest competitor, you should:

  • Play by the rules
  • Continue to improve your talents
  • Build bridges not burn them

Avoiding Software Piracy and Idea-Theft

Responsible designers are not thieves. Because they know how precious ideas are, they do not support piracy and copyright infringement. To them, using someone else’s work without giving the creator enough credit is an abomination.

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What is Software Piracy?

Software piracy is the unauthorized use and replication of software. It’s the act of using a for-one-computer-use-only software to other computers as well. This is illegal because it cripples the industry that develops the programs.

Imagine if you worked on a software for so long only to find out that days after you released it in the market, it had been copied by pirates. Your efforts, ideas and frustrations would be all for nothing.

Despite the efforts of the government, the stakeholders and programmers, software piracy is impossible to contain. There are existing laws that cover such act but with the great number of Internet pirates, it’s impossible to keep up.

Common types of software piracy are:

  • OEM unbinding
  • Softlifting
  • Hard disk loading
  • Corporate software policy and internet software policy

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What Is Idea Theft?

Idea theft is the act of snatching ideas, using and popularizing them before the victim does first.This act may include code plagiarism, copyright infringement and patent stealing. Idea thieves cripple the industry as they destroy originality in business.

There are a lot of ways to prevent this. Let’s enumerate a few:

  • Don’t reveal too much.
  • Use Non-Disclosure Agreements.
  • Apply for patent (companies or products), register your domain (web development and design) in advance.
  • Trademark your brand.
  • Document everything!

Spyware, Unsolicited Advertising and Black Hat Techniques

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Aside from stolen ideas and software, there are techniques some web designers use to harm others. As a responsible and ethical designer, you have to be knowledgeable of these practices because for all you know, you are practicing them.

Spyware

According to Microsoft, Spyware is:

“A general term used to describe software that performs certain behaviors, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first, such as: advertising, collecting personal information, changing the configuration of your computer.”

Spyware is often paired with software that uses adware or software that tracks your personal and sensitive information.

How spyware affects you:

  • Often created for different uses, spyware is very difficult to remove.
  • They commonly alter settings in your computer causing it to crash or slow down.
  • They may either change your homepage, search tool or add bookmarks and toolbars without your consent.

Black Hat

Black hat is a famous word in SEO. However, it touches web design too as it is often used in connivance with web designers. When we say Black Hat, we refer to the aggressive use of SEO techniques and schemes to fool search engines and put a certain website in the first pages.

Popular examples of this act include:

  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Invisible text
  • Doorway pages
  • Addition of unrelated keywords to page content

Protection of Women and Children

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As a web designer and a responsible human being, you have to protect the causes of children and women. Designing web pages that can be debilitating for the reputation of women and children should be avoided. As much as possible, you shouldn’t agree to designing pornographic, pedophilic and violent websites.

Conclusion

We build websites to make the world a better place. We adhere to norms that guide us to become better web designers. For after all, we are responsible for what we build. The team here at 1stwebdesigner is one in following this code of ethics. Are you up for the challenge?

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The Zen of Relational Database: Learn the Basics Here!

Databases have been a staple topic on every digital business. Thus organizing the tables and fields is necessary. The concept of Relational Database was born way back in 1969 when Edgar F. Codd, a researcher from IBM, wrote the process of outlining a database. From there, the this concept has spread on every computing-involved business and task.

According to Wikipedia,

  A relational database is a database that has a collection of tables of data items, all of which is formally described and organized according to the relational models.

This means that using the relational model, each table arrangement must be identify a column or group of columns to distinctly identify each row also called as primary key.

Using a foreign key, it can be used to establish a connection between each row in the table and a row from another table.

To properly organize a database, it involves database normalization. This is the process of organizing the tables and fields of this kind of database to minimize redundancy of information.

That being said, using definitions and terms alone won’t make you understand this topic. In this article, you’re going to learn how you can properly structure this specific database. You are going to look on two fictional tables and start working on it.

The Data

For the data, below, the base table includes two tables: Student table and Class table.

This database maintains data about the Student’s information and Class information.

Each student will have a unique Student ID (which may consist of letters and numbers) but may have similar name, operating system, class and instructor. One instructor may teach more than one class.

The Student table will have the following fields:

  • Student ID
  • Student Name
  • Operating System

The Class table will have the following fields:

  • Class ID
  • Class Name
  • Instructor

base-d

Now to expand the data, below presented are the Student table and Class table.

student_table

class_table

Identifying the data objects and relationships between tables

Now using the given data, you need to identify the data objects and relationship that need to be maintained in the database.

Looking at the Student and Class tables, you can conclude that the data objects are Student and Class. The relationship is that one student can have one or more classes.

Identifying Relevant Attributes: Primary Key and Foreign Key

Now that data object and relationships between the two tables have been defined, specify the relevant attributes between the two.

If you are going to check the two tables, you need to find the unique column for each table. Notice that you have only 1 row on each table that contains some unique data.

For the Student table, you have the Student ID while, in the Class table, you have the Class ID. These two rows are called the Primary Key.

The primary key of a relational table uniquely identifies each record in the table.

primary-key

Next, for the relationship, you need to determine its attribute(s) and identify its Foreign key.

The foreign key matches the primary key column of another table. The foreign key is used to cross-reference tables. In this case, you will use Enrollment as our new field to connect the two foreign keys:

  • Enrollment (Student ID) attribute is a foreign key referencing the Student (Student ID) attribute from the Student table.
  • Enrollment (Class ID) attribute is a foreign key referencing the Class (Class ID) key attribute from the Class table.

Using Relational Tables

Now that you have identified your primary key and foreign key, you need to create a relational table to represent the data objects and relationships with their attributes and constraints.

See table below:

foreign-key

The foreign key Student ID in the Enrollment table references the primary key Student ID in the Student table.

The foreign key Class ID in the Enrollment table references the primary key Class ID in the Class table.

In the table above, you created a new row called Enrollment ID to relate both Student ID and Class ID, which is also define the foreign keys.

Conclusion

That’s really it! That is how you to create a database of this kind. When creating such databases, you can define the domain of possible values in a data column and further constraints that may apply to that data value.
It also requires the normalization process to remove the redundant data and connect all of the tables into one table.

In this article, you learned something about the concept of such database and how to design one; so, how do you implement one?

If using Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) software is your answer,  you are correct! But I won’t be discussing the process in this article.

I will create another article for that soon. Hope you learned something from this article and let me know about your thoughts on the comment section.

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What’s on the MENU? Color Properties Every Designer Should Know

For web designers and graphic artists, these color properties are valuable tools for a successful design project.

  • Serves as a guide on how to define colors
  • Gives a design project a “polished” look
  • Enhances visual communication
  • Develops color combination agility
  • Helps channel correct messages
  • Helpful in establishing mood

what's-on-the-menu

Appetizer: What is a Color?

A color gives emotion to anything. Almost everything in the entire universe consists a lot of enticing and brilliant colors. From a simple stone, food, beverages, underwear, to gadgets, or even as far to your “brownish black” booger. Am I right? It has a color!

To see color, you have to have light. When light shines on an object some colors bounce off the object and others are absorbed by it. Our eyes only see the colors that are bounced off or reflected.

We understand color just like we understand taste. There are different properties of color to distinguish color as there are different taste attributes that can be found in our taste buds. It is like an analogy. Color:Taste Buds ; Color Property:Taste

Entrée: What are the Different Properties?

Color plays a big role in our visual encounters. But do you know what are behind these colors? When we look, our eyes register these properties. These are the elements of a color that enhances it. And here they are!

hues

Image from Flickr

The 1st  Entrée: Hue

Hue has several “food versions”, so to speak.

  1. First: It is the set of “pure” colors within a color space.
  2. Second: It is the traditional color name of a specific wavelength of light.
  3. Third: a spectral color. All of the colors of the spectrum are hues. There are only limited hue names: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

The 2nd Entrée: Tint

Tint is the mixing result of an original color and white. This becomes lighter than the original color. A tint is sometimes called a pastel, any color added with white. For example, a bright blue can result to a sky blue.

The effects of tint give a lighter mood and feeling. This is why tints are more appealing to women. You can mostly see billboards and web templates in soft and pale colors if they are marketing beauty products.

Cool-Circle-Light-Effect.jpg

The 3rd Entrée: Shade

Shade is simply any color mixed with black. This makes the color darker than the original.

The same way with making tints, you can mix any pure colors together, then simply add any amount of black, a shade could be created. You can control the amount of shade from an extremely dark to nearly black.

Web designers and graphic artists use little amount of black because it can affect the main color. Shades are dark and mysterious which exhibit masculinity. It can be so empowering so be careful of adding too much black.

The 4th Entrée: Tone

Tone is a result of mixing a pure color with any grayscale color doing away the white and black. This means that a certain amount of white and black must have been added to the original  color. Tones give a more appealing effect and sophistication to corporate designs and are pleasing to the eye. Tones suits best in most interior design concepts.

A tone is softer than the original color, which varies depending on the amount of grayscale color you add. By this definition, all tints and shades are also considered to be tones.

saturation

Image from Flickr

The 5th Entrée: Saturation

Any object changes its appearance during night time and day time. Saturation is concerned with the intensity of the color, how bright or dull the color can be.

Saturation aids to know how a color behaves under lighting conditions. The color may be the same, but the saturation changes. A color that is high in intensity – it is bright.

On the other hand, saturation is also known as chroma.This property of color tells you how pure a hue is. This means the lack of white, black, or gray in a color will appear very vivid and pure.

The 6th Entrée: Lightness

Lightness can be described as too much shaded to or too much tinted. Changing the lightness value could lighten or darken a color. Adding white will increase lightness and adding black will decrease it.

The 7th Entrée: Intensity

Creative-Composition.jpg

Intensity is a synonym for magnitude, degree or strength.This is the brightness or dullness of a color. Less intense colors, like blue, for example, have a soothing effect compared to more intense colors like red. Intense colors are mostly used for highlights and contrast.

The 8th Entrée: Brightness

Brightness is a perception which is affected by a color’s lightness. The brightness of a color is more intense if saturation is increased. A higher level of saturation makes a color look brighter.

In some cases, brightness is called value.

Value is more related to the light and dark properties of color. All colors exhibit these properties. Black, white and gray are values without color.

The 9th Entrée: Grayscale

Grayscale is a series of neutral colors, ranging from black to white, or the other way around. A grayscale image contains only shades of gray and no color.

Imagine an old vintage television set during the 1970’s. The picture is in black and white. Grayscale dumps all colors!

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Side Dish: Importance of These Properties

  • Presents an image of impressive quality
  • Can assist in attracting new customers
  • Customers remember presentations and documents better when color is used.
  • Color makes them appear more successful.
  • Color gives them a competitive edge.
  • The use of color makes their business appear larger to clients.

Salad: The Impact of Color Properties to Web Designers and Graphic Artists

You need an eye to combine and use color effectively. Color possesses some kind of magnetic power that touches the visual senses. This would be the basis of a win or loss design project.

FreeRainbowBurstVectorIllustrationPreview

Remember this:

Color can be a perfect and useful friend for web designers and graphic artists. This brings about a lot of benefits such as:

Designing is like cooking. You need spices to enhance website productivity. Try some of these flavor enhancers.

  1. Colr Pickr
  2. Multicolr Search Lab
  3. COPASO
  4. Adobe Muse

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Dessert: Fun with Colors

A  color wheel  is a circular arrangement of hues, close to the order of how colors are represented in the light color spectrum.

Try this for fun! The experience of actually mixing these yourself will help you understand the subtleties of color much more profoundly.

Download the first and third Free Printable Color Wheels to practice on.

  1. Print out several of the third free template on standard white 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.
  2. Get out a set of 12 basic paint colors plus white and black. Or mix your secondary and  tertiary colors yourself from scratch. Keep it simple. Use watercolor, poster paints or acrylic.
  3. Mix your tints, shades and tones and fill in the areas of the wheel. Don’t worry about  being perfect.
  4. Be sure to keep them for reference. Yes, even the ones you think are mistakes.

watercolor

Image from Flickr

Take Out

After savoring what is on the menu, I hope your taste for colors have changed and would serve as a big help in understanding how to use them. Share your experience.

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