Following from our first set of questions to ask your developer when building your ecommerce site, here are four more essential questions to guarantee that your site will be a success.
By Jason Hesse
1. Will the site be mobile ready?
Check that your ecommerce website will be compatible with mobile devices. This doesn’t mean that your developer has to design an app or even a mobile site – just that it’s fully accessible from smartphones and iPads.
Mobile commerce is a huge market in the ecommerce space. Users should be able to access your site from their mobile device without running into trouble.
Not convinced? By the end of the year, mobile internet users will exceed desktop users globally, and an estimated 3.5 billion people will use their mobiles to access the internet by 2015.
2. Is the website compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)?
As an ecommerce website, you are legally bound to make sure that your website is fully accessible to everyone, including disabled people. A disabled person could make a discrimination case against you if your website is unreasonably difficult to access.
Making the site DDA compliant includes making all functionality available from a keyboard and ensuring you do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures. This is very important, which too many smaller ecommerce websites ignore.
3. Do you code to standards?
There are levels of compliance that your website should meet. It’s best practice, for example, for your site to meet World Wide Web Consortium standards (known as W3C) for HTML and CSS.
This means that your website is built using standard web building blocks. This will help to future-proof your website and make it accessible on all browsers. If you’re not building to the latest standards, don’t expect your site to look good on future browsers.
It’s an easy win if you pay attention to it.
4. How will the site be hosted?
If the developer offers to host your ecommerce site as part of a package deal, find out specifics: how often will the site be backed up? How resilient will the servers be to failure? How scalable are the servers? What are the maximum data levels?
You need to know the details. Most hosting packages guarantee a 99.9 per cent uptime, and backups should be daily if you have regularly changing data on your site (which is usually the case with ecommerce platforms).