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Chance

How to Make a Horrible osCommerce Website

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1. Leave the layout stock

 

Because after all, if it wasn?t the best layout of all time then why did they distribute it as ?stock? in the first place? Never mind that your site will look like every other lazy guy who decided that product presentation was overrated. Never mind that it has no flow, coherence, or style. And totally forget that it makes you look like some high school kid in your basement trying to take their money and run.

 

Lack of design talent? We understand. After all, if you could make nice websites, you wouldn?t be trying to sell whatever it is you make online- You would be selling nice websites. Never mind that you can get ready made, beautiful drop in designs on this very site. Nevermind that the fine folks of this community have made a number of easy to understand template systems that cut out nearly 100% of the PHP programming and let you design your site in a simple, free HTML editor. You picked a FREE cart, and darnit it?s going to be free if it kills you (or your chances for success). Those people that say you have to spend money to make money are all full of garbage.

 

2. Don?t add a thumbnail contribution

 

Why would you want to speed up load times for slow connections, or make your pictures look better? Good looking images are the sign of professionalism and class, and you surely don?t want your site to have either of those. Sure, successful shop owners say better images sell more products, but you don?t have to listen to those people. After all, what does a successful shop owner know that you don?t?

 

Never mind that image contributions like the excellent On The Fly Auto Thumbnailer or the UltraPics contribution actually decrease your workload while producing better images. Keep posting your 800k images to your site, and laugh at those people who talk about ?Site optimization? and ?load times?. You think jagged images are nice, and that?s just fine with me.

 

3. Don?t optimize your images in Photoshop

 

Optimizing your images in Photoshop or another image editing program takes time- Your valuable time. Just leaving them huge and making the customer download 3MB of images for each page in your site takes time too- The pesky customer?s time. Everybody knows customers love to wait to buy your products. Play a game! See how big you can make your images, see how long your load time suffers, and then see how your conversion rates fare!

 

Challenge yourself to approach dialup speeds over your cable modem using your stellar layered uncompressed image design- I?m sure your customers will love it.

 

4. Don?t smooth out the checkout process

 

Who needs a quick checkout? People love clicking through 8 pages of forms they have to fill in before buying stuff. Better yet, add in a couple more pages and hoodwink the customer just when they think they are finally through! Sure, you need the customer?s age, gender, and the name of their first born son to sell them your hand painted dishrags. Make it as hard as you can for the customer to actually complete a sale and pay you money because that?s how you can tell if a customer is truly dedicated (or if they love pain).

 

5. Ignore the market you are going to sell in

 

Sure, there are 50,000 computer stores online, but yours is going to be better! Market research is for people who don?t know what they want to sell, right? You couldn?t research for a term paper in high school and you passed, so why should an online business be any different? Don?t invest time or money in unique products or services, and don?t even think of developing some sort of unique selling proposition. Just bang out a site with the exact same products as your competition, only make yours more expensive, lesser known, and harder to deal with!

 

6. Don?t add an SSL certificate

 

All that junk about customers ?Caring about their privacy? and being ?Worried about identity theft? is unfounded. Just ask my friend ?John? from Indonesia. Hey, by the way, he has $30,000,000.00 he wants to send you- he just needs your credit card number along with your name and billing address.

 

Never mind that SSL certificates enable the 128bit encrypted tunnel between the customers computer and your payment processor- All that stuff can just be sent plain text across the internet. SSL certificates cost money, and you are on a budget. Sure, the customer can sue you after your website is responsible for their identity theft, but that?s not very likely to happen. After all, you treat your customers like they are dumb and their personally identifiable information is worthless, so they probably don?t have the smarts to hire a lawyer to sue you into the poor house. After all, $50 is a lot of money for security and peace of mind!

 

7. Don?t add Terms of Use, Privacy, or Conditions of Sale statements

 

Some might say that customers like to know who they are dealing with, but those people are full of it. Customers don?t care about your return policies, what to do if they receive a broken product, or what to do if the size they ordered is wrong.

 

Likewise, they don?t care what you are going to do with the personally identifiable information you collect. I know for a fact there are people who love SPAM mail- I got an email selling me Viagra today that told me all about it. Never mind that providing privacy and terms of sale information is a legal requirement- That just goes back to your customers getting a lawyer. Everybody knows that people don?t like to sue lazy, complacent companies for easy money, right?

 

8. Completely leave out product descriptions

 

All your customers need is a blurry, browser resized, stretched picture of your product. They don?t need to know its features, limitations, or comparisons to other products. Hey, if they knew all that they would probably go buy the other guys widget right?

 

Don?t describe your product at all. Be sure to use your own arbitrary part number scheme too, so customers can?t search by the manufacturer?s part number to find the products they already know they want to buy. Oh, and use some random other picture for your product with a note at the bottom that says ?Picture is a demo, actual product may vary? so the customer never really knows what they are going to get.

 

9. Add Flash. Lots of it. Then throw in some Java too for good measure.

 

Flash intros rock. Add two of them, and make sure you don?t put one of those annoying ?Skip intro? links at the bottom. Heck, if you did that nobody would see Uncle Joe?s mediocre flash skills. Then, when you finally let the three customers who are willing to sit through your crappy intro into your store, make sure you have a flash product menu, a flash header, and random flash buttons all over the page. Page animations and moving text = Quality and usability, and don?t you ever forget it.

 

Don?t worry- if that doesn?t slow your site down to a crawl you can always add Java. Sure, most professional developers and customers alike refer to Java as ?That F&%@*$# Java!?, but your customers are different. Put random Java image switchers on every page. Put that neat-o Java water ripple effect thingy on your homepage, because that wasn?t old and tired in 1993. And make sure you require Java along with Flash and Windows Media Player and QuickTime and Comet Cursor to use your site properly. Maybe throw in an ActiveX dialer installer just for good measure- Customers love compulsory ad ware laden downloads and plugins while trying to spend their money on your products!

 

10. Never post your address or phone number

 

Customers never want to get a hold of you- That?s why they buy online! Plus, if they have a complaint they have no way of getting in touch with you other than email, and we all know how easy to forget that form of communication is. Just think, without them knowing who you are, where you are, or how to contact you they can never make returns, never make complaints, and never cause waves. It?s brilliant! You can claim customer satisfaction is 100%, because nobody could ever call you and tell you otherwise.

 

Sure, this might put off about 90% of your potential customers, but don?t let that stop you. That still leaves you 10% of the internet, and trust me, that darn sure is big. Make sure you ship your items from the shipping store or the post office so there is never a return address on the box too. When the credit card company calls you about a chargeback, make sure you tell them the customer never called and complained.


My advice comes in two flavors- Pick the one that won't offend you.

 

Hard and Cynical: How to Make a Horrible osCommerce Site

 

Warm and Fuzzy: How to Make an Awesome osCommerce Site

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You make some good points,albeit very sarcastically. ;)

 

I especially like points 6 & 8. They hit on my pet peaves.


Rule #1: Without exception, backup your database and files before making any changes to your files or database.

Rule #2: Make sure there are no exceptions to Rule #1.

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11. Brag to the world how many visitors (or lack thereof) on your site

 

Keep that counter on the footer and never deleted. All your customers love to see how exactly popular and unpopular your site is. We all love to see that we are visitor #36 to a site and we don't mind helping that net site out by opening up our wallets to them. It gives me a good feeling when I do that. Its like I'm helping out the needy. Heck you need more visits, i'll tell my friends so they can be #37 and #38 respectively.

 

12. Stock Page Titles

 

You have so much love in promoting osCommerce as part of your world and business that you put it in the title on every single page of your website. Us customers don't mind that when we bookmark a page we get "osCommerce" instead of "widgets" for the bookmark title, we can live with that.


I ♥ PHP/MYSQL/CSS

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I hope everyone knows that I am trying to make valid points in a humorous and lighthearted manner. The intent of this post was not to tick anyone off, but more to make people chuckle at common mistakes and remember not to do the same things themselves.


My advice comes in two flavors- Pick the one that won't offend you.

 

Hard and Cynical: How to Make a Horrible osCommerce Site

 

Warm and Fuzzy: How to Make an Awesome osCommerce Site

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13. Add lots of logos and stuff. People love useless logos.

 

Tons of logos smattered all over your pages tell customers "Look! I know how to add useless logos to my website!" and they think its a sign of professionalism and class. Never mind that all the big shopping sites out there would rather have the customers look at products they can buy instead of some third party logo- your customers are made up of the internet elite who love multiple 300x300 site seals, huge banners advertising the fact that your site is certified hacker safe by four different companies, and those big honkin' Paypal gold seals. Sure, the only logo that matters is a SSL seal from a reputable company but go ahead and add 20 others. It doesn't look armature at all, and since you have an ecommerce site your load times are already going to be slow so who cares if they have to wait another 30 seconds per page to load your 20 extra graphics?


My advice comes in two flavors- Pick the one that won't offend you.

 

Hard and Cynical: How to Make a Horrible osCommerce Site

 

Warm and Fuzzy: How to Make an Awesome osCommerce Site

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With one post you managed to insult the creators, folks with lesser development skills, and those who like the look and flow of the stock package. >_<

 

A more productive post would be: "15 ways you can modify the stock package for a more appealing site."

You could provide code examples where necessary and instructions where files could easily be changed.

Each item could be rated for level of difficulty. The resource could expand into an ebook you could offer in conjuction with some self promotion.

 

But I guess it is easier to poke fun and belittle people's efforts than to actually help them.

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I'm afraid you missed the point of my post, and for that I am sorry. It was never my attention to offend, but more to bring attention to what 90% of new osC users are doing.

 

I have taken your advice and made an alternate version of this guide in a lighter, happier tone:

 

How to Make An Awesome osCommerce Site

 

I hope you find it more agreeable.


My advice comes in two flavors- Pick the one that won't offend you.

 

Hard and Cynical: How to Make a Horrible osCommerce Site

 

Warm and Fuzzy: How to Make an Awesome osCommerce Site

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I'm afraid you missed the point of my post, and for that I am sorry. It was never my attention to offend, but more to bring attention to what 90% of new osC users are doing.

 

I have taken your advice and made an alternate version of this guide in a lighter, happier tone:

 

How to Make An Awesome osCommerce Site

 

Gotta love them both :thumbsup:

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Gotta love them both :thumbsup:

 

love them!!! Here my very own pet peeve:

 

14. All those languages - just leave them!

Stock osC comes with 3 languages ... this is fab right? But who cares for adding text in 3 languages for products, info pages or for new contributions. Hey this is a US site and the world speaks English right? Should they load in a different version with only a bunch of errors or nothing showing, they need to download the latest ENGLISH version of the browser. After all, you HAVE removed the languages box, that should give them a hint!!! It's definitely too much work to go into admin and delete the unused languages.

 

-----------------------------------

 

hehe hope you don't mind! But I get tired of having to type in

/index.php?language=en

for many posts asking for advice and displaying only errors for me - and not even a language box for easy switching . :-"


:-)

Monika

 

addicted to writing code ... can't get enough of databases either, LOL!

 

my toolbox: Textpad - Compare and Merge - phpMyAdmin - WS_FTP - Photoshop - How to search the forum

 

Interactive Media Award July 2007 ~ category E-Commerce

my advice on the forum is for free, PMs where you send me work are considered consultation which I charge for ...

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With one post you managed to insult the creators, folks with lesser development skills, and those who like the look and flow of the stock package. >_<

 

A more productive post would be: "15 ways you can modify the stock package for a more appealing site."

You could provide code examples where necessary and instructions where files could easily be changed.

Each item could be rated for level of difficulty. The resource could expand into an ebook you could offer in conjuction with some self promotion.

 

But I guess it is easier to poke fun and belittle people's efforts than to actually help them.

 

 

I've read plenty of tongue and cheek articles like this one in magazines and on the net but I guess there are people that just won't get it.

 

1. I don't see how he's insulted the creators the of OsCommerce. Obviously the basic install of OsCommerce is meant to be like a empty apartment. It doesn't take on life until you add the furniture and little touches that make it your own. OsCommerce is the same. There are tons of contributions and templates that you can add to make the site you're own.

 

2. I don't think he ridiculed people with "lesser development skills". He clearly pointed out in every point where they could go and what they could do to improve their stores from where to go for template and what contributions they could use etc., so the point about "belittling them without actually helping them" is not a valid argument

 

3. True there may be some that like the stock look of OsCommerce and that's their preference but the bottom line is that they're creating a store to do business and there are certain rules that should be followed and he simply pointed that out. Imagine if every store on the net looked EXACTLY like Amazon with just a name and product change. Get the picture?

 

I think more time should have been put into ACTUALLY READING what was written as opposed to lashing out at an informative article that was cleverly written. And if you still have negative feelings.. hey, sometimes the truth hurts... :-"


My Contribution

Music Download Store Template

http://www.oscommerce.com/community/contributions,4275

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Great post, I've even put a link to it in my sig ;)

 

BTW: in your "9. Add Flash" item, you forgot to mention the sound part. Every decent website should have a Flash intro with really loud music so that all your visitors' colleagues can hear when they're shopping at work! Especially the boss, he must love that!

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Ah, great fun! My pet peeve: Google Ads. All ads, actually. It's all fine on somebody's blog or website about gardening or whatever, but on a commercial website? I don't think so.

 

First, I'm thinking that you have to be really cheap to try to earn a few extra bucks off of potential customers browsing your shop. Can't be much of a shop, eh? Slim pickin's, eh?

 

Second, I'm thinking that you're really stupid. You want me to buy a necklace, and there, on your own page, there's five different links to places that offer to sell me nicer necklaces for less money? Well, if you insist, I'll pick one of those instead :lol:

 

 

/Kirstine

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How about this:

Pretend to be local when you are based on the other side of the world to really annoy your customers! As this article in the Daily Mirror says:

 

Online shop MyDV looks as if it is based in Britain. Its website ends "co.uk" and it has an inner-London "0207" phone number. But the phoneline is diverted to the United States and the website, mydv.co.uk, is registered to someone in Massachusetts. Which is a problem for UK customers who've been overcharged or have ordered goods that haven't turned up.full text of Daily Mirror Article

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Excellent post, thanks for all the useful links, it's gonna take me forever to add everything to my site that I want, and by that time there'll be a whole load more. Many people don't realise that you get out what you put in, time spent 'tweaking' will pay off in the end.

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.....I think more time should have been put into ACTUALLY READING what was written as opposed to lashing out at an informative article that was cleverly written. And if you still have negative feelings.. hey, sometimes the truth hurts... :-"

AMEN! I registered just so I could comment on this post!

I'm insulted by someone being insulted by this post. Everything said couldn't be closer to the truth and just because someone points out "best practices" doesn't mean they should write or even link to an entire tutorial on how to do them. The fact that the post is stated in a double negative sort of way (you know what two negatives equal) just makes it fun! I just don't understand how people can be soooo dry that they miss that.

Great comment Mediajuggle!

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A very clever posting indeed. Loved it to pieces. I Know I've seen some of those do nots on my page while developing it!

 

Do you guys think that simply the fact that you have an SSL certificate increases the chance of having a sale, even if the site doesn't collect anything like bank account/credit card numbers?

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A very clever posting indeed. Loved it to pieces. I Know I've seen some of those do nots on my page while developing it!

 

Do you guys think that simply the fact that you have an SSL certificate increases the chance of having a sale, even if the site doesn't collect anything like bank account/credit card numbers?

 

Hi Dustin, yes absolutely. As soon as someone clicks on checkout, they expect the padlock to show. When leaving your address and phone number along with email and such on a site, it's enough of a reason to expect SSL.

 

Many sites transfer CC info to their secure merchant ... by non secured connections. Now that is silly right? I would never do a shop without SSL.

 

If finances are tight, there is a bunch of hosts offering really good looking 3rd level domains for free shared SSL, so those urls will not look scary as from some other hosts. Another common issue is 2 folders for SSL and NONSSL. Should your host demand that you duplicate all files, you're with the wrong host. Changing hosts may be messy but SO worth it.


:-)

Monika

 

addicted to writing code ... can't get enough of databases either, LOL!

 

my toolbox: Textpad - Compare and Merge - phpMyAdmin - WS_FTP - Photoshop - How to search the forum

 

Interactive Media Award July 2007 ~ category E-Commerce

my advice on the forum is for free, PMs where you send me work are considered consultation which I charge for ...

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Hey I'm a newb and didn't feel belittled in the slightest, I need a lot of help and both this guys guides gave me some great tips.

 

Although I have to say I actually quite like the look of the stock oscommerce package, wrong colours for me but plain and simple easy enough to navigate etc.

 

I have taken time out to look around quite a few modified sites and to be honest most look a bit messy and cluttered and theres too many use really strong colours that have me reaching for my sunglasses so that I can read the text through the glow.

 

Thanks for the advice mate I'll definitely be looking back at your posts as I go on..

 

Ian

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Don't use spell check and assume that your grammar is ok. Since you saw a sign somewhere that said, "Its always good to check you're tire's," all those apostrophes must be in the right spots. Don't forget to tell folks that you except credit cards! :huh:

 

If you have issues with it's/its, you're/your, accept/except, or other common grammar screw-ups, check out the Common Errors in English page at http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/.

 

If you're not sure about how you spelled a word, just Google it. You might get the famous "Did you mean: ..."

or a whole bunch of entries that have the right word because you've used a common misspelling or typo.

 

If nothing else, remember this: an apostrophe does not a plural make! o:)

 

Annie


It's not a learning curve, it's a cliff!

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