This blog is allowed to stray into all sorts of corners, and here are a few remarks that might be helpful to others aiming to do what we've just done – construct a new edit-from-anywhere site that brings together all the features a small retail business needs.
It's built in Wix, one of countless online site-building systems that offer a series of compelling attractions to the small business that can't afford the luxury of heavyweight web developers:
instantly usable design templates, plus no-code tailoring of those templates – drag-and-drop installation of page components, and user-friendly editing of design detail
content stored online, making your words and pictures editable from anywhere – and, what's more, editable directly on the site pages, not through some nerd-oriented admin interface
an easy-to-use blogging system
a sophisticated online store built-in, with all the bells and whistles you might want (flexible carriage charges, every kind of discount you might want to offer, and so on)
integrated email marketing systems, so that signup of site visitors is easily set up.
The current Where to Ski and Snowboard site was built with a traditional content management system. It has served its original purpose well, but it lacks many
of these features, notably the last two. So we've had to work with separate ecommerce and email marketing systems, with all the complexity that three interlinked systems produce, and with non-trivial costs. Now we get everything we need for one reasonable monthly cost.
Wix is a particularly good fit for us because of our email newsletter strategy. We have quite a big list of contacts, built up over more than 25 years, but we don't send countless emails each month. Different email marketing platforms have different pricing structures; the Wix structure is one of the better fits for us. For much of the year, when we send newsletters no more than monthly, we can operate on their Ascend Basic plan, at a cost of about £9 a month. In the autumn winter, when we send more newsletters, we'll need to upgrade to their Pro plan, at about £20 a month. This is a fraction of what we have been paying Campaign Monitor.
Incidentally, Wix offers a quite respectable free email plan, allowing up to 3 campaigns a month totalling no more than 5,000 emails.