CubeCart is a great system. It has been around for a while now, and has gone through several versions. At the time of writing (June 2014), the current live version is V5, and V6 is nearly ready for release. (Update, 2019: V6 is now out, but has plenty of issues – see https://github.com/cubecart/v6/issues )
But there are a lot of older CubeCart sites out there that are looking, quite frankly, tired.
If you have a V4 (or earlier) CubeCart site, it is time you made a decision.
- Put up with a crappy old site that crashes whenever your web hosts update anything, and is vulnerable to hacking
- Struggle through upgrading it to the latest version of CubeCart (and hope that lasts longer than V3 did)
- or, the best option – Upgrade to WordPress.
WordPress is Popular
Now I’m not just saying that to make it sound like you should have it to look cool (though it will help, I promise!). Because WordPress is popular, there are a LOT of people who need it to run smoothly. So if anything is found to be wrong with WordPress, it gets fixed REALLY fast. And then WordPress brings out a new release.
Because WordPress is so popular, pretty much all hosting companies can handle it. They would be stupid not to. In fact, there are several companies that ONLY do WordPress (our favourite is GetFlyWheel – you are looking at a FlyWheel-hosted site right now). These companies provide super-secure (hacker proof) hosting and daily backups, among other cool features. But chances are pretty good that your current host can also handle a WordPress site.
How popular is WordPress? This blog post will give you an idea – around 22% of all sites are currently powered by WordPress!
WordPress is Extendable
At its core, WordPress is a fairly basic system to set up a site with information pages and blog posts. But it can be made to do a LOT more, by adding what are called Plugins. There are two main types of plugins – free and premium.
A huge number of the free plugins are available at the WordPress Plugin Directory . I just had a quick look (21 June 2014) and it says there are 31,775 plugins available there, with 680,835,552 downloads. Wow! Premium plugins are available from a large number of companies that employ programmers to build them, and are sold on their sites. Premium plugins often also have an annual fee associated with continuing to use them.
Plugins can, put simply, make your WordPress site do pretty much anything. One I use a lot (which is free) is called WooCommerce. This will turn a basic WordPress site into a shopping cart site. The free version of WooCommerce will do most of what CubeCart V3 can do, and more. I also make it even better by adding extra features via additional plugins, as required by the client. These extra features are generally premium plugins, and I get them from WooThemes.
The other thing you can add to WordPress is Themes. These are called Skins in Cubecart. They are basically a really cool way to get your site looking really cool. Again, there are free themes and premium themes. There are 2,596 free themes currently in the WordPress Plugin Directory, with 103, 926, 621 downloads.
Personally, I like to use premium themes. I get themes from WooThemes, and from Themify. I also use a site builder called Headway Themes, which allows me to set up a site that will make even the most particular client very happy.
The advantage of using premium plugins and themes is that, because you pay for them, they are kept up to date and working. Can you say the same about the mods (add-ons) you or your web guy has added to your CubeCart store? Most of them come encrypted, so you can’t even fix them (if you know how) if they break.
Web hosting c0mpanies are always upgrading stuff. They will change versions of things like php and mySQL as often as they need to. Older systems like CubeCart are not built to be able to cope with anything the Internet can throw at them. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to upgrade a CubeCart editor, or fix a broken system because of something the web hosting company has changed. Yes, it worked last week. And now it doesn’t. And nothing changed with the site software or content.
With WordPress, the core is designed to be able to work with versions of internet software that are not yet in wide use (and so your hosting company is probably not using it yet). Before a new version of WordPress is released publicly, a Beta, or test version, is made available for people to check out. The geeks love this. They get to pull it apart and see what makes it work and try to break it. So by the time the WordPress people let you get it, it is nearly always bomb-proof. Unlike your CubeCart V3, which was pretty good 6 years ago, but now, well…
WordPress is More Secure
Yes, WordPress can be hacked. But it can also be secured from hackers if you know what you are doing. And I DO know what I am doing. In fact, I also run Hack Attacker, which has secured hundreds of WordPress sites, and none of them have ever been hacked. CubeCart, however, is MUCH easier to hack. Of the couple of hundred CubeCart sites I have set up, pretty much ALL of them have been hacked at some point. And there isn’t much that can be done to prevent it.
At least with WordPress you can add a plugin or tweak some settings to make the site more secure. With CubeCart, the best thing protecting it right now is that the new hackers don’t know about it because they are concentrating on the 22% of sites that run WordPress and have forgotten about CubeCart. That, and prayer and good luck, are what stands between your CubeCart site and a hacker right now.
WordPress is Easy To Learn, Easy To Use
When I was setting up CubeCart sites for my clients, I made videos to show them what to do. Or wrote long manuals. Yes, I spoiled my clients. Those of you who are not my clients probably remember how hard it was to learn how to set it all up, and quite probably still get confused about how to do stuff. With the WordPress sites I am setting up now, I have built-in videos that are automatically updated whenever WordPress is changed.
Here are some examples…
Working With Images
… and that is just the set of videos on working with images.
You can also see from these that the system is MUCH easier to use than CubeCart.
WordPress gets picked up by Google
In CubeCart, there is usually no SEO built in. (SEO = Search Engine Optimisation = making your site easy for Google to find). This means that you need to do a LOT of off-site work, like building links from other peoples’ sites to yours, to get it found on Google.
With WordPress, even if you only use the basic features, you already have a site that is MUCH more likely to be found on Google. Right from the URL – CubeCart will have something like /index.php?act=viewDoc&docId=15 in the URL of a site document, whereas WordPress will have the name of the page. This makes it heaps easier for Google to know what the page is about!
Still not convinced?
Please see this page on the WordPress site that gives a whole lot more reasons why you should be building your site with WordPress.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my data be copied across from my CubeCart site to WordPress?
Yes! We can almost always copy over all your categories, products, site documents (called Pages in WordPress), orders and customers (called Users in WordPress). Your customers even keep their old passwords, so the transition is, for them, seamless. We have done about 50 CubeCart V3 to WordPress conversions already.
We would, however, need to get access to your CubeCart site to see the data and be sure there are no strange CubeCart add-ons we are not familiar with before agreeing to take on your site conversion.
Can you copy the same design?
Mostly, yes. We can use the same graphics and colours. The layout will be different, but we can work to make it as close as possible to your old site, if that is what you want. Or you can work with one of our templates to get a super duper new site, exactly how you want it. Or if you are not so worried what it looks like, we can provide you with a theme that will look amazingly professional too.
What about support?
Once your site goes live, you can choose to look after it yourself (and so there are no ongoing costs beyond what you are paying for your domain name or web hosting). Or you can have us look after it for you, keeping it up to date and backed up. You will find details of the Support packages we offer on our After Sales Service page.
How does the changeover work – what can I expect?
After we have had a phone chat, I would like you to have a play with one of the trial sites. I want you to be sure you are happy with what you are getting, and ask lots of questions. Once you have done that, I will ask you to fill in the WebSite Worksheet, so that we can get started with our discussions about the move.
If we both feel that we will work well together, I will send you a proposal that will detail what your new site will be able to do. This will include a price. If you agree to that price, and the scope of the project, you pay me 50% and I get started on the site.
The first step will be for me to set up a prototype site for you. This will be similar to the trial site you played with before, but it will also have in it any special features that we discussed you might need. You need to have a really good play with this site, because you need to tell me if any of the functionality is not how you expected it, before we proceed to the next stage.
The next step, once you sign off on the functional prototype, is that we work on the design. You choose a theme from a list I will give you, or we come up with a layout that is close to the current site. Once the design is decided, you sign off on that and pay a further 25%.
Next is the home stretch. I populate your site with the data from your CubeCart site, removing the dummy data that would have been there up till that point. I will start by copying over your categories and products, then your customers and orders go over as the last step. Then you have a good look at it and, if you are happy, you pay the remaining 25%.
Up till this point, all the work will have been done on my hosting. When you pay the final balance, the site is moved onto your hosting (or onto new premium hosting if that is what you prefer), a final copy of the customers and orders is done, and the old site is turned off. Then we do a switcheroo so that visitors can see the new site instead. The total down time is not usually more than an hour (less if you are going onto premium hosting), but in rare cases it can be up to half a day.
At that point, I hand over the “keys”, so you can log in and run it! You will still have had access to your original play site all along, so you can watch the training videos (and try to break stuff) in there while we work on the “real” site.
After that, if we are supporting the site for you, we will do regular backups to your Dropbox, as well as keeping all the plugins, themes, and WordPress itself up to date. You will also be on our exclusive email mailing list for clients only, and will receive emails with news and tips on a regular basis.
If your old CubeCart site and your new WordPress site are on the same hosting, we may be able to give you access to the old site after the new one goes live.
OK! That is a really long explanation – sorry! I love looking after my clients.
What you really want to know – what will it cost?
The following prices are in $Australian. Or, if you are not in Australia, please consider these prices to be in $US.
The cost for setting up a WordPress site with a shopping cart (WooCommerce) is $5000.
The cost for working with one of our templates is $3000.
The cost for having us copy over all your data is $3000.
Total = $11,000.
Right now, we are offering a package deal for those who take up the offer to get a trial site, and will not charge you for the template or the data transfer, which means the total is only $5000 for the lot.
(Existing clients – as always, you get a 20% discount on this rate. If you have a site without products, please contact me for a price – it will be lower).
Please note that when we have our discussion about your needs, there may be factors that will increase (or decrease) the price quoted. So that price should be used as a guide only.
But Isn’t WordPress Free?
Yes, WordPress is free, and can be downloaded at wordpress.org . But do you know what to do with it next? Do you have the technical knowledge to actually set up the whole thing and work out what is the best design and plugins and transfer the data across from your CubeCart site and test it and add in the shopping cart and set the settings and all that?
If you do, great! Go for it. But if you don’t, maybe you need a professional who has done it before, to do it for you.
Please Contact Us. Together we’ll set up a time to have a chat, and go from there.