Day 2 – more baby steps

Moving on from yesterday’s post I’ve begun to work on my to-do list for Mummywear Maternity.

Logo ideas for Mummywear MaternityI’ve created a favicon, uploaded the favicon file and added the relevant code to the index page of the site. I’ve also been working on some logo ideas based on the same theme.

I’ve also been investigating the best content management system to use in developing the site. My initial feeling was to use Joomla! with the Virtuemart component providing the ecommerce functionality required to provide the comparison aspects of the site. I’ve also been considering three other major contenders for content management, each of which have much to recommend them:

  1. WordPress
  2. Magento, and
  3. Affilistore

WordPress is undeniably one of the best blogging platforms available, and I have for some time admired it’s suitability as a platform for the speedy development of not just blogs but informational and marketing websites generally. It comes highly recommended by those within the affiliate marketing community and across a number of affiliate marketing forums. Were I looking for an affiliate model which involved more of a blogging model, with recommendations as the model for lead generation it would probably be my CMS of choice. In this case however I am looking to provide the customer with more of an ecommerce shop interface. The site will however incorporate a blog centred around news, media reportage and celebrity maternitywear and given the current lack of an outstanding open source blogging component for Joomla I may still use WordPress to provide this.

I’ve also been looking closely at Magento for some time. It has a clean look and feel, and it provides a lot of features that would work well for the kind of the Maternity Clothing comparison site that I have in mind. I particularly like the “Compare Products” feature and the built in support for adding to  a wishlist. The Community Edition is free to download and offers much the same functionality as the (very expensive) Enterprise Edition, with the exception of support. However, the dealbreaker for me is that I intend, at least initially, to run the site using a shared hosting platform. Feedback seems to indicate that Magento has significant performance issues on this platform, and I don’t really wish to invest in a VPS solution at this early stage in development.

AffiliStore is a PHP and MySQL based solution that “allows affiliates to quickly and easily build and maintain multi-page affiliate marketing price comparison websites directly from multiple merchant product datafeeds”. Again I like the look of it a lot. Once Mummywear Maternity is up and running I have a number of ideas for further affiliate comparison sites and intend to  look very closely at Affilistore for those. However, I feel it is probably better suited to a straight comparison site in a market with homogenous or identical products such as books or brand products. The essence of my site will be to provide an overview of the different lines of maternity clothing available from different maternitywear designers and retailers. Furthermore, whilst it can be skinned or templated to an extent, all the stores I have seen seem to carry much the same look and feel and I’d like a little more artistic and creative freedom.

So after researching the available solutions I am back to Joomla/Virtuemart. I am experienced in developing with it and know enough about making it SEO-friendly to feel confident of securing good search engine returns for my targeted serach terms.

My next stage is to take screenshots of my target retailers sites and of the competition in my niche with a view to coming up with a best-of-breed design, both in terms of  “look and feel” and functionality. Oh, and do some paid work! More later.

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