I am pleased to announce that after months of development, our new website - www.ipchitchat.co.uk - is now live!
We originally hired a web developer to build this site but it didn't work out too well. His work turned out to be really shoddy. It's our own fault, we should have done better due diligence when choosing the developer.
After getting rid of the web developer there was so much work to do to try and get the site looking the way we wanted that we decided it would be quicker to start again. I'd learnt so much trying to fix the work he had done that I had confidence that I could do a better job myself. I'm not sure I'd do it again. You wouldn't believe the amount of hours work it takes to create a site such as this, particularly when it's all open-source (using free software) to save money. If we'd have spent a fortune on a top e-commerce system then I'm sure it would have only took half the time.
Anyway, it has taken a lot longer than planned to get this site up and running, and there may still be the odd bug or two that we need to iron out, but I'm happy with the results.
So how does this differ to our old site - ipchichat.com, you might ask? Well, it's like comparing a Mac to a ZX Spectrum. The old site was completely built by hand using html. None of the site is database driven and we had to use a third-party to provide our shopping cart and checkout.
In the new site, the whole site is run using a proper content management system. Everything is database driven, making it much easier to manage and make changes to the site on the fly. We've integrated a proper shopping cart system, and now have our own SSL certificate so users can checkout within the site. We've got a blog, a download area - where users can download user guides, firmware, etc. Users can properly manage their account information on the site, and see their order history. We've got different account types for regular shoppers, corporate accounts, and resellers; meaning that users will automatically get discounts on products depending on their account type. We've got an help-desk system where users can submit support requests, and they will receive a support ticket, which is managed through our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. The list goes on. We've also greatly extended the range of products we offer.
Over the coming months we've also got plans to introduce even more features.
Check it out at www.ipchitchat.co.uk - you can even sign up to our e-mail newsletter.