Review Snapshot
Pros

A- with BBB, affordable, highly recommended ecommerce platform

Cons

checkered past as a result of questionable marketing tactics.

Verdict

BigCommerce is a competitive option but if you're squeemish go with 3dCart or MagentoGo depending on your budget and needs.

Reviewed by:
Casey Dalton : I write reviews of products I deem worthy of review. Generally if I'm reviewing...Member Reputation 335 • 69 active Krits
Big Commerce Shopping Cart from bigcommerce.com
Big Commerce Shopping Cart How To Market A Business Using SEO
Casey Dalton rates this 3.5/5
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Big Commerce Shopping Cart detailed information
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Big Commerce Shopping Cart Review - How to Market a Business Using SEO

SEO secrets Revealed:

Here's something you need to know: as a small business owner your shopping cart will never provide a level of SEO enabling you to compete with the big fish… so don't expect it to and don't need it to. Shopping cart companies spin a lot of hype about their SEO because they know it's what you want to hear but the fact is they can only do so much in a saturated web world. So manage your expectations. It's a hard truth but you'll be better off for it. 

If we've learned one thing as entrepreneurs it's that there are tradeoffs to be made and corners to be cut while we do our best to keep our business afloat and stay in integrity with ourselves. When we opt for a turnkey shopping cart solution because of financial considerations it's important to be clear about what we're getting… and what we're not getting. What we're getting is a low cost, easy to set up store… our own plot of virtual space to sell our products to anyone who might virtually pass by. What we're not getting is the Mall of America or, more importantly, the passersby… yet. That takes time and consistent effort on our part. 

The SEO challenge:

Mistakes will be made along the way, by you and even by your shopping cart provider. Because, your shopping cart provider is also doing their best to stay afloat in their saturated market. They have a certain amount of their budget to spend on competing through visibility and marketing and a certain amount of their budget to spend on developing and improving their services. So in essence, they're in the same boat you are, making the same choices about how to prioritize, and they're fallible. How do you grow your business and maintain quality at the same time? That's the challenge and it's one we all revisit over and over again.

Part of the SEO dilemma is due to forces beyond anyone's control. Your shopping cart provider can't guarantee SEO because SEO rules are constantly changing. It's a powerful game. These changes happen to benefit and protect the little guy, to make sure spamming doesn't win out over substance, for example. They happen to keep the rules of the sales game online fair and even, by penalizing those that push the limits and overreach in unsavory ways. 

But let's be honest: The SEO rules also change out of corporate self-interest. Just like politics! Where there's money there's an increased capacity to protect that money and so the big fish shall and that's just how it is. Reconcile yourself to the fact that there is no true champion but yourself, and take heart. Your steady efforts in the midst of all the hype, mud-slinging, politics and strategies, is what will ultimately prevail. Maybe not in the way you hope and imagine right now, but as long as you stay honest with yourself and do your best, you are at the very least building that foundation of self trust and you can sleep well at night. Night after night of sleeping well adds up over time. So does the opposite.

How does this affect your shopping cart decision?

I bring this up because the company I'm reviewing, Big Commerce, has a somewhat controversial presence online as a result of something that happened years ago when they were engaging in a big push to enter the market of hosted shopping cart solutions and compete. They used an SEO guru's name to tout their shopping cart's SEO.  They did it out of turn, without his consent and they kept doing it despite his request for them to knock it off. They have now officially knocked it off but choices live on in cyber space… so consider that! Your reputation lives on. 

I considered not mentioning this to you, because I was torn about what's in my best interest, to be frank! But there are a couple of aspects of this case I found especially compelling. First of all, the guy it happened to maintains a very neutral stance about it. He clearly struggles with his frustration and with the issue of virtual morality, yet he does not bash BigCommerce for it, though others freely do. Secondly, despite all the bashing, people are still willing to recommend BigCommerce… even one or two of those doing the bashing! 

Why the answer is not cut and dry:

So what's going on here? I thnk what's going on is that people understand and can relate to BigCommerce's dilemma. That doesn't make their actions right. Certainly we all wish the world could be hype free. Imagine that? No one ever over-selling you anything. Every product of such quality and every brand in such integrity and every person so at peace with their financial circumstances that no one ever feels the need to hype or worse, make false claims.

But we've all been there on some level. We've all had those moments where we crossed an invisible line and felt icky about it afterwards. That's how we learn. Where that line happens for each of us is a gray area and a matter of personal choice. Sometimes fear or the desire to triumph has gripped us to such a degree we aren't even conscious of what we're doing! Nevertheless, we are accountable. 

Reflecting on the case at hand, I also think that someone who has succeeded in his chosen field as this SEO guru has, who has gotten to see the world from both sides, hopefully has developed humility. Because as I described earlier, the game never stops being played and maintaining integrity is a daily discipline.

How to make a decision:

So where does that leave us with regards to BigCommerce? This doesn't feel like much of a review, does it!? In the middle of the morality discourse someone asked what shopping cart this SEO guru would recommend. He made the point that the best shopping cart solution for you is specific to your business's unique needs, which means that only you can determine whether Big Commerce or one of it's competitors works best for the store you envision. 

Bottom line, as turnkey solutions go, BigCommerce is among the top recommended offerings out there. They have an A- rating with the BBB and they're not all hype. They just oversell what they offer and apparently have moments of blind ambition, so take that into account. We've all seen enough reality shows to know what that looks like. If their features and functionality match your needs that's what is most important. All ecommerce platforms offer a free trial which is the only way to know whether it's a match.  

My recommend:

If what I've said has made you squeamish but you'd like something comparable, I'd recommend testing Volusion.  Volusion gets consistently positive ratings and offers 24/7 phone support like BigCommerce. Here's my Volusion Review, or you can check out Volusion by clicking on the See a Better Option link at the bottom of this krit. Magento Go is an option for those with a slightly bigger budget. The system is more complex but they offer greater design flexibility and better options for international sales. Their phone support is only available to their top two tiered plans. They offer live chat and email support for their basic plans. Click on the following link to take Magento Go for a free 30 day test run.

Date Reviewed: February 22, 2012, 2:04 pm
Reviewed by Casey Dalton
Visit the official site for Big Commerce Shopping Cart here...
But as you saw in my review, I don't recommend it.
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Research Sources
http://www.seobook.com/big-commerce
blog discussing big commerce controversy
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