Secrets you should know when buying a website or webshop

Published on November 08, 2016
Last modified on May 19, 2022

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Is your new website or webshop developed in your country?

No, probably not. First, your new webshop or website is certainly based on a theme; second, it is likely developed outside of your country.

Most local software development companies hire freelancers or software developers in low-cost countries to do the work. That is, when they get a task, they send it to developers in countries such as India, Pakistan, Ukraine, or the Philippines.

This means that when you buy a webshop or website from a local supplier ―at local prices―you only buy the security that you are dealing with a local company, as 70-80% of the work is done outside your country.

Adding special features

It is easy to expand webshop or website functionalities with third-party plugins if you are using open source systems. The price for these plugins is usually between USD 50 and USD 100, but there are also many excellent ones that are free.

Remember: If you are offered development of a special plugin, please check first if you can get it for free or can buy it at, say, USD 75.

Here are some good plugin marketplaces:

Suppliers reuse codes and systems

If you need a special plugin that is not yet available on the market, don’t forget that 9 out of 10 companies reuse the code you pay for in other projects.

Some will even go so far as to create a commercial plugin from the code. Basically, you pay for the development, but they can sell the plugin many times.

Proprietary webshop or website systems (CMS)

Proprietary IT systems are closed systems where you, the client, licenses the right to use the system but not full access to the source code.

With such systems, you cannot make big changes after installing add-ons and/or making small changes in design.

If you need a functionality that is not available in the webshop or website, it must be made by the company that owns that system. It may take a long time to develop, and often becomes very expensive.

If you want to switch to an open-source system (and it’s actually a matter of “when”, not “if”), it will both be expensive and complicated to get away from the closed system.

9 out of 10 web designs are based on a pre-made theme

You buy a website or webshop. Do you get your own custom design? Most likely not.

Most software developers purchase a finished design from one of the many theme stores available. Once they have purchased it (let’s say for about USD 50), they will then slightly change some little things, maybe the logo and the colors of the theme.

There is nothing wrong with this process as long as the developer does not hide this, and as long as you are not expected to pay for a fully customized design.

Three (3) known theme stores are:

Remember that you or your company must have the rights to the theme being used. The easiest way to ensure this is to buy the theme in your name and pass it on to your developer.

Coding a website or webshop from scratch? 

No one really does that.

When you buy a website, webshop, or an app, it should be based on an existing open-source system or framework.  If not, you will then face the following consequences:

  1. The project will be too expensive― why develop something that you can actually get for free?
  2. The project will take too long. The cow may die while the grass is still growing.
  3. You get more responsibility. Remember, you are responsible for the developers who work for you; you should manage them well so they won’t seek other pastures. Once they do, you can get big―and costly―problems.
  4. You will miss out on the open-source community that develops new plugins daily. Development would be much less costly than you could ever dream of.
  5. You will pay for all future upgrades, and it will be expensive. It would be better use an open-source system like Umbraco, Magento, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.

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Peter Skouhus

Peter Skouhus

A Danish entrepreneur who owns 1902 Software Development, an IT company in the Philippines where he has lived since 1998. Peter has extensive experience in the business side of IT development, strategic IT management, and sales.