Welcome to the new website + online store!
For those not like to read long texts lets start with the announcement of the availability of the yearly Annual Free Dutch Skies 360° HDRI - 19k (XL) sky | Edition 2018/2019! You can grab it here.
Other message for those who subscribed already to the new newsletter. Just activated the anti spam en extra security tools for this website. Deleted all subscriptions until now (so all subscription BEFORE 4 February 2019 are deleted ), please join again through the subscription field on the bottom or you can join here. Sorry for the trouble but safety first!
What can you expect in the future appearing on this website?
Last years spend most of the time on the Dutch Skies 360° HDRI project. From 2019 will spend more time on other projects. No worry not going to stop with the skies thats for sure its to much fun!
Why - again - a new website?
Decided to melt the two websites www.bobgroothuis.com & the onlineshop www.dutch360hdr.com ( for the Dutch Skies 360 HDRI Project ) together.
The previous www.bobgroothuis.com website ran on Wordpress & the great looking Minimal Made template. No problems with that site and the Minimal template + support was awesome.
The other website www.dutch360hdr.com was a nightmare to maintain.
That one ran also on Wordpress and for the online shop used Woocommerce. Had a lot of weird database crashes ( for example due to bad plugins updates ) even friendly / attend-full customers contacted me mentioning the store was down. Luckily have a fantastic provider here in the Netherlands deHeeg.nl. They could restore and repair ( even in the weekend ) the website + onlinestore several times very quickly.
Before continue some important notes:
Wordpress & Woocommerce are great products only when you have a one men company and limited knowledge of the technical stuff behind Wordpress/ Woocommerce recommend not choose using that option. It's more suited for bigger companies with budget and time to hire a specialist who keeps every thing up and running.
Ok lets continue, so every week checked to see if there were updates for Wordpress ( most of those goes automatically what in fact not such a good idea is because you have no control on the moment the update occurs so when somethings is wrong and you have no time to fix it.... ) or Woocommerce plugins and hoping updating would not crash the website.
So due to those troubles had lesser fun in publishing new articles etc. Started early 2018 with the idea of leaving Wordpress/ Woocommerce completely.
What really pushed the "leaving part" in September 2018 me was the fact that Wordpress 5 (and read that it could bring big troubles with Woocommerce plugins ) was coming end last year. After some further research not wanted to wait to see if the transition from Wordpress 4.98 to version 5 in combination with Woocommerce would be successful.
Meanwhile started the search for a alternative and quickly came to Shopify. It has everything needed and most of the technical stuff is hidden for the user.
Besides that Shopify got/getting very good reviews, for example here, here or here.
Began building this new site in October 2018. Meanwhile the old online store at www.dutch360hdr.com continued running, luckily the Wordpress 5 upgrade needs manual activated one so not upgraded at all until the launch of this new website/ online store.
Finished the basic website early February 2019. It took so long because had to build it completely from scratch. Still need to add more content and finetune some parts, anyway thats for later, satisfied with the current set up. Good thing is that its easy to add additional subjects, products, projects or whatever. This last argument was a very important thing to keep in mind when building the core of this website it needs to be scalable.
How about the cost when comparing Shopify with Woocommerce?
Think that Shopify is a bit cheaper in cost compared with Woocommerce for a standard store, in the case you host only a few digital files or products Shopify is a really affordable choice. Because then you can host the files on the Shopify FTP.
What a cost saving thing here is in this situation, the fact that Shopify is hosted at... Shopify so it saves me about +/- 400 Euro hosting costs on yearly base (1 website instead of 2 ). Besides that not need to pay extra for a yearly SSL Certificate, that saves another +/- 150 Euro.
Most digital files you can get from this website are too big to be hosted on Shopify. After some research found a excellent app called SendOwl. It "talks" perfectly with Shopify so when a client orders a product it sends, after payment, the files to the client in a separate e-mail. In the mail there is a download link to the ordered files.
All the digital files that are available here are hosted on my own Amazon S3 FTP account because like to have control over the files. SendOwl has the option for Self Hosting.
Whats needed to run a Shopify website like this?
- Basic Shopify plan
- District Theme by Style Hatch Inc.
- GDPR Banner
- HelpCenter by EosCity- for the FAQs page and contact form
- Easy Invoice from Digital Takeout
- Rewind - Backups
- McAfee SECURE
- Shop Protector
- Widgetic (Audio Players)
Find it very important that the visitors & clients are protected as much as possible so took some extra security measurements with McAfee SECURE + additional Breach Insurance and Shop protector. Below you see the logo, you can click on it to see the certificate.
Support from Shopify & app creators
The support of Shopify is really great. Same thing for most Shopify apps I had contact with like HelpCenter, SendOwl & Easy Invoice from Digital Takeout ( although the last one has a long response time when contacting them, no big deal the Easy Invoice app is great )
The absolute winner of the support award is the creator of the awesome (as you can see ;) ) District theme of this new store Style Hatch Inc. Absolute the best / honest service ever experienced.
Sounds perhaps unlogically for some of you but suggested Style Hatc Inc. support they should ask for a yearly maintenance fee lets say 49,99 $. The District theme cost 160 $ and thats it. With a extra income source they could - just a idea/ example - hire extra crew members so it can give someone a job or develop other nice tools / services. Got a nice thanks mail back and it seems that its already a topic to be investigated between Shopify and app creators.
Did the same suggestion ( 4,99 $ instead of 49,99 $ ) to HelpCenter by EosCity , their super usefull FAQ tool is now completely free. They reacted " What would be very beneficial for us is if you could take 1 minute of your time and leave a feedback because it would help other users to decide whether or not this app is for them.". Now working on it..... almost done!