Category: Volusion

Ecommerce Help: A Little Goes a Long Way


Ecommerce: So Much to Do, So Little Time


As you may know, running an ecommerce business is so much more than putting up a website and waiting for the orders to come in. As with any sales business, there’s accounting, marketing, inventory, shipping, staffing, and customer support issues to manage. Plus, your industry and products may change frequently, which means that updating your online store regularly to stay competitive is probably always on your to-do list. Making your website the best it can be and then maintaining it can be overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be.


Need Development Help? (Short Answer: Yes!)

Many ecommerce businesses could benefit from having support services for their store on a regular basis, but at what cost? If an inexperienced developer works on your ecommerce store, they could not only take it down, resulting in lost revenues, but seriously screw things up, requiring you to spend way more money and time than you can spare. Besides, who can afford to hire a full-time or even a part-time ecommerce developer, and where can you find one?

If you’re not super tech savvy, or simply don’t have the time (or desire) to learn the ins and outs of your shopping platform, we don’t blame you. While getting help can be a real game changer, where can you get the help you need, and at a reasonable price point?


You Asked for it, You Got it: 2-Hour Monthly Store Support


In order to serve BigCommerce, Shopify, Lead Commerce, or Volusion businesses that need just a little development help, we have added a 2-Hour Monthly Recurring Package to our Store Support menu. Instead of overextending yourself doing projects outside your skill set, spend your time doing what you do best, and leave the rest to us.

“Two hours a month sounds great, but can you get anything useful done in such a short time?”


With two hours a month, we could help you with:

  • 1 small project
  • 2 one-hour tasks
  • 4 thirty-minute tasks
  • 8 fifteen-minute tasks

If that doesn’t seem like very much time, think of all the tasks you’ve been putting off, like:

  • Updating your homepage
  • Managing theme updates
  • Improving product page user experience & styling
  • Formatting images & blog posts
  • Reviewing and configuring Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools
  • Adding special functionality to your site


This new package (and all of our Store Support packages) includes our monthly backup service, free of charge — woo hoo! To provide continuous support with the greatest convenience, our Recurring Monthly package subscriptions automatically renew every month — but you can cancel at any time prior to your renewal date without penalty.

Small investments can pay off big. Making improvements to your ecommerce store on a consistent basis is the best way to manage continual change, ensure the long-term success of your online business, and give you some much-needed peace of mind. Give us a try and experience the difference just a little help can make.

For more information, please visit our Store Support pages for BigCommerce, Shopify, Lead Commerce, and Volusion.

Need Help with Your Online Store?

Stressed Businesswoman

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, running your own business can run you ragged. You wear all the hats, make all the decisions … it’s exhausting. But as the saying goes, you’d rather work 80 hours for yourself than 40 hours for someone else, amirite? But what happens when 80 hours becomes 100 hours, or 120 hours? When you’re constantly busy but not feeling like you’re making progress? When your dog AND your kids both snap at you? You’ve put in all the sweat equity you can afford, but it’s still not enough?

If you started an ecommerce business thinking it was your ticket to Easy Street, you have certainly found out otherwise by now.

Starting an online store on a platform designed for small to midsize businesses certainly seemed like the way to go, because who can afford a fully custom site? Relatively easy setup, low cost point of entry, and the default settings met all your basic needs, right?. Ok … some of them?

Perhaps you were told that your online store could be customized, but you’ve no doubt discovered that your shopping platform’s help desk will not help with that. Have you tried hiring a web developer who really didn’t know anything about ecommerce and you ended up paying dearly for their learning curve, only to find that they couldn’t deliver?

And what about routine maintenance — are your backups reliable? Are your product photos and content updated regularly? Is your site running slowly and you don’t know why? Are 404 errors driving you crazy?

If you’re struggling or are simply unsatisfied with your online store and don’t know where else to turn, what you need is an ecommerce development expert.
“But why outsource when I should be able to do it myself?” you ask?


Reasons to Get Outside Help for Your Online Store


  1. Running your ecommerce business is already a full-time job, and you want to spend more time with your family and/or occasionally binge-watch Netflix.
  2. You can’t afford even a part-time employee to help. Besides, you don’t know enough or have the time to train someone else.
  3. Site upkeep is no fun and you hate it; consequently, you neglect to do certain tasks that usually come back to bite you later when you’re in crisis mode.
  4. You realize that it’s not the best use of your time, that it’s better to work “on” your business rather than “in” your business.
  5. Asking your spouse or family member to help out isn’t an option because he/she already has a full-time job or other responsibilities.
  6. You want to add custom functionality to your store that would help with all of the above — but you don’t write code.


“If there is a aspect of my business that I don’t like working on, I usually end up outsourcing it. As a founder you can focus your efforts on the aspects that you enjoy while hiring out the rest.” Nathan Resnick, Founder of Sourcify

“In my mind, the bottom line is that everyone outsources. Unless you grow, harvest, and process your own food, make your own clothes from fibers you’ve produced and spun, build your own house, create your own power sources, and are completely independent from the long chain of people in the manufacturing economy, you’re paying other people to do that which you do not want to do, don’t want to make time to do, or lack the skills to do. In the modern word, specialization is the norm.” J.D. Roth


There comes a point (usually much sooner than most entrepreneurs are willing to admit), when it all becomes too much. When you have more work than you can handle, but not quite enough to hire a full or even part-time employee, outsourcing to an ecommerce expert may be just what you need. Check out Inkblot Digital’s Store Support service for BigCommerce, Lead Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion stores.


How does our Store Support work?

You can use our service in three ways:

  • Pay by the hour (Hourly: for very short jobs or emergencies)
  • Pay for a set number of hours per month on a one-time basis (On Demand: for longer, one-time tasks)
  • Pay for a set number of hours on a recurring basis (Recurring Monthly: for continuous support and priority service)

Pssst … sidebar … Our Recurring Monthly packages are really something to shout about. Not only do you get our very best hourly rates, but the following features are included free

  • Priority Service
  • Monthly backup (including template)
  • Site Downtime Status Report
  • Missing Title Tags Report
  • Broken Links Report

What kinds of services could I use this for? Can you give me some more examples?

  • Making changes to website layout and styling
  • Adding custom coding & functionality
  • Updating content & graphics
  • Managing product & store configuration
  • Providing graphic design for site banners
  • Providing ecommerce consulting
  • Optimizing website speed
  • Restoring backups when code changes cause templates to break
  • Integrating external services such as Google Analytics, a third-party reviews system, or other tools
  • Building custom API integrations to allow better management of your ecommerce store


Store Support = Life Support

Think of our Store Support as your part-time help desk or outsourced internal development team.

Life is too short to spend time doing things you’d be better off not doing yourself. Let us help you shoulder the burden. Contact Inkblot Digital today and let’s find out how we can make your online business — and your life — easier.

Get More From Your Online Store

Is your ecommerce website just … average?

Is your back office inefficient?

Is managing your online store overwhelming?


Inkblot Digital at your service! At Inkblot Digital, our ecommerce developers specialize in creating custom code applications that add needed functionality to your shopping platform, along with providing store support services to lighten your load.

Not only have we recently redesigned our website (woot woot!), we have consolidated our service offering to focus on three areas: Store Customization, Ecommerce Connectors, and Store Support. This change enables us to dive deeper into BigCommerce, Lead Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion platforms and offer custom solutions and service specific to the ecommerce community. Need a quick fix or an extra pair of hands so you can get back to business? Here’s what we do best:


Store Customization


Is your “off the shelf” ecommerce website not quite cutting it? Are you missing key functionality that would set you apart from your competitors and improve user experience? Are you having trouble finding a developer who knows your platform well enough to make the changes you need (You do know you can add features to your shopping platform, right? Just checking …). Our development experts love creating custom solutions for ecommerce stores.

Enhancement possibilities are endless with imagination and custom code. Choose a pre-built app from our Store Mod Marketplace or a custom solution — which one is right for you?


Ecommerce Connectors


Inkblot makes your life easier by designing ecommerce connectors that integrate your back office software with platforms like Amazon, eBay, and ShipStation. Would you like make your business run more efficiently? If so, why wait? Integrate. Connecting your systems is an important yet complicated process, but one that could be vital to your long-term success by allowing you to spend more time working on your business, not in your business.

We’ve built connectors that hook up Lead Commerce with other platforms, but we can integrate many other platforms to your specifications. Choose one of our existing connectors or have us create one just for you.


Store Support


Wouldn’t it be great if you had easy access to ongoing assistance with your ecommerce store? Managing things like template changes, handling 404s and 301 redirects, adding pages and products, and JavaScript customization take valuable time. Our Store Support Packages provide an easy way to pay for our services and are the perfect solution for busy online store owners. We offer three service package levels for BigCommerce, Lead Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion stores. Plus, Monthly Recurring packages come with our Automated Backup Tool and site monitoring service free!

All web developers are not created equal. Our developers are ecommerce experts who know what to do when you just need to get it done. And in case you were wondering, we are 100% U.S. based.

How Can We Help?

Find out how your store can be AWESOMIZED! Contact us today at and let’s talk about how we can help you get more from your online store.

Inkblot Digital: Your Ecommerce Development Experts.

The Volusion Mobile SEO Dilemma

Google recently announced that mobile user experience will play an even greater role in mobile search results come April 21. We recently wrote an article detailing why Google prefers sites with a good mobile experience and how a website might respond. However, many sites (including many of our ecommerce clients) have a more nuanced set of options resulting from the platform they are on. Such is the case with Volusion stores.

Volusion Mobile SEO Dilemma

The Volusion Context

Volusion, like many other ecommerce platforms, does not offer a great amount of flexibility. As a result, it is not as easy to meet the mobile-friendly guidelines laid out by Google.

Those used to self-hosted, open platforms such as WordPress might not understand the hosted CMS scenario. Here is the Volusion context:

Mobile Storefront

In the Fall of 2013, Volusion released version 2 of their Mobile Storefront. Although it had many issues at the outset, they have since made many improvements — especially involving SEO aspects. Unfortunately, the mobile store is limited and falls short of the needs of many modern stores. There are many contexts where it simply does not function properly for a store’s needs in the way the desktop version does.

Updated Theme Engine

In the Spring of 2014, Volusion announced the pending arrival of a new “theme engine” that would power Volusion templates going forward. This theme engine was to be built using AngularJS, which was to give web developers great flexibility to, among other things, build responsive websites to better reach mobile customers. While the release of the new theme engine was due out at the end of the summer of 2014, it quietly fell off the radar. While it was alluded to at the beginning of 2015, there is no telling when or if it will go live.

Responsive Templates

Instead of releasing the new theme engine, Volusion launched “responsive templates” in the fall of 2014 and has pushed them hard since. It sounded like great news at first, but they are not quite what was hoped for. While these templates adapt to various screen sizes, they are not truly responsive. As they are built on much of the same HTML table code as before, they cannot truly adapt to the context. For example, instead of a row of four products on a category page switching to rows of two on smaller resolutions, the products are simply shrunk and squished into the device width. This is not a true responsive solution. Additionally, it is unclear how much of a stopgap this is. Will it will last or be scrapped if and when the theme engine releases?

Such is the context for Volusion stores looking to implement a mobile solution.

SEO Implications

In a time when it is imperative for those who want to reach mobile searchers to have a solid mobile strategy, Volusion owners are faced with a difficult decision. Whereas all stores likely want to improve their SEO, the options are limited with no clear cut path forward.

Again, the issue — laid out in our previous Google Hates Your Poor Mobile Experience article — is that not having a “mobile-friendly” website will likely result in the loss of mobile search traffic at a greater level come April 21, 2015. For many Volusion stores, mobile search traffic is currently a significant source of revenue. To be under-optimized for mobile SEO could be painful. Furthermore, in a world where visitors often move from device to device, many customers may start on mobile but checkout on a desktop or tablet, masking the true revenue resulting from mobile search.

The SEO guidance is clear and I will not belabor this point: mobile-friendliness is a key factor for mobile search. Online stores hosted on the Volusion platform need to find a way to respond to this latest change.

Mobile Options for Volusion Stores

Here are four key options available for your Volusion store as you consider how to best target mobile visitors and adapt for mobile search:

Responsive Web Design Device Types

Option #1: Use the Volusion Mobile Storefront

Many stores currently use the Volusion Mobile Storefront to better reach their mobile visitors. Volusion has certainly improved several key features — especially the SEO setup — since the launch of version 2. However, there are several drawbacks to be aware of.


Some of the top benefits of the Volusion Mobile Storefront include:

  • Reaches mobile visitors with a version of your store made just for them
  • Enables mobile optimized checkout
  • Passes the “mobile friendly” test

Challenges & Limitations

The Mobile Storefront also has the following challenges and limitations:

  • Minimal customization available
  • Not all web content displays
  • Many features are not supported
  • Unable to run conversion tracking codes

Option #2: Use/Customize a Responsive Theme

Volusion’s responsive templates have been around for a while now and appeal to many sites. While it does not offer the theme engine that many expected, it does enable your site to adapt to various device types. It is important to note that you cannot simply turn this on for your existing template. You must switch to a new, responsive template and customize it from there.


Some of the top benefits of the Volusion Responsive Templates include:

  • Provides a single template for your site
  • Creates a responsive site, the Google-preferred option for your mobile solution
  • Passes the “mobile friendly” test

Challenges & Limitations

The Responsive Templates also have the following challenges and limitations:

  • Requires a new template
  • Continues to use HTML table code
  • Adapts somewhat, but is not truly responsive

Here you can find the responsive templates that Volusion currently offers: Responsive Template Store.

Option #3: Migrate to Another Platform

Of course, it is always possible to migrate your Volusion store to another ecommerce platform that offers the flexibility to implement responsive web design. While the most difficult of all options, this opens up a myriad of options.


Some of the top benefits of migrating to another ecommerce platform include:

  • Accessing theme engines that fully support responsive coding
  • Upgrading to a modern platform
  • Passing the “mobile friendly” test

Challenges & Limitations

Migrating to a new platform also has the following challenges and limitations:

  • Requires a significant investment of time and resources
  • Other platforms may not suit your business processes like Volusion does
  • Business will need to adapt to new systems

Option #4: Do Nothing / Wait for a Volusion Upgrade

The easiest option is to not do anything. Perhaps you don’t want to invest in the other options. or decide you want to wait for the new theme engine to come out prior to making a change.


Some of the top benefits of doing nothing include:

  • Avoid investing in temporary technology
  • Save funds for key improvements

Challenges & Limitations

Doing nothing also has the following challenges and limitations:

  • It is unclear when other, better options will be available
  • You risk a drop in mobile search results
  • Your site will not pass the “mobile friendly” test


So, what should you do? It depends (I know, I know …)

Here are a few options you might consider based on your situation:

Scenario #1: Minimal Store Customization

Scenario: Your store is barely customized and you plan on staying on Volusion for a while …

Recommendation: Utilize a Volusion Responsive Template

If a new, responsive template will require minimal customization to meet your needs, this might not be a bad option for you. Generally speaking, the Volusion responsive templates do not provide enough benefit for the amount of effort involved in customizing them as they do not resolve all issues. However, in this scenario it might just make sense.

One key drawback is that you cannot run conversion tracking codes for Google Analytics ecommerce transaction tracking or other conversion tracking. If this is critical data for your store, as it is for many, this recommendation would not apply to you.

Scenario #2: Moderate Store Customization

Scenario: Your store design is moderately customized, you plan on staying on Volusion, and are not utilizing unique Volusion features unsupported by the mobile storefront…

Recommendation: Volusion Mobile Storefront

If your store design is unique and would require significant effort to re-skin a responsive template, I would recommend using the Volusion Mobile Storefront. The key factor here is that you are not using any of the features that do not work on the mobile storefront. In this case, the minimal effort required to switch to the mobile store option is worth the trade off to become mobile friendly.

Scenario #3: Planning on Leaving Volusion

Scenario: You already plan on leaving Volusion…

Recommendation: Migrate Now & Implement Responsive Web Design

If you already plan on migrating to another cart but have not done so for one reason or another, now would be a good time to make the move and to implement a responsive web design in the process. The opportunity cost may justify the expense of migrating. Consider what you might lose in mobile sales each month versus the expense of migrating.

Scenario #4: Heavily Customized

Scenario: Your site is heavily customized or the Mobile Storefront does not work for your store…

Recommendation: Implement Responsive Web Design (customizing a Volusion Responsive Template or Migrate to another platform and build a template with responsive web design

If your store has been significantly customized or if you are utilizing features that do not work properly with the Mobile Storefront, the decision is more complicated. In this scenario, I recommend first determining how valuable your mobile traffic is. If mobile, organic search drives minimal sales and is unimportant to you as a sales channel, you might actually want to “do nothing” for now and stick with the desktop-only site. If it drives a higher volume of traffic and is a valuable source of revenue, then you will want to go responsive — either on Volusion or not. While a Volusion responsive template is more of a stopgap, it may still be worth investing in a new template and the subsequent customization if you are committed to the platform. If you are indifferent or frustrated with Volusion, you might consider investing the same funds into a one-time upgrade onto another platform.


Concluding Thoughts

Unfortunately, there is no single, clear guidance here. Many nuances such as mobile traffic, revenue driven from mobile, business process, and long-term plans, along with a lack of clarity about Volusion’s plan, create a complex landscape for you to navigate. Our final recommendation is to look at all of these factors to truly understand what you are dealing with first, then make a decision. Work with the information you have today and then adapt as things progress. Not making a decision of any kind is effectively choosing to miss out on mobile search traffic. Choose wisely.