I’ve been MIA for the past years. I mean, like, MIA from blogging. I’m not a continuous blogger baby, tho, so being MIA is just alright. HA. Also, every time I want to write continuously, my plan is always failing so… yeah, better go with the flow. -_-
I still think that I need to do this [LIFE UPDATE] once in month or so but, whatever-lah…
So, it was started at November 8, 2016. A friend of mine (and my occasional employer) asked me to help her to make a website: an online shop, at that. She is specialized in any kind of K-Pop merchandise and she got a very, very huge number of follower. It’s getting hard for her to juggle selling and schooling, so she decided to make a website and employed me as a web designer, web builder, and also an admin.
I said that I never make an online shop before. However, she insisted and I saw this as an opportunity to develop myself and also my skill. So, it began.
The thing is, I also need to juggle website building with my current job at that time, a ghost writer for this website that is made by a Russian company. It was tough and I still need to do research about how to build an online shop.
The first problem is that I have to work on five kind of articles for my writing job. It took 1 to 2 hours of researching online, writing, editing pictures, and submitting my work just for 1 article. I needed minimal of 5 hours and maximal of 10 hours to finish my writing job. I barely survived every day: I drank many glasses of coffee, I got up very early, my brain is burnt a lot, and I got emotionally and physically exhausted every single day. So I decided that this need a solution.
The solution came fast enough. I got a friend who also need additional pocket money. So, she joined the wagon and we ran ablaze with writings. I still needed to do most editing. Editing pictures and words, and re-checking and submitting her work was taking time but it cut a lot of my work time: I only need half an hour to an hour to get all of it ready. So then, I got a better use of my 24 hours.
The second problem is that I, by any kind of means, never got in touch with online shopping platforms. This one was a very huge obstacle for me. Well, shopping in websites was not a stranger for me; I’m an avid online shopper. However, making a shopping website is in a whole new different level. I understood that I need to learn this from a BIG ZERO very, very fast; faster than what I can imagine.
The third problem led by the second problem is that I need to find the best platform for this website. Getting a hosting and domain name is the easiest part of this website building, I tell you. It only took a few days at most; no more than three days if everything went well. If you got confused just by that, imagine to have to dive down naked in a freezing sea called Google just to get to know these shopping platforms. So, then I got three big platforms that online shopping website use: WooCommerce, Magento, and Prestashop.
The fourth problem is to decide what platform should I use. My employer only asked me to make it chic and lovely using pink and blue. So, I used a lot of my quota to do extensive research for every single platform. WooCommerce apparently is a plugin of WordPress. You need to install WordPress and then install the plugin to run your online shop. Reviews said it will get heavier over times, the security is also basic. Magento is the most complicated one I see. The snippet of control panels are magnificent it got me dizzy but it boasts great customization and better security than the other two. Prestashop is in the middle. The back office dashboard is simple enough, the front page is cleaner but also a little bit hard in customization. I chose Magento. This research did take a lot of time because from zero to nothing near being a hero, man… It was like uncovering onion layer by layer; tricky and makes your eyes water. Also with all the writing I did, I think I spend almost a month just to chose Magento.
The fifth problem is to understand Magento. This is kind of suck… Magento is harder than you can imagine. Yes, it’s very customizable and also have a lot of free user-developed theme BUT it is also very, very complicated. I felt like a fool as I scan over its dashboard in real (not via Youtube) and try to understand the logic behind all of those thingamajigg-y buttons. So after several days, I gave up. Since I needed to do this fast, giving up is the first thing to do if I wanted to be as savvy as possible.
The fourth problem happened after I installed Prestashop. Prestashop is way easier than Magento. However, I still have zero knowledge about it and, of course, need to do more of extensive research. The dashboard is pretty much like WordPress but with different variable. I surfed all the tutorial and forums to get it rightly installed and ready to be ran and customized. But how to? Well, another extensive research, of course. However, I got pass this and ready to look for the right module (WordPress called them plugins, Prestashop called them modules) for the shipping counter service. We had agreed to use only JNE so I ran around the web to find one cheap enough but not too cheap so that it won’t be a dud. I did get one and got to installed the module in the web. It took more than a week to configure all of these but, hey, at least it worked.
The fifth problem: I found that Prestashop is a bit hard to customize unless you know its nook and cranny. It’s HEAVY! Like, srsly, it’s VERY HEAVY! I was baffled. It did not take many space mind you, only 180 MB in my server but how the eff that this was so heavy? So, I innocently put this keyword on Google “prestashop back office very heavy” and found how the right trick to make it less heavier (of course, after several threads and by several I meant as tonnes; and also it took days, I tell you). It’s very springy right now! Customizing the web got easier after the back office went faster. However, there came another problem.
The sixth problem is that while I customize the look of the web while feeling out how to do everything, the JNE modules got wonky. It supposed to be sent from M Town but the price is not matching with the one in JNE’s website. I have seek help from the modules developer, he said “Yes, we will see into your problem!” However, no help really came. Customizing the web was hard enough and this developer was not really helping; I have asked him a few times in the span on two weeks but nothing really happened so I got fed up and called my employer to let me look for another modules. She said yes and I ran around Prestashop forums to get a new one. Readily found one with twice the price of the first one. However, the developer was kinder and professional; and everything set just in the span of 24 hours. Such an accomplishment.
The seventh one, of course, to finish what I have started and, I tell you, it is a whole ride of a roller-coaster. I met so many obstacles I think I lost count. Ha. The month rolled into February and I still have a lot to do. Well, it was done for almost 80%, I believe. However, since I’m a noob… everything is still very, very rough at the edge. It served its purpose to let people buy products but aesthetically still need improvement. Inspecting the page one by one has been one of the most arduous job I did (I still do this today too), looking for the variable behind all that jazz of HTML and CSS codes. This problem is not solved yet by the time I finish this post. LOL. I feel like I’m going crazy so I deliberately taking a break and decide to write a long-ass post to celebrate my procrastination. BANZAI!
That’s all for today, I think. I don’t think I’m gonna write more tomorrow but probably will binge writing after this post. Like, need to be as savvy as possible. Ha. Do you think I’m being dramatic? Have any of you try setting up a Prestashop website? Well, if you have. Congratulations, you gains so much experience it leveled you up in life! If you have not, you have to decide whether you want to set it up by yourself, by using other service, or NO, IT’S NOT REALLY MY FORTE. You can always tell me if you have this kind of life changing experience happened in your very life; I’m willing to listen. 😀
If you are willing to see my mess of a website, you can go to YUHUNSHOP. I made the logo a long time ago and, thank God, I still have the CorelDraw file!