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Leave it to the experts

November 6, 2008

Those of you who know me will be very aware I have been in this old web business of ours for a long time now. In fact I found an old CDROM while tidying up my office yesterday, curious to discover what was on it I popped it into the MacBook only to discover it was my first ever site, an Intranet site for Siemens Plessey, the date, June 1995. Interestingly enough it was almost valid W3C compliant, the only things failing were common mark up errors, not bad for a text editor on HPUX 9.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make (in a rambling only Ben would write this way style) is I am incredibly proud of the fact I was so involved with the web at such an early stage. I learnt how to write (almost) valid HTML, then how to store and retrieve data with ASP and Access DBs followed by revisiting my design roots with CSS. Being an online Jack-of-all-trades has served me well; having the ability to just get on with it is a rare thing.

However much I like to keep my hand in I have recently had to admit defeat, juggling a great job, random projects, social networking, traveling, family life and dare I say it a tiny social life is tough, so I have called in the experts!

As some of you know Emma my wife runs an online sports shop (www.sportiesonline.com), it’s a site I build using a heavily modified CactuShop set of scripts. It was fun building the site, however Sporties is on the move (and CactuShop seems to have fallen off the face of the earth), we are migrating over to Actinic Business (v9.0.3). Now there are many obvious reasons for the move to Actinic, I am a director of the company being one, however the main reason is the v9 is highly integrated with Actinic Payments, which is fully PCI-DSS compliant.

To build the site for us I have called in the services of a company called Random River a company set up by a good friend and former employee Chris Dicken. My initial resistance to subcontract this is now a distant memory, letting go of my baby has been a tough thing but honestly it’s been a fantastic experience. Chris has an amazing eye for detail and so far the results have been fabulous. The site still has some way to go before it’s live, including the unenviable task of data migration, but it’s nicely on track.

So, its been an interesting lesson in both humility (Ben there are people that do this better than you) and a realisation that when you want something done well it pays to get the pros in. I think we can all learn something from this, especially if you are selling online, that DIY attitude works to a point but if you are serious about something try to get the best you can afford.

Anyway, stay tuned for a revamped SportiesOnline.com in the new year and if you want to talk to someone about e-Commerce design talk to Chris, he comes with a 100% Ben approval rating.

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