Today we will talk about classified software and the key points to pay attention to in search of the right script. First though, let us try and see what the websites that serve as model typically have in common.
Let us imagine how an ideal classified website would look like. The best classified website would have a combination of the following: smart architecture, the ability to modify code, high speed of data processing, integration with 3rd party services, carefully designed interface and so on.
However, the above are just basic things. On top of that, the ideal classified website has to handle millions of visitors, store and search among tens of millions of listings, search all those listings in a fraction of a second, and produce quick and relevant search results.
As for revenue generation, the website should display just a handful of very expensive banners as part of strategic partnership agreements with selected top 1000 Fortune brands. Banners are likely to be linked with search results or page contents, each of them bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising revenues every month. The ad campaigns would preferably be run by big shots from the advertising business such as BBDO, etc., serviced by trained marketers with huge SEO budgets running campaigns to advertise the website in national media.
From the tech standpoint, the ideal website itself would have state-of-the-art coding, properly configured dedicated server cluster hosting environment, maybe even with designated caching and SQL servers ready to handle tons of simultaneous queries.
Overall, we are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of investments into making this business run as sketched above. Yet it basically defines is the goal that most startup entrepreneurs who are looking for the best classified script have in mind when shopping for the right script.
Unless your wife's uncle just happens to be a business angel to give you a couple of millions of dollars to build this business from scratch, the ideal website is a long shot from reality.
In fact, you are most likely working on acquiring the right skill set, or enough funds, or a team to eventually build a similar large-scale service. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be looking for the best classified software out of the box, would you?
Regardless, even with the funds you have, a small team and virtually no knowledge of coding, you can still run a great business that will help you pay your bills, send your kids to colleges and let you retire at the age of 50.
The trick is to choose the right classified software to get your website going, a good hosting platform that will provide a great uptime for your website, and a well-thought marketing plan that will have to be consistently implemented over the long period of time.
While the latter two are the subjects of other publications, in this one, we will provide a few hints on how to choose the best classified script that will be as good as, or maybe even better than the website services lots of people are talking about.
Well, key things to look for are as follows:
The most important point is the flexibility you should have in changing the code. Every business idea is unique, including yours of course. It is a combination of the unique environment and business processes of your company, plus the magical human factor. Out-of-the-box scripts are usually designed to address a certain set of general requirements that popular on the market at a certain period in time. However, it is practically impossible to find the perfect script that addresses ALL of your requirements, so you would need to set the priorities among things you truly need.
Do your homework first and identify the key processes/features your service will rotate around. Chose 3-5 key things you absolutely positively need to run your business, and evaluate offers on the market to choose your best classified script.
Examples of such key features or requirements may be a distance search capability, the ability to display ads in a certain way, the ability to set custom field searches, or a postal code database for, say, UK or Australia that comes with the script (if purchased separately, such databases may dramatically increase the cost of your project or may be incompatible).
Once you have shortlisted the scripts that all meet your key feature criteria, your next thing is to check whether they allow customizations.
Since you are unlikely to find all the features you need in one product, you would want to customize to add non-critical, but convenient features that will make your life easier.
Therefore, the next step before you make the final selection is to ensure that you are in fact able to change the existing features and/or add new features to support the growth of your business. If the code is fully encoded, there is nothing you will be able to do as far as features that go beyond the standard changes allowed by developers.
With open code, you can start thinking about the changes you will need to implement. We have a great article that covers the right way to collect and present your customization requirements, so we won’t go deeply into this matter here. Instead, let us move towards our next issue.
The next consideration you should make is product support.
Let us look at support from a broader perspective. The availability of 24/7 support is great, but that does not necessarily imply that the omnipresent support is capable of actually helping you deal with your issue beyond reading aloud pages from the user manual.
Support is all about the commitment to the script, it’s about standing behind their product.
What should tech support do for you and your website? It should fix bugs, assist with version upgrades, help with minor code or template alterations, advise on the best practices on using the script and help resolve common issues.
Bugs are part of every product, script, or software. The appropriate development technologies and processes help reduce the occurrence of bugs or the magnitude of their effects on your operations. However, even the best processes cannot eliminate bugs completely since “to err is human” and stuff does happen sometimes.
The key function of support is to address and rectify problems caused by bugs, actions of users, or third parties. Properly setup support service should have its own procedures to handle issues, and it’s best to help them deal with the issue instead of expecting them to fix everything immediately.
Therefore, last, but not least, you are looking for a system behind support, the way of running processes which makes sense. If you see that the script is supported in an organized and professional manner, then you should consider this script as the script of choice.
The commitment towards the product from the developer is one last key thing you need to research. There are a few scripts on the market that are no longer being developed. This is obviously not the right choice for you as any investment in such a script is going to be at risk when the business needs are no longer filled by the functionality offered by the script.
The ideal development cycle is around 3-6 months between releases. Releases that are too frequent may be harder to track and keep your website up-to-date. Releases that are over one year apart either indicate an inefficient development process or lack of interest in, or investments into the product.
You would also need to see if there is any decent release history information available to the general public. No records are bad because you never know what is changing, if anything, within the script. On the contrary, a well-documented changelog history is a good indicator of the properly organized development process, which obviously is a huge bonus point in favor of the script.
Overall, things you should expect from the best classified software on the market include, first and foremost, the ability to meet the needs of your business while being flexible in settings, functions, and capacity. You should be able to change the script by adding features you need and maybe remove features you don’t need.
As long as the script is properly supported, actively developed, and can be modified to fit your business structure, it should be shortlisted when you are shopping for the best classified script.
Author: Sergei K.Worksforweb Sales Department
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