I am looking for helpful suggestions for a website direction (or all-encompassing solution) for an online business that markets high value items on behalf of vendors, with medium-high monthly website traffic from all around the world.
Currently we have a relational database on a server in our office. This links via SQL/ODBC calls to our website MS SQL server. We have used this database for over 20 years and like it; it’s very easy to use, both for data input and for development. The website (on a separate dedicated server to the SQL but same host) is hand-coded ASP/PHP pages, using a CDN for image delivery. A small part of the website is using WordPress to display blog posts.
Our current main problems are:
customer data in our office and web databases are separate; each can exist without the other, impacting our ability to market products end-to-end and maximise sales potential
difficult to add new features to website; all of our website is hand coded with bespoke and complex responsive CSS, login, account, etc
updating of website data is slow due to individual SQL calls
office database is an expensive subscription; has become slower as we’ve built in more functionality
the CDN is both storage and delivery; service does not allow programming to manage images; package is expensive as our bandwidth creeps up with ever-higher traffic, while our storage use remains fairly even
Windows server and MS SQL licence costs, 3 dedicated servers (web, db, email)
our website is slow, despite everything we’ve tried over several years to speed it up
development team numbers only 1: me, and I currently have to know a bit about everything: web, css, JS, server admin, RDBMS dev, VOIP system/ JSON, XML, Adwords, SEO, email deliverability, etc
The ideal solution is a system that spans the web/office boundary, is easy to use for website users and our staff and allows me to construct the many bespoke systems (data entry automation, emailing, data imports) we need to get our jobs done. We’d like cleaner and standardised functionality on our website: an account system that is secure, feature-full and user-friendly; product search that is fast and flexible, the ability to add functionality much quicker than "months" and have CRM capabilities to keep in touch with our users.
I have experimented with Code Igniter and Elastic Search, and it has been suggested we use WordPress. The only experience I have with WordPress is seeing the rubbish that comes out of it as data exports, given that it is a publishing system not a database system.
I have obliquely looked at services such as Salesforce et al but they are outside our reach financially and also lack the fine control we need. E.g. we have hundreds of data feeds of varying standard and bespoke formats.
I’d love to hear suggestions on the direction you think we could take either the website or a complete office/web system.