I would recommend giving Adobe sales a call about this. They would be better suited to answer your questions and determine if BC meets your needs.
In regards to the pricing, if your customers are only after the bottom dollar and you are selling them the entire package (ie: you support them, make the template, etc) then yes the package can seem steep. That's where becoming a salesperson comes in. Also because you have stated that you have neither the knowledge nor money, nor the experience to build custom websites you really need a solution like this even if it costs you more up front. It's always nice to say you can do everything but if you are unable to, advertising it is not such a good idea. Consider quoting a freelancer to help you out from job to job as well just in case because that may end up being the solution you go with.
First, look at all the videos on Adobe TV about Business Catalyst. I'm pretty well impressed, myself.
One thing BC will do for you is integrate all those features, so you won't have to go and figure them out yourself and then patch them together.
Thanks for the comments. I'd still like to hear from other developers. I have been through all of the videos. I've read through the case histories. I've read the blog posts and a number of forum posts. This is the conclusion that I've come to. If all you want is an informational website, Adobe BC is going to cost more than other solutions and may not be the best fit. A perfect example is a client who wants both a website and a PPC campaign. Google integrates AdWords and Google Analytics seamlessly. If your goal is for your website to be an online business, Adobe BC is the answer. What I think I'm going to do is present Adobe BC as an option. In the interim, until I get a client who needs that type of functionality, I'll take some time to get up to speed on the service myself. If I get a client who says "yeah that sounds cool," I'll probably offer a huge discount and then dive in with the client as my test case. I just paid for two years of hosting on Godaddy, so I can't see me moving my site over anytime soon.
If you have been through all the videos and online material, you do know that you (yourself) get "free" hosting on BC. Even if you didn't actually move your own live site, you will have that space to work out a trial on for your own site.Your clients pay for their hosting, the $ dependent on what services they want. Minimum is pretty low and includes InContext Editing, full solution starts at $39/mo.
I agree with the huge discount concept. I've offered a long-time client the opportunity to be my guinea pig. I'll keep my own fees low and as we develop new capabilities on their site. They don't pay for hosting at all right now, but would pay a monthly fee on BC. But working with them and their site will give me the kind of live experience that I will need on BC.
We'll see how it works out.
There have been numerous comments on the adobe/incontextediting forums (from a couple of Adobe people - Christenel, e.g., http://forums.adobe.com/message/2756449#2756449 and Rich, e.g., http://forums.adobe.com/message/2759339#2759339 ) with respect to BC as a replacement for ICE.
Among the significant negative points are that
- this is a hosted service from Adobe, so one is locked into whatver specs they have like traffic, number of domain aliases, etc.
- they do not support php
- they have a database, but what it is is unspecified.
- their have their own "formbuilder.(sounds like yahoo, doesn't?
Adobe seems to be going away from industry standard programming methods and substituting their own.
it also sounds as if one has to completely rewrite one's code, at least if there are any dynamic elements to it.
Quote from Cristinel (emphasis added):
The beauty of the BC system is that you don't have to re-write your contact forms in another language. The system comes with a large number of predefined modules that you can use directly.
For any custom forms, you get a forms builder that creates all the logic and database fields. Once the customer or user fills that form, the information is stored in the database and you can even trigger email alerts for each event. Even more, the Admin dashboard displays a live feed that shows the activity on the site.
On the PHP side, I am not at all questioning the importance of PHP in today's web development landscape. I'm just saying that, although we're not using or supporting PHP, I am pretty sure that we can cover most of your needs with the current system. This is why I am asking what kind of applications are you looking for, because we might already have an equivalent on the BC platform.