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What website platform is right for you

Which website platform is right for you?

When creating your first website, one decision that seems to cause confusion is the choice of which website platform to use to create your website.

In previous years, there wasn’t much of a choice. You hired a web developer who would code a website for you in HTML. When you wanted to change your website, you would contact your developer to make those changes.

Over time, we wanted more control over their websites. They changed from the set and forget style, to more dynamic sources of information. As website owners wanted to add more and more pages and information to their websites, it became quite expensive to hire a web developer to make those changes. A gap in the market was identified and software programs were created to make it easier for anyone to create and maintain a website.

Types of Website Platforms

Skip to the present time, there are now many different software choices that you can use to create a website. Each has its own benefits – let’s take a look at what each platform is suited to and the pros and cons of each. 

WordPress

One of the largest content management systems (CMS), WordPress powers over 30% of the world’s websites. It is designed to handle everything from small brochure websites to large E-Commerce stores. The software itself is free and there is a huge variety of “plugins” or applications that can be added to WordPress to improve it’s functionality. 

This platform is often the first choice for WordPress designers and developers due to the amount of resources, tools, plugins and other options available to its users. The downside is that all these choices it can feel overwhelming and some technical knowledge will need to be required.

Benefits of WordPress

  • Free
  • For those with technical confidence, it is very powerful software
  • Freedom to choose your website host and can easily change hosts
  • Easy to make changes
  • Lots of people know the platform so it’s easy to get help.

Downsides of WordPress

  • It can be a steeper learning curve than other platforms
  • There is almost too much choice. It can be difficult to figure out what are the best plugins
  • You or your host is responsible for security, backups and performance and it costs to host. 

Read this article for more information and a tour of WordPress:

Squarespace / Wix

Squarespace and Wix are other choices of graphic designers. They have beautiful pre-made templates, lot’s of integrated applications and tools and for a monthly fee there is no need to worry about backups and security. 

Benefits of Squarespace / Wix

  • Easy to learn, use and set up, especially those with no technical ability
  • No need to pay and set up hosting
  • Easy to make changes
  • Lots of people know the platform so it’s easy to get help

Downsides of Squarespace / Wix

  • If you decide to change to another platform, you can’t take your website with you. It is very difficult to switch platforms later on
  • Limited tools and plugins.
  • No access to the code of the platform. No ability to customise outside the standard tools.
  • Not as much design freedom
  • Not as much functionality
  • Monthly fees can be higher than cheap WordPress hosting

Dedicated E-Commerce Platforms 

If you will be selling products on your website, both Shopify & BigCommerce are platforms designed to include all the bells and whistles to get a store up and running fast. 

Whilst the other platforms, such as Wix, WordPress, Squarespace all have the ability to sell online, Shopify and BigCommerce have all the fields, payment gateways and options all geared towards online sellers.

The downside can be they lack a little flexibility, they are not as easy to change things and you don’t have as much freedom.

Benefits of Shopify / BigCommerce

  • Easy to set up
  • Great library of tutorials and free themes
  • Easy to integrate with different payment gateways
  • Easily integrates with other online platforms to sync stock including point of sale systems
  • Manage inventory
  • Hosting, performance and security is all managed for you

Downsides of  Shopify / BigCommerce

  • Monthly payments can be hefty especially if you add lot’s of apps
  • Can require technical knowledge to make changes to the theme or design
  • Limited design options for blogs and content
  • Not easy to export the site if you wish to change platforms

Dedicated Course Platforms – Kajabi 

The popularity of online memberships and courses is growing and there are online platforms dedicated to course creators. Kajabi is one such platform.

Kajabi allows its users to create online courses, membership portals, provide certificates, funnels and both static and landing pages. These platforms save course creators time by providing an out of the box set platform without having to configure or choose between many different options such as a WordPress website with a course on it. It is a great option for DIY creators.

Benefits of Kajabi

  • Easy to set up, you can be up and running very quickly
  • Great library of tutorials and free themes
  • Easy to integrate with different payment gateways
  • Manage members, failed payments
  • Can be used to collect email subscribers
  • Hosting, performance and security is all managed for you

Downsides of  Shopify / BigCommerce

  • Expensive
  • Minimal flexibility in design and functionality options
  • You don’t own your website, so if Kajabi canceles your hosting, you can’t export the site anywhere else

Other Website Platforms

There are numerous other platforms and ways to build a website. Many online software companies have their own versions and way’s to create a website, from Google My Business to Facebook, Canva, Mailchimp and website hosts, there are many companies now offering quick and easy websites. 

Remember to first figure out WHY you want a website and what your website goals are. Do a little bit of planning before beginning and save yourself time in the long run by choosing the right website platform for your business needs.

If you require help in choosing a website platform or some feedback on your current website, please reach out, I will be more than happy to run through your options with you.

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