How to Choose the Right Website Platform for Your Business
If you want to build a website for your business, there are lots of options to choose from. As you start researching these options, you may find the options overwhelming. The platform you choose must offer the functionality you need along with ease of use and affordable pricing. In this post, we’re going to look at a couple of popular platforms you can use, what kind of website you can create with each, and what would be involved.
You’ve likely heard about website builders like Wix and Weebly. These are known as website builders. They allow you to create websites using a drag and drop interface. You simply select a template that matches the functionality you need, and customize the content from there.
Best of all, with website builders, you can have your website and hosting rolled into one (including a free domain for one year) for as little as $12 per month. Unlike other website platforms, you don’t have to worry about coding, software maintenance, or other technical aspects of website ownership.
The downside is that you have to use the templates as they are – there is little room for customization and functionality upgrades. If you choose this route, be sure that you are happy with what the website builder has to offer out of the box.
Content Management Systems
Content management systems are platforms that allow you great control of your website design, functionality, and performance. WordPress is the most popular CMS platform, used on over 15 million websites across the web.
With content management systems, you buy your own domain, setup website hosting, and have the CMS software installed on your web server for your domain. From there, you will need to choose a theme for your website, add plugins for enhanced functionality, and then create your content.
In addition to the setup, you will have to have perform regular maintenance in the form of backups, software updates, and security. Some CMS-specific web hosting services like WP Engine and Synthesis include maintenance and security in their plans, which is highly recommended for those who don’t want to worry about the maintenance.
One of the advantages of using WordPress in particular is that, because of its popularity, you will always be able to find designs, plugins, developers, and services to help you create the exact website you want for your business. You can also use WordPress for just about anything – static websites, blogs, ecommerce, forums, membership sites, and more.
If you want to focus solely on selling products, an ecommerce platform may be the right choice for your business. Shopify and Bigcommerce are two of the top ecommerce platforms that allow you to quickly create and set up an online store. You can start with basic plans at $29 per month that include your online store, unlimited products, and basic payment processing.
One of the perks to going with a hosted ecommerce platform, like those mentioned above, is that you don’t have to worry about your website’s hosting or security in regards to payment processing. 24/7 support and transaction security are built into the pricing.
Do you just need a very simple, static website? If you like coding and want to skip hosted solutions and CMS platforms, HTML templates are a great alternative. All you need is basic web hosting tied to your domain where you can upload your HTML files.
Marketplaces like Themeforest have over 6,000 HTML templates to choose from. You can download your template and edit it using a standard text editor, test your website on your computer, and then upload it to your web host. Maintenance will be minimal from there, assuming you don’t have to change your website content often.
No matter what platform you choose for your website, be sure that it is mobile-friendly by choosing options that offer responsive design. This will allow you to have a website that works on all devices, including smartphones.