How to Choose the Best Website Platform for Your Business
Conflicting website advice
There are so many conflicting points of view out there about the best platform for you to build your website on. This is one decision that I personally have struggled with and I know a lot of my entrepreneurial peers have been unsure of as well.
Picking the wrong website platform can be a huge stressful headache - wasting you time, money, and maybe even clients.
After building 6 websites for myself across 4 different website platforms, I now have a crystal clear understanding of which type of website platform is ideal for what kind of person or business. What is best for me is not necessarily best for you - so be wary of any recommendations that state YOU MUST use this one because it is the BEST FOR EVERYONE.
That’s just simply not true. Different people and businesses have different needs and priorities that make your ideal website choice different. I’ve found my favorite and now I want to help you find yours so your website supports your business instead of being a source of stress.
Evaluate your skills, personality, and working style
In order to determine the best way to build and maintain your website, you’ll want to evaluate your skill level, working style, and desires. Answer the following questions, be honest:
Are you a DIYer or a swipe-the-card/write-the-check kind of person?
How creative are you? Do you have a good eye for design?
How much control do you want over designing and building your website?
How much control do you want over managing your website?
How good are you with tech?
Do you prefer all-in-one tools or researching and choosing the best tool for each specific use?
How willing are you to do regular checks to make sure everything is up to take and working properly on you website?
Do you have everything figured out for your business or are you still learning and tweaking as you go? (PS. If you answered the latter, be sure to read What You Need to Know BEFORE you work on Your Branding)
Lay out the needs of your website
Answer the following about your website needs:
What specific purposes will your website serve for you or your business?
Based on this, what capabilities will your website need to have?
Do you have any complicated tech requirements for your website?
How frequently will the capabilities of your website change?
How frequently will the information on your website change?
How quickly will those changes need to be made?
How much money, if any, can you spend on designing and building your website?
How much money can you spend on a monthly basis paying for and maintaining your website?
Two main types of website platforms
This article is the first in a 3-part website series:
This article will focus on whether an open-source or all-in-one drag-and-drop website is best for you.
If you choose the latter, be sure to check out the next article about the differences and pros and cons of all-in-one drag-and-drop website builders - Squarespace vs Wix vs Strikingly.
If you choose Squarespace - the tool I have chosen to use for all of my websites moving forward - the final post will be a deep dive into Squarespace so you can minimize your learning curve and get your website up and running in no time.
Let’s dive into the two main types of websites: open-source or all-in-one drag-and-drop.
(For Example: Wordpress)
Open source means that any developer can create templates and plugins (different tools with specific functionality that you can add to your website) that you in turn can add to your website, most likely Wordpress site. Because of this you can create pretty much any type of website you want if you have the vision + time + dedication to learning by doing (or money to hire someone who does).
Large or fast-growing companies
Businesses with a dedicated web manager (in-house or outsourced)
Organizations with very specific tech functionality needs
Designers, developers, and businesses that desire the ability to do anything on the website they can dream up
People who want to pay someone to design, build, and maintain their website and never have to think about it
All-in-one drag-and-drop website builder
(For Example: Squarespace, Wix, Strikingly, Weebly)
These companies have created proprietary web builders that have eliminated the need to know anything about coding or websites to begin. Think of them more like drag and drop kind of builders with pre-made templates with different levels of customization. They make it easier to create an aesthetically pleasing website that functions properly (not only on desktop but also on mobile) for the every day entrepreneur.
Independent entrepreneurs and small businesses
People who like to personally manage or have control over their website
Entrepreneurs with low budget
Entrepreneurs with or without a creative vision
People who don’t want to have to worry about the tech working
People who want an all-in-one tool
People who have lots of frequent, little updates to their website
Those who are mainly using the website for information purposes, content (like blogs), scheduling, or simple transactions
Choosing what’s right for you
So you see that there is not one right choice, but there is a best choice for you.
Remember those questions I had you answer at the beginning about your and your business? Here’s an overview chart showing which website type to choose based on you and your needs.
For example, if you’re a solopreneur that is bootstrapping your business and doing all the things, I’d suggest choosing an all-in-one drag-and-drop website builder like Squarespace, Wix, Strikingly, or Weebly. These will allow you to efficiently make a nice looking, pretty website that doesn’t break the bank and that you don’t have to worry about being glitchy. Because they are more intuitive and you can build and manage them yourself, you will save time and money and can easily update your website on the spot whenever you need to.
On the other hand, if you are running or building a larger company that has some very specific technology needs when it comes to your website and has the ability to pay a company to design, build, and maintain the website, choose an open-source web platform like Wordpress.
Of course, there are many other situations, so be honest with yourself about how you like to create and manage things and get clear on what you need your website to do.
If you’ve decided to choose an all-in-one drag-and-drop builder, check out the next article in the series for more specifics about the differences between, and pros and cons of, Squarespace, Wix, and Strikingly all of which I’ve personally used.
A website is only one piece of the puzzle
Having a website is very important, but it’s not everything. If you’re still figuring things out for your business, be sure to download this free checklist that will walk you step-by-step through figuring out the five foundational essentials that will set your business up for success. Download it free below:
I’m Stacy Kessler, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you figure out how to craft a unique, compelling, and profitable business you love around your expertise and passion.
You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.
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