In this digital age, your website is arguably your business’s greatest asset. It’s your digital storefront, and it’s imperative that it looks great, functions well, is secure, and lets your customers get the information they need to get and take the actions they need to take.
This platform is the foundation that holds everything you build on your website – from basic photos and text, to complicated forms, e-commerce stores, and more. It’s important that you choose the right platform — one that is robust, flexible, reliable, and can successfully run everything you need your website to do. And since you’re probably not a web developer ready to code your website from scratch, it’s also important that your platform can simplify the website creation and maintenance process. Developing and maintaining a good website is a complex undertaking, but when you start with the right platform, things can get a little simpler. What is the right platform, you might ask? At The Source Marketing Group we specialize in developing in WordPress to build thorough, dependable, and detailed websites for our clients. Below you will find what we love about WordPress and learn a little about other platforms that are available to you.
What platforms exist, and which one to choose?
Here is a list of some of the most used website platforms: WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly, Webflow, and Wix. To help you narrow down and make a decision, let’s go over what these platforms are good at, and where some may fall a little short.
Wix and Squarespace have amazing templates and designs to choose from for the DIY crowd, but users may encounter some trouble editing or changing the templates, reflecting less ease of use and less scalability with these platforms. With Wix, it is hard to remove content or data from the platform, making it challenging to move to another platform in the future. Wix is also extremely limited in its SEO capabilities and websites built on Wix have less monthly web traffic, meaning slow growth and less visibility online. Squarespace can be attractive to bloggers or beginners with little technical know-how, however it offers no phone support, lacks advanced marketing tools, has limited capabilities, and is one of the pricier platforms. Many businesses quickly “grow out” of this platform when they need more robust capabilities on their website. Webnode is a cheap website platform, but lacks social media integration and advanced design elements. It will really only give you the basics. Weebly is a fairly intuitive website builder but has blog limitations, poor backup capabilities, and a challenging interface for image management.
Here at The Source Marketing Group, our website developers use WordPress to produce functional websites to meet client needs. WordPress has a variety of strengths, including ease of use (which can let you develop your site quickly) and thousands of plugins available to customize your site to your specific needs. These plugins make WordPress highly flexible, so you can add elements like ecommerce stores, online courses, booking integrations, and more! Whether you have an online store, a professional service business, a blog, or a restaurant, WordPress has the tools you need to build a dependable, flexible, robust site. Even better, because it is an open source platform, you own your website when it’s built on WordPress, unlike some proprietary solutions in the marketplace. Did we mention that the WordPress software is free? Besides your typical hosting and domain costs, this platform is free and can scale to your needs.
What elements should your website platform have?
There are certain key elements you should look for in a website platform as you start out on the journey to build your website.
- Ease of use: The website platform should be designed in a way that an average person should be able to swiftly and easily learn to use the platform, even if they don’t know how to write code.
- The quality of the design and templates: They should be clean, modern, and customizable. This is what people will see when they come to your website, you want it to look the absolute best.
- Being able to customize and retain ownership of your website: You should be able to make the template/theme your own, giving it your own touch and feel that reflects your brand.
- Pre-formatted web page layouts: These give you the ability to have web pages laid out for you with placeholder text and pictures as an example, helping you build intuitive web content.
- Support: Is there a quick and easy way for you to contact someone for help if you run into a problem building your website?
- Price: Compare the price of the platforms (and consider plugins, integrations, or custom themes you might need). Do not compromise the quality for the price! Your platform should offer you a free trial, possibly with some limitations. This is why we love WordPress. It is free and you get to sample their flexibility for different types of websites firsthand!
- Additional Features: This is an item to really pay attention to when comparing prices. Focus on your platform’s capabilities for things like SEO options, mobile-friendly designs, a blogging system, shopping cart and e-commerce solutions, form builders, image galleries and image editing, blogging tools, social sharing functionality, website analytics and reports, custom domain name, and domain email hosting. WordPress has more SEO and other capabilities and actually ranks higher in search compared to other platforms.
Do your research, then act!
A website platform is the foundation of everything you build for your website, and you now know the most popular platforms and what they’re best at. Hopefully you’ve seen that WordPress is a solid place to start! Most website platforms can’t offer everything listed above and more, but WordPress can do it all. Now, you can identify the elements and services you want your website to have, review the information you gathered from this blog, and do any additional research. Then, act! Start your website on a platform that you feel comfortable and confident in, and watch your website come to life!
If you need extra support or guidance, our website developers can help you set up your website well, so you can easily optimize it, add on to it, and have control of it in the future. If you want professional help, or need expert guidance, leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayla Gentry is a recent graduate from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She is currently an intern at The Source Marketing Group, who is both eager and enthusiastic to absorb as much knowledge and gain as much experience as possible. Ideally, to figure out where her true passion lies in either marketing or events and start her career.