Website Builders: Does It Really Matter Which Platform You Choose?
Some may argue that building a website has never been easier, and in some aspects, it’s true. No longer are companies forced to seek out high-end coders or developers to build a simple website. Nowadays, DIY website builders like Wix and Squarespace make it easy to create a professional-looking, well-branded website for free (or extremely cheap).
But for all the conveniences that these super-simplistic builders offer, they’ve also created new complexities, namely in choosing the best platform for your priorities.
While many people hire out website design without a preference of platform, we disagree with this approach. The platform you choose determines how quickly you can launch, how much your website costs, how easy it is to maintain your website, how quickly you can grow your business online, and how your team will maintain and manage the website. Companies should address their unique website needs so they can move forward with confidence.
Here’s some food for thought to help you think in the right direction:
Types of Website Development Platforms
Website development platforms come in three basic forms: site builders, content management systems, and specialty platforms.
Site builders like Squarespace or Wix help you build a basic website without configuration or management. Many businesses choose this option to keep costs low, and because they do not require custom or complex functionality outside of what the website builder offers.
Content management systems, like WordPress, are more complicated. They manage your website’s content, such as blogs and images, then rely on a computer programming language to upload that information to your website.
Specialty platforms are those designed for a specific purpose, such as ecommerce. Shopify is an example of a specialty platform.
Costs to Consider
Cost will always be a factor when choosing a platform regardless of your initial budget. Not only do you need to consider the upfront costs of building a website, but also the rollout, long-term maintenance costs, and ongoing support.
Outside of development or design fees, upfront costs typically include domain fees, hosting, plug-ins, apps, stock photography, and copywriting. You may also need to consider a budget for rollout, which may include team training, a marketing launch campaign, and complimentary marketing collateral. Ongoing costs to consider are long-term maintenance and ongoing support.
Even with low-cost or free website solutions, keep in mind that nothing is truly free. Consider the price of switching platforms if you outgrow your current one in the future. Even expanding advanced solutions like WordPress will require extra time and training.
Some website platforms are better suited for SEO, depending on the tools they offer. For example, WordPress offers plug-ins that can help you capitalize on SEO opportunities without the guesswork. If you’re skilled in SEO best practices, you can optimize any site or platform, but some platforms make it easier to take advantage of SEO benefits than others.
Bottom Line: Which Website Platform Should You Choose?
There has been massive evolution in website design as more companies have launched hosted solutions that help us quickly and easily launch an attractive website. But this expanded number of options has also made the selection process even more critical.
We recommend choosing the right platform first, then hiring experts who can help you with that particular platform if you need it. It is not easy or cheap to change platforms later, so you want to choose the solution that will carry you through the next 1-3 years minimum.
Traction Hero’s latest report provides a deep-dive exploration into the most popular website development builders, including WordPress, WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix. Download the free report here.