Which Website Platform is Best Suited for Your Business? Top 3 Compared
There is no denying that more and more people are turning to the internet every single day to find the information, products, or services that they need. One study indicates that in 2018 there are more than 4 billion people online worldwide.
To meet the growing demand (or to capitalize on it!) more and more people are taking the leap and opening online businesses. However, they are not the only ones leveraging it for growth. Service businesses, local businesses, and international companies are all using their websites to generate new business. But I am sure you already know that.
What you might not know though is which platform you should be using to build your website.
We will take care of that today by looking at 3 unique but useful options for building your website.
1. GoDaddy Website Builder
The GoDaddy website builder is designed for fast and easy deployment. If you are just dipping your toes in the water and do not want to commit to having a site professionally designed, this platform could be the perfect starting point, with a few exceptions.
If you plan to open an online store, especially one that carries a lot of products, an e-commerce focused platform would be much better suited for your needs. We have also found that users that have previously used more feature rich platforms are often disappointed with the lack of customization that can be accomplished via this website builder.
The website builder comes with access to a photo library and changes to your website can be made from your phone, which may come in handy for the business owner on the go.
If you are a local business or a service business and need a quick solution, this could be what you are looking for.
Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform. This means that you, as the store owner do not have to set up your own hosting or worry about site security updates. As a dedicated e-commerce platform, Shopify has several purpose-built features that will make building, stocking, and promoting your online store easier.
For ease of deployment, Shopify does offer ready-made themes that can be applied to your website, but you will most likely need to consult with a professional if a custom look is what you are after. They also have several tools, such as the domain name suggestion tool which helps you find available domain names for your new store.
If you are familiar with CSS, HTML, and other common coding languages, then you should be able to learn “Liquid”, the template language used by Shopify, fairly easily.
While there are more customization options that with the GoDaddy website builder, Shopify does have some limitations. As a hosted solution, you do not have access to the raw CMS code. You also must pay a recurring fee for access to the service in place of the typical “hosting” fee you would pay for a self-hosted solution like WordPress.
Between site add-ons and the robust resource section on their site, you will be able to find a solution for most issues you encounter.
If you are planning to build an online store, this platform will make doing so much easier.
When you hear WordPress, does blogging come to mind? You are not alone! WordPress is a self-hosted CMS. This means that you download WordPress and install it on your own hosting.
A content management system (CMS) is essentially a software application that simplifies functions and interactions with raw coding languages like PHP.
Like GoDaddy and Shopify, WordPress offers pre-made templates that allow you to launch a site without paying a designer. However, if you want a custom-built site, you are going to need professional help.
Aside from blogging, which is where WP got started, it can be used for static websites and to build online stores, through both WooCommerce and Shopify WordPress Integration.
Generally regarded as an easy to use platform, the CMS dashboard, especially the content area is similar to Microsoft Word, meaning that even a new user can likely add or update simple text sections.
Since WP is self-hosted, there are a couple items you will have to take care of that you do not with GoDaddy or Shopify
- CMS Updates
- Plugin Updates
- Security Updates
To keep your site secure, you must make sure it is up to date. The problem is, sometimes when you update one of the above items, it breaks another part of your site, due to a script conflict. This can require you to seek the help of a developer, which could get pricey.
Overall, WP is a strong platform and is especially well suited for static business websites.
So, Which One is For You?
Now that you have a basic understanding of the three platforms and what they are best for, you should take some time to dive deeper into the solution you think is a great fit. Just like if you were going to develop a custom app for your business, your budget, experience level, and goals will all play into finding the right solution.
Shopify is my pick for an online store and WordPress is the go-to for static, non-e-commerce websites.
Regardless of the platform you choose, your website is often the first impression a potential customer will have of your business, so make sure you spend the time needed to make it a good one.