What Platform is Best to Build My Website On?

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The Platform you build your website on can literally make or break the success you have online. A strong online presence has never been so vital for business. 80% of consumers now research online before making a decision and 85% use the internet to find local businesses.

During the pandemic shops the ability to trade, businesses who often work face to face could no longer operate resulting in many businesses either not making it or having to adapt their business models quickly. With more and more people turning to online to get in front of their audience, how quickly they were able to adapt and at what price would have come down to how their business website was built.

It has become more imperative than ever to have a website that is both flexible, adaptable, and able to generate you income as well as cutting down time-consuming jobs.

Here we discuss the pros and cons of each platform to help you decide what to choose for your business.

Website Builder vs Professional Web Developer What is the Best Option?

Is hiring a web designer the right choice for you and your business?  This is a question we get asked all the time by many start up businesses and it ultimately comes down to the situation you and your business are in.  The reasons for choosing a self build are often quite self evident, cheap, no design skills required, easy to update on your own.  It is much more difficult sometimes to see the value that a web developer can bring to your business as often the costs are much higher.  I think therefore that what is more useful at this point is to discuss the benefits of a good web developer.  The benefits of hiring a professional web developer or web design company are as follows:

1. An Online Strategy

When developing a website a web designer will be looking at how both you and your clients will benefit from the website.  They will look at your marketing strategy, business goals and competitor analysis to ensure your websites long term success. 

2. High Quality Web Design

If you have ever tried to develop a self-build website you will know the minute you start to use their nice looking templates by adding your images, text it ends up looking nothing like what you thought. In fact after endless hours of tweaking headers, images etc you are still not satisfied with the end “look of the website”.  By the time you have finally got around to launch you would have had wasted hours in designing a website that you find lacks visibility, (search engines don’t like the self builds as they have too much code in their websites to be found and they also lack advanced SEO functionality), is missing certain plugins, coding to enble them to work correctly and you are very swiftly looking to rebuild your website again.

3. Web Design and SEO Services

How will they find you online?  SEO important because the higher you rank in results pages, the more clicks and traffic your site will generate. SEO also improves user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. simply put SEO is the backbone to your marketing efforts, without SEO you will be constantly paying for other marketing to be found.  The issue with self builds is that they lack advanced SEO functionality and therefore rank well below more professional platforms.

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Pros

  • Inexpensive, with costs typically ranging from free to £30 per month
  • Fast to launch, often within a few hours
  • Website is hosted for you automatically
  • Safe with security handled by the website provider
  • Attractive, with professional industry designs included
  • Easy to use — some tools literally as easy as “drag and drop”
  • Easy to update on your own with no delays or added cost
  • Enhanced with basic SEO and traffic analytics tools
  • Capable of using your domain name, though perhaps with a bit of extra cost
  • No coding required
  • No design skills

Cons

  • Takes a long time to build
  • Has limited customisation options
  • You don’t own your own website design
  • Upgrades cost lots of money
  • Limited marketing tools
  • No advanced SEO options and often poor SEO
  • Limited mobile experience
  • Not suitable for a professional business that want to get found as they are riddled with code to allow you to have the design scope they offer meaning that you are often not found on the search results.  They also often lack advanced SEO tools.
  • Slow loading times
  • Often stuck with the templates offered
  • Poor customer service
  • Some are flashed based and most search engines can’t read flash
  • Does not come with a professional eye which will look at customer journey and other technical knowledge

If I decide to go with a Web designer What platform is best to build your website on?

Here we will look at Pros and Cons of some of the most popular platforms used by web developers.  

Pros and Cons of a Self-build website platforms

Pros

  • Flexible platform that allows for third party intergrations. Plenty of plug ins that cover pretty much most functions
  • Extensive SEO features though not as many as wordpress offers
  • Scalable so can grow as your business does
  • large community of developers

Cons

  • Hosting can be expensive as because of its large and complex systems (over twenty thousand files and two hundred database tables) it is recommended to run on a dedicated server.
  • It can be expensive to develop on the Enterprise and Premium versions of the platform, and it can be difficult to find good genuine developers.
  • Investment can be expensive in time as well, Magento is a very complex system to learn and requires advanced development skills.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Plenty of templates that are responsive
  • Flexible platform with a large community of developers and apps to help grow your business
  • 24 hour support
  • Cheap way of selling goods
  • Good reporting
  • Card service
  • Interface is easy to use
  • Can export and import data in bulk easily
  • Email marketing

Cons

  • Price is one of the main reasons people avoid using Shopify, the cheapest option of Shopify will not give you the ability to create a fully featured online store.
  • Out of the box, installation is missing some of the key functionality you might expect and will need to be added through the many app’s that are available. Although Shopify insists that their platform is optimised to give the best performance there are factors that can slow this down and it is not as easy as with other platforms to fully control this.
  • SEO has limited functionality
  • You don’t own your website design
  • Hidden costs
  • Templates are set to get around SEO functions

Pros

  • Bigcommerce does not charge transaction fees
  • All in one out of box solution
  • Easy to create
  • Easily handles multiple sales channels like ebay, amazon, and google shopping
  • Quick and simple shipping with real-time rates from major carriers.

Cons

  • The more successful your business the more expensive the platform is to run as its controversial fee structure grows as your business grows.
  • Although it has a wide range of themes available, unlike other platforms these can be somewhat expensive.
  • The theme editor can also seem a little outdated until you are used to it.
  • No mobile apps available to assist a busy owner in managing the store on the go.
  • Requires technical knowledge

Pros

  • Good for creating a reasonable scale multinational eCommerce presence
  • OpenCart makes it easy to have multiple languages in your storefront.
  • Compatible with almost all current payment gateways, although they lead with PayPal.
  • Easy to manage and run your store with loads of add-on features available through its 13,000+ modules and themes available.
  • A good set of reporting tools that are customisable to suit your business needs, all of which is accessible through an easy-to-understand well-designed dashboard.
  • Easily integrates with the most common shipping methods.

Cons

Support and documentation is poor

  • Hard to customise
  • Limited Marketing Features
  • Lacks SEO Functionality
  • Quite a few add ons are unsupported
  • Serious limitations for growth
  • Outdated themes and templates
  • Quite a few bug fixes
  • Hard to update
  • SEO issues

Pros

  • Open-source – You have full control and scalability in your business without the need to redevelop
  • Flexible and adaptable for changing needs
  • User friendly
  • Advanced SEO functions
  • WordPress sites rank high
  • Mobile responsive
  • Cheaper to develop
  • Great site security
  • Easy to transfer
  • You own your own website
  • Can be tailored to your business
  • Multilingual
  • Many websites under one domain
  • Compatible with all payment gateways
  • Easy to amend for marketing
  • Flexable platform that allows for third party intergrations. Plenty of plug ins that cover pretty much most functions

Cons

  • Although there are a great many themes available, they vary in ease of use and the level of ability you will need to edit them.
  • Initial setup can be considered a pain for users without much experience
  • There is no central support as the support can be with the theme, hosting etc; so unlike with platforms like Shopify this can cause problems.

Check list for developing your new website

  • Establish the purpose of your website and your target audience
  • Research other sites that you like
  • Research your competitor’s website – do a SWOT analysis and look for opportunities
  • Research your web developer – check you like them as you are going to rely on their knowledge to help your business move forward.  Check reviews, social proof them and ask other clients if they have seen an increase in their business since they started
  • Ensure you have a marketing plan ready for how you intend to use the website
  • Ensure your website has advanced SEO functionality
  • Ensure the platform you build your website on has flexibility eg can add training courses, delivery slots pick ups or webinars

Contact us to get a quote for your new websites.

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