Choosing A Website Platform
But where do you start? There are so many options and it all looks so confusing! Well that is where I am going to step in and share my thoughts.
Your website is a tool and like all tools you choose the most appropriate one for the job. A website can have many purposes but the main ones are:
- To serve as a place where the world, or more importantly, your ideal client can find you virtually.
- To tell your perfect customers how you are going to serve them and what value you are offering them.
- A lead generation tool.
- A commerce platform (where appropriate).
An increasing number of businesses exist only virtually, with no premises, but even for those with traditional premises, a good website is vitally important. Think about your own use online – how do you find businesses or tradesmen, do you shop online? Living in a small village with no shops I use the internet all the time for shopping, research, entertainment and finding tradesmen.
As you can see a website is vitally important for any business, especially smaller businesses who don’t have large marketing departments and budgets. It is for this reason that it is important that you choose your website platform wisely.
There are many template sites, many of them free, and they seem like a great idea at first – easy to use and often cheap or free. The trouble with many of them is that they have limited functionality, it is not easy and in many cases it is impossible to export all your content to another platform when you outgrow them. In a worst case scenario if the company you have chosen to use has a problem and disappears so does your website and all your content!
Is that a risk you want to take? You are taking your business seriously right?
With time your website will be come a valuable asset for your business. You want to be in control of it (even if that is through a designer / web expert who does the work you ask for), you want to be able to back it up, move it to a different host, easily change the appearance and capabilities of your website as your business grows without having to start again from scratch.
Unfortunately many of the easy to use systems and template sites do not give you that flexibility.
However there is one choice that stands head and shoulders above all the other options for all the reasons mentioned above – WordPress.
Since its creation in 2003, WordPress has grown tremendously and is one of the most powerful, yet easy to use, systems for creating and managing a website. It has come a long way from being a “blogging site” and is incredibly versatile – so much so that over 60 million websites are using the platform, including many large companies.
It is tremendously flexible, WordPress itself is free – you just pay for hosting with a company of your choice. Don’t want to have to learn how to do it? That is ok – there are lots of very good “WordPress experts” who you can do any task for your website that you don’t want to do yourself. From designing and installing to creating all kinds of specialised functionality, and for a very reasonable fee.
In a future post I will go into more detail about why WordPress is so good and used my so many companies – but for now I want you to think about making the right decision, taking the long term view rather than the easiest option right now. You know it makes sense.