Which web development platform should you choose to save you time and make more money

Summary/Introduction

We hear it all the time in our industry, “I don’t have time to work on my website.”

A lot of business owners understand that their digital presence is essential to their marketing strategy, but just simply fail to execute a website that brings inadequate leads and ultimately revenue.

Most business owners don’t have the time or expertise to launch a website for their brand.

So do you need to rush out and hire a team of web designers and developers to get your site going? Not necessarily.

Today, there are numerous platforms available that allow even a novice to create and design their own website. From Wix to WordPress, they all bring a little something different to the table.

In this article, we’ll go over how to choose the best web development platforms for your business needs and how to make sure that you create a site that represents your brand, attracts your target audience, and propels your online presence for more sales.

By the time you get to the end of this article, you’ll see that it is possible to run your business and create an engaging and optimized website that will drive sales for your business.

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Choosing the Best Website Platform — What to Look for?

There are a lot of web development platforms available. The market is actually over saturated with these build-your-own website platforms, that it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you.

Let’s first discuss the nuts and bolts of a website and how most web development tools work.

A content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, is a digital platform that helps users create, manage and edit content on a website without the need for specialized technical knowledge.

Think of it like a DIY kit that you bring home. All of the pieces are there – home page, contact page, sales page, etc – you just have to put the pieces that are pertinent to your business in place. Some parts you may edit so that it looks like your brand, some parts you may omit altogether. But in the end, all the pieces are there to create a beautiful product – no special skills required.

Obviously, some web development platforms are easier to use than others, but they’re mostly designed for those that have very little website design or coding experience. This is what makes them so appealing to many business owners.

Not only can a CMS (e.g. WordPress) and its web development tools help you design and build your website but it can also handle product payments, subscription enrollments, membership content, and reservations.

A CMS will also collect data based on the visitors that come to your website. The data collected will vary depending on the platform you choose, but the reporting that comes from the data can be crucial to know if your website is successful or not.

The data is also useful for search engine optimization (SEO). Some platforms offer tools to help get your website ranked higher than your competitors, which increases visibility and ultimately more profits for your business.

Some of the more well-known web development platforms are WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all for website development.

For instance, WordPress web development tools are known for its themes and plugins which enhance the website design and development, whereas, Drupal is praised for the security it offers.

When choosing among the various web development platforms, there are several things you should consider. However, first and foremost you should have an idea of your website’s intended use.

If you’re unclear of how your website will function, you’re likely to pay for pieces that you don’t intend to use, or worse, your business will suffer because it can’t fully function online.

For instance, if you’re the type of company that sells your products you want a website that has a shopping cart and place for customers to make secure purchases. Or if you’re a restaurant, you’re going to want the ability to add menus and orders or even a place to make reservations.

Knowing your purpose can help you select the best-suited website platform for your business. Keep in mind the needs of your business and how that translates to your online customer.

The following are some other and just as equally important features which businesses should consider prior to choosing a website development platform:

  • Ease of Use: if you do not have a website developer, you’ll want to choose a CMS (e.g. WordPress, Shopify, Wix) that does not require complex coding and can simply be built with the help of different plugins, themes, and customization options.
  • Pricing: since this is a competitive space, there are cost-efficient options. For instance, some platforms may include the domain, email, or other features. Read the fine print and make sure your needs are included, and if not you will need to budget for those add-ons.
  • Customer Support: you would want to make sure that adequate support is available, so you can fix any bugs and errors that you may encounter when the website is running.
  • Data ownership and security: read over the terms of service so you’re clear on data protection practices ensuring the safety of you and your customers’ information, especially if your business plans to do eCommerce.
  • Personalization: look for website platforms that allow you to create a personalized on-brand look. Will your website stand out or look just like all the other DIY websites out there?
  • Versatility: a website platform should not only be customizable but offer versatility should your online business needs change.
plan website
plan website

Why it is Important to Plan What Website Platform to Use when Building Your Websites

If this is your first website, we understand that you’re anxious to get your online presence going. But don’t just pick the first web platform development option you come across.

Building websites and using web development tools can be a lengthy and costly process if you don’t have the right tools in place to accomplish your business goals.

Along with how you intend to utilize your website, you should also consider your audience, budget, and competitor websites. Your website needs to fulfill at least the minimum functions to either capture a lead or make a sale. It’s a lot more than just making sure the site looks nice – that’s just window dressing.

Some core foundations you should consider when choosing a website platform are speed, integration, and reliability.

Fast loading websites not only gain a higher level of user experience, but it helps minimize abandonment. If a potential customer has to wait for your site to load, there’s a high probability they will exit before they see all the work you put into designing it and you lose a sale.

Animations, images, button interactions, and page transitions should all load almost instantaneously without lag.

Secondly, integrations refer to the ability of users to access your website through different platforms such as desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Your potential customer could come from virtually any device, anywhere, so it’s important that you don’t isolate them just because your website wasn’t optimized for other devices.

Thirdly, your website should be reliable even if the user’s connection isn’t optimal. There are ways to make sure that a potential customer can view your website even if they have a slow or intermittent connection. Having a reliable website exudes trust and credibility with your business.

Lastly, your website should be engaging for users. The layout should make sense and key components should be easy to find.

Are users compelled to stay on your site to discover something new or to learn more about what you do?

Are they able to navigate your site without having to click in fourteen different areas to find the most useful information?

Engagement is the part that allows your customer to intimately relate with your brand and feel that they are with you on the journey.

Different Web Design Platforms You Can Use

Website design and development platforms come in all shapes and sizes. What works for some may not work for others, so you’ll want to compare features and pricing that best suits your needs.

The following is a list of the more popular web development platforms:

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Kijabi
  • Shopify

WordPress.org

There’s a reason we’re putting WordPress at the top of the list because we consider it the best platform for web development. More on why we think that in the next section.

For now, here’s what you need to know. WordPress is the world’s most popular website platform. Most people may be familiar with the name WordPress for simple sites like blogs, etc., but in most cases, they’re probably thinking of WordPress.com

Yes, they really are two different things!

WordPress.COM is a platform in which WordPress hosts your site and handles everything for you. You’ll be hard-pressed to achieve the “look” you want with WordPress.com, and you’ll not have the flexibility you’ll need to produce a fast, reliable, and fully integrated site.

WordPress.ORG is what is known as open source. You purchase your domain name, the web host, and have full control over your site. You’ll be able to utilize WordPress’s themes and various design elements, and you’ll have a lot more options with third-party plugins.

WordPress.ORG allows you to build any type of website, ranging from eCommerce to subscription services. It is the best platform for website development because it is dynamic and versatile. Beyond offering plenty of themes, plugins, there are website development tools that are essential to scaling your online sales through your website.

The following are some exceptional benefits of using WordPress as a website development platform:

  • Plugins: these allow you to enhance and customize the WordPress website that you create. Plugins serve as a time saving, reliable and flexible option for your website.
  • SEO: this helps you optimize your content, meta tags, and keyword focus, which helps position your website better in search engine results and higher visibility.
  • Responsiveness: WordPress websites are fast and responsive, which gives an enhanced user experience on your website. It’s mobile-friendly and provides smooth browsing for your website, which is important for web application development.
  • Open source: : unlike other platforms like Wix, WordPress is an open source software that allows you more control over your website since you purchase the domain and hosting

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There are a few downsides to using WordPress.ORG:

  • Vulnerability: as it is an open source, and you’re responsible for choosing where your website is hosted, you’ll want to do your research so that your website is not vulnerable.
  • Speed: without a web development background, you may encounter some issues with speed. Some themes and content like large images may diminish loading times and cause lag. You’re on your own to know what components are best for speed optimization.
  • Usability: unlike some of the other web development platforms we mention below, WordPress may be a little more complex for the average user. If you’re not comfortable with design or formatting, you may struggle with creating a fully integrated website since it’s not just drag and drop. This is one of the key reasons that our clients outsource their WordPress development to us.

Wix

Wix is one of the simplest web development platforms. They appeal to those that are looking for something easy and “ready-to-wear”. Wix does allow some custom website development by editing individual pages just by clicking and dragging content where you want it. It has minimal coding involved, which makes it user-friendly.

Some positive benefits of using Wix as a website development platform include:

  • Quick setup: You could have an attractive looking website set up in a matter of minutes.
  • Huge template library: Wix offers several categories of templates to choose from, according to your brand and business.
  • Wix App Market: this is where you download plugins to enhance user experience on your website.
  • Website marketing: there is some SEO management as well as a social media and email marketing integration

However, Wix does have some downsides:

  • Templates not interchangeable: Although there are many Wix templates to choose from, it does not allow you to transfer the content from one Wix template to another.
  • Free plan branding: if you are a small business and opt for the free version, Wix will advertise itself on the header of your website blurring your brand message.
  • Paid features: some of its additional features require you to pay additional fees which can get expensive.
  • Website not transferable: in case you want to export your website to your own domain and server, you will need to move every element one by one which can be time consuming.

Squarespace

Similar to Wix, Squarespace also doesn’t need prior coding knowledge. It provides web development tools such as eCommerce checkout tools, domain name options, and also a security protection certificate.

Squarespace is easy to use as you only have to make an account, choose a template, and get started on creating your website.

Squarespace has similar benefits to Wix, but also:

    • Allows import/export: this allows you to transfer data, unlike Wix,
    • Customer support: Squarespace claims to offer great customer service not only to end users but to web developers as well.

On the other hand, there are some downsides of this web platform, such as:

    • Cost: does not offer any free plans

  • Inconvenient editor: although it offers many web development tools, it is not as simple as Wix.
  • Limited SEO customization: Squarespace only allows you to edit your website title and meta description. It does not let you enter content keywords or set your own tags individually, which then ranks your website lower in search results.

Kajabi

Kajabi has a variety of integrated website development tools that help businesses and website owners create online courses, carry their marketing campaigns, and build their website pages.

This platform is designed specifically for digital entrepreneurs and small businesses as it allows custom web development from customizable templates and theme based landing pages. It also allows administrators to process payments and gain customer insights, which help create personalized customer experiences and targeted marketing campaigns.

The following are some pros of using Kajabi:

    • All in one features: Kajabi offers many features, customizable themes, and functionality which makes it easy to use and provides a better user experience.
    • Customer support: it offers 24/7 customer support through emails/help desk, phone, and chat support.

However, there are some negatives with Kajabi:

  • Coding experience required: although it offers lots of templates, coding experience is required in order to edit pictures and add texts to your website.
  • No security certificates: Kajabi does not offer any certificates which means that you could be out of compliance and in danger of some heavy fines. Also for eCommerce sites, you may not be providing adequate security to your users which could have an adverse impact on your sales.

Shopify

Shopify is best known for platforms that cater to the eCommerce industry. Many of its website development tools include sales features, design, marketing tools, and more. Shopify comes with a fully integrated eCommerce solution that provides an online shop which can be customizable.

Here are just a few more features of Shopify:

    • Simple: for non-tech-savvy people as it utilizes drag and drop to help you customize the look of your website.
    • Multi-platform selling: you can sell across multiple channels such as Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Facebook.
    • Payment options: it provides over 100 payment options that allow customers from all over the world to use your products and services.
    • Built-in tools: organize and filter products, manage inventory, track orders and generate reports related to customer information and sales.

However, there may be some disadvantages associated with Shopify, such as:

  • Manually intensive: although it comes with many themes and apps, it requires time for modifications. It can be time-consuming and a difficult skill to master.
  • Unexpected Fees: if you use 3rd party apps, it can get expensive as it has high transaction fees and other payment gateway costs.

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Final Thoughts: Most Recommended Website Design Platform 2021

As mentioned earlier, at The Digital Navigator we always recommend using WordPress.ORG as we believe it is the best platform for website development. This is what we use exclusively for our clients and our own website (https://thedigitalnavigator.com/) as it is the best platform on which to build from.

Not only that, there are thousands of websites you probably visit daily that are built upon WordPress.ORG.

dashboard inside wordpress.org
dashboard inside wordpress.org

Here are just a few examples:

  • Whitehouse.gov
  • Newyorker.com
  • Facebook Newsroom
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Microsoft

We recommend WordPress.ORG because of its flexibility, scalability, and its focus on SEO.

Bottom line, it allows you to manage your website the way you want to.

Since WordPress.ORG allows you to host your own website, you own your own domain name and web host. Other web design platforms may require you to add their domain at the end of your website name.

Not only does “yourcompanyname.wordpress.com” not evoke trust and accreditation, but it also makes it nearly impossible for your site to come up in search engines. SEO should be a top priority and a major reason to consider WordPress.ORG over other web development platforms.

In addition, with WordPress.ORG, you can install your own themes and plugins which offer you more customization, personalization, and an enhanced user experience. This allows you to stay on-brand and provide the visual representation of what you’re selling.

For example, if you are offering photography services, having a theme that showcases your work would be ideal as it gives a representation of your business. Alternatively, if you are an eCommerce business, having payment gateway plugins would serve as a perfect solution.

Since WordPress.ORG is an open source website, it allows you to have free and full control of your website. This is crucial as you consider security, not only for you and your website, but for your customer as well.

WordPress.ORG is easy to install and doesn’t require a genius to get started. You can add chat rooms, membership sites, galleries, media, and various eCommerce adaptability. We told you it wasn’t just for blogs anymore.

If you need assistance in choosing which of the web development platforms is right for you, just let us know. We’d be happy to evaluate your existing website or discuss with you options for a new website.

We are experts at not only web development but web design and can help you come up with a website that works for your type of business. Furthermore, we also help with SEO to help get your beautiful new website noticed.

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