Choose The Right Website Platform For Your Business..
For every idea or business that you’re ready to introduce to the world, you need a website. Social media is fun and a great way to connect but as you already have experienced, many social media pages lock down your content eventually and limit your free reach. That's no way to run a business. Also at any time a social media community could decide to close up shop (blab) and you would lose access to all of your followers carefully built over time.
Choosing the right website platform for your business is very important. You want to avoid having to redesign your website after you've put in a year of content creation. It's also important to have a solid structure that you can rely on to serve your subscribers and provide a mobile friendly gateway to your products.
There are many free content management website platform options on the market; however, I recommend going with one of these paid web platforms to allow you to create a sophisticated website that will grow with your business.
It's worth doing things right at the beginning to give yourself long term dependable results and also to save yourself a ton of work after you've spent every day this next year developing your product catalogue and website content.
WHEN TO USE: If you need a simple website that doesn’t require a lot of customization.
THE DETAILS: You can have a SquareSpace website up and running in a weekend. The backend interface is very easy and simple to use. If you have your photos/graphics and content written you can accomplish this with little effort. They have amazing website templates so even if you’re not a designer your website can have a very polished look as long as you keep things simple and stick to the aesthetic of the theme you’ve chosen.
Best of all, you can get everything you need for your website in one place: URL, web hosting, web theme. They make it super simple for people who don’t have experience with creating websites. If you want to add some light customization, Squarespace integrates with several tools. There plans are also very affordable.
I have 2 websites currently built using squarespace and they have amazing customer services plus very professional cutting edge templates. The design is so easy to use and the shopping cart as well as blogging features are built in and ready to use. It also can be easily set up to automatically load subscribers to mailchimp. So easy.
WHEN TO USE: If you’re selling a product and require a robust website that will allow you to easily process and sell online and in-person.
THE DETAILS: If you’re currently selling your products on an online marketplace you might be ready to have an online storefront of your own. Shopify is great for people ready to take their sales to the next level. It integrates with platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Houzz, which will help get your products seen. They also have an amazing ecommerce system that allows you to easily track orders through your website and their app (phone and tablet).
Shopify also has great web themes and has some of the best customer service support around. Even if you’re new to creating website you will find it relatively easy to set up. With any platform it takes awhile to learn all of the ins and outs, but at any point you can reach out to them and they are very responsive. Their plans and premium themes are on the higher side, but with a little hustling you can make that money back within a month.
WHEN TO USE: If you need a customized site that will allow you to integrate multiple tools and plugins.
THE DETAILS: There is a learning curve for self-hosted WordPress, but if you need your website to have specific features it’s the best route. For example, you may want to include video integration, a calendar, a member section, a directory, sell electronic products and/or embed surveys. Self-hosted WordPress will give you more flexibility to do some or all of the items I mentioned. The sky really is the limit with this platform and there is a plugin for just about everything.
There is a learning curve because you’ll have to choose the right host, install WordPress on your host server, find a free/premium theme, and identify what plugins make sense for your website. Also, there is no support to call, you are the support unless you pay a developer to help you. This can seem daunting, but plenty of newbies have figured it out. Between Google and YouTube you can find tutorials to help you get started or find an answer to any challenges you may run into. The key here is patience!
PRO TIP: If it’s in your budget have a professional photographer take pictures of you and your products. Having big beautiful high resolution photos will draw customers in.
Wordpress.org with Go Daddy self hosting plan I actually have 6 sites currently running on wordpress.org and 2 running on wordpress.com both are amazing but if your going to sell items, then definitely do a self hosting plan with the wordpress.org version of the software.