Choosing a website platform is one of the biggest roadblocks that I see my clients put in their own way when first decide they need a website.
As a web designer you would expect me to say that you need a website. Which I do. And you may also expect me to say that there is only one place to build that website. But you would be wrong.
Because the answer is not black and white. There are more website platforms out there than just WordPress. There is more to consider than just what you’ve been told. Yes, WordPress does currently power around 32% of websites in 2021 but that leaves around 68% that are not!
And because even when people have used WordPress in the past, doesn’t mean you have to keep using it forever. There are some great alternatives out there that don’t cost the earth and may even be better for you in the long run.
So, here are the three questions I ask my own clients when they come to me confused and paralysed over the website platform they ‘should’ choose for their business.
1. What do you need your website to do?
I am always amazed when clients have not ever been asked this before building a site. This is THE MOST important questions in my opinion as the purpose of the website is more important than the website platform on which it is built.
Think about what you want to do with the site.
Does it need to sell products and take payments?
Do you want to blog?
Are you simply going to use it as an online brochure with a contact form?
Do visitors need to book events and services through the site?
Will you be starting a membership or running online courses?
All of these considerations will help you figure out the website platform that may work best for you. For example, if you are booking services and want the bookings to be taken through the site, then Acuity is great – and it’s a native product of Squarespace so that platform may work best for you (although you can use Acuity with other platforms too).
Your website is likely to grow with your business so scalability is important, but don’t think so far ahead that it stops you from starting. You can always upgrade and you can always move to another platform later on. It’s not as difficult as you think and it’s just a part of being in business. And on that note, I spend a lot of time completely rebuilding WordPress websites so being on WordPress to begin with does not mean you will avoid a rebuild in future either!
2. What technical skill and interest do you have?
The answer to this will play a BIG role in the website platform you decide to choose. WordPress may be all singing and all dancing, but that also means that the technical skills it requires to keep all those parts working is huge compared to a website builder like Wix, Create or Squarespace. These still require skills, but are definitely easier to use.
I often recommend clients move off WordPress and onto Wix and I know that will annoy so many web designers. But you know what? I really don’t care! Why? Because I put my clients first and if they want something they can understand and can manage themselves then I’m not precious about what website platform that is. My client comes first.
It is also important to point out that you may not have the technical skill now, but may want to learn it. That’s fine and I would encourage you to learn some skills to help you manage your own website or at least understand the basics. But, if you have no interest at all and know that you will be likely to ignore it once built, please hire someone to do it for you. It means you don’t have to worry and can call on their expertise to make changes for you.
With this in mind, it is still important to consider the platform and WordPress has more skill involved and will ultimately require more time and therefore money to keep updated.
3. What is your budget?
And that brings me to my final point. Budget. If you are intent on using WordPress as your website platform, you can expect to pay a lot more for it than builders like Wix. It may look cheaper to begin with, especially if you are self-building but don’t forget that you need to buy a theme and then install separate plugins for all of the functionality that you want on your site. This can soon add up so that your inexpensive website is anything but.
If you want to build yourself on a budget and you’ve decided the functionality you need isn’t going to require super plugins, then I’d recommend looking at a website builder like Wix. It is still scaleable and you can build more features in as you start making money.
And finally, if the platform doesn’t matter, what does?
That’s easy – it’s what you do with it that counts!
It’s your content, your offering and your business sense that makes the difference, NOT the website platform.
I have seen clients build hugely successful businesses on website builders and clients sell nothing on WordPress. The deciding factor to their success has nothing to do with what it’s built on, and everything to do with how they hustle.
A simple and effective website that you can confidently manage and update versus a swish one you loathe because it costs hundreds just to get your designer to update it is no way to run a business in my experience.
In summary, don’t get sucked in by what everyone else is telling you is best for your business. Choose the website platform you need based on YOU and YOUR BUSINESS needs.
Technology is always changing so you will no doubt move your website at least once (and more likely many times) during your business life. So. don’t put it off just because you don’t want to start at the bottom and work your way up!
And, remember, if you get stuck or just don’t know where to start, why not get in touch and book a Discovery Call – I’d be happy to discuss your needs and recommend the right solution for YOU.