WordPress, Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal and many others. Drag and drop, paid hosting, free hosting and many other options. These are sufficient to confuse users trying to choose right platform for creating website. You need to consider multiple things when planning to create a website. In this article, we will guide most important factors for choosing a right platform.
Factors to Choose Right Platform for Creating Website
- Open source Vs private software
- Individual or business
- Budget limit
- Must Vs nice to have features
- Easy to use
- Search engine visibility
Prerequisites for Creating Website
Before proceeding further, we hope you understand the minimum requirements needed for creating a professional website.
- Domain name
- Website building platform or software
- Email account
- Hosting account (optional)
- Website theme (optional)
- Additional plugins or app (optional)
You need those optional requirements depending upon the platform. Some platforms like Weebly and Wix offers this as part of a package. However, you have to purchase these optional requirements separately when using platforms like WordPress or Joomla.
With these prerequisites we will further discuss factors you need consider before choosing a platform for creating your website.
1. Open Source Vs Proprietary Software
The first thing to decide is whether you want to go for an open source platform or a private company owned software. This will affect entire website building experience and decide the success factor.
|Feature||Open Source Platform||Private Owned Software|
|Examples||WordPress, Joomla, Drupal||Weebly, Wix and Squarespace|
|Enhancements||Free and premiums plugins / themes||Free and premium apps|
|Learning||Difficult, needs long time||Easy, needs less time|
|Development||Custom development possible||Custom development not possible|
|Custom Support||High cost||Low cost|
|Suitable for||Bloggers, news and larger websites||Small business websites|
In summary, open source platforms are content management systems for large websites while proprietary software are for small scale business owners.
2. Individual or Business
Creating a website needs lot of effort in addition to selecting a platform. Many people do not consider this effort and struggle at later point of time. The efforts depend on the purpose of the website and your capacity. If you are a business owner need a website for branding purposes, you may need to choose the packaged solutions (like Weebly, Wix or Squarespace). These packages contain all stuff you need to manage a website. Though it will cost you high, you can focus on your business and build a minimal website only for branding purposes.
On other hand, many individuals plan to launch a site for making money from the content. In this case, you can purchase things separately and assemble it together on your site. WordPress, Joomla or Drupal could be the options for you. However, you have to do A to Z everything yourself which may need few years of time. Later when you manage to make money, you can consider outsourcing non-important activities on your site.
3. Budget Limit
Once you know how much capacity you can spend on your site building activities, the next step is to allocate a budget. Prepare a checklist and allocate money for each item if you need to purchase them:
- Platform fee
- Basic design
- Content creation
- Theme and
- Plugins or apps
You do not need budget for design, maintenance, hosting and themes for packaged free hosting solutions like Wix, Weebly or WordPress.com. They combine all these as a monthly charge and you have to pay them for using the platform. However, the situation is completely different with open source platforms like WordPress.org. The platform or the software is free and you have to purchase all other activities or do them yourself.
4. Must Vs Nice to Have Features
List down the must have features you need for your site. For example, if you are planning to launch a blog then many companies like Weebly and Wix will not fit for your need. As mentioned, these platforms target business owners and not bloggers. You have to go for WordPress.com or WordPress.org if blogging is your primary objective. Listing down your priorities will help to compare the features and choose the best platform for your site.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask:
- Number of pages you plan to create in next few years
- Membership site with user management
- Ecommerce site for selling physical or digital products
- Special purposes like restaurant, services, etc.
- Need daily backup to keep content offline
Since each feature may affect the choice of the platform as well as your budget, you can classify the features into must have and nice have list. Now, you can go to the features page of the site builder websites and check whether they offer your mush have features for your planned budget. When you have additional budget, you can add nice to have features to your site.
5. Easy to Use
Ultimately, you have to spend time on the website editor for publishing. Easy to use drag and drop elements can help you to save time and improve the productivity while publishing. On other hand, you may need to install additional plugins, Analytics tracking code, search central verification and embed third-party HTML code. Check whether the platform you choose will help in these basic stuffs.
The best idea for hosted platforms is to create a free account and play around with the editor interface. For self-hosted platforms like WordPress, you can install the software on your computer and test the features.
6. Search Engine Visibility and Promotions
At the end, you need a search engine friendly website to get visitors and conversion. Though paid promotions work well for business websites, general blogs need to rely on Google for primary source of visitors. Packaged solutions like Weebly and Wix lag the search engine features while you can optimize open source platforms for better SEO. For example, you can install plugins in WordPress to insert schemas to show rich snippets in Google search. In addition, you can insert Open Graph and Twitter Card meta tags to share beautiful content in social media and get traffic.
We recommend you to spend few weeks of time in analyzing your favorite options. You can compare and match the must have features for your planned budget. Finally, try to play around with the software or platform before you choose for long term commitment.