Every business needs an online presence, and the website platform you choose can make or break your success. Whether you’re just starting out or need to upgrade your existing site, finding the right platform is essential. There are lots of factors to consider when selecting a website platform, but these 10 questions will help ensure you get the best solution for your business.
Choosing the wrong website platform can be a costly mistake. You could end up with a site that looks outdated, doesn’t work properly on mobile devices, isn’t optimised for search engines or, worse still, hard to use. It’s important to find one that meets all your needs and is easy to use. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself the right questions before making a decision.
Finding the perfect website platform doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With this guide, you’ll be able to quickly identify what features and capabilities are most important for your business and find the best solution for your needs. So, let’s dive in and explore 10 key questions you should ask before choosing your website platform. From content management systems like WordPress (our fav!) to WIX and Shopify we will help navigate the process of selecting the best website builder for your business.
Important HINT: As a small business owner, it is important to build your website keeping in mind that your business grows over time. This means your requirements will too.
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Understanding your needs and what you want out of a website platform
When it comes to building a website, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Just like tailoring an outfit to fit one’s body, you need to tailor your website platform to fit your unique needs. To ensure the platform you choose meets those needs, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions before taking the plunge.
What are my website needs? What are my website requirements? What are my website objectives? What are my website goals? What is my overall website vision? Answering these questions can help you narrow down which platform will best suit all of your desired outcomes.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want, take a look at what features each platform offers. Consider any technical requirements such as hosting and payment processing capabilities that may be needed for your site. Evaluate the cost associated with each platform and compare that cost against the value of its features.
Finally, consider the level of accessibility offered by different platforms in terms of usability and user experience design. With this information in hand, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision about which platform is right for you.
Budget Considerations – Free website builders are not always the best option
When assessing website platforms, it is important to consider the financial implications. Before choosing a platform, determine if it is cost-effective and budget-friendly. Take the time to research pricing plans and compare them against your needs. Conduct a cost analysis to ensure you are making an informed decision.
Here are a few points to consider when researching budget-friendly website platforms:
- Price per feature
- Length of contract
- Bundled services
- Additional costs associated with upkeep
It’s important to stay informed when selecting a website platform so that you can make the most cost-effective choice for your business. Understanding the pricing plans available and how they fit into your overall budget will help you make an educated decision. Before committing to any platform, take into account all factors and their potential financial implications.
We have discussed Shopify fees in depth in a recent blog post. Check it out below.
Ease Of Use – Choose the right website platform for your business
Now that you’ve thought about the budget considerations, it’s time to think about ease of use. A user-friendly, intuitive interface is essential when choosing a website platform. You want to make sure all visitors have a simple navigation experience. If they can’t find what they need quickly and easily, they’ll likely leave your site without engaging further.
Additionally, ensuring your website is easy to update will help keep your content current and relevant. Look for drag-and-drop features that will make editing content quick and painless.
If you plan on updating the design of your website in the future, look for platforms with customisable themes or templates. This way you can ensure an aesthetically pleasing look that reflects your brand identity. So when considering a website platform, make sure it has a user-friendly interface with easy updates and customisable features.
When it comes to the design capabilities of a website platform, it’s important to look before you leap. From design tools to visual appeal, there are a number of things to consider.
First and foremost, consider the extent of the website’s design tools. Do they offer enough creative options for you to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional site? Are there graphic design elements available that will help your site stand out from the competition? What about custom user interface elements? Can you customize the look and feel of your site so it’s unique?
It’s also important to pay attention to the visual appeal of your potential platform. Does it have a modern aesthetic that will draw users in? Are there any features or designs that could make navigating the site easier for visitors? Finally, is the overall structure conducive to creating an attractive website with plenty of creative options?
Before selecting a platform, make sure it meets all your design requirements and can provide everything you need for your website. If all boxes are checked, you’re off to a great start!
Security And Support
Having discussed the design capabilities of a website platform, it is now essential to consider the security and support options available. It is crucial to ensure that the platform offers robust security features and data protection. Do they offer adequate encryption? Are there any two-factor authentication protocols in place? What kind of backup solutions are available? These questions can help determine how secure the platform really is.
When it comes to customer service and technical assistance, it is important to understand what kind of support options are available. Do they offer 24/7 live customer service? Are there forums or tutorials available for users who need help with their website? Does the platform provide access to technical experts who can assist with more complex issues if needed? Taking these aspects into consideration will give you a better sense of the level of support you can expect.
It is also worth exploring any additional services that may be included with your subscription, such as website maintenance or hosting packages. Knowing what’s on offer will enable you to make an informed decision about which website platform best suits your needs.
Customisation is a major factor to consider when choosing a website platform. Does the platform offer customisation options that meet your needs? Here are some questions to consider:
|Theme Customisation||Page Customisation|
|Can you change the look and feel of the theme?||Can you rearrange page elements or create your own?|
|Is it easy to upload images, add colors, and access fonts?||Are there drag-and-drop features for page design?|
|Does it come with various templates/themes to choose from?||Are there widgets or plugins available to customise pages?|
|Do they provide support if you need help customising the theme?||Is there an option for creating custom page templates?|
|Is there an option for custom coding within the theme editor?|
The ability to customise options on the website platform is essential. Do they provide user-friendly customisation tools that allow you to make changes easily without having to know how to code? Are there tutorials available for those wanting more in-depth customisation capabilities, such as custom coding options within the platform’s editor? Knowing what kind of customisation options are available on a website platform is important before committing.
Be sure to research all customisation options thoroughly, including themes, pages, plugins, widgets, and custom coding abilities. This will help ensure that your website platform meets all of your needs and requirements.
Before deciding on a website platform, it is important to consider the hosting options available. The most common hosting providers include cloud hosting, dedicated servers, shared hosting, and managed hosting.
Cloud hosting is a solution that will allow your website to be hosted on multiple servers. This means that if one server fails, the others can pick up the slack and keep your website running. It also offers scalability depending on how much traffic your site receives.
Dedicated servers provide you with an entire server solely dedicated to your site. With this option you are able to customise the server entirely as you wish, but it comes at a higher cost than other solutions. However, if you require a lot of storage or need specific software installed, this might be the best option for you.
Shared hosting is cheaper than dedicated servers but also comes with less control. This type of hosting involves sharing resources with other websites on the same server which keeps costs low but could affect performance if there are too many sites in one place.
Managed hosting is similar to shared but with added support from the provider so they can manage any technical aspects of your site for you such as updates or security patches. This might be beneficial for those who don’t have in-house IT support or lack knowledge in these areas.
Before making any decisions about which platform to use, it’s important to weigh up what features are most important to you when considering each type of host provider listed above. When have discussed the best hosting options in a recent blog. Check it out below.
Performance And Speed
Moving forward from hosting options, it’s important to consider website performance and page speed. A website’s loading time can make or break a customer’s experience. This is why it’s essential to understand the speed optimisation features offered by each platform. It’s also important to research the performance testing capabilities of each platform to ensure that your website is functioning optimally.
When evaluating a platform, be sure to ask about their page speed metrics and how quickly content is delivered to the user. It’s also beneficial to inquire about caching solutions, CDNs (Content Delivery Network) and server optimisation tools available for boosting page performance. Additionally, see if they have automated tools in place for monitoring website performance and alerting you of any issues.
The right platform should provide the necessary infrastructure for ensuring optimal performance throughout the lifespan of your website. Investing in a reliable platform with robust performance features will help secure a positive user experience and keep them coming back for more. Taking the time now to research these elements can save you headaches down the line!
When choosing a website platform, it is essential to consider mobile responsiveness. Responsive design is when websites are designed and coded in such a way that they can adapt and be easily viewed across different devices and their respective screen sizes. Responsive websites will display a layout that fits the device, ensuring users have an optimal viewing experience. Responsive layouts provide fluid navigation with features such as resizing images, hiding or displaying elements of the page, or adjusting the font size depending on the device used by visitors. Responsive templates are also available for those who wish to create a website but lack the coding knowledge to create one from scratch.
It is important to consider mobile responsiveness when selecting a website platform as it will ensure users have an optimal viewing experience regardless of which device they use to view your website. Furthermore, responsive designs help improve SEO rankings by making content more accessible on different platforms and devices. This makes it easier for Google to crawl your site and index its content, leading to improved search engine optimization ranking for your website overall.
Having a mobile-responsive design is now necessary for every type of website due to the increased usage of smartphones and tablets around the world. Without this feature, users may find themselves unable to view certain parts of your website, leading them away from your site altogether. Ensuring your website has a mobile-responsive design should be part of any web developer’s checklist before launching any website project.
Find out more about why you need a responsive website.
Integration With Third-Party Apps
Moving onto Integration with Third-Party Apps, there are several important considerations when selecting a website platform. Many platforms offer varying degrees of connectivity and integration with third-party apps and services. When considering the needs of your website, it is important to evaluate the following three points:
- Compatibility: Can the platform integrate with the types of third-party apps and services you need?
- Connectivity Options: Does the platform offer a range of connectivity options, such as APIs or webhooks?
- Security Measures: What security measures are in place to protect your data when connecting to third-party apps and services?
It is also important to research and read reviews about the platform’s integration capabilities. Doing so can provide valuable insights into how well a given platform works with certain types of applications and services. Knowing what kind of integration capabilities you need upfront can save time and money when selecting a website platform. Ultimately, understanding the various features, tools, and integrations available can help you find a platform that meets your unique needs.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When choosing a website platform, it is important to consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO optimisation will help your website appear higher in search engine results and provide the best user experience for potential customers. The following table outlines five key questions to ask when researching the SEO capabilities of a particular website platform:
|Does the platform offer keyword research tools?||Keyword research helps identify which terms and phrases are used in searches related to your content.|
|Does the platform include tools for optimising content?||Content optimisation allows you to customise your webpages with relevant keywords and phrases, as well as create titles and meta descriptions optimised for search engine results pages.|
|Are there options for creating sitemaps and robots.txt files?||Sitemaps help search engines understand the structure of your website while robots.txt files control how websites are crawled by search engines. Both can help improve SEO rankings.|
|Can I make adjustments to title tags and meta descriptions?||Title tags and meta descriptions are important elements that can influence how users interact with your website in their search engine results pages (SERPs). Adjustments to these tags can help increase ranking visibility and click-through rates.|
|Can I track my progress over time?||Tracking progress allows you to analyse the impact of SEO changes on your website’s performance. It also provides insight into areas where improvements may be needed so that you can continually optimise SEO efforts for maximum success.|
Answering these questions will give you an understanding of how well a particular platform supports SEO optimisation efforts, helping you choose one that is best suited for your needs. Ultimately, selecting a platform with strong SEO capabilities will ensure that your website reaches its full potential in organic search engine results.
The world of website platforms is a vast and varied landscape, with the potential for endless possibilities. But one key question any webmaster should ask before choosing a platform is: how accessible is it?
Accessibility features can open up websites to a much broader audience, allowing people of all abilities and disabilities to access needed information. Here are three features to consider when evaluating a website platform’s accessibility:
- Screen Reader Compatibility
- Keyboard Navigation Support
- Appropriate Alt Text and ARIA Tags
Screen readers allow visually impaired visitors to your site access the same content as everyone else. Keyboard navigation allows users to navigate the site via their keyboard rather than using a mouse or trackpad. Finally, alt text and ARIA tags ensure that images and other non-text content can be understood by screen readers as well as other technologies used by people with disabilities. A thorough accessibility audit should be done before launching any website platform to make sure these features are included.
To ensure your website is accessible to all visitors, these accessibility features should be top priorities in your search for the perfect website platform.
Scalability And Growth Potential – Choose the best option for now and the future.
When choosing a website platform, scalability and growth potential should be important factors to consider. To make sure your platform can scale up with your business, you need to ask some key questions.
The following table provides an overview of the questions that you should ask before selecting a website platform:
|How easily can the platform scale?||Can the platform adjust to large changes in traffic and user numbers without downtime or errors?||Yes/No/Maybe|
|Can the platform accommodate growth?||Is there a way for the website to grow with my business, such as through plugins or customisations?||Yes/No/Maybe|
|Does it have security measures in place?||Does the website have any safeguards in place to protect from data breaches or other threats?||Yes/No/Maybe|
|Is there technical support available?||Will I be able to get help if I encounter any issues when using the website platform?||Yes/No/Maybe|
Asking these questions will help you determine if the website platform has enough scalability and growth potential for your business. Additionally, it will ensure that your website is secure, and you have access to technical support when needed. Choosing a website platform that is capable of scaling up with your business is essential for long-term success.
Testing And Quality Assurance (Qa) Processes
Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) processes are an integral part of website development. It is important to ask the platform provider what testing process they use to ensure that the product operates as intended, and that any issues are addressed in a timely manner. Quality assurance processes should include regular data validation checks and regression testing. Data validation ensures that data entered into the system is accurate, while regression testing checks for any changes or bugs in the system after changes have been made.
It’s also important to ask how often QA processes are conducted. A good platform should be tested with each release, as well as periodically throughout production cycles, to ensure that the website continues to work properly at all times. Additionally, it’s essential to inquire about the types of tests conducted, such as unit tests or integration tests, and which tools will be used for them.
Before choosing a platform provider, it’s critical to evaluate their QA processes: what tools do they use? How often do they test? What type of tests do they perform? Answering these questions can help you determine if their practices meet your standards for website quality assurance.
Data protection laws should be taken into consideration when choosing a website platform. This includes ensuring that user data is properly secured against unauthorised access or theft as well as understanding what types of intellectual property rights are associated with any content being hosted on the site. On top of this, it’s important to make sure that your chosen platform is compliant with all applicable laws in order to avoid potential legal issues down the road. Ensuring this prior to adoption can save time and money in the long run by avoiding costly litigation costs later on.
Different platform options for the best website
As we mentioned above the best website options will vary depending on your requirements. In saying that, we recommend two popular website builders – WordPress and Shopify.
While there are multiple drag-and-drop website builders like Squarespace, GoDaddy website builder and Wix, we have found the best option for growth and flexibility combined with ease of use and pricing are WordPress and Shopify (best ecommerce platform).
We have discussed both WordPress and Shopify in recent blog posts. Check them out below.
Choosing the right website platform can be a daunting task. Ultimately, it’s important to select a platform that meets your unique needs and budget. To ensure you’re making the best choice for your project, ask yourself the above questions before committing to a platform.
The main considerations to take into account when choosing the best website platform or builder are features and capabilities, ease of use, flexibility, support and scalability.
By taking the time to look into these options before selecting a website platform, I’m confident you’ll make an informed decision that will set you up for success in the long-term. With careful consideration of your project’s needs and budget, you can find the perfect option that will allow you to create an amazing professional website design!
Whichever platform you choose, be sure to research it thoroughly and have a professional onboard in case you need additional help.