Depending on who’s programming your site, they’ll most likely steer you towards what they work with most, not necessarily what will serve you best.
You’ve probably heard of website platforms such as WordPress, Wix, FourSquare, Shopify, WooCommerce…but how do you know which platform will serve your needs best so that you can focus on growing you business online, and not having to redevelop your site every few months post-launch?
We’ll simplify your search for the best website platforms for your business that’ll suit your online goals and business objectives.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Website Platform
‘Best’ is a subjective term. Like most things in life, what’s best for one person varies to the next. So, start by determining what you need out of your website platform:
- Functionality: Are you selling products online around the world? You’ll need a website platform that not only processes payments, but does so in different currencies. Is your site all about new videos and images? You may need something simple that doesn’t require fiddling around with too much code. Consider the functionalities your website needs, like ecommerce, content curating, interactive galleries, etc., and look for platforms that can make it happen.
- Ease-of-management: Unless you’re a Neo in The Matrix-level hacker, most small-to-medium-sized businesses should follow the white rabbit to a website builder that’s simple to operate. Of course, simple depends on you. If you have a hard time navigating Gmail, you may be better off with an easy & free website builder. If you’re a little more advanced, you can look into more advanced platforms which you can leverage every last feature out of.
- Cost: Price factors into every business decision, and your website platform is no exception. You may find the best website platform that offers everything you need, but if it’s out of your price range, it isn’t the right fit.
- Flexibility & customization: Think about your brand’s image, and how closely your website platform can parlay it to online audiences. If you can avoid standard cookie-cutter templates, do it. You don’t want your site looking like thousands of others in your industry. Stand out.
- Technical: This one’s pretty simple. Can you code? If you’re no coder, stay away from website platforms that require technical coding skills. One coding error can break your entire site. Better to play it safe and find a website builder that needs no coding on your end, or find a web designer/developer to do the nitty-gritty for you.
Alright, get your coffee and notebook ready. Here are our recommendations for the best website platforms based on business needs:
The Most Customizable Website Builder: WordPress
If you’re in digital media advertising, web development, or have access to the Internet, you’ve probably heard of WordPress. The website builder accounts for roughly 30% of all websites, and for good reason.
The king of all website platforms, there’s no doubt WordPress reigns supreme as the most customizable website builder available today. Though WP is considered user friendly, you won’t get full value out of the platform unless you have some form of technical proficiency.
What makes this our choice for the most customizable and flexible website builder on the market is the ease of upgrading a WP site’s capabilities; there are thousands of plugins available that can combine to create a unique user experience that emphasizes the strengths of your brand and business. If there’s a new feature you’re looking to add to your site, there’s a good chance another WP user has already perfected a plugin. And if you can’t find a plugin, you or your programmer can custom code something that’ll work on your site; other website builders may be limited in these customization options.
The WP also features all essential features you need in a modern website: It’s search engine optimization-friendly, offers responsive web design to accommodate the vast mobile market, has excellent social media integration, and robust site security.
Best All-in-One Website Platform: Bloomtools Canada
Starting in Australia 15 years ago, Bloomtools came to Canada in 2014 to provide small-to-medium-sized businesses web development services that support their small but growing business.
We’ve picked Bloomtools’ web services as the best all-rounder because it provides everything a business needs from one central hub. Need a safe and secure website platform? You got it. Email marketing? It’s yours. Content marketing? Check. Rather than managing different platforms and plugins for different online marketing initiatives, Bloomtools Canada offers everything you need and more, all under one platform and one simple login to manage all your backend online web tools.
Their website platform and infrastructure is proprietary, has backup redundancy, and heightened online security of your website.
Best Ecommerce Website Platform: Shopify
If you’re selling products online, we believe Shopify is the best ecommerce website platform on the market.
The ecommerce platform offers what you’d expect from a modern ecommerce website builder – security, reliability, SEO-capability, 24/7 customer support, mobile responsiveness, and marketing bells and whistles.
What separates Shopify from the pack is its own ecommerce payment gateway, easy shipping integration and fulfillment, and abandoned cart recovery. Shopify has integrated dozens of payment gateways you can choose at your convenience, as well as their own powered by Stripe. Going with Shopify’s own allows you to dodge transaction fees (this is good) and benefit from lower credit card fees (this is better). It also requires no merchant account to access.
Abandoned cart recovery is key to an ecommerce site’s user experience and conversion rates with today’s short attention-spanned shoppers. Over 2/3 of online shoppers abandon their cart before completing a purchase. Shopify’s abandoned checkout cart recovery service automatically tracks, then emails these forgetful customers to gently remind them to finish what they started, as a form of pseudo-remarketing you don’t have to lift a finger to manage.
We should note that Shopify works well for local ecommerce, but loses some of its shine when a business requires multi-currency functionality. Consider WooCommerce if you’re selling internationally; it also provides seamless integration with WordPress sites.
Best Free Website Platform: SquareSpace
If you want something done right, do it yourself, and SquareSpace allows its users to be self-sufficient. A one-stop shop for stunning web design, from portfolios, to blogs, to ecommerce stores, SquareSpace allows a one-person show to manage all aspects of his or her site for the low, low price of nothing.
What stuck out to us was SquareSpace’s variety of templates designed for an array of industries. They’re clean, on-trend, consistent, and extremely user-friendly. Plus, there’s no coding required.
We recommend DIY website builders to sole proprietors and start-ups with tight marketing budgets and small staffs. They can save the cost of hiring a dedicated programmer, but the owner will have to invest the time in choosing and customizing a template to best suit their image and objectives. If they’re going to have to do it themselves, then SquareSpace is the easiest and most manageable DIY website builder.
One competitive advantage that’s often overlooked on SquareSpace is they provide the hosting on all their websites; a part from Bloomtools, you’ll have to pay a separate hosting fee for your website platform. SquareSpace will also manage any updates to their platform, which isn’t offered on some of the leading website builders like WordPress; you’d have to manually update out-of-date plugins yourself, or find new solutions entirely if support for your plugin ceases. This won’t happen with SquareSpace, which is why we think it’s all-around the best free website platform.
If you’re in the market for a new business website, Eden Advertising offers in-demand web development services, including web design, web programming, and more. Get in touch to learn how we can grow your business with a clean & modern website that proudly reflects your brand image.