How to Choose a Website Platform

Bruce Letterle - Monday, February 15, 2016

In today’s digital world a business’ website can be the deciding factor for a buyer or user. A buyer will make as much as 70-90% of their decision before even contacting you.. They are studying your website, looking at online reviews of your products, and getting recommendations from friends and colleagues.

Having a website that functions properly and meets your users’ needs will be crucial. Understanding why the users are visiting is the most important thing you should know before picking a platform. There are many types of layouts and add-ons that you must decide on before committing to one style. To get started, you’re going to need to look at many different factors.

Plan Ahead

First, you need to understand how the website will be used by customers. For example, will it be a brochure or growing business site? With a brochure site users should be able to understand it’s only a showcase of the products and services, not a place to shop. You also can’t have ecommerce for some products while a phone call or email is needed for others -- this shows inconsistency as an authority in your field. Another factor you must consider is whether you want the website to be a member or interactive website. Although a members-only website will deter some users, the ones who participate are going to be more engaged and provide better quality data. An interactive website on the other hand will let users come and go as they please, giving you more traffic than members-only sites. This will allow you to have better reach in terms of SEO, but comparatively little in actual customer data.

Choosing a Developer

Not all developers are the same. Some prefer one platform over another, whether because they have more experience with it, or it’s more user friendly. You must also consider other factors, like price and availability of developers. If you want a website designed under your guidance, then you’ll want to steer clear of larger agencies. On the other hand, hiring a freelance designer may be a little more costly. If your input is needed to develop your dream site, the cost may be worth it though. Working with a larger agency will definitely expedite the process with many more people working on your site, but don’t expect to be in constant contact with them as they will also be working on other projects while working on yours.

Software

Most platforms now support basic features such as news feeds, blog space, and multiple themes, but for other things such as CRM or analytic numbers they fall short. Looking at three of the top platforms, WordPress, Adobe Business Catalyst, and Joomla, each have their own features that make them desirable. WordPress for example is traditionally easier to grasp for someone who has never built a website, and is used frequently by users who are constantly updating their content. However, Adobe Business Catalyst works better for users who have a CRM or email marketing service, because they are built into the platform and don’t have to be added. Another difference is that WordPress and Joomla are open source, meaning the website’s code can be changed, while Adobe Business Catalyst is not. This can be a large factor as one mistake in an open sourced platform by users causes a webpage to not perform properly or look as desired.

Choosing a platform may seem like a daunting process, but it is more about understanding which will meet your needs. If you’re unsure which one will work best for your business then look no further, we are here to help! We don’t just create a website for you, we create an online business. To learn more about our services contact us today.

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