How to Choose Your Website Platform

One of the biggest questions to answer when you are building your own website is which platform to use. There are a lot of options between WordPress, Showit, Squarespace, Wix, Joomla, Webflow, Shopify, Weebly….and on and on. So how do you know which is best for your business now and to grow into?

Well let’s break it down. The major players are WordPress, Squarespace and Shopify.   
 

WordPress: 

One of the original players and over 34% of the websites you see. WordPress is a really powerful platform with tons of plugins to make it even more robust. However, when you are designing your website yourself, or if you want to be able to manage and add content moving forward, I do not recommend WordPress. Why not?

Well the themes look amazing, but the reality is customizing them can get very confusing if you are just getting started in the website space, and they often need custom coding to make them look the way you really want. So, a great option if you’re a savvy coder or want to pay someone to make tweaks. However, most of my clients want to be able to go in and modify their own content and also don’t want to deal with the complex backend. Another complicated element of WordPress? Plugins. They make WordPress really powerful, but can be finicky and require updates often. So, if you want to just plug and play and leave parts of your site on autopilot, WordPress isn’t your best option. 

 

Shopify:

This is an incredible platform if you are solely looking to run an e-commerce business. I have nothing but amazing things to say about Shopify after using it to run an online art store. However, if you aren’t selling products, or selling under ten products and it is a supplemental thing to your main form of income, Shopify isn’t needed. It is an incredibly powerful platform, but if you are more so looking for your site to showcase your business, engage users and get leads, you don’t need the intense e-commerce functionality they have. 

One way to think about this is if you are a shop that sells coffee mugs as your main source of revenue, go Shopify. However if you are a coffee shop that sells mugs in a couple of varieties as a form of supplemental income, Squarespace e-commerce will be perfect for your needs.

 

Squarespace: 

This is the platform I have designed 80% of my client’s sites on and that I recommend for everyone getting started. The reasons?

  1. It looks amazing
  2. It is easy to customize
  3. It is secure
  4. It is mobile friendly (which now compromises ~60% of all views)
  5. It can integrate with google seamlessly
  6. It has a powerful blogging features
  7. It works with email providers and has its own version as well
  8. It is EXTREMELY easy to manage after the creation. 

 
The only reasons I ever steer clients away from Squarespace are: 

  1. If they are planning to have a robust e-commerce business. Why? Shopify is just more powerful for e-commerce. However, most of my clients don’t sell goods online and if they do, it is under ten, so Squarespace covers all of their needs. 
  2. If they want a more advanced look that entails coding and a lot of modifications between mobile and desktop layouts. For this type of client, I use a platform called Showit. However, I don’t recommend Showit for people to DIY as it is more complex and has a lot more moving pieces than Squarespace. 

For my extremely custom sites, I often lean Showit. But that is because I am designing them knowing the client doesn’t plan to fully manage their site moving forward without help. 

The last one I quickly wanted to cover off on is Wix. I don’t advise clients to use Wix because it is restrictive as you grow your business. There are a lot of hidden costs for features you will need down the line. It is also difficult to migrate your site if you want to switch to another platform in the future. 

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If you have specific questions related to these platforms, drop a comment below or email me at sydney@olivewingdesigns.com and I would be happy to answer your questions.

If you do end up going the route of Squarespace and want additional help in creating a beautiful site that you build yourself, you can check out my course for a step-by-step guide to branding and building your DIY website. It will be relaunching this month with TONS of new bonus content from experts in social media, PR, copywriting and mindset. You can join the waitlist today for early bird pricing and the inside scoop.

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