I am asking this question a lot by friends, usually on Facebook PM. The question they ask is, “Which website platform should I use?” I am mostly asked this question before they are about to head off on an overseas or around Australia travel adventure, and they want to blog their experience. There are only 2 good answers if they want a personal blog:
- Use WordPress.com
- OR have us setup a nice Blog Website
The answer is simple if you just want a ‘personal blog’ and never want to monetize it. Some of the reasons why the aswer is so simple is below:
- WordPress.com personal blog sites are free to setup. If/when you want to move your blog articles to a blog site created by us (something more elaborate and/or you are planning to expand the site and maybe also monetize the site), we can export the content and import it into the new site build. This is a BIG time saver.
- They are simple to setup and use
- There is very little learning curve
- They are secure
- They are well coded and can be expanded upon/scaled/grown relatively simply and relatively easily.
IF however you need a website for a business, then please read on.
I have heard many horror stories from people over the years who have tried to ‘DIY’ the starting point and growth of their website, as part of their business start-up. The story usually start the same way, “I was ‘sold to’ by such-and-such website business,… they made it sound so easy” (like what GoDaddy are trying to do atm or what Wix attempted when they ran ads at The Superbowl and then aired them on YouTube). They then tell of the sleepness nights not knowing why their website is not producing enquiries and sales… and the pressure they are then experiencing in their relationships.
It takes years of past and current experience and knowledge to be able to launch and grow a successful business website within a reasonable timeframe. DIYing the activity, is at your own peril. If you choose to DIY here is what will happen:
- It will take longer than expected
- There will be hidden fees
- Once you launch, you still have to figure out how to acquire enough traffic to the site, to yield enough profits from it to consider it a success. Trial and error will take years and even then the profits will be minuscule because by the time you figure out the ‘secret sauces’ your digital advertising budgets won’t be enough.
- It will cost you a LOT of money
- A LOT of things will have to be redone
- You’ll be ‘over it’ by the time you have completed creating the website. The ACTUAL energy you need to market and advertise the business will have been used up creating the site. You may be sick of looking at your website by the time you have launched it, and not be ‘high-energy’ energised to start the actual REAL work (growing your business).
- the experience can be demoralising… to the point where some people give up.
I’d prefer you have success and avoid the traps. That is why I recommend working with experts; people like us.
This article contains a few insights if you are wondering which website platform to use for your business:
If the website is for a business, seeking expert advice and assistant straight-up is best. Feel free to send me a website enquiry or call us on 1300 887 427. I recommend not trying to DIY any stage of the site.
Working from a Growth Plan, however is key!!
The first thing in doing the planning, is to seek a consultant. They will information gather and then present a proposal. The proposal usually outlines the first 2 stages of the plan OR an extensive 4 or 5 (or more) staged plan — fees for this level of professional planning though do apply. In either case, the proposed SOLUTION (the plan) is based on what you want to to achieve in your business (YOUR time based SMART Goals)… and gives you a road-map on how to get there!
You can also list your needs/ the things you believe that the website needs to do; how it needs to function in your mind. Bear in mind though that you do not live, eat, breath and sleep ‘all things websites’ and may not at the cutting edge of what technologies, functionality and features are available for websites. You need to ensure you listen to what the expert consultant recommends. They will know of tools, functionality features that will work better for your business growth and are cheaper to implement than what you will.
There is an old saying, “If you are a business owner/ the client, do not write your own website proposal or website growth plan”. Leave it to the experts. They are here to:
- Provide you with an excellent solution
- Help you save money by dodging the traps.
Setting up a website as part of a brick and mortar business and/or an online business or service business
I am keeping this blog article short. It is by no means a complete ‘share everything about this topic’. It is purely to give you some idea of what website platforms are out there and which ones are good and which ones to avoid.
If the site is for business, the site will need a traffic and conversions strategy FIRST…. in which case steer clear of certain website platforms that won’t get you where you want to go; they cost too much in license fees to scale to meet your business needs. One of them is Squarespace.
If it is an online business or a brick and mortar business: Divi 3 and WordPress.org combo. You will need a hand to get started but there are great designs out there on Divicake.com and other places… or folks like us can custom design or modify the ‘starting points’ on DiviCake. I would recommend we setup the website with your help.
If you just want a brochure ‘pretty site’ for a local photography, florist or wedding venue type business and don’t want to learn ‘blogging for business’ you would be best off using Squarespsce for now (it has a time and place for ONLY certain small and micro businesses in the interim during startup phase). If you need to scale the site and make the website perform harder down the track, then upgrade to a Divi 3 and WordPress.org website hosted with folks like us. Affiliate systems, eCommerce and all other things can be added at minimal cost relative to growth and sales projections.
If it is for a business, work with experts like us first to decide on what methods you are going to use to:
– A. Drive traffic
– B. Convert traffic to leads, enquiries and sales.
As mentioned briefly above, those two things need to be planned in detail first before deciding which website platform to use. Going down the path of using the wrong platform causes a LOT more extra work, cost and can be demoralising as I have previously warned.
I also recommend reading these 2 books before starting your business:
- I also recommend joining DigitalMarketer.com Labs Plus and doing their courses first.
By reading these 2 books and doing the DM Labs Plus courses, you will have a good ‘starting point’ knowledge on correct ways to gain website traffic and how to convert them. The information is current and not outdated (like lots of other info online and in traditional courses) and your consultant will appreciate that you have taken the time to learn. It shows you are serious about this business. It also makes having strategy conversations faster and easier.
Side note: When ever anyone calls my business asking for prices for an eCommerce site, during the initial chat I politely ask “how many sales are you aiming to achieve in each month in the first year, how many sales are you wanting to achieve in year 2, 3 and year 5 of the business”. I luv it when they can answer these questions straight away and clearly. Shows me they have set some goals and have a vision. I can then work with them easily and together we can ensure the site and the growth plan has the elements, features and growth activities in it to meet the sales targets… and in that I can then present to them an accurate costing for their budgeting. On the other hand, if they don’t have sales goals or tell me, “I never thought about that” I then indicate it would be well worth considering them before asking what a website will cost. A website is always relative to the goals of a business. A poor or cheap website won’t yield the sales a business wants. HOWEVER, a planned out website with growth strategy WILL get the job done and hit (and exceed) your sales targets permitting your business knows how to convert and knows how to do excellent ‘after sales service’.
Or if you want to sell online (retail) consider the pros and cons of Shopify… you need to work with folks like us if you go this path… the templates it offers are not easy to redesign and some are code-bloated and PageSpeed heavy.
Another way to go when doing eCommerce is Divi3, WordPress.org and WooCommerce combo. Again you will need to work with experts like us to set it up correctly, with the right features it needs to convert… this includes the basics like:
- SSL Certificate
- Cart Abandonment System
- WishList System
- Clearance Bin
- Excellent Optimised Shipping and Tax Rate Calculators
- Growth Strategy; traffic acquisition strategy
- Conversion Rate Optimisation
Side note: avoid these website platforms: Wix, Weebly. The only time they could be used is for a small club like a Street Machine or RC Flying Club. Even then, I can whip up a Divi3 site for you that is easier and faster for you to update, manage, is easier to use on a mobile phone, looks better, is more search engine friendly, loads faster, is more Accessible (always remember Accessibility Compliance), etc than any Wix of Weebly site.