When starting an online business one of the obvious initial questions is: What website platform should you run your online business from?
It’s a decision that should not be taken lightly, as there are many things you need to consider.
Nowadays, website creation is pretty mainstream, so we even have TV adverts telling us how we can create a website for our business in just a few clicks!
Sadly, if only it were that easy.
No doubt, well-meaning friends will also have told you about the fantastic system their website is on and how easy it was to create.
Well, if you are a very simple business, with very simple and basic online brochure needs, then yes, these website platforms may well do a good job for you. But if you are serious about running an online business, with ambitious growth plans, you need to dig a little deeper.
Here are some of the website platforms you may have heard of or came across on TV or magazine adverts:-
Their opening message is “It all starts with a stunning website. Create yours. It’s easy and free.”
The site will then ask what category of business you are running and before you know it they’ll tell you that they have”Everything You Need for a Professional Business Website”.
Sounds inviting doesn’t it.
Well it’s a great system. For a free website. But you do tend to get what you pay for remember!
Our Verdict: Not recommended for the Serious Entrepreneur
This is probably another one you have heard of. It’s very similar to Wix, and for those same reasons I personally don’t recommend it.
Our Verdict: Again, not recommended for the Serious Entrepreneur
Google Web Designer
“Bring ideas to life across screens” is their opening gambit – but to me this solution is a very old school way of building websites. Download a program to your computer which can help you design the site and upload it back to your host.
Our Verdict: Not recommended -you should be spending time running your business, not fiddling with code!
Another website platform that is almost pretty mainstream, and for good reason – they do an excellent job, and if you simply want an easy to create website with the simplest of customer interaction, then it could be all you need – but if you are really serious about running a growing business, that will need a website platform that can grow with it, then once again, this is not one I would personally go with.
Our Verdict: If you are on a tight budget then this could be considered, but it will restrict you long term in my humble opinion
Shopify.com (14 day free trial)
Now, this is a platform I am sure you have seen pop up on Facebook ads ? “open your online shop today” is their tagline.
It’s an excellent platform if you are selling products online and don’t mind being restricted to the constraints of their application. It’s definitely worth a look, but again it’s not the platform I would personally use, but that is purely down to our business model.
Our Verdict: A great platform if your business fits with their website model – you can click here to get a free 14 day trial of the platform so see if it will work for you.
So what are the best website platforms for running an online business?
If you are serious about building an online business which can offer a passive income, you need a platform that can truly grow with your organisation and adapt to your needs.
Currently the leading website platform I would suggest you should consider is…….
WordPress is a fantastic platform. In my opinion it beats all the others I mentioned earlier, hands down.
Firstly, as a piece of software it is available free of charge. You do have to host it with a website provider obviously (I recommend WPEngine.com as a web host), but for the core software, it is free of charge.
WordPress is a also a true Content Management System
What is a content management system?
Well in the old days of the web, content and design were all mixed together and if you wanted to change some text on your web page you had to get the website designer to do it for you.
Then along came content management systems, which stored the content part of your site (i.e. the text and images) completely separately from the actual core structure and design of your website.
This is all done in a database – so to edit a page of your site is as easy as: looking up a record in the database; hitting edit; making the changes; and then hitting save. Boom. Job done. No need to contact your web designer.
WordPress is the most popular website platform on the Planet!
Now with WordPress, you are not alone – over 74 million websites actually run on WordPress – and for good reason – it is fabulous!
One of the key reasons for its popularity is that fact that it is modular in structure. WordPress uses a “plugin” architecture which allows you to extend its functionality beyond the basic page display and blogging capabilities it has.
Think of any function you would need to add to a website and you can almost be 100% sure that a plugin exists on WordPress to service that functionality.
Currently there are 29,000 WordPress plugins available and almost two thirds of those plugins are available free of charge.
In terms of scalability it can grow with your business as well, and combined with the right hosting platform (more on that later) it can support huge amounts of traffic / site visitors.
Of course, no system is perfect, and that modular plugin system is not without its problems – Plugins can occasionally conflict with each other and sometimes trying to figure why something isn’t working the way it should, could have you scratching your heads for ages.
Fortunately help is at hand though – there are now numerous WordPress support packages available from companies like GoDaddy, who can provide a low cost support department for a small monthly fee – and these services can be worth their weight in gold!
How to Handle WordPress Security Issues
Good website design is fundamental to a good user experience
Now, there is no point having a great website platform unless it actually looks the part – Good design is key – firstly, to present that pleasing first impression, and secondly to create an immersive user experience that will keep them on your site and coming back for more.
Well with WordPress you are also in luck. WordPress design layers are called “themes” and there is a huge industry dedicated to just creating theme designs for WordPress.
Some, like WordPress itself, are free, others you will pay a premium for, but they are usually well worth it.
A word of caution here though – the theme market has gone a bit wild with site functionality and there are many “bloated” themes out there that offer so many features that it can actually slow down your whole site.
We use and recommend the WordPress theme developer pack from StudioPress
How to learn WordPress?
Of course if you are new to WordPress, this can all seem like a bit of a technical nightmare – “plugins”, “themes”?????
Well don’t worry it is very easy to learn – in fact on ThePoolsideCEO.com we actually provide you with a FREE WordPress Training course right here.
Using WordPress for your website platform – The Pro’s
- Solution match for 98% of businesses
- Best SEO platform out there
- Free training right here
- Easy to learn
- Can grow with your business
Using WordPress for your website platform – The Cons
- Needs to be managed – support solutions out there – WPCurve etc
- Finding the right theme is like a needle in a haystack
So for about 90% I would suggest that WordPress should be your go-to website platform.
But what about the other 10% of you?
Well the Internet Marketing and Passive Income space is quite active and a few developers have sat up and taken notice and developed platforms targeted at entrepreneurs with that kind of mind set.
These are entrepreneurs who may well be familiar with WordPress, but have more scalable requirements, or don’t want the support burden associated with plugins, hosting and security.
These are users that want built in Landing Pages, Sales Funnel capability with hooks into Email Autoresponders like Mailchimp and Drip (which we use and recommend ourselves), and Sales Automation platforms like Infusionsoft.
These are platforms that can become a true front end to an automated sales system and customer relationship management system – something truly scalable to a large scale business.
In Summary – Should You Use WordPress or should you choose something else?
Without any hesitation my recommendation for probably 90% of you reading this is to use WordPress. It is by far the most widely use platform out there powering over 20% of the world’s website – and that is for good reason – it is awesome!
Find our more about WordPress
In future articles on the site, we will explore everything you need to know about setting up a WordPress site – what host to us, what theme you should use, what plug-ins/addons to use, and how to manage the support and maintenance of your site.
In the meantime if you have never used WordPress before I suggest you register for our FREE WordPress Video Training course – it breaks WordPress down into small and easy to digest learning blocks – you could learn it in a day or over a weekend.
Go register, and come back soon when we explain in detail why WordPress is the platform you need.