Smart website planning works like all strategic plans – You start with the big questions. What is the purpose of your site? This leads to the next big question: Which website platform should you use to build it? This platform is the software tool that we use to create and publish a site. Whether it’s WordPress, Squarespace®, GoDaddy templates or another platform, each is built to deliver different objectives.
And with so many to choose from, platform picking can sometimes be confusing. Here’s where companies tend to go wrong:
1. Thinking only in the present
As companies evolve, their websites need to evolve with them. Sometimes they can become so focused on current objectives that they fail to plan for the long-term. From a website perspective, this means picking a platform that doesn’t accommodate future needs.
For instance, you might be an eCommerce model or brick-and-mortar company with eCommerce capabilities who decides to add wholesale sales to your site. In this case we would recommend against using a platform like Shopify®. While it’s the go-to for eCommerce, Shopify can’t meet the needs for wholesale – or the bulk pricing that often accompanies it. Instead, we’d recommend a custom platform.
2. Looking too far into the future
On the flip side, your company may be thinking very far ahead – and realize that the web solution and technology you seek just isn’t out there yet.
When we ran into this issue with one of our clients, we recommended using Shopify to satisfy the majority of their needs, as it was the platform best suited for them. We also knew that Shopify excels at innovation, and would be consistently rolling out new capabilities so they would “catch up” with our client’s needs shortly.
If you can’t find the platform that does what you need now, find the platform that innovates for the future.
3. Not knowing the future
If you’re a startup and you’re not exactly sure which way your business (and technology) will grow, it can be difficult to commit to a website platform long term.
In this case, we recommend finding the easiest solution for your needs today. Typically, that is Shopify for eCommerce solutions and Squarespace and Wix for Content Management Systems (CMS) that do not include eCommerce. These latter two platforms are also very cost-effective, which can be critical for a startup with limited funds. They allow you to open for business right away, build your brand, hone your processes and avoid sunk costs.
Want to know which platform is best for your company? Try our decision tree:
Will your site need eCommerce?
Will you also sell wholesale?
Will your site just need a CMS (Content Management System)?
BigCommerce is a great solution for eCommerce and wholesale
Shopify is a great solution for eCommerce
WordPress, Craft examples and Webflow are great solutions for CMS
Drag n Drop (RedTree’s platform), Squarespace and Wix are great solutions for more customized sites
Of course, there are many other considerations to make when choosing platforms, including cost, ease of management and how well it interfaces with your current site. Talk to us about your needs and we’d be happy to help you find the one that will work best for you!