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Choosing the right web platform for your business

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September 16, 2014

Choosing the right platform is a critical first step in planning your company’s website. Your site is home base for all your online marketing efforts. So, it’s important to choose a platform that has the functionality you need as your site grows.

To get started, ask yourself what your goals are for your site. Some important considerations should include:

Understanding how you want your website to work for your business will help you understand how simple or complex a platform you need. While it’s a good idea to work with a web developer to help you build the site, it’s also important to have an idea of the type of platform you would like to use.

There are several leaders in website platform development. You may already be familiar with some of them, but it’s valuable to look at the different options. So here’s a brief overview of the key players to start your process.

  Wordpress Joomla Drupal Weebly GoDaddy
Ease of use Intuitive, user-friendly Complex, but user-friendly with practice   Developer-friendly Intuitive, user-friendly  Intuitive, user-friendly
Pros Allows quick and easy content updates

Large user community increases support and plugin options

Large, growing library of visual themes
Mid-level between Wordpress and Drupal—intuitive user interface with more power than Wordpress   Can easily be customized for website needs Drag and drop editing ability Drag and drop editing ability

Existing library of visual themes

Can save backup versions to restore site if needed
Cons Limited ability to modify security settings. (plug in required)

Not optimized for larger sites/high traffic (possible, but requires professional help to set up)

Limited customization beyond library themes
Mid-level between Wordpress and Drupal—not as user friendly as Wordpress, not as customizable as Drupal Complex—requires developer Limited library of visual themes

Limited customization
Limited customization

Limited in ability to change themes post-build
E‑commerce Functionality   Basic through plug ins (variety of options) Basic through plug ins (variety of options) Customizable to specific needs through developer support Via integration with Paypal or Stripe Basic proprietary e-commerce included
Best used for Frequent basic content updates

Blogs

Basic e-commerce
Article heavy, content heavy

Basic e-commerce
Complex content, navigation and/or e-commerce sites Basic content

Basic blogging

Basic e-commerce
Basic content updates

Basic e-commerce
Example Site Van Huesen The Guggenheim Museum The Economist Sustainable Solutions Georgia Rickety Rack Clothing

There are a lot of different ways to make a web platform work for your company and it all starts with understanding platform capabilities in the context of your business goals.

Since there’s no one-size-fits-all platform (which is a good thing!), this chart serves to help break down some of the initial, core considerations in choosing the right platform for you. It’s always helpful to invest in support from a web development firm or a consultant to help you find the right solution for you.

Think you might need a bit more help figuring out the right fit for your site? Comment below!

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