Choosing a Platform for Your Business Website
Establishing an online presence for a business can be a tricky task, especially for those who have never forayed into the world of digital marketing, design, and services. Thus, when business owners find themselves in a situation where the future growth of their business depends on this online presence, many of them feel lost and befuddled, even with the abundance of guidebooks and manuals freely available on the internet.
If you have decided that you want to build a website to supplement (or perhaps drive) your enterprise, yet have never done it before, it is only logical for you to have a multitude of questions. What kind of purpose will your site serve? Which web development platform should you use? What features and functionality will you need? To make the process a little bit clearer for you, we would like to offer some recommendations for getting started.
Selecting a platform by purpose
In order to gain the most benefit from your website, you should choose a web platform best suited for your business size, niche, and purpose. Just as you would not use a spoon for digging up earth, you would not want to use a web development platform that does not suit your business needs.
- WordPress. This platform is best suited for companies that plan on selling services online.
- WooCommerce. If you want to set up an online shop with 500 or fewer items, you will benefit from using WooCommerce.
- Magento. A perfect choice for anyone aiming to run a large online store with multiple helpful features.
- Templates. Using a ready-made template for a simple, business card-type website is an easy choice accessible to everyone.
As the e-commerce platform and technology landscape continues to evolve, many retailers and startups alike are left with the never-ending question of “What is the right technology stack for e-commerce today?”. There is no universal answer to this question, as technology stacks and platforms are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Choosing features to boost your business
Creating a solid and convenient user experience is key to boosting customer engagement, and features are some of the best tools to achieve it with. Here are a few features that may be useful to add during site development:
- User-friendly Shopping Cart. To prevent sales loss, you can make your Shopping Cart accessible for even unregistered users and “remember” items added after interrupted browsing.
- MailChimp. Integrating MailChimp with your services and website will give you a set of powerful marketing tools related to email campaigns and client outreach.
- Review system. Allowing users to leave reviews and then displaying them on your site will boost trust in your business.
- Wish List. When users have an option to add items to a wish list, they are likely to come back and buy them some time in the future.
- Related items. Displaying items similar to the one a user is viewing will make it easier for them to choose.
Your input in the process
Even if you hire a person or company to handle the website development for you from start to finish, be ready to actively participate in the process. If you just specify what you want in broad terms and leave the developers to craft out the rest, you will often end up disappointed. This is why, ideally, the input from a business owner or representative will make up at least 30% of the work needed.
To stimulate the success of the project, you will need to create relevant content, explain the nuances of the targeted market, and invest in marketing to boost the web presence after it appears. Web developers cannot read minds, and will not be able to create the site of your dreams if you don’t bother to properly describe what you want out of it.
Launching a website is not a solitary task that you do once and forget – further support will be necessary. To keep your website up and running without issue, you will need to keep investing in it. For example, this includes updating the site engine (to prevent security issues) and it’s content. Furthermore, to make sure that it is reaching a wide audience, you will need to monitor its growth and perform upgrades every once in a while.
Although hiring a web development company will greatly ease the task of setting up your online presence, you should expect the process to require a substantial level of input and organizational contributions from your side. As you prepare to embark on this journey, we would like to offer some final tips on the first steps you can take:
- Define the website purpose and approximate budget
- Put your vision to test, paper, or other graphic representation
- Come up with concrete design requirements/expectations
- Choose a suitable web development platform
- Look for a company/service with solid experience and reputation