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How to choose the best website hosting platform for your business

A strong online presence has never been more vital for small and medium-sized businesses. 80% of consumers now research online before making a purchase, and 85% use the Internet to find local businesses.

Nearly half (46%) of web users say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining a company’s credibility. Your services, pricing, contact information and description of how you work with clients will all be showcased on your website for potential and current customers.

Choosing a website platform is akin to selecting the foundation when building your home. Everything that follows, the look, functionality, user experience, maintenance, adding on, and more will all be determined by this choice. The most important question when choosing the correct platform to build your website is what you plan to accomplish with your website.

Start with what your company needs, for example, an eCommerce brand selling shoes wants its customers to make a purchase and perhaps sign up for their newsletter. Whereas a catering company wants users to make a booking or get in contact.

It’s important to remember that a well-functioning website is well organised, follows a logical structure, and is designed to feel intuitive and easy for your target audience to achieve the goals you have set for the website. There are a lot of competing options out there when it comes to setting up a new website.

Let’s look at what we call – the big 5 website platforms out today to better understand which platform is right for your business.

“The Big 5”

WordPress/WooCommerce

WordPress/Woocommerce is the oldest and most popular website building platform out today. Over 41% of websites on the internet are powered by WordPress, and for good reason! WordPress is open source – meaning it’s easy for developers and designers to customise.

It has over 52’000 plugins available to use and is cheaper to host than most website platforms. If you are DIY’ing a WordPress website, you will need a hosting service to create an installation, so it does require a bit of knowledge in the space before creating your own.

Wix

Wix is an easy-to-use website builder that has become very popular in the last few years. They’ve invested a lot into creating a platform that is accessible to those with minimal website building experience. The most important thing to understand is that Wix is a drag and drop website builder meaning you can drag and drop elements wherever you want to create a web page.

Shopify

When you think eCommerce, you automatically think Shopify. Shopify has established itself as one of the biggest website eCommerce platforms in the world, currently used by more than 1 million people worldwide. Shopify is an eCommerce giant with a streamlined back end to help make eCommerce businesses run smoothly, with little hands-on effort.

SquareSpace

Squarespace is known for its unique, responsive templates and its easy-to-use website builder. Many people choose Squarespace over the competition because of how fresh and modern the website templates are.

WebFlow

Gaining popularity is the drag and drop website builder Webflow. Many web designers choose Webflow due to the high degree of customisation and intuitive design you can achieve with this platform.

Apart from the “Top 5” Rocketspark – a New Zealand owned, and operated platform is swiftly gaining traction. The award-winning platform interface allows businesses to create a fully customised website using elements such as images, text, videos, links, buttons, forms, and more.

The platform uses a drag and drop interface to allow users to personalize the layout of each page and control the positioning of each element.Other features include industry-specific website templates, SEO management, social media integration, custom forms creation, subscription management, and more.

The bottom line

Choosing what platform fits your business is a daunting decision, especially with so many options out there. Get clear on the goals for your website and base your decision on this and the available resources you have (ie. time, experience).

Related: The upskilling imperative

Mariette Tolmay
Mariette Tolmay
Mariette Tolmay is the marketing lead at Stratus Blue. She can be contacted at mariette@stratusblue.co.nz.

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