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Which Website Platform to Choose for Different Business Types

Creating a successful online business requires a combination of good planning, market research, and ingenuity. It also requires some technical knowledge, as you will have to deal with tasks like creating a website and building a strong online presence.

Fortunately, building a website has become much easier in recent years, thanks to the availability of web platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Wix. These platforms speed up the process of launching a website, thanks to easy-to-use design tools, useful out-of-the-box functionality, and powerful plugin systems.

The main challenge that businesses will face is choosing a platform that has the capabilities required to meet their objectives. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of choosing the right website platform and identify the best platforms for different business types.

The Benefits Of Choosing The Right Website Platform

Functionality

Finding the right website platform will give your business access to the functionality you require to meet key objectives. It will be much simpler to achieve goals like setting up sales pages, running an e-commerce store, or whatever other goals your business has. You won’t need to waste valuable resources creating functionality from the ground up.

Extensibility

The best web platforms include methods for adding functionality via plugins, new code, or integration with third party services. This can help your business tweak the platform and make adjustments that support your growth over time.

Capacity To Scale

Major website platforms like WordPress, Shopify, SquareSpace and Wix have been built to handle large amounts of web traffic. This is important if your business already deals with thousands of customers or is expected to grow in size in the coming years.

Support

Selecting the right website platform ensures you have access to high-quality support services as needed. This is critical for dealing with server outages, patching vulnerabilities, and keeping your customer’s data safe.

Which Platform Is Best For Your Business Type?

The best way to find the ideal website platform for your business is to think about your key business objectives over the coming years. Ask yourself what you really want to achieve online in the medium to long term.

Do you want to run a large scale e-commerce operation that sells thousands of products per day? Our perhaps you are interested in getting more sales leads for your bricks and mortar store? If you have a business that operates in a specific region, perhaps you want to focus on dominating local search results, so nearby customers turn to you first.

Once you have identified your key goals, it will become easier to evaluate the suitability of features provided by the different website platforms.

To help make this process easier, we have listed the most common online business types below. Under each heading, we’ve also included the platform features that are particularly useful for achieving key objectives and some website platforms which have those features.

E-commerce

If your business is interested in selling products online, a website platform with strong e-commerce functionality will be required. The platform must have shopping cart functionality, products database tools, user management tools, and the ability to add a variety of payment gateways to your website.

Ideally, the platform will also provide features which help you provide customer support and promote your business. This includes the ability to run promotions and offer discount codes, integrate with social media, improve SEO, take newsletter signups, and publish high-quality content.

Ideal e-commerce website platform features:

  • Shopping cart functionality
  • Security features (SSL, two-factor authentication, and backup systems)
  • Payment options
  • Product database tools
  • Support desk tools
  • User-generated reviews
  • Special offers, discount codes, and membership schemes
  • Wish lists
  • Shipping management
  • Product related items
  • Advanced search functionality
  • FAQ sections
  • Social media integration and ability to publish social proof
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Mobile friendly design
  • User-friendly layouts ad navigation

Suggested Website Platforms:

  • Shopify – Shopify has been built from the ground up to support e-commerce sales. It is a powerful platform that can extended with a range of plugins. One of the best reasons to use Shopify is that it is tailored to business owners with limited technical knowledge. Even a novice can create an e-commerce website and start selling product using Shopify.
  • WooCommerce – WooCommerce is another platform that has been designed with usability in mind. Businesses can set up a new store, choose a template, and start selling within a matter of hours. It is integrated into WordPress, which is the world’s #1 content management system. One of the advantages gained by using a WordPress based platform is that you gain access to thousands of additional WordPress plugins with useful functionality.
  • Magento If you require an extremely powerful e-commerce platform that is hosted on your own servers, Magento is a great option. It is a highly configurable and extensible app that can handle complex product catalogues.

Lead Generation

A lead generation website is designed to create consumer interest in a product or service, with the ultimate goal of turning that interest into a sale. Lead generation websites look professional, have excellent search engine optimisation, and are very engaging. This type of website is useful for any business interested in increasing their customer base or launching a new product/service.

Ideal lead generation website platform features:

  • Excellent SEO features
  • Advance analytics and lead tracking capabilities
  • The ability to create landing pages, thank-you pages, subscribe pages
  • The ability to A/B test landing pages and call-to-action statements easily
  • Form integration
  • Email marketing compatibility
  • Live chat
  • Blog posts
  • Social media and social proof integration
  • Content creation tools
  • User personalised web pages
  • Mobile friendly design

Suitable Web Platforms

  • WordPress – WordPress is a powerful, secure, and reliable content management system. It is highly extensible thanks to its powerful plugin system and open source code. This makes it simple to create a high-quality lead generation website with all of the features listed above.
  • CMS Hub™ – CMS Hub™ is Hubspot’s entry into the CMS market. It has been developed to help marketers launch campaigns and create personalised web pages for different customers. It offers many useful marketing features including advanced customer activity tracking, landing page optimisation, and adaptive testing. Close integration with other services like Hubspot CRM is also very helpul.

Brand Website

Brand building websites are all about generating awareness of your business brand and the products or services you offer. A brand building website is an integral part of your brand building strategy, which can also involve advertising campaigns, social media, content marketing, and email newsletters.

Business often use this type of website when they are interested in growing market share by reaching more customers or entering into new regions. The ideal website platform will be able to generate attractive websites very quickly, with social media, analytics, and marketing tool integrations.

Ideal brand building website platform features:

  • Flexible templating system
  • Fast loading, responsive, and secure
  • Lead tracking integration
  • Social media integration
  • Excellent SEO features
  • The ability to create landing pages, thank-you pages, subscribe pages
  • Email marketing integration
  • Content embedding (videos, audio, PDFs, podcasts, high-resolution images, social media posts)

Suitable Web Platforms

  • CMS Hub™ – CMS Hub™ has many features which make it ideal for brand building, including SEO recommendations, a drag and drop editor for easy page creation, powerful website themes, multi-language content creation, and lead tracking.
  • WordPress – You will see WordPress mentioned several times in this list. The platform’s easy installation, affordability (it’s free if self-installed), extensibility, excellent SEO, and ease-of-use, are why it is the world’s number 1 CMS. It is ideal for brand building. It is used by brands like Sony, Playstation, TechCrunch and BBC America.
  • Drupal – Drupal is a sophisticated website platform used by some of the world’s leading brands, including eBay, Twitter, Tesla, and Pinterest. It is highly configurable and has a powerful plugin system.
  • Joomla – Joomla is another popular website platform which is simple to install and offers a range of powerful features. It has excellent SEO capabilities and extensions are available for integrating social media, email marketing, and the other features you may require.

Local Business Website

A local business website is designed to promote your business in the local area. It is ideal for brick-and-mortar businesses that serve local area customers, like restaurants, hardware shops, nurseries, and schools. This type of website must rank well for search queries relating to the local area, so locals see it before they see the competition.

Ideal local business website platform features:

  • Excellent SEO features
  • Easy installation
  • Social media and social proof integration
  • Easy to use content management system
  • Attractive templates
  • Contact forms
  • Product database
  • Rich media features including video, high-resolution images and gifs

Suitable Web Platforms

  • Wix – Wix has been designed to perfectly meet the needs of small businesses looking to establish an online presence. It is a subscription based platform where users pay a monthly fee for their website and hosting. It has hundreds of attractive templates, a drag-and-drop interface for customisation, and a very large app market if you require additional functionality.
  • Squarespace – Squarespace was built with the same design philosophy as Wix — to create a simple to use platform for business owners. It offer users access to beautifully designed ready-made websites which can be easily customised to match your business. There are some great e-commerce, SEO, and email marketing tools available as well.
  • Weebly – Weebly is less extensible compare to Wix or Squarespace, but is still useful for bricks-and-mortar businesses that don’t require e-commerce or advanced marketing features. It is a simple way to establish an online presence.

Media Site

Media sites are designed to let uses store and share their media files (photos, music, videos, data files). These sites are usually run as standalone businesses, funded by user payments or advertising. However, some businesses will offer media sites as a complementary service for their customers.

Ideal media site platform features:

  • Excellent file and disk management capabilities
  • URL generation
  • Social media capabilities
  • SEO tools
  • Media display tools
  • User management

Suitable Web Platforms

  • WordPress – WordPress can function as a media serving application with the correct plugins.
  • Drupal – Drupal is a complex CMS with incredible extensibility and customisation options. It can be configured to work as a media site.

Affiliate Site

An affiliate site will sell another company’s products in return for a small commission for each sale. The ideal website platform for an affiliate website must be able to display products, reviews, testimonials, images in an attractive way. It should have easy-to-use editing tools and advanced SEO functionality, so Internet users can find the site.

Ideal affiliate website platform features:

  • Simple to install and configure
  • Easy to create and maintain pages
  • Detailed visitor analytics and tracking
  • Excellent SEO tools
  • Marketing features
  • Newsletter integration
  • Customisable templates
  • Responsive mobile friendly layout
  • Internationalisation

Suggested Website Platforms:

  • WordPress  – WordPress has been designed to make creating engaging content simple. There are also powerful plugins for tracking user actions, inserting affiliate links, adding newsletter subscription forms and so on.
  • Wix – With its big selection of apps, attractive templates, personalised SEO plan, and extensibility, Wix is a great choice for affiliate websites.
  • Squarespace – If you want access to hundreds of professional, mobile responsive templates, e-commerce features, and advanced image formatting, Squarespace is a great choice.
  • SITE123  – SITE123 has an easy-to-use interface, excellent SEO tools, social media integrations, email marketing and e-commerce functionality. But where it really excels is its internationalisation features. You can set up several websites with different languages to capture leads from different locations.

Forum Site

Businesses sometimes use web forums to promote a sense of community and help users exchange information about their products or services. Forums are also a great way to improve brand awareness and establish a business as an authority within its chosen sector.

Ideal forum website platform features:

  • Web forum management tools
  • User management
  • Profile customisation
  • Power rich text editors
  • Media embedding tools
  • Private messaging
  • Achievement systems
  • SEO tools
  • Anti-spam tools
  • Customisable templates
  • Responsive mobile friendly layout
  • Internationalisation

Suggested Website Platforms:

  • phpBB – phpBB is one of the first web forum platforms released and remains a popular choice today. It is a powerful application with multiple forum hierarchy options, advanced user management tools, anti-spam integration, powerful moderation options, and many forum themes.
  • MyBB – MyBB is a simple-to-use open source forum platform with a wide range of plugins and themes. A user reputation system is available out of the box and the calendar system makes it easy to arrange community events.
  • WordPress – WordPress can be configured to operate like a web forum. The main benefit of using WordPress is that you also gain access to the thousands of other plugins it provides, for SEO, shopping carts, marketing and so on.

Blog

Blogging has become an important part of business marketing in the past decade. It gives businesses an opportunity to communicate with customers is a less formal way and improve brand awareness.

Ideal blog website platform features:

  • Template system
  • SEO tools
  • Powerful rich text editor
  • Media embedding features
  • Blog features including categories and tags
  • Comment system
  • Widget system
  • Social media features for post sharing
  • Performance tracking tools
  • Responsive mobile friendly layout
  • User management
  • Anti-spam tools

Suggested Website Platforms:

  • WordPress – It’s hard to go past WordPress. It was originally developed as a blog and comes with a full suite of blog functionality. WordPress is a particularly good choice if you want a flexible platform with extremely powerful plugins that can transform the capabilities of your website.
  • Wix – Wix’s beautiful templates, simple administrative interface, analytics, SEO, and other features make it capable of launching an incredible blog out of the box.
  • Medium – Not a website platform but with an intuitive interface, clean design, and plenty of features, Medium is a great choice for businesses who want to blog without getting bogged down in technicalities.
  • LinkedIn – Again not technically a website platform but LinkedIn is the world’s most popular social network for professionals. Several years ago, the platform began allowing users to create blog posts. Using LinkedIn can be a simple way to start blogging and grow your audience amongst professionals in related industries. The only downside is that your content remains on LinkedIn’s site and is permanently attached o your profile.

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