How to Choose a Website Platform
Before choosing a Website Platform and developer, you must read this.
OK, I admit it. I am a WordPress fan. But just because I and millions of other Web Developers agree, could there be better website platforms out there?
Well, there certainly are lots of Website platform formats out there, all touting for your business. There is the complexed and fully functional Website Platform. Then there are super simple websites with drag and drop features, which allow even the novice to build a website. So why are all website builders designed so differently?
Cheap and simple Websites
Simple website builders like Wix or Weebly and a several others, are indeed easy to use and boast lots of preset designs which look great. For personal use or a hobby style business, such simple website platforms can save time and present fairly well to your audience. But there are many limitations.
As you probably all ready know, nothing in life is free. However most of the simple website building platforms offer free hosting. Well between you and me, the monthly fee you pay for a website platform like this, includes the hosting and that is about all you are actually paying for every month.
Simple website builders are built upon preset templates and are ridged in how they look and their functionality. Adding functionality such as special contact forms, SEO tools and so on, is not possible. If you plan to grow, this is a major problem.
Beware the complex non-Wordpress Platforms
Indeed beware, for the devil may lay in the detail.
Far too many of the big website developers and some smaller ones too, opt to use specialist platforms. Similar to WordPress, some of these platforms are ‘Open Source’ or cost free to the developer. Admittedly these building platforms come feature packed and often very powerful.
In fact, non-Wordpress web developers will sell these platforms to clients, under the pretence that the “special” features are unique and very necessary for the clients particular business. They use words like ‘Powerful’ and ‘Customisable’, to assure the client that the platform can do anything they wish.
And yes, they probably can.
However there are a number of massive catches, which the developers are most certainly not sharing with you.
A fortress of solitude
With the exception of Joomla and Craft, most alternative website development platforms are lonely places. Very few developers can use them and customisations require specialist coding. What this means is, in the ‘likely’ event that you need to modify the website, only your developer can do it and since it needs coding, it is not an easy job.
A prisoner in your own website
It is a sad reality, that the online world is an attractive line of work for less than honest operators. I like to compare their evolution to that of the dodgy secondhand car salesman.
In most cases, if they sell you a website platform that is not WordPress, you are being lead into a jail, from which there is no escape.
Sounds dramatic even far fetched doesn’t it!
But think about it for a moment.
You pay a website developer X amount to build your website. There will be a contract, which explains that after the website is complete, you have one or two months to report any issues. After that any modifications will attract an hourly rate. That rate is usually upwards of $150 per hour.
When the website launches it is all very exciting and all appears to be well.
But no disrespect meant, what do you know about website design?
Then the sting!
Only after living with the website for an extended period of time, will you begin to identify the stuff that simply does not work for you. The most common issue is SEO or lack there of.
Most developers will conveniently forget to add all of the necessary fields and tools, which allow Google and other search engines, to read your website. You maybe unable to add Facebook Pixels and Google Tags to the website either, therefore you are blind marketing. Now that’s very expensive.
You then discover helpful email management applications like Mail Chimp or Infusionsoft, which allow you stay in touch with your customers. You want these incorporated into your website platform, but now require a specialist developer to code this into your new Website. Ouch, now that’s gonna cost!
But wait, all is well. The developer has offered to build you a user-friendly backend to the website platform. Known as a CMS the backend allows you to upload photos and products, maybe some descriptions and pricing.
What more could you want?
Actually, lots more and your developer will make pay dearly for extra features you need added to your CMS back-end aswell.
A lock in contract, without a contract.
On the whole, while your contract with the developer may last just a few months, you will be locked in with them until the day you wise up and rebuild your website in WordPress.
Any faults, any essential updates and any modifications are going to cost huge amounts of money. In fact, within the first 2 years of ownership, you will be paying as much, if not more again than the initial website build.
They have taken you hostage and you are now being milked like a cow.
Your developer will of course blame you for this as you were not clear about what you wanted and you have been using the website incorrectly which is causing the problems. Rest assured, it is not you, it is the limitations they have designed into the website, to keep you paying them and them only.
For most business owners, the maintenance cost becomes simply too much and the website quickly falls into disrepair until forced to rebuild in WordPress. There will be disputes with the developer, threats and maybe legal challenges but face it. You have been had and it’s all that contract you didn’t understand.
What makes WordPress any different?
Firstly, there are almost as many WordPress developers in the world as there are cars. OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit, but you get the idea! If for whatever reason you are not happy with your WordPress developer, shout out of your window loud enough and you will find another.
WordPress also supports and almost endless number of Plugins. The concept of Plugins (which are usually for free), is to perform pretty much any task you could ever need your website platform to do. Furthermore, most plugins are very easily to install onto your website, so no need for hours of coding work.
As a result of so much support and so many plugins, WordPress is not only the cheapest option, but wealds more power than any other Website Platform could ever dream to hold.
Google loves WordPress websites too and will often preference a WordPress website in ranking it.
Before you hire a web developer
The aim is to not get stuck with a Web Developer who has few morals and intends upon exploiting you. If they are not building in WordPress, alarms bells should be ringing!
The sad reality is, there are so many unethical web developers out there today who will lock you in with them by building you a non-wordpress website platform.
Ultimately this is bad for you and casts a dark shadow over the honest web developers trying to do the right thing. I’m not saying that you hire Brag Designs (though that would be nice). But bare this blog in mind before committing to anyone other than a WordPress Developer.
For a no obligation talk about Web Design or Mornington Peninsula & local Frankston SEO, give us call at Brag Design Inc.