There are many different platforms and different approaches when it comes to websites, and it can be a difficult task finding the right platform you want your website to run on. As always, it is about making informed decisions. I therefore dive into this topic of platforms and offer you some assistance in learning to distinguish what’s available in terms of platforms for a website.

Deciding on a website requires you to have lots of information available. You need information on what “ingredients” make up a website, and you need to know what you need for your business, your message and your business or project goals.

 

You will need some qualified information. These days, there are many ways to create websites. Creating one could cost you between $100 and $100.000 – mainly depending on what you need, but the cost will also be significantly influenced by how well informed and how well prepared you are.

Choosing the best platform implies that you equally know what options are available to you, but it also requires you to have some clarity about your business goals, your business model, and your industry.

Moving within the paradox

First of all, a warning: there is no cookie-cutter way, and there’s no way to tackle this question without writing 100 pages of content. Every business is unique and there is no valid solution for everyone.

On the one hand, creating a website has become incredibly easy in the last years.
On the other hand, there are just so many different options available!
And it is a paradox in itself that the more choices we have, the harder the decision gets.

Have you ever wondered how to solve a paradox? The answer is: you can’t.
Getting stuck in thinking about how to solve a paradox will drive you crazy. It’s like the koan, the serpent that bites itself in the tail.
You cannot get out of it! Instead, you need to learn to float with it.

 

There are many roads to explore, but for website novices, it’s a safe bet to state that there are basically two main roads: You either use a website builder or a content management system (CMS).

Website Builders

What’s a website builder?

A website builder is an online software that enables you to create websites without knowing how to code. They are easy to use as they work by drag & drop.

Generally speaking, the more content you want to publish on a website, the more features you need, and the more complex and sophisticated your website is, the less likely it is that a website builder will be the right choice for your business. Website builders are easy to use, but they cannot offer the more complex features. They are simply not made for that. They also offer considerable limitations in the variability of design options.

Examples of popular website builders are Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify or Strikingly.

If you want to learn about some of the more popular website builders, have a look at this review of the Top 10 Website Builders for 2015.

Content Management Systems

What’s a content management system?

A CMS is a collection of internet tools (=system) that help create, upload and manage online contents into a website. It differs from a common web creation application or a website builder, as it is able to incorporate applications like eCommerce, help desk, inventory management and many more of the individualized and sophisticated applications. A CMS is designed to handle a multitude of functions that can be hand-picked.

There are hundreds of CMS available today.

Some examples are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or MODX; whereby WordPress is certainly the best-known and most widely used content management system nowadays.

A review of the Top 10 Content Management Systems for 2015 can be found here.

Making an informed decision

There are more options available than website builders or content management systems, but these are certainly good and valuable choices for aspiring entrepreneurs.

As mentioned above, to make this decision you’ll need some clarity what you’d like to achieve with your website. If you need a website for a rather presentational purpose that is not too interactive with your clients, you can’t do much wrong by choosing a website builder.

But maybe you don’t have a strict intention for your website yet. Right now you need a website to represent your business, but also consider it to turn into something more interactive, into something more complex or more individualized. In this case, I recommend you consider choosing a content management system like WordPress.

In another article I will talk more about website builders, their characteristics and what to look out for when making the decision, and I will also do such an investigation for content management systems.

However, it stays a loaded topic and the decision you make will be influenced by a lot of factors: your goals, your skills and of course your budget.

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Part of my competency is helping entrepreneurs to make decisions what technologies are best being used when setting up their business. I am offering Business Tool Clarity Sessions in which I help technology-challenged people to put together the pieces of their personal puzzle, so that their business can be set up in a way that it works well and is reliable. If this is an option for you, I invite you to come over and get in touch with me to find out what would work well in your situation.

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