Launching a blog? Starting a business? Promoting a product?
At the heart of every one of these journeys in today’s digital era is designing your website. However, with the importance of this step comes great uncertainty over what website platform to commit to.
For the beginner, your website platform is basically what your website is built on. It is the foundation of your online presence. So choosing a platform that not only suits your style but also meets your needs is vital.
In general, most savvy web users will advise that you choose a website platform with a CMS (Content Management System), which allows you to freely and easily create and edit your website pages without knowledge of website coding. A CMS will make it simple for you to create and manage your website yourself.
There are many different website platforms for you to choose from, each of which comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at three of the most popular CMS website platforms:
WordPress is the most popular website platform due to its user-friendly structure, wide array of design and customization options, and many plugins that allow you to easily enhance your website’s performance. For the non-coding, non-techie, normal human being looking to create a visually appealing, simple-to-update, and high-functioning website, WordPress is a great option. This free platform is a particular favorite among bloggers due to its rich array of CMS abilities and thousands of free plugins. In comparison to other website platforms, though, it does not have as powerful security.
Drupal is a lot like WordPress in terms of it being a CMS that lets its users manage and customize their websites. However, this free platform has some benefits and some drawbacks that differentiate it from WordPress.
In terms of benefits, Drupal shines in its high levels of security. As a result, many important organizations trust Drupal as their platform of choice. Additionally, Drupal has established a reputation as being one of the most SEO-friendly website platforms. In fact, its module is specifically designed for SEO, providing users with tools for content optimization, keyword research, link management, tagging, reporting, and more.
The downside of Drupal in comparison to WordPress, however, is that Drupal can be more difficult for the average person to build their website on and make changes to after the fact. Drupal is more complex to operate than WordPress.
In terms of complexity, Joomla is the medium between WordPress and Drupal. This free website platform was launched in 2005 and is primarily used for social networking and e-commerce sites. However, Joomla is a fast-growing, widely used CMS that is preferred over WordPress for larger scale websites. Joomla has an advanced admin interface, comes with thousands of customization options, and is fairly user friendly. Though not as hard to manage as Drupal, it has a much steeper learning curve than WordPress. Furthermore, it has limited SEO abilities and, unlike WordPress and Drupal, not all plugins are free.
Past That . . .
There are many other website platforms for you to choose from, depending on what your site goals are. For example:
- Magento (Community Edition is free; Magento Go $15 – $125 per month) – high-performing Ecommerce website platform that is very customizable, offers advanced SEO capabilities, is mobile-friendly, and is easily integrated with third-party applications; however, it is very taxing on servers.
- Weebly (regular version is free; Pro plan is paid) – created with simple functionality that allows you to build your website quickly, offers themes and templates to get you started, and provides an optional Ecommerce service to help businesses that are beginning to sell their products online.
- Volusion ($15 – $135 per month) – easier to customize Ecommerce platform that has built-in features like a mobile-optimized version of the site and Facebook store; does not offer a blog feature.
- Yii (free) – a website platform that is incomparably fast; was designed so each webmaster has complete control over the site, but is one of the most difficult platforms to learn how to use.
- BigCommerce ($34.95 – $199.95 per month) – this Ecommerce platform has simple HTML/CSS editing options and a variety of built-in SEO features, but it is expensive and doesn’t offer a lot of customizable templates.
Committing To A Choice
Whether you’re a jetsetter aiming to write a trending fashion blog, an author composing a book series, or an accountant with a skill for carpentry looking to sell your wares to a greater audience, the basis of any person’s online presence and prowess begins with selecting a website platform. So read all the pros and cons, decide what matters most to you in terms of the design, functionality, and editing options, and choose wisely!